Allen Ginsberg | |
takes him strolling
by railroad and by river
-he's the son of the absconded
hot rod angel-
and he imagines cars
and rides them in his dreams,
so lonely growing up among
the imaginary automobiles
and dead souls of Tarrytown
out of his own imagination
the beauty of his wild
he cannot inherit.
Will he later hallucinate
his gods? Waking
among mysteries with
an insane gleam
something so rare
in his soul,
met only in dreams
of another life.
A question of the soul.
And the injured
losing their injury
in their innocence
-a cock, a cross,
an excellence of love.
And the father grieves
complexities of memory
a thousand miles
of the unexpected
bumming toward his door.
- New York, April 13, 1952
Allen Ginsberg | |
What thoughts I have of you tonight, Walt Whit-
man, for I walked down the sidestreets under the trees
with a headache self-conscious looking at the full moon.
In my hungry fatigue, and shopping for images,
I went into the neon fruit supermarket, dreaming of
What peaches and what penumbras! Whole fam-
ilies shopping at night! Aisles full of husbands! Wives
in the avocados, babies in the tomatoes!--and you,
Garcia Lorca, what were you doing down by the
I saw you, Walt Whitman, childless, lonely old
grubber, poking among the meats in the refrigerator
and eyeing the grocery boys.
I heard you asking questions of each: Who killed
the pork chops? What price bananas? Are you my
I wandered in and out of the brilliant stacks of
cans following you, and followed in my imagination
by the store detective.
We strode down the open corridors together in
our solitary fancy tasting artichokes, possessing every
frozen delicacy, and never passing the cashier.
Where are we going, Walt Whitman? The doors
close in an hour.
Which way does your beard point
(I touch your book and dream of our odyssey in the
supermarket and feel absurd.
Will we walk all night through solitary streets?
The trees add shade to shade, lights out in the houses,
we'll both be lonely.
Will we stroll dreaming ofthe lost America of love
past blue automobiles in driveways, home to our silent
Ah, dear father, graybeard, lonely old courage-
teacher, what America did you have when Charon quit
poling his ferry and you got out on a smoking bank
and stood watching the boat disappear on the black
waters of Lethe?
Ehsan Sehgal | |
"Love does not recognise wisdom and beauty, it feels only heart beating, in which displays the imagination of beloved.
More great poems below...
Ehsan Sehgal | |
"Among the people, there will be someone like a poetry, like an imagination that is neither perceived as real nor present to the senses, when it comes true and visible, it is the Divine gift and reward of one's inner wishes, desires and prayers.
Thomas Stearns Eliot (T S) Eliot | |
O quam te memorem virgo.
STAND on the highest pavement of the stair—
Lean on a garden urn—
Weave, weave the sunlight in your hair—
Clasp your flowers to you with a pained surprise—
Fling them to the ground and turn
With a fugitive resentment in your eyes:
But weave, weave the sunlight in your hair.
So I would have had him leave,
So I would have had her stand and grieve,
So he would have left
As the soul leaves the body torn and bruised,
As the mind deserts the body it has used.
I should find
Some way incomparably light and deft,
Some way we both should understand,
Simple and faithless as a smile and shake of the hand.
She turned away, but with the autumn weather
Compelled my imagination many days,
Many days and many hours:
Her hair over her arms and her arms full of flowers.
And I wonder how they should have been together!
I should have lost a gesture and a pose.
Sometimes these cogitations still amaze
The troubled midnight and the noon’s repose.
Erin Belieu | |
Make your daily monument the Ego,
use a masochist's epistemology
of shame and dog-eared certainty
that others less exacting might forgo.
If memory's an elephant, then feed
Resist revision: the stand
of feral raspberry, contraband
fruit the crows stole, ferrying seed
for miles .
It was a broken hedge,
not beautiful, sunlight tacking
its leafy gut in loose sutures.
imagination, you'll take the pledge
to remember - not the sexy, new
idea of history, each moment
swamped in legend, liable to judgment
and erosion; still, an appealing view,
to draft our lives, a series of vignettes
where endings could be substituted -
your father, unconvoluted
by desire, not grown bonsai in regret,
the bedroom of blue flowers left intact.
The room was nearly dark, the streetlight
a sentinel at the white curtain, its night
Do not retract
Something did happen.
can feel a stumbling over wet ground,
the cave the needled branches made around
your body, the creature you couldn't console.
A R Ammons | |
Walking is like
dissolves the circle
into motion; the eye here
and there rests
on a leaf,
gap, or ledge,
sight touches seen:
stop, though, and
reality snaps back
in, locked hard,
the self, too, then
caught real, clouds
and wind melting
into their directions,
breaking around and
over, down and out,
Perhaps the death mother like the birth mother
does not desert us but comes to tend
and produce us, to make room for us
and bear us tenderly, considerately,
through the gates, to see us through,
to ease our pains, quell our cries,
to hover over and nestle us, to deliver
us into the greatest, most enduring
peace, all the way past the bother of
beyond the finework of frailty,
the mishmash house of the coming & going,
the eddies and curlicues
Robert Seymour Bridges | |
The sickness of desire, that in dark days
Looks on the imagination of despair,
Forgetteth man, and stinteth God his praise;
Nor but in sleep findeth a cure for care.
Incertainty that once gave scope to dream
Of laughing enterprise and glory untold,
Is now a blackness that no stars redeem,
A wall of terror in a night of cold.
Fool! thou that hast impossibly desired
And now impatiently despairest, see
How nought is changed: Joy's wisdom is attired
Splendid for others' eyes if not for thee:
Not love or beauty or youth from earth is fled:
If they delite thee not, 'tis thou art dead.
Marianne Moore | |
I, too, dislike it: there are things that are important beyond all
Reading it, however, with a perfect contempt for it, one
it after all, a place for the genuine.
Hands that can grasp, eyes
that can dilate, hair that can rise
if it must, these things are important not because a
high-sounding interpretation can be put upon them but because
When they become so derivative as to become
the same thing may be said for all of us, that we
do not admire what
we cannot understand: the bat
holding on upside down or in quest of something to
eat, elephants pushing, a wild horse taking a roll, a tireless wolf
a tree, the immovable critic twitching his skin like a horse that
flea, the base-
ball fan, the statistician--
nor is it valid
to discriminate against 'business documents and
school-books'; all these phenomena are important.
make a distinction
however: when dragged into prominence by half poets, the
result is not poetry,
nor till the poets among us can be
insolence and triviality and can present
for inspection, 'imaginary gardens with real toads in them', shall
In the meantime, if you demand on the one hand,
the raw material of poetry in
all its rawness and
that which is on the other hand
genuine, you are interested in poetry.
Petrarch | |
S' Amor novo consiglio non n' apporta.
HE DESCRIBES HIS SAD STATE.
If Love to give new counsel still delay,
My life must change to other scenes than these;
My troubled spirit grief and terror freeze,
Desire augments while all my hopes decay.
Thus ever grows my life, by night and day,
Despondent, and dismay'd, and ill at ease,
Harass'd and helmless on tempestuous seas,
With no sure escort on a doubtful way.
Her path a sick imagination guides,
Its true light underneath—ah, no! on high,
Whence on my heart she beams more bright than eye,
Not on mine eyes; from them a dark veil hides
Those lovely orbs, and makes me, ere life's span
Is measured half, an old and broken man.
Dejan Stojanovic | |
I imagined I was a mountain
Then I became a cloud over that mountain
Lightning and thunder pummeled the mountain
Pierced the heart of the earth,
Becoming lava and exploding as a volcano.
I imagined I was a star
Light traveling into space
Then I grew as a tree
With leaves of galaxies eating the light
Becoming the angel of life and the bearer of light.
I imagined I was a black hole
Flying through myself and swallowing myself
While eating others to consume the abyss of energy
But still, holding the whole galaxy in order
Keeping billions of stars circling around me.
I imagined I was God for a millisecond
And became speechless for a long time.
A S J Tessimond | |
Architects plant their imagination, weld their poems on rock,
Clamp them to the skidding rim of the world and anchor them down to its core;
Leave more than the painter's or poet's snail-bright trail on a friable leaf;
Can build their chrysalis round them - stand in their sculpture's belly.
They see through stone, they cage and partition air, they cross-rig space
With footholds, planks for a dance; yet their maze, their flying trapeze
Is pinned to the centre.
They write their euclidean music standing
With a hand on a cornice of cloud, themselves set fast, earth-square.
Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi | |
i was dead
i came alive
i was tears
i became laughter
all because of love
when it arrived
my temporal life
from then on
changed to eternal
love said to me
you are not
fit this house
i went and
to be in chains
you are not
fit the group
i went and
you are still
imagination and skepticism
i went and
and in fright
from it all
you are a candle
gathering every one
i am no more
a candle spreading light
i gather no more crowds
and like smoke
i am all scattered now
you are a teacher
you are a head
and for everyone
you are a leader
i am no more
not a teacher
not a leader
just a servant
to your wishes
you already have
your own wings
i will not give you
and then my heart
pulled itself apart
and filled to the brim
with a new light
overflowed with fresh life
now even the heavens
are thankful that
because of love
i have become
the giver of light
Ghazal number 1393, translated by Nader Khalili
Marilyn L Taylor | |
They take us by surprise, these tall perennials
that jut like hollyhocks above the canopy
of all the rest of us—bright testimonials
to the scale of human possibility.
They come to bloom for every generation,
blazing with extraordinary notions
from the taproots of imagination—
dazzling us with incandescent visions.
And soon, the things we never thought would happen
start to happen: the solid fences
of reality begin to soften,
crumbling into fables and romances—
and we turn away from where we've been
to a new place, where light is pouring in.
Wallace Stevens | |
Light the first light of evening, as in a room
In which we rest and, for small reason, think
The world imagined is the ultimate good.
This is, therefore, the intensest rendezvous.
It is in that thought that we collect ourselves,
Out of all the indifferences, into one thing:
Within a single thing, a single shawl
Wrapped tightly round us, since we are poor, a warmth,
A light, a power, the miraculous influence.
Here, now, we forget each other and ourselves.
We feel the obscurity of an order, a whole,
A knowledge, that which arranged the rendezvous.
Within its vital boundary, in the mind.
We say God and the imagination are one.
How high that highest candle lights the dark.
Out of this same light, out of the central mind,
We make a dwelling in the evening air,
In which being there together is enough.
Wallace Stevens | |
Sister and mother and diviner love,
And of the sisterhood of the living dead
Most near, most clear, and of the clearest bloom,
And of the fragrant mothers the most dear
And queen, and of diviner love the day
And flame and summer and sweet fire, no thread
Of cloudy silver sprinkles in your gown
Its venom of renown, and on your head
No crown is simpler than the simple hair.
Now, of the music summoned by the birth
That separates us from the wind and sea,
Yet leaves us in them, until earth becomes,
By being so much of the things we are,
Gross effigy and simulacrum, none
Gives motion to perfection more serene
Than yours, out of our own imperfections wrought,
Most rare, or ever of more kindred air
In the laborious weaving that you wear.
For so retentive of themselves are men
That music is intensest which proclaims
The near, the clear, and vaunts the clearest bloom,
And of all the vigils musing the obscure,
That apprehends the most which sees and names,
As in your name, an image that is sure,
Among the arrant spices of the sun,
O bough and bush and scented vine, in whom
We give ourselves our likest issuance.
Yet not too like, yet not so like to be
Too near, too clear, saving a little to endow
Our feigning with the strange unlike, whence springs
The difference that heavenly pity brings.
For this, musician, in your girdle fixed
Bear other perfumes.
On your pale head wear
A band entwining, set with fatal stones.
Unreal, give back to us what once you gave:
The imagination that we spurned and crave.
Elinor Wylie | |
Why should my sleepy heart be taught
To whistle mocking-bird replies?
This is another bird you've caught,
Soft-feathered, with a falcon's eyes.
The bird Imagination,
That flies so far, that dies so soon;
Her wings are coloured like the sun,
Her breast is coloured like the moon.
Weave her a chain of silver twist,
And a little hood of scarlet wool,
And let her perch upon your wrist,
And tell her she is beautiful.
Robert William Service | |
Some inherit manly beauty,
Some come into worldly wealth;
Some have lofty sense of duty,
Others boast exultant health.
Though the pick may be confusing,
Health, wealth, charm or character,
If you had the chance of choosing
Which would you prefer?
I'm not sold on body beauty,
Though health I appreciate;
Character and sense of duty
I resign to Men of State.
I don't need a heap of money;
Oh I know I'm hard to please.
Though to you it may seem funny,
I want none of these.
No, give me Imagination,
And the gift of weaving words
Into patterns of creation,
With the lilt of singing birds;
Passion and the power to show it,
Sense of life with love expressed:
Let my be a bloody poet,--
You can keep the rest.
Robert William Service | |
A gaunt and hoary slab of stone
I found in desert place,
And wondered why it lay alone
In that abandoned place.
Said I: 'Maybe a Palace stood
Where now the lizards crawl,
With courts of musky quietude
And turrets tall.
Maybe where low the vultures wing
'Mid mosque and minaret,
The proud pavilion of a King
Was luminously set.
'Mid fairy fountains, alcoves dim,
Upon a garnet throne
He ruled,--and now all trace of him
Is just this stone.
Ah well, I've done with wandering,
But from a blousy bar
I see with drunk imagining
A Palace like a star.
I build it up from one grey stone
With gardens hanging high,
And dream .
Long, long ere Babylon
It's King was I.
Wislawa Szymborska | |
The admirable number pi:
three point one four one.
All the following digits are also just a start,
five nine two because it never ends.
It can't be grasped, six five three five , at a glance,
eight nine, by calculation,
seven nine, through imagination,
or even three two three eight in jest, or by comparison
four six to anything
two six four three in the world.
The longest snake on earth ends at thirty-odd feet.
Same goes for fairy tale snakes, though they make it a little longer.
The caravan of digits that is pi
does not stop at the edge of the page,
but runs off the table and into the air,
over the wall, a leaf, a bird's nest, the clouds, straight into the sky,
through all the bloatedness and bottomlessness.
Oh how short, all but mouse-like is the comet's tail!
How frail is a ray of starlight, bending in any old space!
Meanwhile two three fifteen three hundred nineteen
my phone number your shirt size
the year nineteen hundred and seventy-three sixth floor
number of inhabitants sixty-five cents
hip measurement two fingers a charade and a code,
in which we find how blithe the trostle sings!
and please remain calm,
and heaven and earth shall pass away,
but not pi, that won't happen,
it still has an okay five,
and quite a fine eight,
and all but final seven,
prodding and prodding a plodding eternity
Wislawa Szymborska | |
Four billion people on this earth,
but my imagination is the way it's always been:
bad with large numbers.
It is still moved by particularity.
It flits about the darkness like a flashlight beam,
disclosing only random faces,
while the rest go blindly by,
unthought of, unpitied.
Not even a Dante could have stopped that.
So what do you do when you're not,
even with all the muses on your side?
Non omnis moriar—a premature worry.
Yet am I fully alive, and is that enough?
It never has been, and even less so now.
I select by rejecting, for there's no other way,
but what I reject, is more numerous,
more dense, more intrusive than ever.
At the cost of untold losses—a poem, a sigh.
I reply with a whisper to a thunderous calling.
How much I am silent about I can't say.
A mouse at the foot of mother mountain.
Life lasts as long as a few lines of claws in the sand.
My dreams—even they are not as populous as they should be.
There is more solitude in them than crowds or clamor.
Sometimes someone long dead will drop by for a bit.
A single hand turns a knob.
Annexes of echo overgrow the empty house.
I run from the threshold down into the quiet
valley seemingly no one's—an anachronism by now.
Where does all this space still in me come from—
that I don't know.
Barry Tebb | |
Two nights I have dreamed of you
Once as an adolescent, evanescent
Yet tangible still to the spirit’s touch,
Then as a ten year old in the shared
Secret garden of our imagination.
Barry Tebb | |
You buy my freedom with your love.
With every book you catalogue or stamp
My imagination hacks a strand from the hawser
That for three years has held it
In the grubbing estuary of mud and time.
Your early waking with tired eyes
And late return at evening, all
Contribute to the store of images
I love you for: the irony being
Your job is worse than mine
Your talent more.
I do not understand myself, the time, or you.
I cannot comprehend our love, shot through
Like flying silk with flashes of gold light
And the tattered backcloth of suffering.
Each night I remember our meeting;
My hair ‘like iron wire’, the grey dust
In the air of my house, the exact place
On the carpet where I kissed you
And how we talked on and on,
Too much in love for love,
Until the night was gone.
We acted out our love
By nearly going mad,
Gave up the jobs we had
To take a cottage on the moors
At less than garage rent.
For food we learned to pledge our dreams
And found, too late, the world redeems
What it had lent.
By night the world unpicked
The dream we wove by day,
Each dawn we woke to find
The stitching come away.
Two creatures from a bestiary
Besieged our dream:
A neighbour’s one-eyed cat
That prowled outside to bring
Its witch-like owner
With her tapping stick.
Was the Bach we played too loud for her deaf ears,
Or was it our love that howled her silence home?
We have re-built that house
We have sculptured that dream
Barry Tebb | |
For Jeremy Reed
Rejection doesn’t lead me to dejection
But to inspiration via irritation
Or at least to a bit of naughty new year wit-
Oh isn’t it a shame my poetry’s not tame
Like Rupert’s or Jay’s - I never could
Get into their STRIDE just to much pride
To lick the arses of the poetry-of-earthers
Or the sad lady who runs KATABASIS from the back
Of a bike, gets shouted at by rude parkies
And writing huffy poems to prove it.
Oh to be acceptable and
IN THE POETRY REVIEW
Like Lavinia or Jo
With double spreads
And a glossy colour photo
Instead I’m stuck in a bus queue at Morden
London’s meridian point of zero imagination
Actually it’s a bit like ACUMEN with the Oxleys
Boasting about their 150,000 annual submissions-
If what they print’s the best God help the rest.
At least my Christmas post had - instead of a card
From Jeremy Reed - his ELEGY FOR DAVID GASCOYNE -
The best poem I’ve had by post in forty years
And Jeremy’s best to date in my estimate -
The English APOLLINAIRE - your ZONE, your SONG
OF THE BADLY LOVED - sitting in a cafe in South End Green
I send you this poem, Jeremy, sight unseen,
A new year’s gift to you, pushing through
To star galaxies still unmapped and to you, BW,
Sonneteer of silence, huddled in the fourth month
Of your outdoor vigil, measuring in blood, tears and rain
Your syllable count in hour-glass of pain.
Quincy Troupe | |
we walk through a calligraphy of hats slicing off foreheads
ace-deuce cocked, they slant, razor sharp, clean through imagination, our
spirits knee-deep in what we have forgotten entrancing our bodies now to
dance, like enraptured water lilies
the rhythm in liquid strides of certain looks
eyeballs rippling through breezes
riffing choirs of trees, where a trillion slivers of sunlight prance across
filigreeing leaves, a zillion voices of bamboo reeds, green with summer
saxophone bursts, wrap themselves, like transparent prisms of dew drops
around images, laced with pearls & rhinestones, dreams
& perhaps it is through this decoding of syllables that we learn speech
that sonorous river of broken mirrors carrying our dreams
assaulted by pellets of raindrops, prisons of words entrapping us
between parentheses — two bat wings curving cynical smiles
still, there is something here, that, perhaps, needs explaining
beyond the hopelessness of miles, the light at the end of a midnight tunnel —
where some say a speeding train is bulleting right at us ——
so where do the tumbling words spend themselves after they have spent
all meaning residing in the warehouse of language, after they have slipped
from our lips, like skiers on ice slopes, strung together words linking
themselves through smoke, where do the symbols they carry
stop everything, put down roots, cleanse themselves of everything
but clarity —— though here eye might be asking a little too much of any
poet's head, full as it were with double-entendres