A Poem for Nelson Mandela

alexander_BOLeary

http://www.elizabethalexander.net/poems.html

Here where I live it is Sunday.
From my room I hear black
children playing between houses
and the El at a Sabbath rattle.
I smell barbecue from every direction
and hear black hands tolling church bells,
hear wind hissing through elm trees
through dry grasses
On a rooftop of a prison
in South Africa Nelson Mandela
tends garden and has a birthday,
as my Jamaican grandfather in Harlem, New York
raises tomatoes and turns ninety-one.
I have taken touch for granted: my grandfather’s hands,
his shoulders, his pajamas which smell of vitamin pills.
I have taken a lover’s touch for granted,
recall my lover’s touch from this morning
as Mandela’s wife pulls memories through years
and years
my life is black and filled with fortune.
Nelson Mandela is with me because I believe
in symbols; symbols bear power; symbols demand
power; and that is how a nation
follows a man who leads from prison
and cannot speak to them. Nelson Mandela
is with me because I am a black girl
who honors her elders, who loves
her grandfather, who is a black daughter
as Mandela’s daughters are black
daughters. This is Philadelphia
and I see this Sunday clean.

_______________________________

Elizabeth Alexander is a poet, essayist, playwright, and teacher. She has published six books of poems: The Venus Hottentot (1990), Body of Life (1996), Antebellum Dream Book (2001), American Sublime (2005)—which was one of three finalists for the Pulitzer Prize and was one of the American Library Association’s “Notable Books of the Year,” Miss Crandall’s School for Young Ladies and Little Misses of Color—her first young adult collection, co-authored with Marilyn Nelson (2008 Connecticut Book Award), and her most recent book Crave Radiance: New and Selected Poems 1990-2010 (2010 Paterson Prize for Poetry). Her two collections of essays are The Black Interior (2004) and Power and Possibility (2007), and her play, “Diva Studies,” was produced at the Yale School of Drama. She has also composed words for musical projects with composers Elena Ruehr and Lewis Spratlan.

In 2009, she composed and delivered “Praise Song for the Day” for the first inauguration of President Barack Obama. The poem was later adapted into a children’s book with illustrations by Caldecott Medalist David Diaz and released in March 2012. Her poems are included in dozens of collections and have been translated into several languages including Spanish, German, Italian, Arabic and Bengali.

Professor Alexander is one of the first recipients of the Alphonse Fletcher, Sr. Fellowship for work that “contributes to improving race relations in American society and furthers the broad social goals of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision of 1954.” She is the 2007 recipient of the first Jackson Prize for Poetry, awarded by Poets and Writers. Most recently, she was named an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award winner for her lifetime achievement in poetry. She is the Thomas E. Donnelley Professor of African American Studies and the chair of the African American Studies Department.

Advertisements

❅❄** Surviving Winter **❄❅

This is a very good poem. I like how it’s presented!
Love, light and laughter
Vee

My Voyage Through Time

image❅❄*****❅*****❄❅
Frost moved in with
stealth and strength.
The warmth she knew
receded into snowy
stars which were
shunned at Heaven’s
gate. With each frozen
breath, her chest grew
weary. Beads of iced
tears sparkled on her
lashes. She hoped the
green grass and Aries
moon could survive
the call of winter.
❅❄*****❅*****❄❅
**
**
*
by Felicia Lujan
December 9, 2013

View original post

the Contemporary Evil

This is a powerful poem.  I hope you enjoy it.

Love, light and blessings

Vee

_________________________________________________

 contemplation

By:  Vickie M. Ortiz Vazquez

I am tired, of you

I am tired of you and those like you
Taking away without re-precautions
Lurking, using your authority to get away
Surfing to the light as if nothing has taken place
Smiling
Breathing
Laughing

I am tired, of you
I am tired of you and those like you
Hiding behind peacock feathers, beautiful colors
Disguise that fools everyone, including you
Contemplating when would be your next fix
You walk among us smiling, breathing, laughing
As if nothing is out of the ordinary, just another day
Your life mirrors what everyone knows yet refuses to act on
Refuses to stand up, shout no more
Rise above, fight against you

I am tired, of you
I am tired of you and those like you
Vociferando lies, fables that continues to weave the shield that protects you
With every call a menace is release upon us
Trusting we wait, hope opens the doors
Suddenly; pitch black
She said, he said

I am tired, of you
I am tired of you and those like you
Hiding behind the oldest, largest legal gang of the world
Oath to protect and served
Unbalanced, to find minimum to no protecting, serving
Deaf ears to what she said, experienced, lost
Struck not once but twice within the same moment
Entrust with life, not enough to be heardI am tired, of you
I am tired of you and those like you
My skin opens, bleeds with every news of your protected lifestyle
Your privilege life hiding behind the color blue
Walking along a white man’s anthem
As old as the blues
Weeps uncontrollably my skin
Not seen, not heard, nor spoken
Swept under the rug my pain, her lost and unfortunately her inheritance
Mind, I can be your grandmother, mother, sister, daughter
Don’t fix upon me the undesired, unwanted
I am tired
Aren’t you?

“Eleven Hints for Life”

I really like this.

Vee

Portrait of happy couple

________________________________________________

1. It hurts to love someone and not be loved in return. But what is more painful is to love someone and never find the courage to let that person know how you feel.

2. A sad thing in life is when you meet someone who means a lot to you, only to find out in the end that it was never meant to be and you just have to let go.

3. The best kind of friend is the kind you can sit on a porch swing with, never say a word, and then walk away feeling like it was the best conversation you’ve ever had.

4. It’s true that we don’t know what we’ve got until we lose it, but it’s also true that we don’t know what we’ve been missing until it arrives.

5. It takes only a minute to get a crush on someone, an hour to like someone, and a day to love someone-but it takes a lifetime to forget someone.

6. Don’t go for looks, they can deceive. Don’t go for wealth, even that fades away. Go for someone who makes you smile because it takes only a smile to make a dark day
seem bright.

7. Dream what you want to dream, go where you want to go, be what you want to be. Because you have only one life and one chance to do all the things you want to do.

8. Always put yourself in the other’s shoes. If you feel that it hurts you, it probably hurts the person too.

9. A careless word may kindle strife. A cruel word may wreck a life. A timely word may level stress. But a loving word may heal and bless.

10. The happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best of everything they just make the most of everything that comes along their way.

11. Love begins with a smile, grows with a kiss, ends with a tear. When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling. Live your life so that when you die,
you’re the one smiling and everyone around you is crying.

(Courtesy of Board of Wisdom)

Ruth Stone

Sharon Olds

Courtesy of Poem-A-Day

(Ruth Stone, June 8, 1915 – November 19, 2011)

And suddenly, it’s today, it’s this morning
they are putting Ruth into the earth,
her breasts going down, under the hill,
like the moon and sun going down together.
O I know, it’s not Ruth–what was Ruth
went out, slowly, but this was her form,
beautiful and powerful
as the old, gorgeous goddesses who were
terrible, too, not telling a lie

for anyone–and she’d been left here so long, among
mortals, by her mate–who could not,
one hour, bear to go on being human.
And I’ve gone a little crazy myself
with her going, which seems to go against logic,
the way she has always been there, with her wonder, and her
generousness, her breasts like two
voluptuous external hearts.
I am so glad she kept them, all
her life, and she got to be buried in them–
she 96, and they
maybe 82, each, which is
164 years
of pleasure and longing. And think of all
the poets who have suckled at her riskiness, her
risque, her body politic, her
outlaw grace! What she came into this world with,
with a mew and cry, she gave us. In her red
sweater and her red hair and her raw
melodious Virginia crackle,
she emptied herself fully out
into her songs and our song-making,
we would not have made our songs without her.

O dear one, what is this? You are not a child,
though you dwindled, you have not retraced your path,
but continued to move straight forward to where
we will follow you, radiant mother. Red Rover, cross over.

Copyright © 2013 by Sharon Olds. Used with permission of the author.

About This Poem

“When Ruth Stone, one of our great American poets, died, I was not able to get to Vermont for her burial. That morning, I sat by the window, over Riverside Drive, in New York City, and let my mind go, took off its collar and leash, and let it run–straight to her. All I asked of my mind was that it report back to me what it saw, what it thought and felt. After the poem was finished (by hand, by ballpoint in grocery-store notebook), and typed, and revised a little, it was ready to go out and seek other lovers of Ruth Stone’s poems, with whom to observe and mourn her passing, and to praise her. Later I had the sorrowing joy of reading Toi Derricotte’s story of her deep friendship with Ruth and her family, and of the day of the burial in her essay ‘Ruth Stone’s Funeral’ which was published in Water-Stone Review, Volume 15, 2012. Thus do we all keep each other company.”

–Sharon Olds

Poem-A-Day

Launched during National Poetry Month in 2006, Poem-A-Day features new and previously unpublished poems by contemporary poets on weekdays and classic poems on weekends. Browse the Poem-A-Day Archive.

Sharon Olds is the author of numerous books of poems, including Stag’s Leap (Knopf, 2012), which received the Pulitzer Prize. She is a Chancellor Emeritus of the Academy of American Poets and teaches in the Graduate Creative Writing Program at New York University.

George Gordon Byron

I hope you enjoy the poem.

George Gordon Byron

Courtesey Poets.org

When We Two Parted

by George Gordon Byron

When we two parted 
   In silence and tears,
Half broken-hearted 
   To sever for years,
Pale grew thy cheek and cold, 
   Colder thy kiss;
Truly that hour foretold 
   Sorrow to this.

The dew of the morning 
   Sunk chill on my brow-- 
It felt like the warning
   Of what I feel now.
Thy vows are all broken, 
   And light is thy fame;
I hear thy name spoken, 
   And share in its shame.

They name thee before me, 
   A knell to mine ear;
A shudder comes o'er me--
   Why wert thou so dear?
They know not I knew thee, 
   Who knew thee too well--
Long, long shall I rue thee, 
   Too deeply to tell.

In secret we met--
   In silence I grieve,
That thy heart could forget, 
   Thy spirit deceive.
If I should meet thee 
   After long years,
How should I greet thee?--
   With silence and tears.

___________________________

George Gordon Byron

George Gordon Byron was born on January 22, 1788 in Aberdeen, Scotland, and inherited his family’s English title at the age of ten, becoming Baron Byron of Rochdale. Abandoned by his father at an early age and resentful of his mother, who he blamed for his being born with a deformed foot, Byron isolated himself during his youth and was deeply unhappy. Though he was the heir to an idyllic estate, the property was run down and his family had no assets with which to care for it. As a teenager, Byron discovered that he was attracted to men as well as women, which made him all the more remote and secretive.

He studied at Aberdeen Grammar School and then Trinity College in Cambridge. During this time Byron collected and published his first volumes of poetry. The first, published anonymously and titled Fugitive Pieces, was printed in 1806 and contained a miscellany of poems, some of which were written when Byron was only fourteen. As a whole, the collection was considered obscene, in part because it ridiculed specific teachers by name, and in part because it contained frank, erotic verses. At the request of a friend, Byron recalled and burned all but four copies of the book, then immediately began compiling a revised version—though it was not published during his lifetime. The next year, however, Byron published his second collection, Hours of Idleness, which contained many of his early poems, as well as significant additions, including poems addressed to John Edelston, a younger boy whom Byron had befriended and deeply loved.

By Byron’s twentieth birthday, he faced overwhelming debt. Though his second collection received an initially favorable response, a disturbingly negative review was printed in January of 1808, followed by even more scathing criticism a few months later. His response was a satire, English Bards and Scotch Reviewers, which received mixed attention. Publicly humiliated and with nowhere else to turn, Byron set out on a tour of the Mediterranean, traveling with a friend to Portugal, Spain, Albania, Turkey, and finally Athens. Enjoying his new-found sexual freedom, Byron decided to stay in Greece after his friend returned to England, studying the language and working on a poem loosely based on his adventures. Inspired by the culture and climate around him, he later wrote to his sister, “If I am a poet … the air of Greece has made me one.”

Byron returned to England in the summer of 1811 having completed the opening cantos of Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, a poem which tells the story of a world-weary young man looking for meaning in the world. When the first two cantos were published in March of 1812, the expensive first printing sold out in three days. Byron reportedly said, “I awoke one morning and found myself famous.”

His fame, however, was among the aristocratic intellectual class, at a time when only cultivated people read and discussed literature. The significant rise in a middle-class reading public, and with it the dominance of the novel, was still a few years away. At 24, Byron was invited to the homes of the most prestigious families and received hundreds of fan letters, many of them asking for the remaining cantos of his great poem—which eventually appeared in 1818.

An outspoken politician in the House of Lords, Byron used his popularity for public good, speaking in favor of workers’ rights and social reform. He also continued to publish romantic tales in verse. His personal life, however, remained rocky. He was married and divorced, his wife Anne Isabella Milbanke having accused him of everything from incest to sodomy. A number of love affairs also followed, including one with Claire Clairmont, the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley‘s sister in law. By 1816, Byron was afraid for his life, warned that a crowd might lynch him if he were seen in public.

Forced to flee England, Byron settled in Italy and began writing his masterpiece, Don Juan, an epic-satire novel-in-verse loosely based on a legendary hero. He also spent much of his time engaged in the Greek fight for independence and planned to join a battle against a Turkish-held fortress when he fell ill, becoming increasingly sick with persistent colds and fevers.

When he died on April 19, 1824, at the age of 36, Don Juan was yet to be finished, though 17 cantos had been written. A memoir, which also hadn’t been published, was burned by Byron’s friends who were either afraid of being implicated in scandal or protective of his reputation.

Today, Byron’s Don Juan is considered one of the great long poems in English written since Milton’s Paradise Lost. The Byronic hero, characterized by passion, talent, and rebellion, pervades Byron’s work and greatly influenced the work of later Romantic poets.

– See more at: http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/1562#sthash.yMzGlI4U.dpuf

10 Contemporary Poets You Should Know

Great article about poets on the rise!

Love, light and blessings

Flavorwire

Alex Dimitrov is a poet and man about town who works at the Academy of American Poets by day and hosts a “queer poetry salon” called Wilde Boys at night. We asked him to curate a list of his favorite poets who came of age a decade before him, in the weird and wonderful 1990s. He writes, “Happy National Poetry Month, everyone! Here are ten contemporary poets, among the many I read and admire, that you may get into this month. Most of them have a few books out and are poets who I, as a late 2000s poetry baby, grew up reading along with the so-called ‘classics.'”

The group Dimitrov chose is cosmopolitan, accomplished, and is perhaps younger than what we normally imagine our poets being. “I want you guys to know that not all poets are 105 years old and writing abstract dribble in some attic in New…

View original post 479 more words