December Poems And Quotes

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People or stars Regard me sadly, I disappoint them. From the poem "Sheep in Fog", 2 December 1962
Sylvia Plath (Ariel)
It is December, and nobody asked if I was ready.
Sarah Kay
For Jenn At 12 years old I started bleeding with the moon and beating up boys who dreamed of becoming astronauts. I fought with my knuckles white as stars, and left bruises the shape of Salem. There are things we know by heart, and things we don't. At 13 my friend Jen tried to teach me how to blow rings of smoke. I'd watch the nicotine rising from her lips like halos, but I could never make dying beautiful. The sky didn't fill with colors the night I convinced myself veins are kite strings you can only cut free. I suppose I love this life, in spite of my clenched fist. I open my palm and my lifelines look like branches from an Aspen tree, and there are songbirds perched on the tips of my fingers, and I wonder if Beethoven held his breath the first time his fingers touched the keys the same way a soldier holds his breath the first time his finger clicks the trigger. We all have different reasons for forgetting to breathe. But my lungs remember the day my mother took my hand and placed it on her belly and told me the symphony beneath was my baby sister's heartbeat. And I knew life would tremble like the first tear on a prison guard's hardened cheek, like a prayer on a dying man's lips, like a vet holding a full bottle of whisky like an empty gun in a war zone… just take me just take me Sometimes the scales themselves weigh far too much, the heaviness of forever balancing blue sky with red blood. We were all born on days when too many people died in terrible ways, but you still have to call it a birthday. You still have to fall for the prettiest girl on the playground at recess and hope she knows you can hit a baseball further than any boy in the whole third grade and I've been running for home through the windpipe of a man who sings while his hands playing washboard with a spoon on a street corner in New Orleans where every boarded up window is still painted with the words We're Coming Back like a promise to the ocean that we will always keep moving towards the music, the way Basquait slept in a cardboard box to be closer to the rain. Beauty, catch me on your tongue. Thunder, clap us open. The pupils in our eyes were not born to hide beneath their desks. Tonight lay us down to rest in the Arizona desert, then wake us washing the feet of pregnant women who climbed across the border with their bellies aimed towards the sun. I know a thousand things louder than a soldier's gun. I know the heartbeat of his mother. Don't cover your ears, Love. Don't cover your ears, Life. There is a boy writing poems in Central Park and as he writes he moves and his bones become the bars of Mandela's jail cell stretching apart, and there are men playing chess in the December cold who can't tell if the breath rising from the board is their opponents or their own, and there's a woman on the stairwell of the subway swearing she can hear Niagara Falls from her rooftop in Brooklyn, and I'm remembering how Niagara Falls is a city overrun with strip malls and traffic and vendors and one incredibly brave river that makes it all worth it. Ya'll, I know this world is far from perfect. I am not the type to mistake a streetlight for the moon. I know our wounds are deep as the Atlantic. But every ocean has a shoreline and every shoreline has a tide that is constantly returning to wake the songbirds in our hands, to wake the music in our bones, to place one fearless kiss on the mouth of that brave river that has to run through the center of our hearts to find its way home.
Andrea Gibson
Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor. Eagerly I wished the morrow; — vainly I had sought to borrow From my books surcease of sorrow — sorrow for the lost Lenore.
Edgar Allan Poe (The Complete Stories and Poems)
December is a bewitching month. The grey of cold teases to explode into something worthwhile, into a dream of cold, a starlight shower you can taste, a cold that does not chill. I've lost my memory of my first snow-- did I gasp at a field of white? Or scream at the freeze untill my cheeks reddened? The crunch underfoot is satisfying and the thrill of virgin snow near leaves.
Joseph Coelho (A Year of Nature Poems)
December is... by Stewart Stafford December is all that we give, And whatever we receive, It is those who surround us, And those who have taken leave. December is celebrating light, Where only darkness dwells, It is the ripping of wrapping paper, And tempting culinary smells. December is letting go, Of all the past year's fails, And starting anew in January, As time again chases its tail. © Stewart Stafford, 2021. All rights reserved.
Stewart Stafford
December is thirteen months long, July's one afternoon.
Alden Nowlan (Alden Nowlan: Selected Poems)
In the month of December I couldn’t get out of bed. I kept waking up at 6 P.M. and it was Christmas or New Year’s and I had to start drinking & eating.
Eileen Myles (I Must Be Living Twice: New and Selected Poems)
Cold in the earth—and fifteen wild Decembers, From those brown hills, have melted into spring: Faithful, indeed, is the spirit that remembers After such years of change and suffering!
Emily Brontë (Bronte: Poems)
Unable to sleep, or pray, I stand by the window looking out at moonstruck trees a December storm has bowed with ice. Maple and mountain ash bend under its glassy weight, their cracked branches falling upon the frozen snow. The trees themselves, as in winters past, will survive their burdening, broken thrive. And am I less to You, my God, than they?
Robert Hayden (Collected Poems)
One of the world’s most fascinating mysteries is surely the Tamam Shud case. In December 1948, an unidentified man was found dead on a beach in Adelaide. The only clue to a possible identity was a tiny piece of paper found in a hidden pocket sewn into the trousers of the dead man with the words ‘Tamam Shud’ scribbled on it. The phrase is used on the last page of a collection of poems of Omar Khayyam called The Rubaiyat, a copy of which was found with a scribbled code in it, which was believed to have been written in there by the dead man. What does the code mean? What was it leading him to? Why and how did he die? All of these questions remain completely unanswered to this day and the case is as much of a mystery now as it was the very day the body was discovered.
Jack Goldstein (101 Amazing Facts)
I saw your sad as if a charity in radiant in night long morphic sheen and tears the tomb of your infinity. — Georges Bataille, from “Je revais de toucher” in “5 poems,” Hyperion: On the Future of Aesthetics, a web publication of The Nietzsche Circle, Volume III, issue 4, December 2008
Georges Bataille
I am the soul stretching into the furthest reaches of my fingers and beyond from “Last Words,” The New Yorker, Poems: December 13, 1982 Issue.
Philip Levine
Life is a poem, look carefully and you will find a verse. Peter Harrison December 2016
Peter Harrison
You sometimes hear people say, with a certain pride in their clerical resistance to the myth, that the nineteenth century really ended not in 1900 but in 1914. But there are different ways of measuring an epoch. 1914 has obvious qualifications; but if you wanted to defend the neater, more mythical date, you could do very well. In 1900 Nietzsche died; Freud published The Interpretation of Dreams; 1900 was the date of Husserl Logic, and of Russell's Critical Exposition of the Philosophy of Leibniz. With an exquisite sense of timing Planck published his quantum hypothesis in the very last days of the century, December 1900. Thus, within a few months, were published works which transformed or transvalued spirituality, the relation of language to knowing, and the very locus of human uncertainty, henceforth to be thought of not as an imperfection of the human apparatus but part of the nature of things, a condition of what we may know. 1900, like 1400 and 1600 and 1000, has the look of a year that ends a saeculum. The mood of fin de siècle is confronted by a harsh historical finis saeculi. There is something satisfying about it, some confirmation of the rightness of the patterns we impose. But as Focillon observed, the anxiety reflected by the fin de siècle is perpetual, and people don't wait for centuries to end before they express it. Any date can be justified on some calculation or other. And of course we have it now, the sense of an ending. It has not diminished, and is as endemic to what we call modernism as apocalyptic utopianism is to political revolution. When we live in the mood of end-dominated crisis, certain now-familiar patterns of assumption become evident. Yeats will help me to illustrate them. For Yeats, an age would end in 1927; the year passed without apocalypse, as end-years do; but this is hardly material. 'When I was writing A Vision,' he said, 'I had constantly the word "terror" impressed upon me, and once the old Stoic prophecy of earthquake, fire and flood at the end of an age, but this I did not take literally.' Yeats is certainly an apocalyptic poet, but he does not take it literally, and this, I think, is characteristic of the attitude not only of modern poets but of the modern literary public to the apocalyptic elements. All the same, like us, he believed them in some fashion, and associated apocalypse with war. At the turning point of time he filled his poems with images of decadence, and praised war because he saw in it, ignorantly we may think, the means of renewal. 'The danger is that there will be no war.... Love war because of its horror, that belief may be changed, civilization renewed.' He saw his time as a time of transition, the last moment before a new annunciation, a new gyre. There was horror to come: 'thunder of feet, tumult of images.' But out of a desolate reality would come renewal. In short, we can find in Yeats all the elements of the apocalyptic paradigm that concern us.
Frank Kermode (The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction)
My anthology continues to sell & the critics get more & more angry. When I excluded Wilfred Owen, whom I consider unworthy of the poets' corner of a country newspaper, I did not know I was excluding a revered sandwich-board Man of the revolution & that some body has put his worst & most famous poem in a glass-case in the British Museum-- however if I had known it I would have excluded him just the same. He is all blood, dirt & sucked sugar stick (look at the selection in Faber's Anthology-- he calls poets 'bards,' a girl a 'maid,' & talks about 'Titanic wars'). There is every excuse for him but none for those who like him. . . .(from a letter of December 26, 1936, in Letters on Poetry from W. B. Yeats to Dorothy Wellesley, p. 124).
W.B. Yeats
There's folly in her stride that's the rumor justified by lies I've seen her up close beneath the sheets and sometime during the summer she was mine for a few sweet months in the fall and parts of December ((( To get to the heart of this unsolvable equation, one must first become familiar with the physical, emotional, and immaterial makeup as to what constitutes both war and peace. ))) I found her looking through a window the same window I'd been looking through She smiled and her eyes never faltered this folly was a crime ((( The very essence of war is destructive, though throughout the years utilized as a means of creating peace, such an equation might seem paradoxical to the untrained eye. Some might say using evil to defeat evil is counterproductive, and gives more meaning to the word “futile”. Others, like Edmund Burke, would argue that “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men and women to do nothing.” ))) She had an identity I could identify with something my fingertips could caress in the night ((( There is such a limitless landscape within the mind, no two minds are alike. And this is why as a race we will forever be at war with each other. What constitutes peace is in the mind of the beholder. ))) Have you heard the argument? This displacement of men and women and women and men the minds we all have the beliefs we all share Slipping inside of us thoughts and religions and bodies all bare ((( “Without darkness, there can be no light,” he once said. To demonstrate this theory, during one of his seminars he held a piece of white chalk and drew a line down the center of a blackboard. Explaining that without the blackness of the board, the white line would be invisible. ))) When she left she kissed with eyes open I knew this because I'd done the same Sometimes we saw eye to eye like that Very briefly, she considered an apotheosis a synthesis a rendering of her folly into solidarity ((( To believe that a world-wide lay down of arms is possible, however, is the delusion of the pacifist; the dream of the optimist; and the joke of the realist. Diplomacy only goes so far, and in spite of our efforts to fight with words- there are times when drawing swords of a very different nature are surely called for. ))) Experiencing the subsequent sunrise inhaling and drinking breaking mirrors and regurgitating just to start again all in all I was just another gash in the bark ((( Plato once said: “Only the dead have seen the end of war.” Perhaps the death of us all is called for in this time of emotional desperation. War is a product of the mind; only with the death of such will come the end of the bloodshed. Though this may be a fairly realistic view of such an issue, perhaps there is an optimistic outlook on the horizon. Not every sword is double edged, but every coin is double sided. ))) Leaving town and throwing shit out the window drinking boroughs and borrowing spare change I glimpsed the rear view mirror stole a glimpse really I've believed in looking back for a while it helps to have one last view a reminder in case one ever decides to rebel in the event the self regresses and makes the declaration of devastation once more ((( Thus, if we wish to eliminate the threat of war today- complete human annihilation may be called for. )))
Dave Matthes (Wanderlust and the Whiskey Bottle Parallel: Poems and Stories)
I hear you talking to me in a dream (Your kiss felt asleep on my lips) I see you coming back from December And slowly enter in my shelter (Your warmth, which all my nights depend on) You tell me about your immense love (We can heal from certain wounds) You tell me about your divine love (It has the shape of your hands)
Emmanuelle Soni-Dessaigne
As I lose myself in the heart of certain children, I have lost myself in the sea many times. Ignorant of the water I go seeking a death full of light to consume me. — Federico García Lorca, from “Gacela De La Huida (Garcela Of The Flight),” The Selected Poems of Federico García Lorca. Trans. Stephen Spender and J. L. Gili. (New Directions; unknown edition May 17, 2005) Originally published December 3rd 1915.
Federico García Lorca (The Selected Poems)
.....I'm certain I asked for a cowboy one December past-- For I wanted the excitement of pioneers to last; I ached to sing with a fiddle, speak with a drawl and twang; I surely requested John Wayne to be part of my gang. Of course I dreamed of a cowboy in those Yuletides of yore-- For I wanted that ace, that corral fighter, that scout roar; I ached for the authentic frontier hero of the West; I surely requested the sacred battleground's finest. I did pray Santa'd give me a cowboy some time ago-- For I wanted a legend in denim wrangler for beau; I ached to be rounded up safely by my saddled knight; I surely requested I be prospected, mined, settled right... -----excerpted from the poem 'A Cowboy For Christmas' in the book FROM GUAM TO CROWN CITY CORONADO (THANKS TO HERMANN, MISSOURI): A JOURNEY IN POESY, by Mariecor Ruediger
Mariecor Ruediger
My Snowman sadly bowed his head in March, one sunny day, and this is what he softly said before he went away: 'In the middle of December I was handsome, round, and tall, now I hardly can remember those December days at all. Oh my stomach's started shrinking, I am losing all my form, and I'm thinking as I'm shrinking that I wish it weren't warm. I can feel my shoulders stooping as my body's getting thin, my nose has started drooping and my mouth has lost its grin, I am surely getting shorter, there is little left of me, my head is but a quarter of the size it used to be. I am getting hard of hearing and my vision's little use, for my ears are disappearing and my eyes are coming loose. Through the icy weeks of winter I stood prouder than a king, now I'm thinner than a splinter, winter's melting into spring!'
Jack Prelutsky (It's Snowing! It's Snowing!: Winter Poems (I Can Read!))
John Milton (December 9, 1608 – November 8, 1674) was an English poet, prose polemicist, and civil servant for the English Commonwealth. Most famed for his epic poem Paradise Lost, Milton is celebrated as well for his eloquent treatise condemning censorship, Areopagitica. Long considered the supreme English poet, Milton experienced a dip in popularity after attacks by T.S. Eliot and F.R. Leavis in the mid 20th century; but with multiple societies and scholarly journals devoted to his study, Milton’s reputation remains as strong as ever in the 21st century. Very soon after his death – and continuing to the present day – Milton became the subject of partisan biographies, confirming T.S. Eliot’s belief that “of no other poet is it so difficult to consider the poetry simply as poetry, without our theological and political dispositions…making unlawful entry.” Milton’s radical, republican politics and heretical religious views, coupled with the perceived artificiality of his complicated Latinate verse, alienated Eliot and other readers; yet by dint of the overriding influence of his poetry and personality on subsequent generations—particularly the Romantic movement—the man whom Samuel Johnson disparaged as “an acrimonious and surly republican” must be counted one of the most significant writers and thinkers of all time. Source: Wikipedia
John Milton (Paradise Lost (Norton Critical Editions))
More than a dozen books are dedicated to December 25, 1996, the night JonBenet Ramsey was murdered. But EAR-ONS? Here was a case that spanned a decade, an entire state, changed DNA law in California*, included sixty victims, a collection of strange utterances from the suspect at crime scenes (“I’ll kill you like I did some people in Bakersfield”), a poem he allegedly wrote (“Excitement’s Crave”), even his voice on tape (a brief, whispery taunt recorded by a device the police put on a victim’s phone), yet there was only a single self-published, hard-to-find book written about it.
Michelle McNamara (I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer)
[Silent Messages 2] She sat to rearrange the contents of her disorganized handbag At the crowded bus terminal When she lifted her head for a short interval, Her eyes caught a young couple kissing, touching, and hugging In a performative and exaggerated manner... When the couple noticed her, The young woman gave her a mean and malicious look as if asking: Are you jealous of all the love I am surrounded by? She returned the look with a sly one as if responding: The love that exaggerates in displaying itself in public Is either immature, dead, or dying… [Original poem published in Arabic on December 5, 2022 at]
Louis Yako
The Dakota 38 refers to thirty-eight Dakota men who were executed by hanging, under orders from President Abraham Lincoln. To date, this is the largest “legal” mass execution in US history. The hanging took place on December 26, 1862—the day after Christmas. This was the same week that President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. --- These amended and broken treaties are often referred to as the Minnesota Treaties. The word Minnesota comes from mni, which means water; and sota, which means turbid. Synonyms for turbid include muddy, unclear, cloudy, confused, and smoky. Everything is in the language we use. -- Without money, store credit, or rights to hunt beyond their ten-mile tract of land, Dakota people began to starve. The Dakota people were starving. The Dakota people starved. In the preceding sentence, the word “starved” does not need italics for emphasis. -- Dakota warriors organized, struck out, and killed settlers and traders. This revolt is called the Sioux Uprising. Eventually, the US Cavalry came to Mnisota to confront the Uprising. More than one thousand Dakota people were sent to prison. As already mentioned,“Real” poems do not “really” require words. --- I am a citizen of the United States and an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, meaning I am a citizen of the Oglala Lakota Nation—and in this dual citizenship, I must work, I must eat, I must art, I must mother, I must friend, I must listen, I must observe, constantly I must live.
Layli Long Soldier (Whereas)
December 9: The Mexican literary mafia has nothing on the Mexican bookseller mafia. Bookstores visited: the Librería del Sótano, in a basement on Avenida Juárez where the clerks (numerous and neatly uniformed) kept me under strict surveillance and from which I managed to leave with volumes by Roque Dalton, Lezama Lima, and Enrique Lihn. The Librería Mexicana, staffed by three samurais, on Calle Aranda, near the Plaza de San Juan, where I stole a book by Othón, a book by Amado Nervo (wonderful!), and a chapbook by Efraín Huerta. The Librería Pacífico, at Bolívar and 16 de Septiembre, where I stole an anthology of American poets translated by Alberto Girri and a book by Ernesto Cardenal. And in the evening, after reading, writing, and a little fucking: the Viejo Horacio, on Correo Mayor, staffed by twins, from which I left with Gamboa's Santa, a novel to give to Rosario; an anthology of poems by Kenneth Fearing, translated and with a prologue by someone called Doctor Julio Antonio Vila, in which Doctor Vila talks in a vague, question mark-filled way about a trip that Fearing took to Mexico in the 1950s, "an ominous and fruitful trip," writes Doctor Vila; and a book on Buddhism written by the Televisa adventurer Alberto Montes. Instead of the book by Montes I would have preferred the autobiography of the ex-featherweight world champion Adalberto Redondo, but one of the inconveniences of stealing books - especially for a novice like myself - is that sometimes you have to take what you can get.
Roberto Bolaño (The Savage Detectives)
NOBEL PRIZE–WINNER, British poet laureate, essayist, novelist, journalist, and short story writer Rudyard Kipling wrote for both children and adults, with many of his stories and poems focusing on British imperialism in India. His works were popular during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, even though many deemed his political views too conservative. Born on December 30, 1865, in Bombay, India, Kipling had a happy early childhood, but in 1871 he and his sister were sent to a boarding house called Lorne Lodge in Southsea, where he spent many disappointing years. He was accepted in 1877 to United Services College in the west of England. In 1882, he returned to his family in India, working as a journalist, associate editor, and correspondent for many publications, including Civil and Military Gazette, a publication in Lahore, Pakistan. He also wrote poetry. He found great success in writing after his 1889 return to England, where he was eventually appointed poet laureate. Some of his most famous writings, including The Jungle Book, Kim, Puck of Pook’s Hill, and Rewards and Fairies, saw publication in the 1890s and 1900s. It was during this period that he married Caroline Balestier, the sister of an American friend and publishing colleague. The couple settled in Vermont, where their two daughters were born. After a quarrel with his brother-in-law and grumblings from his American neighbors about his controversial political views, Kipling and his family returned to England. There, Caroline gave birth to a son in 1896. Tragically, their eldest daughter died in 1899. Later, Kipling’s son perished in battle during World War I. In 1907 Kipling was awarded the Nobel Prize. He died on January 18, 1936, and his ashes are buried in Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey.
Jonathan Swift (The Adventure Collection: Treasure Island, The Jungle Book, Gulliver's Travels, White Fang, The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood (The Heirloom Collection))
Quote from "The Dish Keepers of Honest House" ....TO TWIST THE COLD is easy when its only water you want. Tapping of the toothbrush echoes into Ella's mind like footsteps clacking a cobbled street on a bitter, dry, cold morning. Her mind pushes through sleep her body craves. It catches her head falling into a warm, soft pillow. "Go back to bed," she tells herself. "You're still asleep," Ella mumbles, pushes the blanket off, and sits up. The urgency to move persuades her to keep routines. Water from the faucet runs through paste foam like a miniature waterfall. Ella rubs sleep-deprieved eyes, then the bridge of her nose and glances into the sink. Ella's eyes astutely fixate for one, brief millisecond. Water becomes the burgundy of soldiers exiting the drain. Her mouth drops in shock. The flow turns green. It is like the bubbling fungus of flockless, fishless, stagnating ponds. Within the iridescent glimmer of her thinking -- like a brain losing blood flow, Ella's focus is the flickering flashing of gray, white dust, coal-black shadows and crows lifting from the ground. A half minute or two trails off before her mind returns to reality. Ella grasps a toothbrush between thumb and index finger. She rests the outer palm against the sink's edge, breathes in and then exhales. Tension in the brow subsides, and her chest and shoulders drop; she sighs. Ella stares at pasty foam. It exits the drain as if in a race to clear the sink of negativity -- of all germs, slimy spit, the burgundy of imagined soldiers and oppressive plaque. GRASPING THE SILKY STRAND between her fingers, Ella tucks, pulls and slides the floss gently through her teeth. Her breath is an inch or so of the mirror. Inspections leave her demeanor more alert. Clouding steam of the image tugs her conscience. She gazes into silver glass. Bits of hair loosen from the bun piled at her head's posterior. What transforms is what she imagines. The mirror becomes a window. The window possesses her Soul and Spirit. These two become concerned -- much like they did when dishonest housekeepers disrupted Ella's world in another story. Before her is a glorious bird -- shining-dark-as-coal, shimmering in hues of purple-black and black-greens. It is likened unto The Raven in Edgar Allan Poe's most famous poem of 1845. Instead of interrupting a cold December night with tapping on a chamber door, it rests its claws in the decorative, carved handle of a backrest on a stiff dining chair. It projects an air of humor and concern. It moves its head to and fro while seeking a clearer understanding. Ella studies the bird. It is surrounded in lofty bends and stretches of leafless, acorn-less, nearly lifeless, oak trees. Like fingers and arms these branches reach below. [Perhaps they are reaching for us? Rest assured; if they had designs on us, I would be someplace else, writing about something more pleasant and less frightening. Of course, you would be asleep.] Balanced in the branches is a chair. It is from Ella's childhood home. The chair sways. Ella imagines modern-day pilgrims of a distant shore. Each step is as if Mother Nature will position them upright like dolls, blown from the stability of their plastic, flat, toe-less feet. These pilgrims take fate by the hand. LIFTING A TOWEL and patting her mouth and hands, Ella pulls the towel through the rack. She walks to the bedroom, sits and picks up the newspaper. Thumbing through pages that leave fingertips black, she reads headlines: "Former Dentist Guilty of Health Care Fraud." She flips the page, pinches the tip of her nose and brushes the edge of her chin -- smearing both with ink. In the middle fold directly affront her eyes is another headline: "Dentist Punished for Misconduct." She turns the page. There is yet another: "Dentist guilty of urinating in surgery sink and using contaminated dental instruments on patients." This world contains those who are simply insane! Every profession has those who stray from goals....
Helene Andorre Hinson Staley
After loud overtures from his daughters, Anthony finally left the house and went up the winding path to the “museum,” to the mobile home where he and his parents had lived from 1949 to 1958. It has been left untouched. The furniture, tables, the paint on the walls, the ’50s cabinets, the dressers, the closets, are all unchanged, remaining as they once were. And in her closet in the bedroom, past the nurse’s uniform, far away in the right-hand corner on the top shelf, lies the black backpack that contains Tatiana’s soul. Every once in a while when she can stand it—or when she can’t stand it—she looks through it. Alexander never looks through it. Tatiana knows what Anthony is about to see. Two cans of Spam in the pack. A bottle of vodka. The nurse’s uniform she escaped from the Soviet Union in that hangs in plastic in the museum closet, next to the PMH nurse’s uniform she nearly lost her marriage in. The Hero of the Soviet Union medal in the pack, in a hidden pocket. The letters she received from Alexander—including the last one from Kontum, which, when she heard about his injuries, she thought would be the last one. That plane ride to Saigon in December 1970 was the longest twelve hours of Tatiana’s life. Francesca and her daughter Emily took care of Tatiana’s kids. Vikki, her good and forgiven friend, came with her, to bring back the body of Tom Richter, to bring back Anthony. In the backpack lies an old yellowed book, The Bronze Horseman and Other Poems. The pages are so old, they splinter if you turn them. You cannot leaf, you can only lift. And between the fracturing pages, photographs are slotted like fragile parchment leaves. Anthony is supposed to find two of these photographs and bring them back. It should take him only a few minutes. Cracked leaves of Tania before she was Alexander’s. Here she is at a few months old, held by her mother, Tania in one arm, Pasha in the other. Here she is, a toddler in the River Luga, bobbing with Pasha. And here a few years older, lying in the hammock with Dasha. A beaming, pretty, dark-haired Dasha is about fourteen. Here is Tania, around ten, with two dangling little braids, doing a fantastic one-armed handstand on top of a tree stump. Here are Tania and Pasha in the boat together, Pasha threateningly raising the oar over her head. Here is the whole family. The parents, side by side, unsmiling, Deda holding Tania’s hand. Babushka holding Pasha’s, Dasha smiling merrily in front.
Paullina Simons (The Summer Garden (The Bronze Horseman, #3))
In the year 2000, to my great surprise I received a call from Fürth, Germany, with news of an intriguing project. The caller explained that his wife, an actress, had read the poetry of Selma Meerbaum - a small volume of her writings published in Germany. The actress, Jutta Czurda, and a group of friends - a composer, a writer, and his actress wife-decided to create a play about Selma and put some of her poems to music. However, they knew very little about her, other than that she had died of typhoid fever n Ukraine in December, 1941. Mr. Minasian, the husband of the actress, decided to turn to the Internet for information. As soon as he entered Selma's name, there appeared the chapter from my memoirs, Before Memories Fade. He found my address and telephone number and the connection was established.
Pearl Fichman (Before Memories Fade)
In December 2014, the release of a Senate report on the use of torture by the United States after September 11 provoked a national debate on the morality of our tactics to fight terrorism. Beyond the argument over the results produced by such techniques lies a fundamental question of values and our standing in the world. The use of torture helps validate jihadist claims about the immorality and hypocrisy of the West. We must not fight violent extremism by becoming the brutal enemy that jihadists want. While painful, the process of publicly disclosing and confronting such incidents is, as David Rothkopf argues in Foreign Policy, “very American”33 in its transparency, which, in our view, is something to embrace. We should be seen, constantly, as balancing the scales of justice and individual freedom rather than letting the weight of groups like al Qaeda and ISIS constantly drag us toward an irrevocable mandate for more action, more compromise, and less concern for innocent people caught in the crossfire. “The Second Coming,” a poem by W. B. Yeats, is often quoted (maybe too often), because it feels so relevant to many modern situations. But its apocalyptic tone and cutting observations could have been written for the challenge of ISIS. Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned; The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity.
Jessica Stern (ISIS: The State of Terror)
There’s a W. H. Auden poem called “Musée des Beaux Arts,” written in December 1938, just after Kristallnacht. In it is a description of a painting by Brueghel, in which the old master depicts Icarus falling from the sky while everyone else, involved in other things or simply not wanting to know, “turns away / quite leisurely from the disaster” and goes about daily tasks. I thought about that poem a lot over the next few days of the fair as I chatted about books, kept my appointments, and ate frankfurters off cardboard-thin crackers. The poem begins, “About suffering they were never wrong, / The Old Masters: how well they understood / Its human position; how it takes place / While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along.
Will Schwalbe (The End of Your Life Book Club)
We've had such a December— Mixing bullets and wings. Do we have to know Why the river turns black?
Irina Ratushinskaya (Poems (Russian, French and English Edition))
You, the damnable place of my birth, my eternal Decembers.
Irina Ratushinskaya (Poems (Russian, French and English Edition))
Please come and stand beside me, If you can, Hold my fingers forever and see This young true man.
Kuntal Dhara (December: Poems by a Teen)
[Long Life] This famous writer has died at 92 And that legend journalist, The darling of authorities and mainstream media, Has died at 95. This pious religious man Has died at 96, And that billionaire, Known for his countless charities and charitable deeds Has died at 96 also… The veteran and shrewd politician, The former president of that country, Has died at 95 as well… And the same questions that dawned on me Ever since I understood the oppression & filthiness Of what the elites, authorities, and those in power are capable of, Begin ringing in my ears once again: Can anyone aware of the ugliness of what is going on live a long life? Is it a coincidence that most people, writers, and artists Who enriched my awareness and world died prematurely Or died, literally or metaphorically, by suicide, assassination, or in prison? Can a shred of awareness fell upon us without defeating the body and the soul Cell by cell and one organ after another causing a premature death? I also wonder have the writers, journalists, religious men, and politicians Who lived long lives enriched truth and justness, Or have they gotten rich at the expense of the above to live long lives up to 92, 93, 94, 95, & 96? And by biggest questions of all: Is there somewhere, in some world, in some place, a dagger of awareness that stabs without the killing the stabbed prematurely? [Original poem published in Arabic on December 31, 2022, at]
Louis Yako
[Silent Messages 2] She was rearranging her messy handbag at the crowded bus station When she lifted her head for a short interval, Her eyes caught a young couple kissing, touching, and hugging In an exaggerated and performative manner When the couple noticed her, The young woman gave her a mean and malicious look as if asking: Are you jealous of all the love I am surrounded by? She returned the look with a sly one as if responding: The love that exaggerates in displaying itself in public Is either new and inexperienced, dead, or dying… [[Original poem published in Arabic on December 5, 2022 at]
Louis Yako
[The Democracy of the Naïve ] There are still the naïve folks who talk about democracy They even claim that the future of democracy in this country or that is in danger… As if democracy had a past or a present, And therefore, its future is now in danger… There was never democracy or justice, my friends… There world has and will remain ruled By the whims of the elite and the invisible hands That get the naïve publics to consider The problems, desires, whims, and agendas of the chosen few As noble human endeavors That require the struggle and revolution Of the naïve and kindhearted people… There is no democracy nor revolutions, my Friends, Except those that must happen silently to remove all elites That plan in secret to push the naïve publics To appoint or remove this government or that Based on their interests… What do you think, my Friends? Do you still believe that the future of democracy is in danger? [Original poem published in Arabic on December 21, 2022 at]
Louis Yako
It’s cold outside but you look great! In between these blurry lights, I can feel your charming grey! Don’t tell me it’s too late, I don’t want to come back tomorrow! Poem - IN MOTION. December 9, 2022.
Adeboye Oluwajuyitan (EvolutionR)
When you come into the world, you come into a vacuum, Everything is in slow motion and you are only allowed to project through your two eyes, Your life starts to rhyme with the time, and your mind automatically starts learning, But your sound comes before your sight, to prove to you, you are first, an entity. The first time you open your eyes, all you see is chaos and misunderstanding, Different souls acting on their respective memories that have been solidified into a programming, They have labels, egos, names, and languages... And brain patterns completely guided by judgment, Without having an idea that it is the extent of your cry that signifies your rank and government. Poem - Trapped. December 11, 2022.
Adeboye Oluwajuyitan (EvolutionR)
What would you write on the front license plate of a Dodge Viper for an artist who wears his left canvas in reverse? Poem - Designer, from EvolutionR. December 14, 2022.
Adeboye Oluwajuyitan (EvolutionR)
If a Cardiologist asked you how many nicotine plasters were needed to mend a heart failure, how many candles would you light for your today-old fetus? Poem - Help Me Solve This Puzzle In Between The Middle Of My Midbrain. December 14, 2022.
Adeboye Oluwajuyitan (EvolutionR)
If an accountant told you your English was not quantitative, how far would you go back in time? Poem - Help Me Solve This Puzzle In Between The Middle Of My Midbrain. December 14, 2022.
Adeboye Oluwajuyitan (EvolutionR)
I don’t have a belief system, I just tune my mind to each drop of water coming out of my kitchen sink! Poem - Sinner. December 11, 2022.
Adeboye Oluwajuyitan (EvolutionR)
If the voice that came out of you asked to sign a remixed mixtape of your name without its handwriting, how many left-handshakes would you say it takes to make a sound foot? Poem - Help Me Solve This Puzzle In Between The Middle Of My Midbrain. December 14, 2022
Adeboye Oluwajuyitan (EvolutionR)
I used to think that I needed the light to think until I realized that my resistance to think and see is actually the only ink I need. Poem - Sinner. December 11, 2022.
Adeboye Oluwajuyitan (EvolutionR)
An apple never fell on my head but I am not devoid of telling you new things! You refused to hire me as your problem solver so I’m going to turn you into a reusable toothpick! Poem: A Resourceful Medium. December 11, 2022.
Adeboye Oluwajuyitan (EvolutionR)
The first time I watched ‘Finding Nemo’, I locked my little dog in the house with a fish! Then I forced him to play hide and seek; I told him he’d get his bone if he could find the key! It didn’t go too well as you can imagine, but luckily my dog doesn’t have a sharp wisdom tooth! Poem: Links, from EvolutionR. December 12, 2022
Adeboye Oluwajuyitan (EvolutionR)
What would you add to the back of a Ford Focus for a driver who’s skilled at yoga? Poem - Designer. December 14, 2022.
Adeboye Oluwajuyitan (EvolutionR)
Instead of bowing after a performance, why can’t we toss a coin and call for ‘heads’ instead? Poem - Moral Compass. December 7, 2022.
Adeboye Oluwajuyitan (EvolutionR)
Achievement is like silicon, You feel so pumped until the day it bursts! There’s no courage in running from a lion, you’re still gonna die... So you might as well stand erect and give him your best smile! Poem - Curious. December 12, 2022.
Adeboye Oluwajuyitan (EvolutionR)
Why can’t we close our minds tonight and open our hearts in the morning? Why can’t we stumble freely into an open space and stabilize ourselves with our vulnerability? Why can’t we drop our hoodies on our shoulders and worry only about the uniform air that we breathe? Let’s all take the next swipe with our middle finger and displace the cardinal system from being the warden for our NEWS! Poem - IN MOTION, from EvolutionR. December 9, 2022.
Adeboye Oluwajuyitan (EvolutionR)
I had a dream where the world went to sleep while God was talking. But we vibrated at His first vowel so we ended up sh#tting for life! Poem - We are the Second. December 14, 2022.
Adeboye Oluwajuyitan (EvolutionR)
If seven plus seven equals seven and I’m on the bus with a blonde seven does that mean that our first offspring is going to be born in a car at seven? Poem - Numbers Don't Mean Nothing. December 8, 2022.
Adeboye Oluwajuyitan (EvolutionR)
I know progress is important but real progress is when you receive while disconnected from everything. I used to think it was a privilege to share a birthday with Einstein until I realized that I’m standing beneath him when it comes to the relative constant of our understanding! Poem - Bond. December 10, 2022.
Adeboye Oluwajuyitan (EvolutionR)
Imagine if, at your birthday party, you sang to everyone in the room. And then listed two reasons to each person as to why you were grateful to have them in your life. Poem - The Birthday Test. December 13, 2022.
Adeboye Oluwajuyitan (EvolutionR)
The first time I smelled the lights in the darkness, was the first time I heard an incomplete erection. Poem - My First Time. December 14, 2022.
Adeboye Oluwajuyitan (EvolutionR)
We are shadows and entities, but we never asked to be made black! I’ll accept all your ignorance and misinformation, just don’t ever try to pull us back! Poem - IN MOTION. December 9, 2022.
Adeboye Oluwajuyitan (EvolutionR)
I convinced my dad to break open his new Mercedes without triggering the alarm, can I confidently say that I’ve now created a new religion? Poem - Numbers Don't Mean Nothing. December 8, 2022.
Adeboye Oluwajuyitan (EvolutionR)
I’m understanding when I’m on my grey phone. But once it turns yellow, I have to change my time zone! Poem - CR7. December 6, 2022.
Adeboye Oluwajuyitan (EvolutionR)
If a golden retriever asked you to spit out its missing heir, what direction would you say was the wind vane? Poem - Help Me Solve This Puzzle In Between The Middle Of My Midbrain. December 14, 2022.
Adeboye Oluwajuyitan (EvolutionR)
I lost my bag of coins while at the barber’s shop, does this mean I never have to change my current look? Poem - Moral Compass. December 7, 2022.
Adeboye Oluwajuyitan (EvolutionR)
You can proceed with your journey to visit every part of the world but I’ll forever be conquering more space than you are, I’m going to stand still in one spot and turn into a ring. Poem - Sinner. - December 11, 2022.
Adeboye Oluwajuyitan (EvolutionR)
If social media is made for connection, why can’t we also have real-life centers for people to learn how to be independent? Poem - Curious. December 12, 2022.
Adeboye Oluwajuyitan (EvolutionR)
My left palm is currently on a hot plate, could there ever be a better time for my right mind to conjure up an idea? Poem - Numbers Don't Mean Nothing. December 8, 2022.
Adeboye Oluwajuyitan (EvolutionR)
They say the only thing holding me back is my imagination. Well, my mind is a crayon and I’m about to shoot back into the foundation! Nose please calm down, I can dissolve the next carbon bond with just my salivation. Poem - Bond. December 10, 2022.
Adeboye Oluwajuyitan (EvolutionR)
Martí still had to consider himself lucky, since in 1871 eight medical students had been executed for the alleged desecration of a gravesite in Havana. Those executed were selected from the student body by lottery, and they may not have even been involved in the desecration. In fact, some of them were not even in Havana at the time, but it quickly became obvious to everyone that the Spanish government was not fooling around! Some years later Martí studied law at the Central University of Madrid (University of Zaragoza). As a student he started sending letters directly to the Spanish Prime Minister insisting on Cuban autonomy, and he continued to write what the Spanish government considered inflammatory newspaper editorials. In 1874, he graduated with a degree in philosophy and law. The following year Martí traveled to Madrid, Paris and Mexico City where he met the daughter of a Cuban exile, Carmen Zayas-Bazán, whom he later married. In 1877 Martí paid a short visit to Cuba, but being constantly on the move he went on to Guatemala where he found work teaching philosophy and literature. In 1878 he published his first book, Guatemala, describing the beauty of that country. The daughter of the President of Guatemala had a crush on Martí, which did not go unnoticed by him. María was known as “La Niña de Guatemala,” the child of Guatemala. She waited for Martí when he left for Cuba, but when he returned he was married to Carmen Zayas-Bazán. María died shortly thereafter on May 10, 1878, of a respiratory disease, although many say that she died of a broken heart. On November 22, 1878, Martí and Carmen had a son whom they named José Francisco. Doing the math, it becomes obvious as to what had happened…. It was after her death that he wrote the poem “La Niña de Guatemala.” The Cuban struggle for independence started with the Ten Years’ War in 1868 lasting until 1878. At that time, the Peace of Zanjón was signed, giving Cuba little more than empty promises that Spain completely ignored. An uneasy peace followed, with several minor skirmishes, until the Cuban War of Independence flared up in 1895. In December of 1878, thinking that conditions had changed and that things would return to normal, Martí returned to Cuba. However, still being cautious he returned using a pseudonym, which may have been a mistake since now his name did not match those in the official records. Using a pseudonym made it impossible for him to find employment as an attorney. Once again, after his revolutionary activities were discovered, Martí was deported to Spain. Arriving in Spain and feeling persecuted, he fled to France and continued on to New York City. Then, using New York as a hub, he traveled and wrote, gaining a reputation as an editorialist on Latin American issues. Returning to the United States from his travels, he visited with his family in New York City for the last time. Putting his work for the revolution first, he sent his family back to Havana. Then from New York he traveled to Florida, where he gave inspiring speeches to Cuban tobacco workers and cigar makers in Ybor City, Tampa. He also went to Key West to inspire Cuban nationals in exile. In 1884, while Martí was in the United States, slavery was finally abolished in Cuba. In 1891 Martí approved the formation of the Cuban Revolutionary Party.
Hank Bracker
A Flock of Geese" She often wondered about the inexplicable deep sorrow that she feels every time she sees a flock of geese flying in the sky … Do the flying geese remind her that she has wasted her life stuck in the trivialities of daily life? Or perhaps the flying birds remind her that she’s lost her ability to fly? She thinks at times in sadness how she wasted the years of her life like a naïve bride dreaming about the ideal groom... A bride planning the minutest details of her wedding, not realizing, until her wings were clipped, that the wedding, the groom, and the bride are roles and illusions created by society to counter the dangers of all those who wish to fly; those who dream about creating new worlds instead of getting hanged or strangulated in a world created on their behalf by others … As she hears the honking of another passing flock of geese flying over her head as did the most beautiful years of her life the birds awaken in her that uncontrollable itch to depart to refuse the illusion of settling and stability The illusion of the wedding and the groom The illusion of all the wedding invitees Who spend an entire night dancing, cheering, and celebrating the clipping of her wings… [Original poem published in Arabic on December 14, 2023 at]” ― Louis Yako
Louis Yako
Spices" The scents of spices are sad whether at home or in foreign lands ... At home, they passes through the nose to give a ray of hope, a breathing space that make us forget – albeit for a short while – all about the chains of religions, gossip, the absurdity of politics, and the cruelty of the ruling classes … At home, spices help us cope with the heavy weight of the backbreaking customs and traditions … You see everyone excited to have a meal that help them forget about the hardships, the crises, and the unsuitability of life at home … In alienating foreign lands, The scent of spices awakens everything that was lost, including the lost lands and homes… There is something unbearably sad about the image of a woman Standing in a kitchen filled with scents of spices reminding her of all that happened, all that was possible, all that should never have happened, and of all the irreplaceable losses … So many are the societies that have been completely destroyed, and of which nothing remains but scents of spices that add flavor to foods and marinate the wounds … Could spices be like old songs? We love them at home because they touch wounds we wish we could heal from, the same old songs break our hearts in foreign lands, because by then we have finally learned that exile doesn’t heal wounds, but rather pushes the knife deeper into them … And like the alienating foreign lands, the scents of spices declare that there is much more to the story of the wound; a story that kills if untold, and doesn’t heal when narrated … [Original poem published in Arabic on December 11, 2023 at]
Louis Yako
The Silence Game" Many have understood the game and chose to remain silent… They chose silence thinking that their silence will save them… Yet silence killed them through heart attacks, without even giving them a chance to scream at least one last time to inform the world that silence is much more costly than resistance… [Original poem published in Arabic on December 11, 2023 at]
Louis Yako
A Flock of Geese" She often wondered about the inexplicable deep sorrow that she feels every time she sees a flock of geese flying in the sky … Do the flying geese remind her that she has wasted her life stuck in the trivialities of daily life? Or perhaps the flying birds remind her that she’s lost her ability to fly? She thinks at times in sadness how she wasted the years of her life like a naïve bride dreaming about the ideal groom... A bride planning the minutest details of her wedding, not realizing, until her wings were clipped, that the wedding, the groom, and the bride are roles and illusions created by society to counter the dangers of all those who wish to fly; those who dream about creating new worlds instead of getting hanged or strangulated in a world created by on their behalf by others … As she hears the honking of another passing flock of geese flying over her head as did the most beautiful years of her life the birds awaken in her that uncontrollable itch to depart to refuse the illusion of settling and stability The illusion of the wedding and the groom The illusion of all the wedding invitees Who spend an entire night dancing, cheering, and celebrating the clipping of her wings… [Original poem published in Arabic on December 14, 2023 at]
Louis Yako
XIV [Every day you play with the light of the universe.]” Every day you play with the light of the universe. Subtle visitor, you arrive in the flower and the water. You are more than this white head that I hold tightly as a cluster of fruit, every day, between my hands. You are like nobody since I love you. Let me spread you out among yellow garlands. Who writes your name in letters of smoke among the stars of the south? Oh let me remember you as you were before you existed. Suddenly the wind howls and bangs at my shut window. The sky is a net crammed with shadowy fish. Here all the winds let go sooner or later, all of them. The rain takes off her clothes. The birds go by, fleeing. The wind. The wind. I can contend only against the power of men. The storm whirls dark leaves and turns loose all the boats that were moored last night to the sky. You are here. Oh, you do not run away. You will answer me to the last cry. Cling to me as though you were frightened. Even so, at one time a strange shadow ran through your eyes. Now, now too, little one, you bring me honeysuckle, and even your breasts smell of it. While the sad wind goes slaughtering butterflies I love you, and my happiness bites the plum of your mouth. How you must have suffered getting accustomed to me, my savage, solitary soul, my name that sends them all running. So many times we have seen the morning star burn, kissing our eyes, and over our heads the gray light unwind in turning fans. My words rained over you, stroking you. A long time I have loved the sunned mother-of-pearl of your body. I go so far as to think that you own the universe. I will bring you happy flowers from the mountains, bluebells, dark hazels, and rustic baskets of kisses. I want to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees. Pablo Neruda, Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair. Trans. W.S. Merwin (Penguin Classics; Bilingual edition, December 26, 2006)
Pablo Neruda (Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair)
January brings the snow, Makes our feet and fingers glow. February brings the rain, Thaws the frozen lake again. March brings breezes, loud and shrill, To stir the dancing daffodil. April brings out the primrose sweet, Scatters daisies at our feet. May brings flock of pretty lambs, Skipping by their fleecy dams, June brings tulips, lilies, roses, Fills the children's hands with posies. Hot July brings cooling showers, Apricots, and gillyflowers. August brings the sheaves of corn, Then the harvest home is borne. Warm September brings the fruit; Sportsmen then begin to shoot. Fresh October brings the pheasant; Then to gather nuts is pleasant. Dull November brings the blast; Then the leaves are whirling fast. Chill December brings the sleet, Blazing fire, and Christmas treat.
Elizabeth Hauge Sword (A Child's Anthology of Poetry)
For all the things I didn’t say, About how I felt all along the way. I have always found love in your heart. O mother-my-love, I’ll never let what we have fall apart. Whether it’s the sunny May or the cold December, Mama, you’re the one I’ll always remember. I may never find words to express what you mean to me; As long as you’re here, I will be...
Kiran Bisht