amelia_petkova: (pre-raph Persephone)
A poem for today: Dirge Without Music by Edna St. Vincent Millay.
amelia_petkova: (pre-raph Persephone)
Seamus Heaney has died. I first read his work in my senior year of high school and he has become one of my favorite contemporary poets. I don't have much else to say, other than that I want to hug my copies of "Opened Ground" and "Sweeney Astray".

"They extolled his heroic nature and exploits
and gave thanks for his greatness; which was the proper thing,
for a man should praise a prince whom he holds dear
and cherish his memory when that moment comes
when he has to be convoyed from his bodily home.
So the Geat people, his hearth companions,
sorrowed for the lord who had been laid low.
They said that of all the kings upon the earth
he was the man most gracious and fair-minded,
kindest to his people and keenest to win fame."

--"Beowulf", translated by Seamus Heaney
amelia_petkova: (apple tree)
I read in this morning's paper that the poet Wislawa Szymborska has died. I'm going to go read over her collection of poetry that I've kept since my freshman year in college and cry now.

ETA: Her obituary in the New York Times

I never got around to posting a list of recs from Yuletide this year but one of the fics I really liked features her poetry: At the Spring
amelia_petkova: (Default)
You've all heard of the poem by Robert Burns that starts out, "My luv is like a red, red rose" right? Well...

The Writer's Almanac is one of the highlights of my day. I go to the website every morning when I turn on the computer. It offers a poem each day and a list of important events (the majority literary-related) that took place on that date. I'm not always interested in the poem posted but today's offering...

I spluttered. I read the whole thing through once and then began laughing my head off. So perfect! So wonderfully nonsensical! This will make my day better; I giggle inside whenever I think about it. I raise my glass of iced tea in a toast to W.H. Auden.
amelia_petkova: (lenore)
Why must bookstores' poetry sections be so small? I went looking for A Shropshire Lad by A.E. Housman at Borders, Books & Music and it wasn't there. In the paper I'm writing about him I state that his poetry has remained loved, but it's hard to say that in good conscience when all of his writing must be bought online.

amelia_petkova: (Default)
"The Muse"
Anna Akhmatova

All that I am hangs by a thread tonight
as I wait for her whom no one can command.
Whatever I cherish most--youth, freedom, glory--
fades before her who bears the flute in her hand.

And look! she comes...she tosses back her veil,
staring me down, serene and pitiless.
"Are you the one," I ask, "whom Dante heard dictate
the lines of his Inferno?" She answers: "Yes."
amelia_petkova: (Default)
...make me love being an English major. The past couple days in one of my literature classes we've been listening to the CDs for the book Poetry Speaks. It contains recordings of English and American poets reading their poems. We've listened to

--Alfred Lord Tennyson
--Walt Whitman
--Robert Frost
--William Butler Yeats
--T.S. Eliot
--Dylan Thomas Gwendolyn Brooks
--Langston Hughes
--W.H. Auden

The entire time I was fangirling Yeats and Gwendolyn Brooks. You can't understand Tennyson and Whitman, but come on! We heard the voices of people writing during the Victorian Period and the (American) Civil War!!! You don't get much more literary kick-ass than that.
amelia_petkova: (Default)
which is not mine.

Warming Her Pearls
Carol Ann Duffy

Next to my own skin, her pearls. My mistress
bids me wear them, warm them, until evening
when I'll brush her hair. At six, I place them
round her cool, white throat. All day I think of her,

resting in the Yellow Room, contemplating silk
or taffeta, which gown tonight? She fans herself
whilst I work willingly, my slow heat entering
each pearl. Slack on my neck, her rope.

She's beautiful. I dream about her
in my attic bed; picture her dancing
with tall men, puzzled by my faint, persistent scent
beneath her French perfume, her milky stones.

I dust her shoulders with a rabbit's foot,
watch the soft blush seep through her skin
like an indolent sigh. In her looking-glass
my red lips part as though I want to speak.

Full moon. Her carriage brings her home. I see
her every movement in my head...Undressing,
taking off her jewels, her slim hand reaching
for the case, slipping naked into the bed, the way

she always does...And I lie here awake,
knowing the pearls are cooling even now
in the room where my mistress sleeps. All night
I feel their absence and I burn.
amelia_petkova: (Default)
The World is Too Much With Us
William Wordsworth

The World is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon,
The winds that will be howling at all hours
And are up-gather'd now like sleeping flowers,
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not.-Great God! I'd rather be
A pagan suckled in a creed outworn,-
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.

No other updates, except that I am still being attacked by plot bunnies, and it is a coin-toss as to whether I will or will not get writing done during my spring vacation.
amelia_petkova: (Default)
You´ve Lived
Gwyn Thomas

All through the play, Hamlet´s
Looking for some hold in the world.
All through it, he´s searching for something in life
To bear the weight of his being.

And neither his father´s murder,
The adultery of his mother
Nor Ophelia´s love--
Things shattering enough
One would have thought--
Is sufficient to root him
In the rank, unweeded garden
Which was what he called life.
He was here without an anchor
In a fruitless sea of being.
And he never evolved an interest
(As we say) 'to keep him going'--
He with his wayward life; he, the lost one.

So take comfort--
Even if you only grow onions,
Breed rabbits or put ships in bottles,
If that grips you, you are one of the saved,
The light shines on you, you can fear death,
Go in dread of the end.
That is to say, you´ve lived.
amelia_petkova: (Default)
Love Is Not All
Edna St. Vincent Millay

Love is not all: It is not meat nor drink
Nor slumber nor a roof against the rain,
Nor yet a floating spar to men that sink
and rise and sink and rise and sink again.
Love cannot fill the thickened lung with breath
Nor clean the blood, nor set the fractured bone;
Yet many a man is making friends with death
even as I speak, for lack of love alone.
It well may be that in a difficult hour,
pinned down by need and moaning for release
or nagged by want past resolution's power,
I might be driven to sell your love for peace,
Or trade the memory of this night for food.
It may well be. I do not think I would.

I strongly recommend reading Savage Beauty , a biography about Millay.

A New Year

Jan. 1st, 2007 09:01 pm
amelia_petkova: (Default)
As it's another month, it's time for another poem. But one about beginning a new year? Silly people; that would be far too logical!

Lisa Jarnot

To be dead, to be really dead,
That must be glorious.

Bela Lugosi

safe in heaven dead or heaven in
the safely dead the normal
deadly safety of the happy
hunting dead firs on the
roadsides that are gory near the
side of me that's happy in the
castle with the rodents that are
light blue in the moonlight and
in deadness that is warm beds
that is happy to be leaning
toward the window with the
moonlight with a list of all the
mammals that are named and are
peculiar, in their castles,
making up what is the sum of me
with wolves that are beside me,
in this simple snake inside the
window with the wings and you
the moonlight, and tomorrow I
will walk out to the park, to
where the heaven where the sun
is where it sets.
amelia_petkova: (Default)
The Lake Isle of Innisfree
William Butler Yeats

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honeybee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evenings full of the linnet's wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear the lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements gray,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.
amelia_petkova: (Default)
To Write A Cento

--chose a poet (or poets)
--write down many lines that you like from their poetry
--choose ten lines and arrange them into a poem

I chose Pablo Neruda. The lines I used are from the first seven poems in Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair .

My Result )
amelia_petkova: (Default)
One of the most moving books of poetry that I have read. Even more so because what it speaks of is happening now, right at this very moment

A Soldier's Arabic
Brian Turner

This is a strange new kind of war where you learn
just as much as you are able to believe.

--Ernest Hemingway

The word for love, habib , is written from right
to left, starting where we would end it
and ending where we might begin.

Where we would end a war
another might take as a beginning,
or as an echo of history, recited again.

Speak the word for death, maut ,
and you will hear the cursives of the wind
driven into the veil of the unknown.

This is a language made of blood.
It is made of sand, and time.
To be spoken, it must be earned.
amelia_petkova: (Default)
Ofrenda For Lobo
Pat Mora

Come, fierce guardian angel
in black shoes. Let me whet
your appetite. I've gathered
all you loved, or still love,
for this altar , tiers of sweet
temptation, earth's delights.
Visit me, if only for a night.

Come. Papel picado sways to guitars
white as starlight on this arch in bloom.
Velvet scents have I for you, champagne
mists of pale perfumes, crimson petals,
green of pine, coiling clouds: countless
candles, burning, burning bright on this
altar to whet your stubborn appetite.
Drift back. Visit me if only for tonight.

Come. Sweet steam invites: cafe, camote en leche.
Melodies polite curl round you soft as this smoke
at midnight. Follow: click of rosary beads, rumors
of agua sants. Bite bread, white for our communion,
shaped like a wolf, you, head tense, shielding her cubs.
Come, books to lure you to recite old tales, and we
will reunite in cuentos of ancestors who rise at dawn,
lift their voices in songs of praise. Like wise incense
your worse rise, coil, whet your appetite; entangle
you, entangle me. Come. Visit, if only for this night.

Expect the number of posts I make to decrease once NaNoWriMo begins, and my insanity to increase. I may also start posting poems once every two weeks or once a month.
amelia_petkova: (Default)
...not to annoy the Fae?

The Erl-King

Who rides there so late through the night dark and drear?
The father it is, with his infant so dear;
He holdeth the boy tightly clasp'd in his arm,
He holdeth him safely, he keepeth him warm.

"My son, wherefore seek'st thou thy face thus to hide?"
"Look, father, the Erl-King is close by our side!
Dost see not the Erl-King, with crown and with train?"
"My son, 'tis the mist rising over the plain."

"Oh, come, thou dear infant! oh come thou with me!
Full many a game I will play there with thee;
On my strand, lovely flowers their blossoms unfold,
My mother shall grace thee with garments of gold."

"My father, my father, and dost thou not hear
The words that the Erl-King now breathes in mine ear?"
"Be calm, dearest child, 'tis thy fancy deceives;
'Tis the sad wind that sighs through the withering leaves."

"Wilt go, then, dear infant, wilt go with me there?
My daughters shall tend thee with sisterly care.
My daughters by night their glad festival keep,
They'll dance thee, and rock thee, and sing thee to sleep."

"My father, my father, and dost thou not see,
How the Erl-King his daughters has brought here for me?"
"My darling, my darling, I see it aright,
'Tis the aged grey willows deceiving thy sight."

"I love thee, I'm charm'd by thy beauty, dear boy!
And if thou'rt unwilling, then force I'll employ."
"My father, my father, he seizes me fast,
Full sorely the Erl-King has hurt me at last."

The father now gallops, with terror half wild,
He grasps in his arms the poor shuddering child;
He reaches his courtyard with toil and with dread,
The child in his arms finds he motionless, dead.

NaNoWriMo rambling )

Note to self: Get some more writing done before NaNoWriMo starts. It can be something as small as a drabble or a haiku, although the pirate story would be preferred.

from China

Oct. 9th, 2006 01:12 pm
amelia_petkova: (Default)
Po Chu-yi

Talk all day and then keep silent;
Midnight, still restless on its perch.
Body imprisoned for its bright plumage;
Heart embittered by understanding.
Dusk arouses thoughts of return to nest;
Springtime multiplies mating calls.
Who can break this cage open,
Released, to joy in flight and song?

This is a lovely poem but I have to wonder--when did parrots arrive in China?
amelia_petkova: (Default)
I will later kick myself for not posting one of the sexy poems, but I just couldn't pass up this one.

The Inkwell
Constantine P. Cavafy

Honest inkwell, sacred to the poet,
whence a whole world emerges,
as each figure draws near you,
it returns with a new kind of grace.

Where did your ink discover such fabulous
wealth! As each of its drops falls
on the paper it sets one more diamond
among the diamonds of our fantasy.

Who taught you the words that you launch
into the world's midst, and they fire us?
Even our children's children will read them
with the same feeling and warmth.

Where did you find these words that though they echo
in our ears as if heard for the first time,
yet do not appear entirely strange--
our hearts must have known them in another life.

The pen you moisten resembles a hand
moving around the clock of the soul.
It counts and determines the moments of feeling,
it counts and changes the hours of the soul.

Honest inkwell, sacred to the poet,
from whose ink a world emerges--
now comes to mind how many people
will be lost in it if deep sleep

should overtake the poet some night. 
The words will always be there; but what strange hand
will be able to find them, bring them to us?
You, faithful to the poet, will refuse it.

amelia_petkova: (Default)
True Story
Shel Silverstein

This morning I jumped on my horse
And went out for a ride,
And some wild outlaws chased me
And they shot me in the side.
So I crawled into a wildcat's cave
To find a place to hide,
But some pirates found me sleeping there,
And soon they had me tied
To a pole and built a fire
Under me--I almost cried
Till a mermaid came and cut me loose
And begged to be my bride,
So I said I'd come back Wednesday
But I must admit I lied.
Then I ran into a jungle swamp
But I forgot my guide
And I stepped into some quicksand,
And no matter how I tried
I couldn't get out, until I met
A water snake named Clyde,
Who pulled me to some cannibals
Who planned to have me fried.
But an eagle came and swooped me up
And through the air we flied,
But he dropped me in a boiling lake
A thousand miles wide.
And you'll never guess what I did then--

Yes, I am still working on the pirate story. It has been merely delayed by procrastination and school work.

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