Burns Poetry Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Burns Poetry. Here they are! All 200 of them:

Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Dylan Thomas (Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night)
My candle burns at both ends; It will not last the night; But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends— It gives a lovely light!
Edna St. Vincent Millay (A Few Figs from Thistles)
We the mortals touch the metals, the wind, the ocean shores, the stones, knowing they will go on, inert or burning, and I was discovering, naming all the these things: it was my destiny to love and say goodbye.
Pablo Neruda (Still Another Day)
Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.
Leonard Cohen
you can take this mouth this wound you want but you can't kiss and make it better.
Daphne Gottlieb (Why Things Burn)
Extinguish my eyes, I'll go on seeing you. Seal my ears, I'll go on hearing you. And without feet I can make my way to you, without a mouth I can swear your name. Break off my arms, I'll take hold of you with my heart as with a hand. Stop my heart, and my brain will start to beat. And if you consume my brain with fire, I'll feel you burn in every drop of my blood.
Rainer Maria Rilke
The Journey One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began, though the voices around you kept shouting their bad advice -- though the whole house began to tremble and you felt the old tug at your ankles. "Mend my life!" each voice cried. But you didn't stop. You knew what you had to do, though the wind pried with its stiff fingers at the very foundations, though their melancholy was terrible. It was already late enough, and a wild night, and the road full of fallen branches and stones. But little by little, as you left their voices behind, the stars began to burn through the sheets of clouds, and there was a new voice which you slowly recognized as your own, that kept you company as you strode deeper and deeper into the world, determined to do the only thing you could do -- determined to save the only life you could save.
Mary Oliver
My mouth is a fire escape. The words coming out don’t care that they are naked. There is something burning in there.
Andrea Gibson (The Madness Vase)
Somewhere along the way we all go a bit mad. So burn, let go and dive into the horror, because maybe it’s the chaos which helps us find where we belong.
Robert M. Drake
All poets write bad poetry. Bad poets publish them, good poets burn them.
Umberto Eco
the stars began to burn through the sheets of clouds, and there was a new voice which you slowly recognized as your own
Mary Oliver
The More Loving One Looking up at the stars, I know quite well That, for all they care, I can go to hell, But on earth indifference is the least We have to dread from man or beast. How should we like it were stars to burn With a passion for us we could not return? If equal affection cannot be, Let the more loving one be me. Admirer as I think I am Of stars that do not give a damn, I cannot, now I see them, say I missed one terribly all day. Were all stars to disappear or die, I should learn to look at an empty sky And feel its total dark sublime, Though this might take me a little time.
W.H. Auden (Collected Shorter Poems, 1927-1957)
The days aren't discarded or collected, they are bees that burned with sweetness or maddened the sting: the struggle continues, the journeys go and come between honey and pain. No, the net of years doesn't unweave: there is no net. They don't fall drop by drop from a river: there is no river. Sleep doesn't divide life into halves, or action, or silence, or honor: life is like a stone, a single motion, a lonesome bonfire reflected on the leaves, an arrow, only one, slow or swift, a metal that climbs or descends burning in your bones.
Pablo Neruda (Still Another Day)
If I should have a daughter…“Instead of “Mom”, she’s gonna call me “Point B.” Because that way, she knows that no matter what happens, at least she can always find her way to me. And I’m going to paint the solar system on the back of her hands so that she has to learn the entire universe before she can say “Oh, I know that like the back of my hand.” She’s gonna learn that this life will hit you, hard, in the face, wait for you to get back up so it can kick you in the stomach. But getting the wind knocked out of you is the only way to remind your lungs how much they like the taste of air. There is hurt, here, that cannot be fixed by band-aids or poetry, so the first time she realizes that Wonder-woman isn’t coming, I’ll make sure she knows she doesn’t have to wear the cape all by herself. Because no matter how wide you stretch your fingers, your hands will always be too small to catch all the pain you want to heal. Believe me, I’ve tried. And “Baby,” I’ll tell her “don’t keep your nose up in the air like that, I know that trick, you’re just smelling for smoke so you can follow the trail back to a burning house so you can find the boy who lost everything in the fire to see if you can save him. Or else, find the boy who lit the fire in the first place to see if you can change him.” But I know that she will anyway, so instead I’ll always keep an extra supply of chocolate and rain boats nearby, ‘cause there is no heartbreak that chocolate can’t fix. Okay, there’s a few heartbreaks chocolate can’t fix. But that’s what the rain boots are for, because rain will wash away everything if you let it. I want her to see the world through the underside of a glass bottom boat, to look through a magnifying glass at the galaxies that exist on the pin point of a human mind. Because that’s how my mom taught me. That there’ll be days like this, “There’ll be days like this my momma said” when you open your hands to catch and wind up with only blisters and bruises. When you step out of the phone booth and try to fly and the very people you wanna save are the ones standing on your cape. When your boots will fill with rain and you’ll be up to your knees in disappointment and those are the very days you have all the more reason to say “thank you,” ‘cause there is nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline no matter how many times it’s sent away. You will put the “wind” in win some lose some, you will put the “star” in starting over and over, and no matter how many land mines erupt in a minute be sure your mind lands on the beauty of this funny place called life. And yes, on a scale from one to over-trusting I am pretty damn naive but I want her to know that this world is made out of sugar. It can crumble so easily but don’t be afraid to stick your tongue out and taste it. “Baby,” I’ll tell her “remember your mama is a worrier but your papa is a warrior and you are the girl with small hands and big eyes who never stops asking for more.” Remember that good things come in threes and so do bad things and always apologize when you’ve done something wrong but don’t you ever apologize for the way your eyes refuse to stop shining. Your voice is small but don’t ever stop singing and when they finally hand you heartbreak, slip hatred and war under your doorstep and hand you hand-outs on street corners of cynicism and defeat, you tell them that they really ought to meet your mother.
Sarah Kay
I want my life to be the greatest story. My very existence will be the greatest poem. Watch me burn. Love always, Charlotte
Charlotte Eriksson (Empty Roads & Broken Bottles: in search for The Great Perhaps)
If I say your voice is an amber waterfall in which I yearn to burn each day, if you eat my mouth like a mystical rose with powers of healing and damnation, If I confess that your body is the only civilization I long to experience… would it mean that we are close to knowing something about love?
Aberjhani (Visions of a Skylark Dressed in Black)
the intensity in your eyes burns my pen as i write.
Sanober Khan (A touch, a tear, a tempest)
Some hae meat and canna eat, And some wad eat that want it, But we hae meat and we can eat, And sae the Lord be thankit.
Robert Burns
Since then, at an uncertain hour, That agony returns: And till my ghastly tale is told, This heart within me burns.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge (The Rime of the Ancient Mariner)
To burn always with this hard gemlike flame, to maintain this ecstasy, is success in life.
Walter Pater (The Renaissance: Studies in Art and Poetry)
Where the bright seraphim in burning row Their loud uplifted angel trumpets blow.
John Milton (The Complete Poetry)
Poetry is just evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.
Renee Carlino (Before We Were Strangers)
We are not the ashes of our past, but embers burning towards a future fire.
Steven Bruce (White Knuckle)
my dear, I have nothing to say. my heart burns like the evening sky.
Sanober Khan
He woke her then, and trembling and obedient, she ate that burning heart out of his hand. Weeping, I saw him then depart from me. Could he daily feel a stab of hunger for her? Find nourishment in the very sight of her? I think so. But would she see through the bars of his plight, and ache for him?
Dante Alighieri
She wildly burned for the one she loved and he stood there watching, hoping he too would catch a blaze from the violence stirring in her heart.
Robert M. Drake
Your daughter is ugly. She knows loss intimately, carries whole cities in her belly. As a child, relatives wouldn’t hold her. She was splintered wood and sea water. They said she reminded them of the war. On her fifteenth birthday you taught her how to tie her hair like rope and smoke it over burning frankincense. You made her gargle rosewater and while she coughed, said macaanto girls like you shouldn’t smell of lonely or empty. You are her mother. Why did you not warn her, hold her like a rotting boat and tell her that men will not love her if she is covered in continents, if her teeth are small colonies, if her stomach is an island if her thighs are borders? What man wants to lay down and watch the world burn in his bedroom? Your daughter’s face is a small riot, her hands are a civil war, a refugee camp behind each ear, a body littered with ugly things but God, doesn’t she wear the world well.
Warsan Shire
come back so i can say yes this time do it again now that i know what to call what you did this time i'll be ready i like it rough now and i'm done with romance i never met another man who loved me so much at first sight he had to hurt me to do it
Daphne Gottlieb (Why Things Burn)
My love is like a red, red rose That's newly sprung in June: My love is like the melody That's sweetly played in tune. How fair art thou, my bonnie lass, So deep in love am I; And I will love thee still, my dear, Till all the seas gang dry. Till all the seas gang dry, my dear, And the rocks melt with the sun; I will love thee still, my dear, While the sands of life shall run. And fare thee weel, my only love. And fare thee weel awhile! And I will come again, my love, Though it were ten thousand mile.
Robert Burns
I have licked the fire and danced in the ashes of every bridge I ever burned. I fear no hell from you.
Nicole Lyons (Hush)
Words are powerful forces of nature. they are destruction. they are nourishment. they are flesh. they are water. they are flowers and bone. they burn. they cleanse they erase. they etch. they can either leave you feeling homeless or brimming with home.
Sanober Khan
Oh, what is brighter than the light? What is darker than the night? What is keener than an axe? What is softer than melting wax? Truth is brighter than the light, Falsehood darker than the night. Revenge is keener than an axe, And love is softer than melting wax.
Cassandra Clare (Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices, #3))
I shall think of you Whenever I am most happy, whenever I am Most sad, whenever I see a beautiful thing. You are a burning lamp to me, a flame The wind cannot blow out, and I shall hold you High in my hand against whatever darkness.
Edna St. Vincent Millay (Collected Poems)
The same hot lightning that burns your blood with passion–– cools your fears with peace.
Aberjhani (The River of Winged Dreams)
Some say, don't burn your bridges. I say, if necessary, let the kerosene kiss it on the lips, and watch it turn to ash. There's always more than one way to cross the water.
Rudy Francisco
Your reason and your passion are the rudder and the sails of your seafaring soul. If either your sails or your rudder be broken, you can but toss and drift, or else be held at a standstill in mid-seas. For reason, ruling alone, is a force confining; and passion, unattended, is a flame that burns to its own destruction. Therefore let your soul exalt your reason to the height of passion, that it may sing; And let it direct your passion with reason, that your passion may live through its own daily resurrection, and like the phoenix rise above its own ashes.
Kahlil Gibran (The Prophet)
We are the blood of the witches you thought were dead. We carry witchcraft in our bones whilst magic still sings inside out heads. When the witch hunters imprisoned out ancestors when they tried to burn the magic away. Someone should have warned them that magic cannot be tamed. Because you cannot burn away what has always been aflame.
Nikita Gill
Choose wisely From those who start A fire in your heart. Some may burn you to shreds, While you were looking for warmth.
Saiber (Stardust and Sheets)
Poetry is thoughts that breathe, and words that burn.
Thomas Gray (Selected Poems)
You are ice and fire The touch of you burns my hands like snow
Amy Lowell
We didn't start the fire It was always burning Since the world's been turning We didn't start the fire No we didn't light it But we tried to fight it
Billy Joel
Love is a fire that burns unseen, a wound that aches yet isn’t felt, an always discontent contentment, a pain that rages without hurting, a longing for nothing but to long, a loneliness in the midst of people, a never feeling pleased when pleased, a passion that gains when lost in thought. It’s being enslaved of your own free will; it’s counting your defeat a victory; it’s staying loyal to your killer. But if it’s so self-contradictory, how can Love, when Love chooses, bring human hearts into sympathy?
Luís de Camões (Sonetos de Camões)
They will tell you home is safe zone. No, bitch face is safe zone. Bitch face is home. Bitch face is cutting off the ladder, willing to burn in the apartment, if it means he can't get in.
Olivia Gatwood (New American Best Friend)
With a chaste heart With pure eyes I celebrate your beauty Holding the leash of blood So that it might leap out and trace your outline Where you lie down in my Ode As in a land of forests or in surf In aromatic loam, or in sea music Beautiful nude Equally beautiful your feet Arched by primeval tap of wind or sound Your ears, small shells Of the splendid American sea Your breasts of level plentitude Fulfilled by living light Your flying eyelids of wheat Revealing or enclosing The two deep countries of your eyes The line your shoulders have divided into pale regions Loses itself and blends into the compact halves of an apple Continues separating your beauty down into two columns of Burnished gold Fine alabaster To sink into the two grapes of your feet Where your twin symmetrical tree burns again and rises Flowering fire Open chandelier A swelling fruit Over the pact of sea and earth From what materials Agate? Quartz? Wheat? Did your body come together? Swelling like baking bread to signal silvered hills The cleavage of one petal Sweet fruits of a deep velvet Until alone remained Astonished The fine and firm feminine form It is not only light that falls over the world spreading inside your body Yet suffocate itself So much is clarity Taking its leave of you As if you were on fire within The moon lives in the lining of your skin.
Pablo Neruda
You must burn. Burn higher. Burn for everything you have ever wanted. For everything you have ever lost, for every crack in your heart and every fraction of every irreplaceable moment. Burn high for love. For fear. For life. Burn as fast and as long as you can. You must burn, burn higher. Because nothing in this world will kill you faster than a dying fire.
Mia Hollow
I thought my fireplace dead and stirred the ashes. I burned my fingers.
Antonio Machado (Border of a Dream: Selected Poems)
Ya got cigarettes?” she asks. “Yes,” I say, “I got cigarettes.” “Matches?” she asks. “Enough to burn Rome.” “Whiskey?” “Enough whiskey for a Mississippi River of pain.” “You drunk?” “Not yet.
Charles Bukowski
It is growing cold. Winter is putting footsteps in the meadow. What whiteness boasts that sun that comes into this wood! One would say milk-colored maidens are dancing on the petals of orchids. How coldly burns our sun! One would say its rays of light are shards of snow, one imagines the sun lives upon a snow crested peak on this day. One would say she is a woman who wears a gown of winter frost that blinds the eyes. Helplessness has weakened me. Wandering has wearied my legs.
Roman Payne
Do you remember the sight we saw, my soul, that soft summer morning round a turning in the path, the disgusting carcass on a bed scattered with stones, its legs in the air like a woman in need burning its wedding poisons like a fountain with its rhythmic sobs, I could hear it clearly flowing with a long murmuring sound, but I touch my body in vain to find the wound. I am the vampire of my own heart, one of the great outcasts condemned to eternal laughter who can no longer smile. Am I dead? I must be dead.
Charles Baudelaire
True art comes from flying with the madness so close you burn your eyelashes.
Atticus Poetry (Love Her Wild)
There are three lessons I would write- Three words, as with a burning pen, In tracings of eternal light, Upon the heart of men. Have hope! though clouds environ round, And gladness hides her face in scorn, Put thou the shadow from thy brow, No night but hath its morn. Have love! not love alone for one, But man as man thy brother call, And scatter like the circling sun, Thy charities on all.
Friedrich Schiller
LADY LAZARUS I have done it again. One year in every ten I manage it-- A sort of walking miracle, my skin Bright as a Nazi lampshade, My right foot A paperweight, My face a featureless, fine Jew linen. Peel off the napkin O my enemy. Do I terrify?-- The nose, the eye pits, the full set of teeth? The sour breath Will vanish in a day. Soon, soon the flesh The grave cave ate will be At home on me And I a smiling woman. I am only thirty. And like the cat I have nine times to die. This is Number Three. What a trash To annihilate each decade. What a million filaments. The peanut-crunching crowd Shoves in to see Them unwrap me hand and foot-- The big strip tease. Gentlemen, ladies These are my hands My knees. I may be skin and bone, Nevertheless, I am the same, identical woman. The first time it happened I was ten. It was an accident. The second time I meant To last it out and not come back at all. I rocked shut As a seashell. They had to call and call And pick the worms off me like sticky pearls. Dying Is an art, like everything else. I do it exceptionally well. I do it so it feels like hell. I do it so it feels real. I guess you could say I've a call. It's easy enough to do it in a cell. It's easy enough to do it and stay put. It's the theatrical Comeback in broad day To the same place, the same face, the same brute Amused shout: 'A miracle!' That knocks me out. There is a charge For the eyeing of my scars, there is a charge For the hearing of my heart-- It really goes. And there is a charge, a very large charge For a word or a touch Or a bit of blood Or a piece of my hair or my clothes. So, so, Herr Doktor. So, Herr Enemy. I am your opus, I am your valuable, The pure gold baby That melts to a shriek. I turn and burn. Do not think I underestimate your great concern. Ash, ash-- You poke and stir. Flesh, bone, there is nothing there-- A cake of soap, A wedding ring, A gold filling. Herr God, Herr Lucifer Beware Beware. Out of the ash I rise with my red hair And I eat men like air. -- written 23-29 October 1962
Sylvia Plath (Ariel)
What do you know of poetry?” Ambrose said without bothering to turn around. “I know a limping verse when I hear it,” I said. “But this isn’t even limping. A limp has rhythm. This is more like someone falling down a set of stairs. Uneven stairs. With a midden at the bottom.” “It is a sprung rhythm,” he said, his voice stiff and offended. “I wouldn’t expect you to understand.” “Sprung?” I burst out with an incredulous laugh. “I understand that if I saw a horse with a leg this badly ‘sprung,’ I’d kill it out of mercy, then burn its poor corpse for fear the local dogs might gnaw on it and die.
Patrick Rothfuss (The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #1))
The seasonal urge is strong in poets. Milton wrote chiefly in winter. Keats looked for spring to wake him up (as it did in the miraculous months of April and May, 1819). Burns chose autumn. Longfellow liked the month of September. Shelley flourished in the hot months. Some poets, like Wordsworth, have gone outdoors to work. Others, like Auden, keep to the curtained room. Schiller needed the smell of rotten apples about him to make a poem. Tennyson and Walter de la Mare had to smoke. Auden drinks lots of tea, Spender coffee; Hart Crane drank alcohol. Pope, Byron, and William Morris were creative late at night. And so it goes.
Helen Bevington (When Found, Make a Verse of)
Wee, sleekit, cowrin, tim'rous beastie, O, what a panic's in thy breastie!
Robert Burns
Failing and Flying" Everyone forgets that Icarus also flew. It's the same when love comes to an end, or the marriage fails and people say they knew it was a mistake, that everybody said it would never work. That she was old enough to know better. But anything worth doing is worth doing badly. Like being there by that summer ocean on the other side of the island while love was fading out of her, the stars burning so extravagantly those nights that anyone could tell you they would never last. Every morning she was asleep in my bed like a visitation, the gentleness in her like antelope standing in the dawn mist. Each afternoon I watched her coming back through the hot stony field after swimming, the sea light behind her and the huge sky on the other side of that. Listened to her while we ate lunch. How can they say the marriage failed? Like the people who came back from Provence (when it was Provence) and said it was pretty but the food was greasy. I believe Icarus was not failing as he fell, but just coming to the end of his triumph.
Jack Gilbert (Refusing Heaven)
There is such a thing as the poetry of a mistake, and when you say, "Mistakes were made," you deprive an action of its poetry, and you sound like a weasel.
Charles Baxter (Burning Down the House: Essays on Fiction)
You touched my flawed life so gently with love burning upward in dark steady flame burning me, burning me into healing.
Christy Brown (Of Snails and Skylarks)
If there is passion, let me feel its heat. I want my heart to beat fast, my breath raspy, my skin to burn.
Susie Clevenger (Dirt Road Dreams)
It's just me throwing myself at you, romance as usual, us times us, not lust but moxibustion, a substance burning close to the body as possible without risk of immolation.
Alice Fulton
This is where I belong, burning in these flames. For everything I have done wrong, I know I am to blame.
Atarah L. Poling (Hidden Light)
Someday you will name me, then gently place those burning holy roses in my hair. [Songs of Longing]
Rainer Maria Rilke (Rainer Maria Rilke - Sämtliche Werke (Complete Works))
The one that burned the hottest is the first to die.
Marina Tsvetaeva (My Poems...: Selected Poetry)
I play with the fire of my own truth," she told me, "I will burn for the things I love.
Mia Hollow
High Flight Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings; Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there, I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung My eager craft through footless halls of air.... Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace. Where never lark, or even eagle flew — And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod The high untrespassed sanctity of space, - Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
John Gillespie Magee Jr.
You are the one I am lit for. Come with your rod that twists and is a serpent. I am the bush. I am burning I am not consumed.
Lucille Clifton
Regardless, you ask why I did not greet you. Well, let us assume that I had acted as you suggest I should. Upon your approach, you would have had me gush over you?” “Naturally.” “You would have me point out how stunning you appear in that gown?” “I wouldn’t complain.” “Mention how your dazzling eyes glisten in the fireworks like burning embers?” “That would be nice.” “Expound on how your lips are so perfectly red that they could leave any man breathless with wonder, yet drive him compose the most brilliant of poetry each time he recalled the moment?” “I’d be flattered for certain.” “And you claim you want these reactions from me?” “I do.” “Well blast it, woman,” Lightsong said, picking up his cup. “If I’m stunned, dazzled, and breathless, then how the hell am I supposed to greet you? By definition, won’t I be struck dumb?” She laughed. “Well, then, you’ve obviously found your tongue now.” “Surprisingly, it was in my mouth,” he said. “I always forget to check there.
Brandon Sanderson (Warbreaker (Warbreaker, #1))
If lighthouse becomes a burning candle, flickered upon ocean's insanity. Your sailing heart there anchors to handle the obsessed breeze towards sand dune's vanity.
Munia Khan
I think that at a certain age, say fifteen or sixteen, poetry is like masturbation. But later in life good poets burn their early poetry, and bad poets publish it. Thankfully I gave up rather quickly.
Umberto Eco
Does the sun promise to shine? No, but it will— even behind the darkest clouds, and no promise will make it shine longer or brighter for that is its fate, to burn until it can burn no more. To love you is not my promise but my fate— to burn for you until I can burn no more.
Atticus Poetry (Love Her Wild)
A pine tree standeth lonely In the North on an upland bare; It standeth whitely shrouded With snow, and sleepeth there. It dreameth of a Palm tree Which far in the East alone, In the mournful silence standeth On its ridge of burning stone.
Heinrich Heine
People who read poetry have heard about the burning bush, but when you write poetry, you sit inside the burning bush.
Li-Young Lee
In contrast, the gratification and education received from Sanjit’s classes is slow burning, personal, and in a changing world allegedly becoming more attuned to and obsessed with requiring that money spent – especially on education – must yield tangible results, what many would view as a paradoxical dynamic nevertheless persists there, near Park Circus, Kolkata. No grades, no forced accountability, all voluntary learning.
Colin Phelan (The Local School)
Ego Tripping I was born in the congo I walked to the fertile crescent and built the sphinx I designed a pyramid so tough that a star that only glows every one hundred years falls into the center giving divine perfect light I am bad I sat on the throne drinking nectar with allah I got hot and sent an ice age to europe to cool my thirst My oldest daughter is nefertiti the tears from my birth pains created the nile I am a beautiful woman I gazed on the forest and burned out the sahara desert with a packet of goat's meat and a change of clothes I crossed it in two hours I am a gazelle so swift so swift you can't catch me For a birthday present when he was three I gave my son hannibal an elephant He gave me rome for mother's day My strength flows ever on My son noah built new/ark and I stood proudly at the helm as we sailed on a soft summer day I turned myself into myself and was jesus men intone my loving name All praises All praises I am the one who would save I sowed diamonds in my back yard My bowels deliver uranium the filings from my fingernails are semi-precious jewels On a trip north I caught a cold and blew My nose giving oil to the arab world I am so hip even my errors are correct I sailed west to reach east and had to round off the earth as I went The hair from my head thinned and gold was laid across three continents I am so perfect so divine so ethereal so surreal I cannot be comprehended except by my permission I mean...I...can fly like a bird in the sky...
Nikki Giovanni
Of so much moon were your hips to me, of all the sun your deep mouth and its delight, of so much burning light like honey in the shade
Pablo Neruda (100 Love Sonnets)
If diversity is a source of wonder, its opposite - the ubiquitous condensation to some blandly amorphous and singulary generic modern culture that takes for granted an impoverished environment - is a source of dismay. There is, indeed, a fire burning over the earth, taking with it plants and animals, cultures, languages, ancient skills and visionary wisdom. Quelling this flame, and re-inventing the poetry of diversity is perhaps the most importent challenge of our times.
Wade Davis (The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World (CBC Massey Lecture))
she burned flames and drowned oceans
R.H. Sin
It's 4am again and I'm just getting started. People are boring and I want to burn with excitement or anger and bleed, bleed through my words. I want to get all fucked up and write real and raw and ugly and beautifully. I bet you're sleeping safe and calm, and you can stay there, it's safer there, and you wouldn't stand one night on this journey my mind wanders off to every night you close your eyes. I'll stay here one day and I will never come down. I promise I can fly before I hit the ground. It doesn't even hurt anymore. I swear, it doesn't hurt.
Charlotte Eriksson (Empty Roads & Broken Bottles: in search for The Great Perhaps)
Memories are either the greatest poetry, when they are memories of a vital happiness, or a burning pain, when they touch dried wounds. p. 479
Ivan Goncharov (Oblomov)
Sometimes a piece of the sun burned like a coin between my hands.
Pablo Neruda (Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair)
The dead do not need aspirin or sorrow, I suppose. but they might need rain. not shoes but a place to walk. not cigarettes, they tell us, but a place to burn. or we're told: space and a place to fly might be the same. the dead don't need me. nor do the living. but the dead might need each other. in fact, the dead might need everything we need and we need so much if we only knew what it was. it is probably everything and we will all probably die trying to get it or die because we don't get it. I hope you will understand when I am dead I got as much as possible.
Charles Bukowski (The Roominghouse Madrigals: Early Selected Poems, 1946-1966)
Days like this, like your day today. maybe the rain on the window trying to get through to you. What do you see today? what is it? where are you? the best days are sometimes the first, sometimes the middle and even sometimes the last
Charles Bukowski (Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame)
February. Get ink, shed tears. Write of it, sob your heart out, sing, While torrential slush that roars Burns in the blackness of the spring. Go hire a buggy. For six grivnas, Race through the noice of bells and wheels To where the ink and all you grieving Are muffled when the rainshower falls. To where, like pears burnt black as charcoal, A myriad rooks, plucked from the trees, Fall down into the puddles, hurl Dry sadness deep into the eyes. Below, the wet black earth shows through, With sudden cries the wind is pitted, The more haphazard, the more true The poetry that sobs its heart out.
Boris Pasternak
we are burning like a chicken wing left on the grill of an outdoor barbecue we are unwanted and burning we are burning and unwanted we are an unwanted burning as we sizzle and fry to the bone the coals of Dante's 'Inferno' spit and sputter beneath us and above the sky is an open hand and the words of wise men are useless it's not a nice world, a nice world it's not ...
Charles Bukowski (You Get So Alone at Times That it Just Makes Sense)
My house burned down But anyway, it was after The flower petals had already fallen
Tachibana Higuchi
Love, they said, burns you and builds you. But with you, there’s no ash. Just light.
Kamand Kojouri
Brighter, now brighter, pay no mind to those who squint, burn with all your heat.
Tyler Knott Gregson (Chasers of the Light: Poems from the Typewriter Series)
From ashes I came To ashes, I'll return. But tonight I'm content To sit here and burn.
C.B. Roberts
Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.’ 
Renee Carlino (Before We Were Strangers)
My advice to the reader approaching a poem is to make the mind still and blank. Let the poem speak. This charged quiet mimics the blank space ringing the printed poem, the nothing out of which something takes shape.
Camille Paglia (Break, Blow, Burn)
You are her mother. Why did you not warn her, hold her like a rotting boat and tell her that men will not love her if she is covered in continents, if her teeth are small colonies, if her stomach is an island if her thighs are borders? What man wants to lie down and watch the world burn in his bedroom? Your daughter ’s face is a small riot, her hands are a civil war, a refugee camp behind each ear, a body littered with ugly things. But God, doesn’t she wear the world well?
Warsan Shire (Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth)
Poetry is thoughts that breath and words that burn.
Thomas Grey
I’m burning in despair Love which you distanced from me Return once again I’ll forgive you again Return, Page 19
Delicious David (Dark Desires: Beginning)
Yes, You will rise from the ashes, But the burning comes first. For this part, Darling, You must be brave.
Kalen Dion
Yes, all of this is sorrow. But leave a little love burning always like the small bulb in the room of a sleeping baby that gives him a bit of security and quiet love though he doesn’t know what the light is or where it comes from.
Yehuda Amichai (The Poetry of Yehuda Amichai)
[Short Talk on Sylvia Plath] Did you see her mother on television? She said plain, burned things. She said I thought it an excellent poem but it hurt me. She did not say jungle fear. She did not say jungle hatred wild jungle weeping chop it back chop it. She said self-government she said end of the road. She did not say humming in the middle of the air what you came for chop.
Anne Carson
brave love, dream not of staunching such strict flame, but come, lean to my wound; burn on, burn on.
Sylvia Plath
In past wars only homes burnt, but this time Don't be surprised if even loneliness ignites. In past wars only bodys burnt, but this time Don't be surprised if even shadows ignite.
Sahir Ludhianvi
She's burning and out of control and everything I love about fire.
Melody Lee (Moon Gypsy)
Cotton rows crisscross the world And dead-tired nights of yearning Thunderbolts on leather strops And all my body burning Sugar cane reach up to God And every baby crying Shame a blanket of my night And all my days are dying
Maya Angelou (And Still I Rise)
All the black leather she needs is the E-Z boy recliner where her love is parked with one of his hands wrapped around a remote, the other, a bottle of beer. She's right. It's kinky. The way he doesn't look away from the TV, as her head bobs in his lap like a fisherman's float on a nature program, hectic with the pace his breath sets. His crotch swells under her mouth's prowess. He's such a sweetheart he waits until the commercials to come.
Daphne Gottlieb (Why Things Burn)
Where true Love burns Desire is Love's pure flame; It is the reflex of our earthly frame, That takes its meaning from the nobler part, And but translates the language of the heart.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge (The Complete Poems)
Be a witch they cannot burn.
Nichole McElhaney (A Sisterhood of Smoke and Ash)
I want to sleep in the oven because I just burn in the bed.
Casey Renee Kiser (Gutter Kisses and a Hug on Garbage Day)
You are not going to burn out, you're just beginning. You have an entire galaxy of stars burning fiercely inside of you and once the blaze begins it's impossible to annihilate. Passion can't be contained.
Melody Lee (Moon Gypsy)
Well, at least this is what I told myself every day as I fell asleep with the fire still burning and the moon shining high up in the sky and my head spinning comforting from two bottles of wine, and I smiled with tears in my eyes because it was beautiful and so god damn sad and I did not know how to be one of those without the other.
Charlotte Eriksson (Another Vagabond Lost To Love: Berlin Stories on Leaving & Arriving)
Love is a fire that burns unseen, A wound that aches yet isn't felt, An always discontent contentment, A pain that rages without hurting, A longing for nothing but to long, A loneliness in the midst of people, A never feeling pleased when pleased, A passion that gains when lost in thought.
Luís de Camões
Come boy, and pour for me a cup Of old Falernian. Fill it up With wine, strong, sparkling, bright, and clear; Our host decrees no water here. Let dullards drink the Nymph's pale brew, The sluggish thin their blood with dew. For such pale stuff we have no use; For us the purple grape's rich juice. Begone, ye chilling water sprite; Here burning Bacchus rules tonight!
Catullus (Selections From Catullus: Translated into English verse with an Introduction on the theory of Translation)
Here's to adrenaline. Here's to dramatic abandon of protocol. Here's to treasured pain and purple rain. Here's to chasing our souls, burning across to sky. Here's to drinking the ash as it falls, and not asking why.
Virginia Petrucci
Katie.” He groaned. “I burn for you.” Just a few husky words, but coming from a man so taciturn, she thought they must equal reams of poetry.
Tessa Dare (A Lady by Midnight (Spindle Cove, #3))
My past is being burnt down I've shown you the ash Is it me, or are we more than just friends now? I have to ask.
Eric Overby (Senses)
a woman's wrath is nothing if not immortal
Amanda Lovelace (The Witch Doesn't Burn in This One (Women Are Some Kind of Magic, #2))
Fires Burn in my heart. No smoke rises. No one knows.
Kenneth Rexroth (Complete Poems)
In the burned house I am eating breakfast. You understand? There is no house, there is no breakfast, yet here I am
Margaret Atwood (Morning in the Burned House)
On the edge of a laughing teacup Did Kubla Kat decree The the corn fritter festooned with medals Shall make the brownies free And so the walls turned to water To let our sorrows drown As the chairs burned themselves for warmth So they need not face the clown Then the spoons burst into song And all the forks they understood As I stared at my talking claws Becasue this catnip is just that good
Francesco Marciuliano (I Could Pee on This: and Other Poems by Cats)
Wings can only fly as long as the bird flies Soul blackens when you put on vestment of lies White candle wax cries for ignitable wick Jealous people burn to make your heart feel sick
Munia Khan
I write our names on the page. What of it, if the paper will be burned? I write our names in the sand. What of it, if the shore will be washed by waves? I write our names on trees that will be cut and benches that will be painted, but what of it? I will keep on writing our names because in this world of ephemera, You and I are the only constant.
Kamand Kojouri
Bullshit is as common as lame poetry and more unavoidable than those armed men who are there to protect you from Bullshit like this is straight from the lab and god loves you and the government doesn't want war and it's the best movie since Repo Man and if i stopped drinking the world might end anyway and breathanarianism and immortality for anything besides Bullshit that's as common as murder and jailhouse tattoos selling bunk drugs in paint chip hotels where a cigarette burn on the mattress tells you more about death than a splatter movie festival.
Sparrow 13 Laughingwand (Hell Soup: The Collected Writings of Sparrow 13 Laughingwand)
She doesn’t burn bridges, she covers them in gypsy flowers and feather kisses, then strolls along her merry way. Too heavy to carry grudges, she leaves love and hope droplets wherever she goes.
Melody Lee (Moon Gypsy)
imagine the desert mothers, with hair tangled tighter than their theology and breasts that flowed milk and mystic wisdom. they knew how to draw the singing sigils in the sand, how to dig rough and bitten fingers into desiccated dirt for water to wet the lips of their young. women of hips and heft, who learned how to burn beneath the wild and searing sun, who made loud love against the star-flecked threat of night, who knew that strength is not always a matter of muscle. imagine your ancestresses, the prophetesses of the arid lands, before these starched traditions and pews too hard to pray from, who bled true ritual and birthed their own fierce souls at creation's crowning --
Beth Morey (Night Cycles: Poetry for a Dark Night of the Soul)
when you allow that man. to walk through your children. plant his feet. in their veins. hold their voices. necks. bodies. inside his violence. you are no longer a mother. when you give him the key to that door. because you need to be loved by someone. you have seasoned them for the wolf. burned their childhood into a fantasy. it’s going to take a third of their lives. all the courage. from their cells to their hair. to learn the alchemetic formula that turns that kind of betrayal. a demothering. soft. liveable. – before you get that key made
Nayyirah Waheed (Salt)
My Love Is Like To Ice, And I To Fire My love is like to ice, and I to fire; How comes it then that this her cold so great Is not dissolv'd through my so hot desire, But harder grows the more I her entreat? Or how comes it that my exceeding heat Is not delay’d by her heart-frozen cold; But that I burn much more in boiling sweat, And feel my flames augmented manifold! What more miraculous thing may be told, That fire, which all things melts, should harden ice; And ice, which is congeal’d with senseless cold, Should kindle fire by wonderful device! Such is the power of love in gentle mind, That it can alter all the course of kind.
Edmund Spenser (Amoretti And Epithalamion)
One sort of optional thing you might do is to realize there are six seasons instead of four. The poetry of four seasons is all wrong for this part of the planet, and this may explain why we are so depressed so much of the time. I mean, Spring doesn’t feel like Spring a lot of the time, and November is all wrong for Fall and so on. Here is the truth about the seasons: Spring is May and June! What could be springier than May and June? Summer is July and August. Really hot, right? Autumn is September and October. See the pumpkins? Smell those burning leaves. Next comes the season called “Locking.” That is when Nature shuts everything down. November and December aren’t Winter. They’re Locking. Next comes Winter, January and February. Boy! Are they ever cold! What comes next? Not Spring. Unlocking comes next. What else could April be?
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (If This Isn't Nice, What Is?: Advice for the Young)
ACTS OF LOVE Love is not a word Or a thought. It is the name for An action That breathes from its light. What do you DO In Love's name? And is it only done Outside In the light? Or with an inner Flame Illuminating Love's TRUE Name? I want to know. Are your actions Done by remote Or with SOUL? And when you say You love someone, Does a light go off Inside at all? What have YOU Done In the Name of LOVE? Because, Really, I want to know.
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
To love you is not my promise but my fate— to burn for you until I can burn no more.
Atticus Poetry (Love Her Wild)
I used to be the god of poetry, which does not mean I am a walking encyclopedia of every obscure line ever written.
Rick Riordan (The Burning Maze (The Trials of Apollo, #3))
Being one’s true and honest self can often be dangerous; and poetry should always be a place where, if only between the pages, that danger and energy and fear and excitement and love can fizz and spark without ever threatening to burn something down.
Andrew McMillan
I once took all my journals from 3 years and burned them in a fire. Alone, watching the past disintegrate reminded me of life and time. The present is all I had. Time slowly burning away each moment.
Eric Overby (Journey)
I have seen it over and over, the same sea, the same, slightly, indifferently swinging above the stones, icily free above the stones, above the stones and then the world. If you should dip your hand in, your wrist would ache immediately, your bones would begin to ache and your hand would burn as if the water were a transmutation of fire that feeds on stones and burns with a dark gray flame. If you tasted it, it would first taste bitter, then briny, then surely burn your tongue. It is like what we imagine knowledge to be: dark, salt, clear, moving, utterly free, drawn form the cold hard mouth of the world, derived from the rocky breasts forever, flowing and drawn, and since our knowledge is historical, flowing, and flown.
Elizabeth Bishop (North and South)
Life shows us all colours, some bright and some shades of grey, Some accept with a smile, while some frown in every way Thoughts and memories never end but life does one day. Whole age passes by in wait of that old time to return, But those old days once gone, will never come back again, Rather we can just cherish them in the memories that burn, In the back of our mind and make us remember, How we used to be so crazy, In those old days…
Mehek Bassi (Chained: Can you escape fate?)
I took him to the river and said “let’s watch something drown,” So he took a stone and I took my necklace and we threw it all together, the way I always think I will get better in July. Things will change and sounds won’t ache and I gave my heart to uncertainty so many times, and so I took him to the river, threw the necklace in the river to slowly watch it drown, or burn, or fade away like I’ve done so many times.
Charlotte Eriksson (You're Doing Just Fine)
Burning the witch Giordano Bruno is one more wound inflicted on Christ’s body.
Dejan Stojanovic (The Sun Watches the Sun)
Through and through the inspired leaves, Ye maggots, make your windings; But, oh! respect his lordship’s taste, And spare his golden bindings.
Robert Burns
When I’m with you, The gravity of our moments, The weight of our smiles Makes time nearly stop.
L. Austen Johnson (Burning the Bacon)
I asked of the limitless sunshine How to shine with the dawn's glowing light; No answer came back from the sunshine, But my soul heard a whisper, "Burn bright!
Konstantin Balmont
Is this my dream, or the truth? O would that we had met When I had my burning youth; But I grow old among dreams, A weather-worn, marble triton Among the streams.
W.B. Yeats (The Wild Swans At Coole)
she was like that smell of a campfire burning in the distance warming you from far away.
Atticus Poetry (The Dark Between Stars)
On No Work of Words On no work of words now for three lean months in the bloody Belly of the rich year and the big purse of my body I bitterly take to task my poverty and craft: To take to give is all, return what is hungrily given Puffing the pounds of manna up through the dew to heaven, The lovely gift of the gab bangs back on a blind shaft. To lift to leave from the treasures of man is pleasing death That will rake at last all currencies of the marked breath And count the taken, forsaken mysteries in a bad dark. To surrender now is to pay the expensive ogre twice. Ancient woods of my blood, dash down to the nut of the seas If I take to burn or return this world which is each man's work.
Dylan Thomas (Collected Poems)
So Lightning says to Mud, “What would happen if I struck your blood?” And Mud says, “Brother, It would hurt, And make me the mother Of every living thing. But, Fire Boy, you ain’t lifting my grass skirt Until you burn me a ring.
Sherman Alexie
What is this thing called life? I believe That the earth and the stars too, and the whole glittering universe, and rocks on the mountains have life, Only we do not call it so--I speak of the life That oxidizes fats and proteins and carbo- Hydrates to live on, and from that chemical energy Makes pleasure and pain, wonder, love, adoration, hatred and terror: how do these things grow From a chemical reaction? I think they were here already, I think the rocks And the earth and the other planets, and the stars and the galaxies have their various consciousness, all things are conscious; But the nerves of an animal, the nerves and brain Bring it to focus; the nerves and brain are like a burning-glass To concentrate the heat and make it catch fire: It seems to us martyrs hotter than the blazing hearth From which it came. So we scream and laugh, clamorous animals Born howling to die groaning: the old stones in the dooryard Prefer silence; but those and all things have their own awareness, As the cells of a man have; they feel and feed and influence each other, each unto all, Like the cells of a man's body making one being, They make one being, one consciousness, one life, one God.
Robinson Jeffers (The Selected Poetry)
Yet genius of a sort must have existed among women as it must have existed among the working classes. Now and again an Emily Bronte or a Robert Burns blazes out and proves its presence. But certainly it never got itself on paper. When, however, one reads of a witch being ducked, of a woman possessed by devils, of a wise woman selling herbs, or even of a very remarkable man who had a mother, then I think we are on the track of a lost novelist, a suppressed poet, of some mute and inglorious Jane Austen, some Emily Bronte who dashed her brains out on the moor or mopped and mowed about the highways crazed with the torture that her gift had put her to. […]any woman born with a great gift in the sixteenth century would certainly have gone crazed, shot herself, or ended her days in some lonely cottage outside the village, half witch, half wizard, feared and mocked at. For it needs little skill in psychology to be sure that a highly gifted girl who had tried to use her gift for poetry would have been so thwarted and hindered by other people, so tortured and pulled asunder by her own contrary instincts, that she must have lost her health and sanity to a certainty.
Virginia Woolf (A Room of One's Own)
Winter Stars I went out at night alone; The young blood flowing beyond the sea Seemed to have drenched my spirit's wings— I bore my sorrow heavily. But when I lifted up my head From shadows shaken on the snow, I saw Orion in the east Burn steadily as long ago. From windows in my father's house, Dreaming my dreams on winter nights, I watched Orion as a girl Above another city's lights. Years go, dreams go, and youth goes too, The world's heart breaks beneath its wars, All things are changed, save in the east The faithful beauty of the stars.
Sara Teasdale (Flame and Shadow)
Grow up with me,Let’s run in fields and through the dark together,Fall off swings and burn special things,And both play outside in bad weather,Let’s eat badly,Let’s watch adults drink wine and laugh at their idiocy,Let’s sit in the back of the car making eye contact with strangers driving past,Making them uncomfortable,Not caring, not swearing, don’t look,Let’s both reclaim our superpowers, The ones we all have and lose with our milk teeth,The ability not to fear social awkwardness,The panic when locked in the cellar, still sure there’s something down there,And while picking through pillows each feather,Let’s both stay away from the edge of the bed,Forcing us closer together,Let’s sit in public, with ice-cream all over both our faces,Sticking our tongues out at passers-by,Let’s cry, let’s swim, let’s everything,Let’s not find it funny, lest someone falls over,Classical music is boring,Poetry baffles us both,There’s nothing that’s said is what’s meant,Plays are long, tiresome, sullen and filled With hours that could be spent rolling down hills and grazing our knees on cement,Let’s hear stories and both lose our innocence,Learn about parents and forgiveness,Death and morality,Kindness and heart,Thus losing both of our innocent hearts,But at least we wont do it apart,Grow up with me.
Keaton Henson
Pressure knocks at my door A clock ticks and demands its due The lava burns from the floor But not in a game like it used to. So little time to figure it all out So many distractions to prevent success I’m in a dark forest with no path or route But this internal fire knows no rest.
Justin Wetch (Bending The Universe)
To thee, to thee, my fire! Thou hast been burning in my heart all these futile years. If my life were a piece of gold it would come out of its trial brighter, but it is a trodden turf of grass, and nothing remains of it but this handful of ashes.
Rabindranath Tagore (The Hungry Stones and Other Stories)
Poem (the spirit likes to dress up) The spirit likes to dress up like this: ten fingers, ten toes, shoulders, and all the rest at night in the black branches, in the morning in the blue branches of the world. It could float, of course, but would rather plumb rough matter. Airy and shapeless thing, it needs the metaphor of the body, lime and appetite, the oceanic fluids; it needs the body’s world, instinct and imagination and the dark hug of time, sweetness and tangibility, to be understood, to be more than pure light that burns where no one is – so it enters us – in the morning shines from brute comfort like a stitch of lightning; and at night lights up the deep and wondrous drownings of the body like a star.
Mary Oliver (Dream Work)
He never described himself as a poet or his work as poetry. The fact that the lines do not come to the edge of the page is no guarantee. Poetry is a verdict, not an occupation. He hated to argue about the techniques of verse. The poem is a dirty, bloody, burning thing that has to be grabbed first with bare hands. Once the fire celebrated Light, the dirt Humility, the blood Sacrifice. Now the poets are professional fire-eaters, freelancing at any carnival. The fire goes down easily and honours no one in particular.
Leonard Cohen (The Favorite Game)
This week in live current events: your eyes. All power can be dangerous: Direct or alternating, you, socket to me. Plugged in and the grid is humming, this electricity, molecule-deep desire: particular friction, a charge strong enough to stop a heart or start it again; volt, re-volt-- I shudder, I stutter, I start to life. I've got my ion you, copper-top, so watch how you conduct yourself. Here's today's newsflash: a battery of rolling blackouts in California, sudden, like lightning kisses: sudden, whitehot darkness and you're here, fumbling for that small switch with an urgent surge strong enough to kill lesser machines. Static makes hair raise, makes things cling, makes things rise like a gathering storm charging outside our darkened house and here I am: tempest, pouring out mouthfulls of tsunami on the ground, I've got that rain-soaked kite, that drenched key. You know what it's for, circuit-breaker, you know how to kiss until it's hertz.
Daphne Gottlieb (Why Things Burn)
If only you would kiss me. Press your lips to mine like a searing iron. Wrap me in your arms as if you were a monarch claiming a kingdom. Hold me close until I warm through to the core. Do this, and I promise to melt into you, no longer a cold and frozen figure in your narrowed sight. How devoted I would be if only your lips burned for mine! If only you would kiss me.
Richelle E. Goodrich (Making Wishes: Quotes, Thoughts, & a Little Poetry for Every Day of the Year)
I am but paper, Brittle and thin. I am held out to the sun, And it shines right through me. I get written on, And I can never be used again. These scratches are a history, They're a story, They tell things for others to read, But they only see the words, And not what the words are written upon. I am but paper, And though there are many like me, None are exactly the same. I am parched parchment, I have lines, I have holes, Get me wet and I melt, Light me on fire and I burn, Take me in hardened hands and I crumble, I tear. I am but paper, Brittle and thin.
T.J. Klune
Always the wild child, conceived in flames, born of fire. Drawn to the forbidden, witch, warlock, burning stones. Her blood is made of moonlight; part dark, part light. Her heart, it's a sword; fiercely loyal and will fight to the death for those whom she loves. You can throw her in the fire, she always returns as a flame: the fervor is her anchor, her safe-haven... her blood.
Melody Lee (Moon Gypsy)
What fascinated me about English was what I later recognized as its hybrid etymoogy: blunt Anglo-Saxon concreteness, sleek Norman French urbanity, and polysyllabic Greco-Roman abstraction. The clash of these elements, as competitive as Italian dialects is invigorating, richly entertaining, and often funny, as it is to Shaskespeare, who gets tremendous effects out of their interplay. The dazzling multiplicity of sounds and word choices in English makes it brilliantly suited to be a language of poetry..
Camille Paglia (Break, Blow, Burn)
Flow gently, sweet Afton, amang thy green braes, Flow gently, I'll sing thee a song in thy praise; My Mary's asleep by thy murmuring stream, Flow gently, sweet Afton, disturb not her dream. Thou stock dove whose echo resounds thro' the glen, Ye wild whistly blackbirds in yon thorny den, Thou green crested lapwing thy screaming forbear, I charge you, disturb not my slumbering fair. How lofty, sweet Afton, thy neighboring hills, Far mark'd with the courses of clear winding rills; There daily I wander as noon rises high, My flocks and my Mary's sweet cot in my eye. How pleasant thy banks and green valleys below, Where, wild in the woodlands, the primroses blow; There oft, as mild evening weeps over the lea, The sweet-scented birk shades my Mary and me. Thy crystal stream, Afton, how lovely it glides, And winds by the cot where my Mary resides; How wanton thy waters her snowy feet lave, As, gathering sweet flowerets, she stems thy clear wave. Flow gently, sweet Afton, amang thy green braes, Flow gently, sweet river, the theme of my lays; My Mary's asleep by thy murmuring stream, Flow gently, sweet Afton, disturb not her dreams.
Robert Burns
you’re such a pretty girl” they say but they don’t see the way she recoils back from the world as if it’s coming for her like fire, as if it burns and it does it burns like a flame that no one can see so white hot and intense that it rivals the sun it melts her skin and eats away at her flesh until she is nothing nothing but a skeleton that no one can call a girl
Courtney Carola (Have Some Pride: A Collection of LGBTQ+ Inspired Poetry)
HOME no one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark you only run for the border when you see the whole city running as well your neighbors running faster than you breath bloody in their throats the boy you went to school with who kissed you dizzy behind the old tin factory is holding a gun bigger than his body you only leave home when home won’t let you stay. no one leaves home unless home chases you fire under feet hot blood in your belly it’s not something you ever thought of doing until the blade burnt threats into your neck and even then you carried the anthem under your breath only tearing up your passport in an airport toilets sobbing as each mouthful of paper made it clear that you wouldn’t be going back. you have to understand, that no one puts their children in a boat unless the water is safer than the land no one burns their palms under trains beneath carriages no one spends days and nights in the stomach of a truck feeding on newspaper unless the miles travelled means something more than journey. no one crawls under fences no one wants to be beaten pitied no one chooses refugee camps or strip searches where your body is left aching or prison, because prison is safer than a city of fire and one prison guard in the night is better than a truckload of men who look like your father no one could take it no one could stomach it no one skin would be tough enough the go home blacks refugees dirty immigrants asylum seekers sucking our country dry niggers with their hands out they smell strange savage messed up their country and now they want to mess ours up how do the words the dirty looks roll off your backs maybe because the blow is softer than a limb torn off or the words are more tender than fourteen men between your legs or the insults are easier to swallow than rubble than bone than your child body in pieces. i want to go home, but home is the mouth of a shark home is the barrel of the gun and no one would leave home unless home chased you to the shore unless home told you to quicken your legs leave your clothes behind crawl through the desert wade through the oceans drown save be hunger beg forget pride your survival is more important no one leaves home until home is a sweaty voice in your ear saying- leave, run away from me now i dont know what i’ve become but i know that anywhere is safer than here
Warsan Shire
The life spills over, some days. She cannot be at rest, Wishes she could explode Like that red tree— The one that bursts into fire All this week. Senses her infinite smallness But can’t seize it, Recognizes the folly of desire, The folly of withdrawal— Kicks at the curb, the pavement, If only she could, at this moment, When what she’s doing is plodding To the bus stop, to go to school, Passing that fiery tree—if only she could Be making love, Be making a painting, Be exploding, be speeding through the universe Like a photon, like a shower Of yellow flames— She believes if she could only catch up With the riding rhythm of things, of her own electrons, Then she would be at rest— If she could forget school, Climb the tree, Be the tree, burn like that.
Alicia Suskin Ostriker
The Moth and Its Beloved Ask the moth the beauty of the candle And it will burn without a confession There is a secret to its longing For it feels no fear or hesitation The moth is too much in love with the flame Yet it does not appear under the sun For the moon’s light is far too feeble, and It gave up on its pursuit of the sun Just a sight of a candle is enough To remind it of its real beloved So it settles for that candle in reach, Revels in its heat, and asks to be burned
Zubair Ahsan (Of Endeavours Blue)
But yester-night I prayed aloud In anguish and in agony, Up-starting from the fiendish crowd Of shapes and thoughts that tortured me: A lurid light, a trampling throng, Sense of intolerable wrong, And whom I scorned, those only strong! Thirst of revenge, the powerless will Still baffled, and yet burning still! Desire with loathing strangely mixed On wild or hateful objects fixed. Fantastic passions! maddening brawl! And shame and terror over all! Deeds to be hid which were not hid, Which all confused I could not know Whether I suffered, or I did: For all seemed guilt, remorse or woe, My own or others still the same Life-stifling fear, soul-stifling shame.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge (The Complete Poems)
The lover I am; it befits me to burn; but what is the reason for your weeping and burning? The candle replied: ‘Oh my ill-fated lover, a honey-sweet [shirin] friend went away from me. Someone like Shirin has deserted me; there is fire on my head, as it was on Farhad’s.’ The candle continued, while a painful flood each moment gushed down on his yellow cheeks: 'Pretender, this love is not your game, as you have no patience, no strength to stand. Untouched you shrink from a single flame, whereas I stand still until I am consumed. If the fire of love has scorched your wings, look at me: it burned me from head to foot.
Saadi (Golestan)
Blue Squills How many million Aprils came Before I ever knew How white a cherry bough could be, A bed of squills, how blue! And many a dancing April When life is done with me, Will lift the blue flame of the flower And the white flame of the tree. Oh burn me with your beauty, then, Oh hurt me, tree and flower, Lest in the end death try to take Even this glistening hour. O shaken flowers, O shimmering trees, O sunlit white and blue, Wound me, that I, through endless sleep, May bear the scar of you.
Sara Teasdale (Flame and Shadow)
I Have Loved Hours at Sea I have loved hours at sea, gray cities, The fragile secret of a flower, Music, the making of a poem That gave me heaven for an hour; First stars above a snowy hill, Voices of people kindly and wise, And the great look of love, long hidden, Found at last in meeting eyes. I have loved much and been loved deeply— Oh when my spirit's fire burns low, Leave me the darkness and the stillness, I shall be tired and glad to go.
Sara Teasdale (Flame and Shadow)
She is the woman that contradicts Simone de Beauvoir's saying "One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman." She is the woman that makes your tooth pain seem like a trivial matter in comparison to the heartaches she causes as she deliberately passes by your side. She is the woman that makes your throat feel swollen and your tie to suddenly seem too tight. She is the woman that is able to take you to the seven heavens with a whisper; straight to cloud number nine.. She is the woman that erases all other women unintentionally and becomes without demanding the despot of your heart. She is the woman that sends you back and forth to purgatory and resurrects you with each unintended touch. She is the woman that will ask of you to burn Rome just to collect for her a handful of dust.
Malak El Halabi
I’m passing the bar Where you first got in my car I’m not ashamed to admit That it’s you I won’t forget I saved your cigarettes and Bad habits I regret But the hours flew by like clouds Whenever I had you around Parachute lover Take me away From the plane that went crashing And the earth that’s in flames Saving you is saving me High above the redwood trees But down below I see shadows And parachute debris We're drifting like children Along for the ride Each time we find love Another parachute arrives Our madness will burn As bright as the sun And I’ll keep finding lovers But you were the one
Crystal Woods (Write like no one is reading 3)
A loner by nature and an introvert... i am a twinkling star, burning bright amidst a cloudless night. As such, i tend to fade in and out of people's lives. This aspect of me is often misunderstood as rejection or a lack of love and caring. In reality, the only way i can survive as an introvert, is to drop from the sky, from time-to-time, recharging within the energizing landscape of my inner-universe. To love me, is to let me me have the space i need to illuminate the sky. I can't be taken hostage or held captive. Inner-light is what gives my star its twinkle.
Jaeda DeWalt
Here you are. Still standing. Fierce with the reality of love and loss. Wearing the truth of our hearts on your tattered sleeves. And yes, this one very nearly took you out. And yes, there were days when the darkness was heavy and the climb out of that rabbit hole required you to mine your depths for strength you didn’t even know you had. But here you are. Broken open by hope. Cracked wide by loss. Full of longing and grief and the burn of that phoenix fire. Warrior painted with ashes. Embers from the blaze still clinging to your newborn skin, leaving you forever marked with scars of rebirth. And just look at you. Heart broken but still beating. Arms empty but still open. Face raised to the sky and giving thanks for the light, even when it hurts your eyes. My god, you are beautiful.
Jeanette LeBlanc
UP You wake up filled with dread. There seems no reason for it. Morning light sifts through the window, there is birdsong, you can't get out of bed. It's something about the crumpled sheets hanging over the edge like jungle foliage, the terry slippers gaping their dark pink mouths for your feet, the unseen breakfast--some of it in the refrigerator you do not dare to open--you will not dare to eat. What prevents you? The future. The future tense, immense as outer space. You could get lost there. No. Nothing so simple. The past, its density and drowned events pressing you down, like sea water, like gelatin filling your lungs instead of air. Forget all that and let's get up. Try moving your arm. Try moving your head. Pretend the house is on fire and you must run or burn. No, that one's useless. It's never worked before. Where is it coming form, this echo, this huge No that surrounds you, silent as the folds of the yellow curtains, mute as the cheerful Mexican bowl with its cargo of mummified flowers? (You chose the colours of the sun, not the dried neutrals of shadow. God knows you've tried.) Now here's a good one: you're lying on your deathbed. You have one hour to live. Who is it, exactly, you have needed all these years to forgive?
Margaret Atwood (Morning in the Burned House)
But I have burned already down to bone. There is a fire that burns beyond the names Of sludge and filth of which this world is made. Agony sears the dark flesh of the body, And lifts me higher than the smoke, to rise Above the earth, above the sacrifice; Until my soul flares outward like a blue Blossom of gas fire dancing in mid-air: Free of the body’s work of twisted iron.
James Wright (Above the River: The Complete Poems)
They cry, “But I WANT to be a writer!” And my head hangs. You are asking to be shot square in the head. You know not what you seek. You ask for bleeding brains and carnage that stains your pillowcase. You ask for jelly in the place of the cartilage in your spine. You ask for kindness that is never returned. You wish to burn alive in the flame of a love unrequited. It’s simple. Write.
Halsey (I Would Leave Me If I Could: A Collection of Poetry)
For all these stars, nothing is new. They’ve seen all kinds of wars and miracles, too. They know the messengers with their holy books will smile and wash their hands in blood. They know the politicians with their good looks will make the poor eat pies of mud. They’ve seen the Earth freeze and then burn with greed. They’ve seen the trees and the seas emptied. Yet, you won’t hear their sneers when a man arrives and, having experienced a number of years, proclaims: 'I have lived!' Because nothing is new under these stars: the lies, the love, the memories and scars, the ruin, the revolution, the fakes and true, the families, the friends, none of it is new. All of it—even the me and you.
Kamand Kojouri
She tends the fire Burning his letters. They turn black like thin mourning dresses. Yellow names, leaping; above them a blonde woman's hair on her bare shoulders. Red hollow glowing beneath. Illusion of passion. Like fragile layers of widow weeds, matted bluish, shiny, worn and buttons, yes, cheap buttons and words. Her fingers touch the smooth skin on her breasts. She tends the fire.
Ursula Hegi
Blackadder was fifty-four and had come to editing Ash out of pique. He was the son and grandson of Scottish schoolmasters. His grandfather recited poetry on firelight evenings: Marmion, Childe Harold, Ragnarok. His father sent him to Downing College in Cambridge to study under F. R. Leavis. Leavis did to Blackadder what he did to serious students; he showed him the terrible, the magnificent importance and urgency of English literature and simultaneously deprived him of any confidence in his own capacity to contribute to, or change it. The young Blackadder wrote poems, imagined Dr Leavis’s comments on them, and burned them.
A.S. Byatt (Possession)
You are now 18 standing on the precipice, trembling before your own greatness. This is your call to leap. There will always being those who say you are too young and delicate to make anything happen for yourself. They don’t see the part of you that smolders. Don’t let their doubting drown out the sound of your own heartbeat. You are the first drop of a hurricane. Your bravery builds beyond you You are needed by all the little girls still living in secret, writing oceans made of monsters and throwing like lightening. You don’t need to grow up to find greatness. You are stronger than the world has ever believed you to be. The world is waiting for you to set it on fire Trust in yourself and burn.
Clementine von Radics
Southern trees bear strange fruit, Blood on the leaves and blood at the root, Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze, Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees. Pastoral scene of the gallant south, The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth, Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh, Then the sudden smell of burning flesh. Here is the fruit for the crows to pluck, For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck, For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop, Here is a strange and bitter crop.
Abel Meeropol
...feel the fierce way desire tourniquets itself around you and clings Clubland South of Market tweak- chic trannies powder their noses from bullet-shaped compacts and flick their forked tongues like switchblades as they burn the night down bleed day to night to day to Mission sidewalks where pythons hide twenty dollar balloons beneath their tongues which get bartered in smiles quicker than a coke buzz and tossed out through the cracks Cottonmouth kisses camouflage emotions and strike with a vengeance when he wants and she wants and they want and I won't Genet was right, I suppose when he wrote "The only way to avoid the horror of horror is to give in to it" it's the nature of the economy of the business it's the nature of things...
Clint Catalyst (Cottonmouth Kisses)
I know, 0 Caesar, that thou art awaiting my arrival with impatience, that thy true heart of a friend is yearning day and night for me. I know that thou art ready to cover me with gifts, make me prefect of the pretorian guards, and command Tigellinus to be that which the gods made him, a mule-driver in those lands which thou didst inherit after poisoning Domitius. Pardon me, however, for I swear to thee by Hades, and by the shades of thy mother, thy wife, thy brother, and Seneca, that I cannot go to thee. Life is a great treasure. I have taken the most precious jewels from that treasure, but in life there are many things which I cannot endure any longer. Do not suppose, I pray, that I am offended because thou didst kill thy mother, thy wife, and thy brother; that thou didst burn Eome and send to Erebus all the honest men in thy dominions. No, grandson of Chronos. Death is the inheritance of man; from thee other deeds could not have been expected. But to destroy one's ear for whole years with thy poetry, to see thy belly of a Domitius on slim legs whirled about in a Pyrrhic dance; to hear thy music, thy declamation, thy doggerel verses, wretched poet of the suburbs, — is a thing surpassing my power, and it has roused in me the wish to die. Eome stuffs its ears when it hears thee; the world reviles thee. I can blush for thee no longer, and I have no wish to do so. The howls of Cerberus, though resembling thy music, will be less offensive to me, for I have never been the friend of Cerberus, and I need not be ashamed of his howling. Farewell, but make no music; commit murder, but write no verses; poison people, but dance not; be an incendiary, but play not on a cithara. This is the wish and the last friendly counsel sent thee by the — Arbiter Elegantiae.
Henryk Sienkiewicz (Quo Vadis)
SPRING POEM It is spring, my decision, the earth ferments like rising bread or refuse, we are burning last year's weeds, the smoke flares from the road, the clumped stalks glow like sluggish phoenixes / it wasn't only my fault / birdsongs burst from the feathered pods of their bodies, dandelions whirl their blades upwards, from beneath this decaying board a snake sidewinds, chained hide smelling of reptile sex / the hens roll in the dust, squinting with bliss, frogbodies bloat like bladders, contract, string the pond with living jelly eyes, can I be this ruthless? I plunge my hands and arms into the dirt, swim among stones and cutworms, come up rank as a fox, restless. Nights, while seedlings dig near my head I dream of reconciliations with those I have hurt unbearably, we move still touching over the greening fields, the future wounds folded like seeds in our tender fingers, days I go for vicious walks past the charred roadbed over the bashed stubble admiring the view, avoiding those I have not hurt yet, apocalypse coiled in my tongue, it is spring, I am searching for the word: finished finished so I can begin over again, some year I will take this word too far.
Margaret Atwood (You are Happy)
our tragedy begins humid. in a humid classroom. with a humid text book. breaking into us. stealing us from ourselves. one poem. at a time. it begins with shakespeare. the hot wash. the cool acid. of dead white men and women. people. each one a storm. crashing. into our young houses. making us islands. easy isolations. until we are so beleaguered and swollen with a definition of poetry that is white skin and not us. that we tuck our scalding. our soreness. behind ourselves and learn poetry. as trauma. as violence. as erasure. another place we do not exist. another form of exile where we should praise. honor. our own starvation. the little bits of langston. phyllis wheatley. and angelou during black history month. are the crumbs. are the minor boats. that give us slight rest. to be waterdrugged into rejecting the nuances of my own bursting extraordinary self. and to have this be called education. to take my name out of my name. out of where my native poetry lives. in me. and replace it with keats. browning. dickson. wolf. joyce. wilde. wolfe. plath. bronte. hemingway. hughes. byron. frost. cummings. kipling. poe. austen. whitman. blake. longfellow. wordsworth. duffy. twain. emerson. yeats. tennyson. auden. thoreau. chaucer. thomas. raliegh. marlowe. burns. shelley. carroll. elliot… (what is the necessity of a black child being this high off of whiteness.) and so. we are here. brown babies. worshipping. feeding. the glutton that is white literature. even after it dies. (years later. the conclusion: shakespeare is relative. white literature is relative. that we are force fed the meat of an animal that our bodies will not recognize. as inherent nutrition. is not relative. is inert.)
Nayyirah Waheed (Nejma)
The Hill Breathless, we flung us on the windy hill, Laughed in the sun, and kissed the lovely grass. You said, "Through glory and ecstasy we pass; Wind, sun, and earth remain, the birds sing still, When we are old, are old..." "And when we die All's over that is ours; and life burns on Through other lovers, other lips," said I, —"Heart of my heart, our heaven is now, is won!" "We are Earth's best, that learnt her lesson here. Life is our cry. We have kept the faith!" we said; "We shall go down with unreluctant tread Rose-crowned into the darkness!"... Proud we were, And laughed, that had such brave true things to say. —And then you suddenly cried, and turned away.
Rupert Brooke (The Complete Poems)
Enter the players. There were seven of us, seven bright young things with wide precious futures ahead of us, though we saw no farther than the books in front of our faces. We were always surrounded by books and words and poetry, all the fierce passions of the world bound in leather and vellum. The castle library was an airy octagonal room, walled with bookshelves, crowed with sumptuous old furniture, and kept drowsily warm by a monumental fireplace that burned almost constantly, regardless of the temperature outside. The clock on the mantel struck twelve, and we stirred, one by one, like seven statues coming to life.
M.L. Rio
The trick is to ride the wave, Fast, wide-open and in deep Now-magic. Free, burning fear for fuel Generous, knowing there is always more where that came from. Cresting, spray of liquid jewels hanging, shining in the sun and wind. Flying down the wave in graceful slices. Rolling, tumbling under, over Breathless falling, floating into the deep dark beneath. Rising, face breaks the surface Laughing Kneeling, standing Riding again. Sunset waits behind the horizon But daylight begs us to swim Out beyond Where our feet can’t touch bottom. Into the deep wild Where the next wave can sweep us higher, Show us what else is possible In this marvelous place.
Jacob Nordby
You are the sun and the moon and the stars You are the force that pulls the tides You are the unrestrained howl under a wide-open moon You are the essence of what it is to dance into ecstasy You are the heat and the sex and the sweat and the burn and soft and the grace and the grit and the ocean of tears You are all of everything … Somewhere there is a love who will never dream of calling you too much Who speaks like you in poetry and candle-wax and stardust Who runs outside on stormy nights to howl at the moon Who collects bones and sings incantation and talks to the ancestors And that lover when you find him or her will see you and know you – just as you are and just as you should be And they will say yes Yes you I will go there with you I have been waiting for this
Jeanette LeBlanc
Ink runs from the corners of my mouth. There is no happiness like mine. I have been eating poetry. The librarian does not believe what she sees. Her eyes are sad and she walks with her hands in her dress. The poems are gone. The light is dim. The dogs are on the basement stairs and coming up. Their eyeballs roll, their blond legs burn like brush. The poor librarian begins to stamp her feet and weep. She does not understand. When I get on my knees and lick her hand, she screams. I am a new man. I snarl at her and bark. I romp with joy in the bookish dark.
Mark Strand (Poetry Magazine January 2011)
She slid a slim volume of poetry off the shelf and returned to her chair, swishing her rather unnattractive skirts before she sat down. Benedict frowned. He'd never really noticed before how ugly her dress was. Not as bad as the one Mrs. Cabtree had lent her, but certainly not anything designed to bring out the best in a woman. He ought to buy her a new dress. She would never accept it,of course, but maybe if her current garments were accidentally burned... "Mr. Bridgerton?" But how could he manage to burn her dress? She'd have to not be wearing it, and that posed a certain challenge in and of itself... "Are you even listening to me?" Sophie demanded. "Hmmm?" "You're not listening to me." "Sorry," he admitted. "My apologies. My mind got away from me. Please continue." She began anew, and in his attempt to show how much attention he was paying her, he focused his eyes on her lips, which proved to be a big mistake. Because suddenly those lips were all he could see, and he couldn't stop thinking about kissing her, and he knew- absolutely knew-that if one of them didn't leave the room in the next thirty seconds, he was going to do something for which he'd owe her a thousand apologies. Not that he didn't plan to seduce her. Just that he'd rather do it with a bit more finesse. "Oh, dear," he blurted out. Sophie gave him an odd look. He didn't blame her. He sounded like a complete idiot. He didn't think he'd uttered the phrase, "Oh,dear," in years. If ever. Hell,he sounded like his mother. "Is something wrong?" Sophie asked. "I just remembered something," he said, rather stupidly, in his opinion. She raised her brows in question. "Something that I'd forgotten," Benedict said. "The things one remembers," she said, looking exceedingly amused, "are most often things one had forgotten.
Julia Quinn (An Offer From a Gentleman (Bridgertons, #3))
The rain set early in tonight, The sullen wind was soon awake, It tore the elm-tops down for spite, And did its worst to vex the lake: I listened with heart fit to break. When glided in Porphyria; straight She shut the cold out and the storm, And kneeled and made the cheerless grate Blaze up, and all the cottage warm; Which done, she rose, and from her form Withdrew the dripping cloak and shawl, And laid her soiled gloves by, untied Her hat and let the damp hair fall, And, last, she sat down by my side And called me. When no voice replied, She put my arm about her waist, And made her smooth white shoulder bare, And all her yellow hair displaced, And, stooping, made my cheek lie there, And spread, o'er all, her yellow hair, Murmuring how she loved me — she Too weak, for all her heart's endeavor, To set its struggling passion free From pride, and vainer ties dissever, And give herself to me forever. But passion sometimes would prevail, Nor could tonight's gay feast restrain A sudden thought of one so pale For love of her, and all in vain: So, she was come through wind and rain. Be sure I looked up at her eyes Happy and proud; at last l knew Porphyria worshiped me: surprise Made my heart swell, and still it grew While I debated what to do. That moment she was mine, mine, fair, Perfectly pure and good: I found A thing to do, and all her hair In one long yellow string l wound Three times her little throat around, And strangled her. No pain felt she; I am quite sure she felt no pain. As a shut bud that holds a bee, I warily oped her lids: again Laughed the blue eyes without a stain. And l untightened next the tress About her neck; her cheek once more Blushed bright beneath my burning kiss: I propped her head up as before, Only, this time my shoulder bore Her head, which droops upon it still: The smiling rosy little head, So glad it has its utmost will, That all it scorned at once is fled, And I, its love, am gained instead! Porphyria's love: she guessed not how Her darling one wish would be heard. And thus we sit together now, And all night long we have not stirred, And yet God has not said aword!
Robert Browning (Robert Browning's Poetry)
Sea Longing" A thousand miles beyond this sun-steeped wall Somewhere the waves creep cool along the sand, The ebbing tide forsakes the listless land With the old murmur, long and musical; The windy waves mount up and curve and fall, And round the rocks the foam blows up like snow,-- Tho' I am inland far, I hear and know, For I was born the sea's eternal thrall. I would that I were there and over me The cold insistence of the tide would roll, Quenching this burning thing men call the soul,-- Then with the ebbing I should drift and be Less than the smallest shell along the shoal, Less than the sea-gulls calling to the sea.
Sara Teasdale
Candle In the Wind Author: Bernie Tauplin Goodbye Norma Jeane. Though I never knew you at all. You had the grace to hold yourself While those around you crawled. And they crawled out of the woodwork, And they whispered into your brain, They set you on the treadmill And they made you change your name. And it seems to me you lived your life Like a candle in the wind, Never knowing who to cling to When the rain set in. And I would have liked to have known you But I was just a kid, Your candle burned out long before Your legend ever did. Loneliness was tough. The toughest role you ever played. Hollywood created a superstar And pain was the price you paid. Even when you died The press still hounded you- All the paper had to say Was that Marilyn was found in the nude. Goodbye Norma Jeane. Though I never knew you at all. You had the grace to hold yourself While those around you crawled. Goodbye Norma Jeane. From the young man in the 22nd row Who sees you as something more than sexual, More than just our Marilyn Monroe.
Elton John
The children in my dreams speak in Gujarati turn their trusting faces to the sun say to me care for us nurture us in my dreams I shudder and I run. I am six in a playground of white children Darkie, sing us an Indian song! Eight in a roomful of elders all mock my broken Gujarati English girl! Twelve, I tunnel into books forge an armor of English words. Eighteen, shaved head combat boots - shamed by masis in white saris neon judgments singe my western head. Mother tongue. Matrubhasha tongue of the mother I murder in myself. Through the years I watch Gujarati swell the swaggering egos of men mirror them over and over at twice their natural size. Through the years I watch Gujarati dissolve bones and teeth of women, break them on anvils of duty and service, burn them to skeletal ash. Words that don't exist in Gujarati : Self-expression. Individual. Lesbian. English rises in my throat rapier flashed at yuppie boys who claim their people “civilized” mine. Thunderbolt hurled at cab drivers yelling Dirty black bastard! Force-field against teenage hoods hissing F****ing Paki bitch! Their tongue - or mine? Have I become the enemy? Listen: my father speaks Urdu language of dancing peacocks rosewater fountains even its curses are beautiful. He speaks Hindi suave and melodic earthy Punjabi salty rich as saag paneer coastal Kiswahili laced with Arabic, he speaks Gujarati solid ancestral pride. Five languages five different worlds yet English shrinks him down before white men who think their flat cold spiky words make the only reality. Words that don't exist in English: Najjar Garba Arati. If we cannot name it does it exist? When we lose language does culture die? What happens to a tongue of milk-heavy cows, earthen pots jingling anklets, temple bells, when its children grow up in Silicon Valley to become programmers? Then there's American: Kin'uh get some service? Dontcha have ice? Not: May I have please? Ben, mane madhath karso? Tafadhali nipe rafiki Donnez-moi, s'il vous plait Puedo tener….. Hello, I said can I get some service?! Like, where's the line for Ay-mericans in this goddamn airport? Words that atomized two hundred thousand Iraqis: Didja see how we kicked some major ass in the Gulf? Lit up Bagdad like the fourth a' July! Whupped those sand-niggers into a parking lot! The children in my dreams speak in Gujarati bright as butter succulent cherries sounds I can paint on the air with my breath dance through like a Sufi mystic words I can weep and howl and devour words I can kiss and taste and dream this tongue I take back.
Shailja Patel (Migritude)
Moths and other nocturnal insects navigate by the moon and stars. Those heavenly bodies are useful for them to find their way, even though they never get far from the surface of the earth. But lightbulbs and candles send them astray; they fly into the heat or the flame and die. For these creatures, to arrive is a calamity. When activists mistake heaven for some goal at which they must arrive, rather than an idea to navigate Earth by, they burn themselves out, or they set up a totalitarian utopia in which others are burned in the flames. Don’t mistake a lightbulb for the moon, and don’t believe that the moon is useless unless we land on it. After all those millennia of poetry about the moon, nothing was more prosaic than the guys in space suits stomping around on the moon with their flags and golf clubs thirty-something years ago. The moon is profound except when we land on it. Paradise
Rebecca Solnit (Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities)
Nick and the Candlestick I am a miner. The light burns blue. Waxy stalactites Drip and thicken, tears The earthen womb Exudes from its dead boredom. Black bat airs Wrap me, raggy shawls, Cold homicides. They weld to me like plums. Old cave of calcium Icicles, old echoer. Even the newts are white, Those holy Joes. And the fish, the fish ---- Christ! they are panes of ice, A vice of knives, A piranha Religion, drinking Its first communion out of my live toes. The candle Gulps and recovers its small altitude, Its yellows hearten. O love, how did you get here? O embryo Remembering, even in sleep, Your crossed position. The blood blooms clean In you, ruby. The pain You wake to is not yours. Love, love, I have hung our cave with roses, With soft rugs ---- The last of Victoriana. Let the stars Plummet to their dark address, Let the mercuric Atoms that cripple drip Into the terrible well, You are the one Solid the spaces lean on, envious. You are the baby in the barn.
Sylvia Plath (Ariel)
Taking us by and large, we're a queer lot We women who write poetry. And when you think How few of us there've been, it's queerer still. I wonder what it is that makes us do it, Singles us out to scribble down, man-wise, The fragments of ourselves. Why are we Already mother-creatures, double-bearing, With matrices in body and in brain? I rather think that there is just the reason We are so sparse a kind of human being; The strength of forty thousand Atlases Is needed for our every-day concerns. There's Sapho, now I wonder what was Sapho. I know a single slender thing about her: That, loving, she was like a burning birch-tree All tall and glittering fire, and that she wrote Like the same fire caught up to Heaven and held there, A frozen blaze before it broke and fell. Ah, me! I wish I could have talked to Sapho, Surprised her reticences by flinging mine Into the wind. This tossing off of garments Which cloud the soul is none too easy doing With us to-day. But still I think with Sapho One might accomplish it, were she in the mood to bare her loveliness of words and tell The reasons, as she possibly conceived them of why they are so lovely. Just to know How she came at them, just watch The crisp sea sunshine playing on her hair, And listen, thinking all the while 'twas she Who spoke and that we two were sisters Of a strange, isolated little family. And she is Sapho -- Sapho -- not Miss or Mrs., A leaping fire we call so for convenience....
Amy Lowell
I die, and yet not dies in me The ardour of my love for Thee, Nor hath Thy Love, my only goal, Assuaged the fever of my soul. To Thee alone my spirit cries; In Thee my whole ambition lies, And still Thy Wealth is far above The poverty of my small love. I turn to Thee in my request, And seek in Thee my final rest; To Thee my loud lament is brought, Thou dwellest in my secret thought. However long my sickness be, This wearisome infirmity, Never to men will I declare The burden Thou has made me bear. To Thee alone is manifest The heavy labour of my breast, Else never kin nor neighbors know The brimming measure of my woe. A fever burns below my heart And ravages my every part; It hath destroyed my strength and stay, And smouldered all my soul away. Guidest Thou not upon the road The rider wearied by his load, Delivering from the steeps of death The traveller as he wandereth? Didst Thou not light a beacon too For them that found the Guidance true But carried not within their hand The faintest glimmer of its brand? O then to me Thy Favour give That, so attended, I may live, And overwhelm with ease from Thee The rigor of my poverty.
ذو النون المصري (Sufism: An Account of the Mystics of Islam)
Then Jip went up to the front of the ship and smelt the wind; and he started muttering to himself, "Tar; Spanish onions; kerosene oil; wet raincoats; crushed laurel-leaves; rubber burning; lace-curtains being washed--No, my mistake, lace-curtains hanging out to dry; and foxes--hundreds of 'em--cubs; and--" "Can you really smell all those different things in this one wind?" asked the Doctor. "Why, of course!" said Jip. "And those are only a few of the easy smells--the strong ones. Any mongrel could smell those with a cold in the head. Wait now, and I'll tell you some of the harder scents that are coming on this wind--a few of the dainty ones." Then the dog shut his eyes tight, poked his nose straight up in the air and sniffed hard with his mouth half-open. For a long time he said nothing. He kept as still as a stone. He hardly seemed to be breathing at all. When at last he began to speak, it sounded almost as though he were singing, sadly, in a dream. "Bricks," he whispered, very low--"old yellow bricks, crumbling with age in a garden-wall; the sweet breath of young cows standing in a mountain-stream; the lead roof of a dove-cote--or perhaps a granary--with the mid-day sun on it; black kid gloves lying in a bureau-drawer of walnut-wood; a dusty road with a horses' drinking-trough beneath the sycamores; little mushrooms bursting through the rotting leaves; and--and--and--" "Any parsnips?" asked Gub-Gub. "No," said Jip. "You always think of things to eat. No parsnips whatever.
Hugh Lofting (The Story of Doctor Dolittle (Doctor Dolittle, #1))
What do they think has happened, the old fools, To make them like this ? Do they somehow suppose It's more grown-up when your mouth hangs open and drools And you keep on pissing yourself, and can't remember Who called this morning ? Or that, if they only chose, They could alter things back to when they danced all night, Or went to their wedding, or sloped arms some September ? Or do they fancy there's really been no change, And they've always behaved as if they were crippled or tight, Or sat through days of thin continuous dreaming Watching light move ? If they don't (and they can't), it's strange: Why aren't they screaming ? At death, you break up: the bits that were you Start speeding away from each other for ever With no one to see. It's only oblivion, true: We had it before, but then it was going to end, And was all the time merging with a unique endeavour To bring to bloom the million-petalled flower Of being here. Next time you can't pretend There'll be anything else. And these are the first signs: Not knowing how, not hearing who, the power Of choosing gone. Their looks show that they're for it: Ash hair, toad hands, prune face dried into lines- How can they ignore it ? Perhaps being old is having lighted rooms Inside your head, and people in them, acting. People you know, yet can't quite name; each looms Like a deep loss restored, from known doors turning, Setting down a Iamp, smiling from a stair, extracting A known book from the shelves; or sometimes only The rooms themselves, chairs and a fire burning, The blown bush at the window, or the sun' s Faint friendliness on the wall some lonely Rain-ceased midsummer evening. That is where they live: Not here and now, but where all happened once. This is why they give An air of baffled absence, trying to be there Yet being here. For the rooms grow farther, leaving Incompetent cold, the constant wear and tear Of taken breath, and them crouching below Extinction' s alp, the old fools, never perceiving How near it is. This must be what keeps them quiet. The peak that stays in view wherever we go For them is rising ground. Can they never tell What is dragging them back, and how it will end ? Not at night? Not when the strangers come ? Never, throughout The whole hideous inverted childhood? Well, We shall find out. - The Old Fools
Philip Larkin
And her heart sprang in Iseult, and she drew With all her spirit and life the sunrise through And through her lips the keen triumphant air Sea-scented, sweeter than land-roses were, And through her eyes the whole rejoicing east Sun-satisfied, and all the heaven at feast Spread for the morning; and the imperious mirth Of wind and light that moved upon the earth, Making the spring, and all the fruitful might And strong regeneration of delight That swells the seedling leaf and sapling man, Since the first life in the first world began To burn and burgeon through void limbs and veins, And the first love with sharp sweet procreant pains To pierce and bring forth roses; yea, she felt Through her own soul the sovereign morning melt, And all the sacred passion of the sun; And as the young clouds flamed and were undone About him coming, touched and burnt away In rosy ruin and yellow spoil of day, The sweet veil of her body and corporal sense Felt the dawn also cleave it, and incense With light from inward and with effluent heat The kindling soul through fleshly hands and feet. And as the august great blossom of the dawn Burst, and the full sun scarce from sea withdrawn Seemed on the fiery water a flower afloat, So as a fire the mighty morning smote Throughout her, and incensed with the influent hour Her whole soul's one great mystical red flower Burst, and the bud of her sweet spirit broke Rose-fashion, and the strong spring at a stroke Thrilled, and was cloven, and from the full sheath came The whole rose of the woman red as flame: And all her Mayday blood as from a swoon Flushed, and May rose up in her and was June. So for a space her hearth as heavenward burned: Then with half summer in her eyes she turned, And on her lips was April yet, and smiled, As though the spirit and sense unreconciled Shrank laughing back, and would not ere its hour Let life put forth the irrevocable flower. And the soft speech between them grew again
Algernon Charles Swinburne (Tristram of Lyonesse: And Other Poems)
(This is from a tribute poem to Ronnie James Dio: Former lead vocalist of the band Rainbow, Black Sabbath. This is written with all the titles of the hit songs of DIO. The titles are all in upper case) You can “CATCH THE RAINBOW” – “A RAINBOW IN THE DARK” Through “ROCK & ROLL CHILDREN” “HOLY DIVER” will lurk “BEFORE THE FALL” of “ELECTRA” “ALL THE FOOLS SAILED AWAY” “JESUS,MARY AND THE HOLY GHOST”- “LORD OF THE LAST DAY” “MASTER OF THE MOON” you are When my “ONE FOOT IN THE GRAVE” With our “BLACK”, “COLD FEET”, “MYSTERY” of “PAIN” you crave You’re “CAUGHT IN THE MIDDLE”, “BETWEEN TWO HEARTS” When “HUNGRY FOR HEAVEN” “HUNTER OF THE HEART” hurts “FALLEN ANGELS” “FEED MY HEART” “FEVER DREAMS” “FEED MY HEAD” “I AM” “ANOTHER LIE” “AFTER ALL (THE DEAD)” Not “GUILTY” if you “HIDE IN THE RAINBOW’’ With your perfect “GUITAR SOLO” “DON’T TELL THE KIDS” to “DREAM EVIL” Don’t “GIVE HER THE GUN” to follow “DON’T TALK TO STRANGERS” Those “EVIL EYES” can see “LORD OF THE NIGHT” “MISTREATED”; “MY EYES” hate to fancy “SHAME ON THE NIGHT” “TURN UP THE NIGHT” Now it’s “TIME TO BURN” “TWISTED” “VOODOO” does “WALK ON WATER” And today its our turn “BLOOD FROM A STONE” “BORN ON THE SUN” I’m “BETTER IN THE DARK” “BREATHLESS” The “PRISONER OF PARADISE” you are! Forever you are deathless “SACRED HEART” “SHIVERS” Laying “NAKED IN THE RAIN” “THIS IS YOUR LIFE”- “ WILD ONE”! Your “GOLDEN RULES” we gain “IN DREAMS” “I SPEED AT NIGHT” I’m “LOSING MY INSANITY” “ANOTHER LIE”: “COMPUTER GOD” Your “HEAVEN AND HELL”- my vanity! By “KILLING THE DRAGON” “I COULD HAVE BEEN A DREAMER” I’m “THE LAST IN LINE” To “SCREAM” Like an “INVISIBLE” screamer Now that you are gone “THE END OF THE WORLD” is here “STRAIGHT THROUGH THE HEART” “PUSH” “JUST ANOTHER DAY” in fear “CHILDREN OF THE SEA” “ DYING IN AMERICA” Is it “DEATH BY LOVE”? “FACES IN THE WINDOW” looking for A “GYPSY” from above Dear “STARGAZER” from “STRANGE HIGHWAYS” Our love “HERE’S TO YOU” “WE ROCK” “ONE MORE FOR THE ROAD” The “OTHER WORLD” anew “ONE NIGHT IN THE CITY” with “NEON KNIGHTS” “THE EYES” “STAY OUT OF MY MIND” The “STARSTRUCK” “SUNSET SUPERMAN” Is what we long to find “THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING” Is the “INSTITUTIONAL MAN” “SHOOT SHOOT” to “TURN TO STONE” “WHEN A WOMAN CRIES” to plan To “STAND UP AND SHOUT” before “ THE KING OF ROCK AND ROLL” Though “GOD HATES HEAVY METAL” “EAT YOUR HEART OUT” to reach the goal. From the poem- Holy Dio: the Diver (A tribute to Ronnie James Dio)
Munia Khan
She dances, She dances around the burning flames with passion, Under the same dull stars, Under the same hell with crimson embers crashing, Under the same silver chains that wires, All her beauty and who she is inside, She's left with the loneliness of human existence, She's left questioning how she's survived, She's left with this awakening of brutal resilience, Her true beauty that she denies, As much she's like to deny it, As much as it continues to shine, That she doesn't even have to admit, Because we all know it's true, Her glory and success, After all she's been through, Her triumph and madness, AND YET, SHE STANDS. Broken legs- but she's still standing, Still dancing in this void, You must wonder how she's still dancing, You must wonder how she's not destroyed, She doesn't even begin to drown within the flames, But little do you realize, Within these chains, She weeps and she cries, But she still goes on, And just you thought you could stop her? You thought you'd be the one? Well, let me tell you, because you thought wrong. Nothing will ever silence her, Because I KNOW, I know that she is admiringly strong, Her undeniable beauty, The triumph of her song, She's shining bright like a ruby, Reflecting in the golden sand, She's shining brighter like no other, She's far more than human or man, AND YET, SHE STANDS. She continues to dance with free-spirit, Even though she's locked in these chains, Though she never desired to change it, Even throughout the agonizing pain, Throughout all the distress, Anxiety, depression, tears and sorrow, She still dances so beautify in her dress, She looks forward to tomorrow, Not because of a fresh start but a new page, A new day full of opportunities, Despite being trapped in her cage, She still smiles after being beaten so brutally, A smile that could brighten anyone's day, She's so much more than anyone could ask for, She's so much more than I could ever say, She's a girl absolutely everyone should adore, She never gets in the way, Even after her hearts been broken, Even after the way she has been treated, After all these severe emotions, After all all the blood she's bled, AND YET, SHE STANDS. Even if sometimes she wonders why she's still here, She wonders why she's not dead, But there's this one thing that had been here throughout every tear, Throughout the blazing fire leaving her cheeks cherry red, Everyday this thing has given her a place to exist, This thing, person, these people, Like warm sunlight it had so softly kissed, The apples of her cheeks, Even when she's feeling feeble, Always there at her worst and at her best Because of you and all the other people, She has this thing deep inside her chest, That she will cherish forever, Even once you're gone, Because today she smiles like no other, Even when the sun sets at dawn, Because today is the day, She just wants you to remember, In dark and stormy weather, It gets better. And after what she's been through she knows, Throughout the highs and the lows, Because of you and all others, After crossing the seas, She has come to understand, You have formed this key, This key to free her from this land, This endless gorge that swallowed her, Her and other men, She had never knew, nor had she planned, That because of you, She's free. AND YET, THIS VERY DAY, SHE DANCES. EVEN IN THE RAIN.
Gabrielle Renee
If only humankind would soon succeed in destroying itself; true, I'm afraid : it will take a long time yet, but they'll manage it for sure. They'll have to learn to fly too, so that it will be easier to toss firebrands into cities (a pretty sight : a portly, bronze boat perhaps, from which a couple of mail-clad warriors contemptuously hurl a few flaming armored logs, while from below they shoot at the scaly beasts with howling arrows. They could also easily pour burning oil out of steel pitchers. Or poison. In the wells. By night). Well, they'll manage it all right (if I can come up with that much !). For they pervert all things to evil. The alphabet : it was intended to record timeless poetry or wisdom or memories - but they scrawl myriads of trashy novels and inflammatory pamphlets. What do they deftly make of metals ? Swords and arrow tips. - Fire ? Cities are already smoldering. And in the agora throng the pickpockets and swashbucklers, cutpurses, bawds, quacks and whores. And at best, the rest are simpletons, dandies, and brainless yowlers. And every one of them self-complacent, pretending respectability, bows politely, puffs out coarse cheeks, waves his hands, ogles, jabbers, crows. (They have many words : Experienced : someone who knows plenty of the little underhanded tricks. - Mature : has finally unlearned every ideal. Sophisticated : impertinent and ought to have been hanged long ago.) Those are the small fry; and the : every statesman, politician, orator; prince, general, officer should be throttled on the spot before he has time or opportunity to earn the title at humankind's expense. - Who alone can be great ? Artists and scientists ! And no one else ! And the least of them, if an honest man, is a thousand times greater than the great Xerxes. - If the gods would grant me 3 wishes, one of them would be immediately to free the earth of humankind. And of animals, too (they're too wicked for me as well). Plants are better (except for the insectavores) - The wind has picked up.
Arno Schmidt
Love, that is first and last of all things made, The light that has the living world for shade, The spirit that for temporal veil has on The souls of all men woven in unison, One fiery raiment with all lives inwrought And lights of sunny and starry deed and thought, And alway through new act and passion new Shines the divine same body and beauty through, The body spiritual of fire and light That is to worldly noon as noon to night; Love, that is flesh upon the spirit of man And spirit within the flesh whence breath began; Love, that keeps all the choir of lives in chime; Love, that is blood within the veins of time; That wrought the whole world without stroke of hand, Shaping the breadth of sea, the length of land, And with the pulse and motion of his breath Through the great heart of the earth strikes life and death, The sweet twain chords that make the sweet tune live Through day and night of things alternative, Through silence and through sound of stress and strife, And ebb and flow of dying death and life: Love, that sounds loud or light in all men's ears, Whence all men's eyes take fire from sparks of tears, That binds on all men's feet or chains or wings; Love that is root and fruit of terrene things; Love, that the whole world's waters shall not drown, The whole world's fiery forces not burn down; Love, that what time his own hands guard his head The whole world's wrath and strength shall not strike dead; Love, that if once his own hands make his grave The whole world's pity and sorrow shall not save; Love, that for very life shall not be sold, Nor bought nor bound with iron nor with gold; So strong that heaven, could love bid heaven farewell, Would turn to fruitless and unflowering hell; So sweet that hell, to hell could love be given, Would turn to splendid and sonorous heaven; Love that is fire within thee and light above, And lives by grace of nothing but of love; Through many and lovely thoughts and much desire Led these twain to the life of tears and fire; Through many and lovely days and much delight Led these twain to the lifeless life of night.
Algernon Charles Swinburne (Tristram of Lyonesse: And Other Poems)
To fill the days up of his dateless year Flame from Queen Helen to Queen Guenevere? For first of all the sphery signs whereby Love severs light from darkness, and most high, In the white front of January there glows The rose-red sign of Helen like a rose: And gold-eyed as the shore-flower shelterless Whereon the sharp-breathed sea blows bitterness, A storm-star that the seafarers of love Strain their wind-wearied eyes for glimpses of, Shoots keen through February's grey frost and damp The lamplike star of Hero for a lamp; The star that Marlowe sang into our skies With mouth of gold, and morning in his eyes; And in clear March across the rough blue sea The signal sapphire of Alcyone Makes bright the blown bross of the wind-foot year; And shining like a sunbeam-smitten tear Full ere it fall, the fair next sign in sight Burns opal-wise with April-coloured light When air is quick with song and rain and flame, My birth-month star that in love's heaven hath name Iseult, a light of blossom and beam and shower, My singing sign that makes the song-tree flower; Next like a pale and burning pearl beyond The rose-white sphere of flower-named Rosamond Signs the sweet head of Maytime; and for June Flares like an angered and storm-reddening moon Her signal sphere, whose Carthaginian pyre Shadowed her traitor's flying sail with fire; Next, glittering as the wine-bright jacinth-stone, A star south-risen that first to music shone, The keen girl-star of golden Juliet bears Light northward to the month whose forehead wears Her name for flower upon it, and his trees Mix their deep English song with Veronese; And like an awful sovereign chrysolite Burning, the supreme fire that blinds the night, The hot gold head of Venus kissed by Mars, A sun-flower among small sphered flowers of stars, The light of Cleopatra fills and burns The hollow of heaven whence ardent August yearns; And fixed and shining as the sister-shed Sweet tears for Phaethon disorbed and dead, The pale bright autumn's amber-coloured sphere, That through September sees the saddening year As love sees change through sorrow, hath to name Francesca's; and the star that watches flame The embers of the harvest overgone Is Thisbe's, slain of love in Babylon, Set in the golden girdle of sweet signs A blood-bright ruby; last save one light shines An eastern wonder of sphery chrysopras, The star that made men mad, Angelica's; And latest named and lordliest, with a sound Of swords and harps in heaven that ring it round, Last love-light and last love-song of the year's, Gleams like a glorious emerald Guenevere's.
Algernon Charles Swinburne (Tristram of Lyonesse: And Other Poems)
Poem for My Father You closed the door. I was on the other side, screaming. It was black in your mind. Blacker than burned-out fire. Blacker than poison. Outside everything looked the same. You looked the same. You walked in your body like a living man. But you were not. would you not speak to me for weeks would you hang your coat in the closet without saying hello would you find a shoe out of place and beat me would you come home late would i lose the key would you find my glasses in the garbage would you put me on your knee would you read the bible to me in your smoking jacket after your mother died would you come home drunk and snore would you beat me on the legs would you carry me up the stairs by my hair so that my feet never touch the bottom would you make everything worse to make everything better i believe in god, the father almighty, the maker of heaven, the maker of my heaven and my hell. would you beat my mother would you beat her till she cries like a rabbit would you beat her in a corner of the kitchen while i am in the bathroom trying to bury my head underwater would you carry her to the bed would you put cotton and alcohol on her swollen head would you make love to her hair would you caress her hair would you rub her breasts with ben gay until she stinks would you sleep in the other room in the bed next to me while she sleeps on the pull-out cot would you come on the sheet while i am sleeping. later i look for the spot would you go to embalming school with the last of my mother's money would i see your picture in the book with all the other black boys you were the handsomest would you make the dead look beautiful would the men at the elks club would the rich ladies at funerals would the ugly drunk winos on the street know ben pretty ben regular ben would your father leave you when you were three with a mother who threw butcher knives at you would he leave you with her screaming red hair would he leave you to be smothered by a pillow she put over your head would he send for you during the summer like a rich uncle would you come in pretty corduroys until you were nine and never heard from him again would you hate him would you hate him every time you dragged hundred pound cartons of soap down the stairs into white ladies' basements would you hate him for fucking the woman who gave birth to you hate him flying by her house in the red truck so that other father threw down his hat in the street and stomped on it angry like we never saw him (bye bye to the will of grandpa bye bye to the family fortune bye bye when he stompled that hat, to the gold watch, embalmer's palace, grandbaby's college) mother crying silently, making floating island sending it up to the old man's ulcer would grandmother's diamonds close their heartsparks in the corner of the closet yellow like the eyes of cockroaches? Old man whose sperm swims in my veins, come back in love, come back in pain.
Toi Derricotte