World Poetry Day: The Poem Swap

Agent S and I have a sporadic poem-swap going on. We used to swap poems on a regular basis but I think the frequency decreased after I sent a bunch of links to Lady Gaga covers and a site full of unintentional phallic symbols – My bad. I was going through my inbox the other day and came across some gems that I’d completely forgotten about. Both of us have very different taste and thanks to Agent S, I’ve started reading the works of certain poets that I would otherwise have brushed away.

The bottom line is that some of it is too good to be buried in my inbox between facebook notifications and chain mails with pictures of babies coupled with clichéd quotations (NEVER give out your email address to relatives). So, I think I’ll post a few of them every now and then and since I have been informed that today is World Poetry Day, what better day to start?

Also, Dilly has a nice post about World Poetry Day, in case you want more info.

Love after Love

The time will come

when, with elation,

you will greet yourself arriving

at your own door, in your own mirror,

and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

and say, sit here.  Eat.

You will love again the stranger who was your self.

Give wine.  Give bread.  Give back your heart

to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored

for another, who knows you by heart.

Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,

peel your own image from the mirror.

Sit.  Feast on your life.

Derek Walcott

*

Cartography

As you lay in sleep
I saw the chart
Of artery and vein
Running from your heart,

Plain as the strength
Marked upon the leaf
Along the length,
Mortal and brief,

Of your gaunt hand.
I saw it clear:
The wiry brand
Of the life we bear

Mapped like the great
Rivers that rise
Beyond our fate
And distant from our eyes.

Louise Bogan

*

Unclaimed

To make love with a stranger is the best.
There is no riddle and there is no test. —

To lie and love, not aching to make sense
Of this night in the mesh of reference.

To touch, unclaimed by fear of imminent day,
And understand, as only strangers may.

To feel the beat of foreign heart to heart
Preferring neither to prolong nor part.

To rest within the unknown arms and know
That this is all there is; that this is so.

Vikram Seth

*

Writer Waiting

Oh this shiny new computer-
There just isn’t nothin’ cuter.
It knows everything the world ever knew.
And with this great computer
I don’t need no writin’ tutor,
‘Cause there ain’t a single thing that it can’t do.
It can sort and it can spell,
It can punctuate as well.
It can find and file and underline and type.
It can edit and select,
It can copy and correct,
So I’ll have a whole book written by tonight
(Just as soon as it can think of what to write).

Shel Silverstein

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14 thoughts on “World Poetry Day: The Poem Swap

  1. Cartography by Louise Bogan!
    How about posting some of your poetry, though?
    And I see, you still use the ‘Agent S’ pseudonym 😛 You guys should publish some of them. I’m willing to bet my smiley-face socks it will be way better than the books of poetry currently being published here.

  2. Vikram Seth. Unclaimed. Possibly the most beautiful poem I’ve read in awhile.

    “To rest within the unknown arms and know
    That this is all there is; that this is so.”

    I feel like my heart’s going to explode! Thank you and please keep sharing. 🙂

  3. Wow. I wasn’t expecting such a positive response. Glad to hear you guys enjoyed reading ’em 🙂 Will root through my inbox and post more.

    Shaahima, happy poetry day to you too 🙂

    JP, shall post more in that case.

    Scrump, you’re most welcome. I’m just spreading the love here. 🙂

    The Puppeteer, I actually haven’t read any of Agent S’s own poetry (HMMMMMMM. Must work on that!) And I’ve posted a few of my own before, but they’re really not very good. Even the idea of lumping them in a post with the likes of Seth and Neruda is positively blasphemous. And yes, I think your nickname for S is going to stick for a while 🙂

    T, GG and Chavie, the Seth one’s my favourite as well 🙂

    WEBM, isn’t it just? I fell in love with it the moment I read it. And, I will. I will!

    Jerry, hmmmm to you too.

  4. Sounds good, only the word ‘tag’ conjures up awful memories of letters to 16 year olds, summing up moods in 5 words etc etc.

    A poetry baton of sorts with a group of people, maybe? Each person posts a poem and the baton is passed onto the next, in a set sequence?

    Or a separate blog/tumblr for it?

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