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Long poem by Mario DE PAZ | Details |

Divine Comedy, second canto

The day was going off, and the brown air
To the terrestrial animals gave rest
For their labors; and only me was there

Just ready to withstand the war at best
Both of the journey and of the torment,
Which by my mind will be rightly expressed.

O muse, o high genius, help my intent;
O mind which tried to write the things I saw
Here of  noblesse you will show the extent.

I then began: ”Poet , that guide  me and draw,
Look at my virtue if it has the power, 
Before I try the high step with no flaw.

You affirm that Silvio’s father not this hour,
While he was living, to immortal place
Just went, and was with senses free to scour.

But, if of any evil the adverse base
Favored him, accounting the high effect
Which had to come from him, it was the case

Well worthy looking to any mind perfect;
So he was of alma Rome and its domain
In the empyrean heaven father elect:

Both city and man, for real truth sustain,
Were then chosen: Rome as the saint ground
Where of Peter’s successor must remain. 

This going for praising him made it sound,
Things were achieved which allowed after then
His victory and the Pope’s mantle round.

Later on went the elected Bard just when
Had to give strength  to the true belief
Which is the principle to salvage men.

But me, why should I come? Who gives motif?
I’m not Aeneas, and nor Paul I am;
On this is mine and others’ disbelief.

Because, if to come there I do not stem,
I fear that coming will prove I’m insane
You’re sage; that I don’t reason you should pram”

And as who wants what then has to restrain
Following new thoughts with proposal change
So that all things have to begin again,

Similarly I did it in that obscure range
Because, by thinking, I rapidly succeeded
In the way which at start was to derange.

“If your words I have correctly heeded”,
Answered the shadow of that noble man,
“Your mind to dastardliness has ceded;

Which many times man hardly overran
So that diverts him from any honored deed,
As when see vicious beasts wrongly you can. 

From this alarm in order to be freed,
I’ll tell you why I came and what I heard
In the prime question to follow your need.

I was within the ones suspended herd,
When nice and blessed woman called out me, 
Such as to ask hers commands I preferred.

Much more than stars hers eyes were bright to see;
Then to talk she started gentle and low,
With angelic voice, in hers language free:

“O gracious soul from Mantua shiny glow,
Whose worldwide fame power to stand has still
And long time shall last as the world will go,

The friend of mine, and not of venture skill,
In the desert space is hardly entrapped
So that he is giving up for scare thrill;

And I fear for him to be already flapped,
That the rescue from mine might be too late,
As far of him from heavens I have kept.

Now you must go there, and with your speech straight
And giving him what needed to survive,
Help him, I will be free of anguish weight.

I am Beatrice and your step I drive;
I come from where I want be back again;
Love, making me speaking, made me revive.

When I will be in front of my Lord main
Often I shall praise to him your valid soul”
She then got silent, and I had to explain:
 
“O woman full of virtue , who is sole
To fill for human beings any empty space
Of heaven, which of  less rim has its bowl,

I like so much whatever is your trace
That obey, if it were, it would be late;
You have only to open me your case.

But tell me the reason why you took the rate
To descend down here in this dark center
From the wide site which  you dearly wait” 

“Since your knowledge wants so deep to enter,
Will tell you in brief” , she answered then,
“Why I don’t fear to bring here my mentor.

We can be afraid of things but only when
Show to be aggressive to others much;
If not, don’t fear, they cannot hurt the men. 

I am a Lord’s construction, thanks God ,such,
As your wretchedness cannot now me hurt
Nor flame of this hot burning can me touch.

Heavenly woman to tears must convert
This very hard task where you I send,
Compelling her a judgment to divert. 
 
She pleaded Lucia helpful commend
And told her: - Now your faithful man help needs 
From you, and him I warmly recommend-

Lucia, opposing any misdeeds,
Moved, and rapid came where I was
With ancient Rachele already sitting.

She told:- Beatrice, true God’s laud and  luz,
Why don’t you help the one who loved much you,
The vulgar herd so leaving for this cause?

Aren’t you hearing his painful tears undue,
Neither you see with death how hard his fight
Goes on the flood on which sea never flew?

Nobody in the world was rapid quite
To have a gain or a risk to escape
As I was, after such words I heard right,

I came down here from my blessed agape
Trusting your honest speaking good indeed
Honoring you and those who caught your shape-.

After these words to me wanted to cede
Hers shiny eyes than moved weeping with tears
Which pulled me to come with greater speed.

And I came here then following hers cares:
I took you off from facing up that beast
Which you to climb the hill impeded airs.

So: what happens? Why, why aren’t  you released,
Why such cowardice in your heart admit,
Why your courage and baldness are not pieced, 

As on three blessed women you can commit
Who care take of you in the heaven court,
And so much good  I’m talking to transmit? 

Like little flowers in the night chill fort
Are bent and closed, after white sun light,
Suddenly all open their stems are sort,

Similar I did with my tired virtue slight,
And so good boldness in my heart then came,
That I started speaking as I was all right:

“Oh indeed piteous and helpful dame!
And you that soon accepted hers request
With the true words which proffered in my name!

You have my heart with such desire stressed
So much to join you according your talk,
That my previous purpose I reassessed.

Since we have the same will, then start to walk:
You leader, you lord and you master main”.
So I told; when pace started to unlock, 

The path I entered savage and arcane.


Long poem by Mario DE PAZ | Details |

dante's divine comedy first canto translation

Premise
The great poem by the italian poet Dante is the DIVINA COMMEDIA
I have tried to translate in english a few verses of the first canto of INFERNO (HELL).
It was a very difficult task. 
The result below was obtained with hard work and 
probably is far away from the original spirit of our greatest poet.
The italian rhymes are of 11 syllables as requested by italian terza rima. In english language several verses sound well with 10 syllables, few with 9 or 11. I assume that in english there is no fixed rule for syllables in terza rima and I simply try to obtain a good sound of verses resembling the original italian poem.
I continue to translate and to add new verses until the characters reach the limit.
I submit to soupers expecting their sincere comments and criticism

CANTO  I Inferno                                                           Original italian       
When half the journey of my life was crossed   Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita
I found myself within a forest dark                    Mi ritrovai per una selva oscura
Because the correct way was harshly lost.            Ché la diritta via era smarrita

Oh, it's so hard to say and to remark              Ahi quanto a dir qual era è cosa dura
How strong and savage was the forest core    Esta selva selvaggia e aspra e forte
That now again I am of fear stark!                   Che nel pensier rinova la paura!

So amara it is that death is lightly more;          Tant'è amara che poco è più morte;
But to describe the sake that there I found     Ma per trattar del ben ch'i' vi trovai, 
I shall relate what I saw before.                      Dirò de l'altre cose ch'i' v'ho scorte.
  
How there I went surely I confound                 Io non so ben ridir com'i' v'intrai,
Since of slumber I was full so much                  Tant'era pien di sonno a quel punto
That I abandoned any pattern sound.              Che la verace via abbandonai.
 
But with a hill foot when I got in touch,            Ma poi ch'i' fui al piè d'un colle giunto,
There where the valley was close to end         Là dove terminava quella valle
Which to my heart gave a fear clutch,              Che m'avea di paura il cor compunto,

I looked up and saw its abrupt trend               Guardai in alto e vidi le sue spalle
Already dressed by the planet rays                  Vestite già de' raggi del pianeta
Which the path to everybody always fend.      Che mena dritto altrui per ogne calle.

So my fears were calmed in some ways,          Allor fu la paura un poco queta,
Which in the lake of my heart had lasted         Che nel lago del cor m'era durata
During the night I spent in so much haze.        La notte ch'i' passai con tanta pieta.

And similar to one with lena labored,                E come quei che con lena affannata,
Got out of open sea reaching the shore,          Uscito fuor del pelago a la riva,
Looks the perilous water behind his head,       Si volge a l'acqua perigliosa e guata,

Just so my soul, which was fleeing more,          Così l'animo mio, ch'ancor fuggiva,
Looked behind to behold the pass                    Si volse a retro a rimirar lo passo
Which no living person ever left before.            Che non lasciò già mai persona viva.

After a while to rest the body harass,       Poi ch'èi posato un poco il corpo lasso,
The way resumed along the desert slope     Ripresi via per la piaggia diserta,
So that was always lower my foot fast.    Sì che 'l piè fermo sempre era 'l più basso. 

Here, when I started with the rise to cope,   Ed ecco, quasi al cominciar de l'erta,
Sudden a very rapid panther light,                Una lonza leggera e presta molto,
Coated with spotted fur and little hope;       Che di pel macolato era coverta;

Which didn’t leave apart from my front sight,  E non mi si partia dinanzi al volto,
Or better so forbidding my path line,               Anzi 'mpediva tanto il mio cammino,
That more than once I gave up to go right.     Ch'i' fui per ritornar più volte vòlto.
 
It was the time for morning starting shine,      Temp'era dal principio del mattino,  
And sun was rising moving with those stars    E 'l sol montava 'n sù con quelle stelle
Which joined it when the love divine                Ch'eran con lui quando l'amor divino

Moved for the first those full of  beauty  jars;    Mosse di prima quelle cose belle;                               
So that I had more reasons to hope the best    Sì ch'a bene sperar m'era cagione
About that beast whose pelt had many scars    di quella fiera a la gaetta pelle 

The hour of time and the season blessed;        L'ora del tempo e la dolce stagione;
But not enough to forbid the fright                    Ma non sì che paura non mi desse
After my eyes a fierce lion guessed.                   La vista che m'apparve d'un leone.

This looked like against me pounced right     Questi parea che contra  me venisse  
With ravenous hunger and head up high,     Con la test'alta e con rabbiosa fame,
So that surrounding air looked to excite.       Sì che parea che l'aere ne tremesse.

And a lupa, which greedy coming by               Ed una lupa, che di tutte brame    
Burdened looked as only skin and bones,       Sembiava carca ne la sua magrezza,
And many people already made to sigh,         E molte genti fé già viver grame,

This put on me indeed so heavy stones             Questa mi porse tanto di gravezza  
With the scare created by the appearance,       Con la paura ch'uscia di sua vista,
That I lost the hope to reach the upper zones.  Ch'io perdei la speranza de l'altezza.

And such as guy acquiring with decision,
And comes the time which brings him then to lose,
So that his thoughts with sorrow find collision;

Similar the peaceless beast with strong abuse
Coming against me direct bit by bit
Constrained me with shadow to confuse.

(No enough space left. 
Continues in the next part. 
The last rows of original italian will be repeated there)


Long poem by Mario DE PAZ | Details |

Canto XXVII Hell transalation

Already was straight up the flame and steady
To speak no more, and yet away it went
Being the sweet poet to let it ready,

When another, which followed in ascent,
Made us to turn our eyes to top from low
Since emitted sound with confused accent.

As the Sicilian ox first had to low
With tears of the one, and this was right,
Who it annealed before with his rasp though,

With the voice of afflicted bellow might,
So that, although completely of copper done,
It looked as was by pain speared wight;

So, having no way and outcome no one
Starting from fire, in its language thus
Were converted its wretched words to stun.

But after they ended their trip with fuss 
Up to the top, giving that wriggle dart
Which gave the tongue when were passing and plus,

We heard to tell: “O you whom I impart
My voice and who now as a Lombard spoke
Telling “you must go, no more I take part”

Even though I came with a quite late stroke,
Don’t mind to stay and speak a while with me;
You see that I do not mind, I invoke!

If you just now this lost blind world to see
Have fallen from that really sweet land
Latin for which of fault I pay the fee,

Tell me if Romagna has peace at hand;
Since I lived between Urbino’s hills there
And the mount where Tiber starts to disband”.
 
I was still down bent to hear him and stare,
When my duke touched me on my body side,
Telling: “This is Latin; you speak aware”.

And I, just having the answer implied,
Straightaway started then to speak to him:
O soul who are hidden down there beside,

Your Romagna was never keen to trim
Wars in minds and hearts of its oppressors;
But none was there when now I left its rim.

Ravenna is as were predecessors:
The da Polenta eagle there can brood,
So Cervia covers with its lessors.

The land which before suffered the long mood
And of the French the bloody bunch as well,
Under the green domain are just now viewed.

The old and Verrucchio new mastiff fell,
Who of Montagna bad disposal made,
There where they stay then use their teeth to swell.

The Lamone’s and Santerno’s cities laid
Under the small lion reign with white nest
Which season by season changes side grade.

And the one which Savio wets at west,
As it seats between the flat land and hill, 
Between tyranny and freedom lives best.

Now who you are, I beg you tell now will;
You ought to be less tough than others were,
If your name in world is well valued still”.

When the fire had bellowed much to blur
In its own way, it moved then its sharp tip
Here, beyond, and then this breath could spur:

“If I could believe that my answer grip
A person who by chance world could reach just,
This flame should then stay at rest with no flip;

But since yet never from this site cussed
Came back alive no one, if I hear true,
With no fear of blemish answer entrust. 

Man at arms I was, and then friar skew,
Sure, so encircled, to my faults repair;
And certainly my faith could success view,

If not were the great priest, blasted unfair!,
Who induced to my prior faults then me;
And you understand  how, and which, and where.

While of flesh and bones I had chance to be 
Which my mother well gave me, my work was
Not of lion, but of fox, I agree.   

The tricks and hidden ways a juggler does
I knew in full, exerting them so far,
That at end out of earth came out the buzz.

When I saw myself have reached not afar
From age where everybody should just
Drop the sails and the shrouds collect on spar,

What before I liked, I felt then disgust,
And repented and avowed I became;
Oh wretched weary! And it might adjust.

The leader of modern Phariseans same,
Having a war Laterano’s nearby,
And not with Saracens or Jews, for shame,

Since all his enemies were Christian by,
And no one had been in Acri to win
Nor in Soldano’s land a merchant guy,

Neither highest office nor holy skin
He considered himself, nor cord in me 
Which had used to make the girded more thin.

But as Constantine Silvestro asked to be
Within Soracte his leprosy to heal,
So this one asked me to give the key

To heal him the arrogant fever appeal;
He asked me the advice, and I was still
Because his words looked to me mad for real.

And then he told again: “Your heart trust will;  
Absolve you by now, and you teach to do
So Palestrina to ground I raze until.

I can close or clear heaven’s door to you,
As you just well know; but there are two keys
Which my predecessor didn’t care for true”.

I was then pushed by arguments as these
Where to be silent might be then the worst,
And told: “Father, since then to wash you please

The sin I must fall in which is cursed,
A long lasting promise with waiting short
Shall make you triumphant to the seat first”.

Francis then came, when I was dead by sort
To save me; but one of the cherubs black
Told him: “Do not abduct; Don’t do me tort. 

He must come down with my wretched track
Because he gave the  fraudulent advice,
For which I am called to his hair attack;

Since can’t be shrived who can’t regret devise,
Neither together can’t repent and will
For the contradiction which is precise”.

Oh painful me! How much a sorrow thrill
When he grabbed me sudden telling: “Maybe
You did not think I had a logic skill!.

He brought me to Minos; who enfolded me
Eight times with tail to my breast around;
And  biting it with rage, so hard to see,

Told: “This in sinners fire must be bound”;
Thus where you are seeing me I am lost,
And so dressed, while going, I am now downed”.

When he ended to talk this way at last,
The flame went away expressing his pain
By twisting the sharp horn also quite tossed.

We passed beyond, and I with my duke main,
Up to the rock until we reached next arch
Which covers the trench of sinners in vain

Whose fault of betting compels them to march.


Long poem by Neldy Jolo | Details |

THE CRAFT CAN CAPTURE IT

Oh well I got an angry email to begin my day
Because of my last post on the Jabidah thing yesterday
Galit sa akin but greeted me with Assalamu alaykum.
And kung personal Moro friends ko naman ito 
They know I don't criticize Moro leaders
I always leave that to them to criticize their leaders
According to my friends baka nasa gubyerno or something
Next time I'll write na lang about the sea and the palm trees and the beaches 

Pray and pray nalang para walang provocation
ako nga ang daming nag-message sa akin nagalit sa issue ng Sabah standoff
Ikaw pa kaya na wala namanng masama na sinabi dun
Alam mo ‘buti na lang you verbalized that kasi iniisip ko rin ‘yun
I know you have reasons and you know better kaya; I just read your posts
I don’t have to go against parties kasi both have rights
And the issue must be solved

Wala, kasi sa akin kundi independence lamang ang kailangan
May ganyan din kasing realities? 
Minsan you are being asked or expected to take sides
Yes, my side is peace – with peace is independence
Yes, I heard that sa dating Jabidah Massacre celebration
Somebody said that, “Walang kapayapaan kasi walang kalayaan”
And that is very universal, kapatid.

Moro or non-Moro and writing should always geared towards humanity
That’s why for me it “anti-humanity” if you will not listen 
Or suppress when somebody will talk about freedom.
That’s the problem with Filipinos, they don't listen.
Kasi the leaders may sarili ring interests.

How do you see being Filipino?
Ako, it's a cage, Filipino nationalism 
Agenda ng mga oligarchs and landowners 
Filipino nationalism is violence against Muslims and lumads
Kasi ‘pag ako ang tatanunginmo I will never say I am Filipino
Because Tausug it’s not a name but an identity...
I understand but kaunti na lang kayo

Ako sasabihin ko na I am a Filipino but I have reservations
When I was a teenager hindi ako tumatayo ‘pag Lupang Hinirang
ngayon tumatayo na kasi napapaaway ang mga kasama ko sa sinehan
Yes and identity should be critically assessed and examined.
Kaya if they say Filipino ang mga Tausug masakit sa aking loob
But not all, kapatid. try mo pumunta sa Manila
Yung mga Moro na malalapit sa mga institusyon ng Pilipinas
Bakit iba ang Moro at ibang ang Tausug
kaya sila naging Moro at masaya na tawaging Moro 

May identity na naiiba sa Filipino
Pinag-aaralan ko rin yan and ino-observe ‘yung pag-yield sa 'Filipino'
‘Will give Filipinos a disservice
Because it is tantamount to be an accomplice to a corrupt system
And this system is the one that oppresses Muslims
At alam natin ang Tausug di lamang taga-Sulu
Pati Bisayan, Tausug din

As much as possible I am trying to make my writings 'away' 
Away from Filipino nationalism
That's the right way for me and my writing
I will ask first, “How it is to be human?” 
At super last na ang, “How to be a Filipino” 
And the Bangsamoro struggle is the greatest critique to the violence
And failures of Filipino nationalism

Ang problema kasi kaya di successful ang Bangsamoro struggle
Dahil nagdadala sila ng pangalan na di naman originally sa kanila
How come ang pangalan ko ay Abdul sa rights
Gagamitn ko ang Juan para sa aking bayan?
Kaya war of ideas ito and alam mo naman sa akin, ‘pag ideas 
And perspectives walang kompromiso and peace talks 

I do not compromise my language, my craft and myself, my writing
Filipino is an imagined nation, as well as Bangsamoro
Bakit di natin magamit ang orignal nation natin 
Na based sa Sulu archipelago and Mindanao
Yes, actually diyan ako papunta - papunta

Bakit hindi i-Bangsamoro-ized ang buong Filipinas?
It doesn’t mean na i-convert ang Pilipinas 
But the spirit, the struggle it should mean something to Filipinos
It should kasi ang dami na nagbuwis ng buhay
Kaya ko pa na tanggapin kung Maharlika

‘Yan ang gusto kong ma-achieve: Filipinos should listen to Moros
Siyempre marami pang madidiscover along the way
Indeed. Ikaw ba ‘pag sasabahin ko na ‘Tausug’ ano ang maiisip mo?
Tausug is Moro and Moro for me is something that predates 'Filipino'
But now, I would like to know the concept of “Lupah Sug”
I want to know it, I think there are more and beyond Moro on it

Before ‘Moro’ was named to Mindanao and Sulu people
It was first name to Aceh people, Melaka, Brunei and then Manila
Sulu and Mindanao were the last places to have been called the name ‘Moro’
Sulu archipelago was united under the name Sulu archipelago 
The name of people is Tausug. 
Tausug is composed of different ethnics:
Arab, Banjar, Dampuan, Buranun etcetera.
The concept of Sulu as part of dar al islam 
Is already a nation and state 
Where the government is the people and itself headed by sultan or raja

Yes, and I would like to feel this from the ordinary Tausugs when I get there
I would like to experience this from ordinary Tausug and on from place itself.
In the hinterland of Jolo, their laws still on the ground not of Philippine law

I believe in narratives
I want to hear and feel this from the place and from the people.
And then capture it; I have these thoughts 
That Lupah Sug has something that the Moro concept does not have
And it’s a bit metaphysical but sige lang.

I know my craft can capture it.
I think there is a language that can capture it 
And specific craft that can carry its soul
Not fictionalize but put it in a form like a novel or a narrative
Which have their own logic and truths as crafts.






This poem is made after the conversation and sharing with Filipino writer Rogelio Braga who also serves as the editor of the poem. He is currently in Mindanao, travelling and writing; he will then proceed to Sulu Archipelago soon. 2:28PM, 19 March 2013, Facebook Chat across Sulu Sea!


Long poem by Cyndi MacMillan | Details |

SYLVIA

                         
                           It is a terrible thing
                           To be so open: it is as if my heart
                           Put on a face and walked into the world.


                                          Sylvia Plath, Three Women, 1962



_________________________________



SYLVIA

Sylvia, ever lucent, ever opaque,
an incongruity, a clever imbalance               
that spins collections her hounds facilitate.  
Failures and fractures she bravely lanced
with noncompliance. Reader, rebuff collars
labeled as forewords, smug introductions, 
for Plath’s voice is tenfold more a scholar 
than those receiving undue benedictions.    
Lofty beggars seek to bookend her words
and that empty space she instinctively refills
with her universe, a mayhem that girds,
unapologetic. Mirror images spill
over margins, searching for identity,
negating preamble, snubbing apathy.   

Negating preamble, snubbing apathy
with language that flickers, catches, combusts,
her volumes of wicks, her lit soliloquies,   
glint behind the stained-glass of trust.
There are those who are not really here,
they wander fault lines then crisscross chasms,
lost pilgrims who easily commandeer
unwary emotions. Some hearts just spasm,                         
pulled by their own nature, their delicacy,
for poetry is a weakness; poets die
between verses. Odes can become elegies.
The thin-skinned hear a snared rabbit cry,
and pray for the moonflower, always closing,
while cursing that page, unmoved and dozing.

While cursing that page, unmoved and dozing,
she corners rigid guides, keeps fingers poised,
synchronicity goes, the flow of typing
disappears, mislaid, that perfect noise
of a carriage return, a sound exclamation.
Joy is inspiration making its way home,
her Olivetti forages like a raven,
gifting found nouns, verbs that glare like chrome,
but love still flits, turns from hoarse requests,
and she longs for more than any man can give
for what snags worn ribbons will not rest,
it emits a strong beat, throbs as it loves.
Bless the bitter of life, all wisdom owing,
curse the open heart, its shadows showing.
  

Curse the open heart, its shadows showing,
for worldly delights take full advantage
of the wounded, their brokenness growing.
Everyday beauty wrings arteries, dredges
chambers with barbs, a prompt disobedient.
Fact, there’s no folder large enough to hold 
elation’s girth, no ink conveniently
on hand to black out depression. So, scold
the yew, its roots and branches reaching,
then poke at petals for being complacent, 
when all the while a candle is preaching
of give and take, surrender, luminance,
So, carefully archive apprehension,
revealing blue veins to tender lesions.

Revealing blue veins to tender lesions
requires much more than a room of one's own,
hours do dissolve, days lack cohesion 
when milk sours and tantrums are thrown.
Solitude is in short supply, loneliness,
however, is overstocked; her mind tugs      
at busy hands for attention, such darkness
contrasts to jammy smiles and sleepy hugs.
Elusive titles whimper each morning,
and short stanzas steep, so desperately,
all the while a manuscript is scorning
her swipes at dry crumbs, cold pots of tea.
A life sheds its months, gallows take delight
as sundials atrophy in the arms of night. 

As sundials atrophy in the arms of night. 
the moon blanches tidepools, suckles sand,
even the face of the clock is pulled too tight
and the new calendar can not understand
that writing is sex, is fresh bread, is air,
that time is a brute, quick fisted, rough,
that weeks come and go without a care
that a marriage vow is never enough
to mend adoration, repossess bliss.  
Words make better lovers, rarely stray,
upon her lips, the impression of a kiss
feels as cold as sheets then melts away.
Paper sops afterbirth, accepts her all:
fossil and seed, shackles and free falls.


Fossil and seed, shackles and free falls,
unlocking visions, defying any cage, 
art resists validity, upsets stone walls  
to scale the scarlet heights of a rampage,
to breach the barricades to euphoria.
She excavates id, bares teeth at ego, 
plays the parts of illusion and phobia
then infuses rhyme with soft indigo. 
Colossus begins to shrivel as Ariel
unmans him, riding hard upon metaphors,
and will remain strong, constant, ethereal. 
but curtailed are epics that still implore  
like the cusp of dream long after you wake

Sylvia, ever lucent, ever opaque.









 

 
* For Craig Cornish, whose contest inspired this piece. Thank you, Daddy-O. 




About this poem

This is my first crown of sonnets. It took over 25 hours to write, a full week of me-time! 

These are modern sonnets and the syllable count is extremely loose, intentionally, as it would seem odd to keep things too tight when writing of Sylvia. If anything, I regret not being even looser, altering syllable counts DRAMATICALLY. Also, I used a great deal of slant rhyme for the same reason.


I really wanted to capture Sylvia Plath with this poem, and it was a real struggle. Her language is so precise, and I wanted to do her justice. I had wanted to feel, upon its completion, that Sylvia would have said, "Well, it isn't quite horrible. Not bad for a novice. And there are parts of me there, but only the smallest bits." I do not feel I did this.  I feel like I didn't even TOUCH her mastery of language. But, it is good enough for now.. one day, who knows? 

Oh, Sylvia's typewriter was a Olivetti Lettera 22. It was portable!


Long poem by Poetryof Providence | Details |

The Forge

I remember the beach sand and swing
when you and mother were still something
I remember the ducks in the lake
you held my hand watching their wake
I remember the sheep dogs when the day was through
and the mornings grass all covered with dew
I remember the dead man and blood on the floor
my hand in my mothers as she went for the door
I remember the stairs I thought I’d fall through
and the building where she was hidden from you
she tried drowning me in the bath and the tub
her hands on my throat on the dining room rug
the pain of the walls where my body flew
the floor of the closet when she was through
I remember you entering the door
as you picked up my body from off the floor
the words were so ugly I’ve forgotten them now
but things haven’t changed much anyhow
I remember the willows and switches not few
a home not mine and the children were new
a string of families never seeming to end
the abuse and the beatings I’m not on the mend
I remember the the rage and the red flushed face
what did I do to fall from your grace
I remember the fear when I tried to hide
the man and the 2by4 when it hit my side
the bruise and welts with noone to care
my mother and father aren’t even there
I remember the family that took me in
they had no daughter just two young men
one boy was loving the other was slime
but the parents protected me most of the time
I was safe for awhile with nightmares not few
and some of my demons she helped to slew
I remember you taking me home at last
you had remarried some six months past
I remember the woman was cruel and mean
she remained that way till I was sixteen
At fifteen I had been already raped twice
the drugs and pills and the wrist yet to slice
I remember the police to the hospital sped
the straight jacket and thorazine I should have been dead
I remember the airplane that sent me away
with my half brothers mother I was to stay
my neck with a forearm pinned to the wall
my half brothers brother screaming he will have all
I remember the screaming as I flew down the stairs
his violence had caught me totally unawares
the pain as he smashed me on the walls of the hall
the kicks in the ribs after my fall
the nine months I walked in a state of fear
how I passed my classes is very unclear
I remember the man when I hitched into town
the car was a sedan of dirty brown
the doors had no handles no way to get out
he pulled out a knife and proceeded to shout
how he would cut me and make me bleed
if I didn’t fill some sort of need
how I grabbed the wheel for steering the car
when he slammed on the brakes down the road not far
when he slid out the door by the side of the road
it seemed to me that all time had slowed
he released me with curses not language unknown
from the cage of his car this bird had flown
I remember the man preaching justice and truth
but to find answers one must become sleuth
I remember the marriage and I made him swear
that to hit or harm me he must never dare
I remember the baby with curls of gold
by seventeen to marriage my father me sold
I remember the lapses of time I had lost
the forge of my youth and the price it had cost
the thread that kept me alive was so thin
in my mind it was always me against him
I remember the children that helped keep me sane
with some sort of focus with the man I had lain
I remember the striving for some sort of truth
what kind of a mother my children had in their youth
I remember it all so plain and clear
that violence from men will always be near
I swore at sixteen no child to have
if you couldn’t play safely with joy and a laugh
forgive me my children for bringing you here
the reasons I do things are sometimes not clear
My parents are gone and I do not mourn
but only for the life I was never shown
I did try to spare you the same kind of fate
I hoped that my love would be never to late
I had no control of the time or the chance
that injustice would look upon you with his glance
I raise my eyes to the heavens and vent to his name
to save all the children who are yet put thru shame
In a blast furnace my life has been forged
the tool of the hammer has formed my discourse
in molten metal I have been shaped
the tool of another I have not escaped
what of the purpose he hopes to hew
a piece of equipment all shiny and new
I remember my maker and the state of his grace
the road laid before me and the words of his face
the view of my nature he seeks to tame
with so many others who walk in the flame
in wails united to pull heaven down
and with its brightness scour the ground
his promise to do so has not yet passed
when all of mankind will feel his blast
the call has gone forth the meaning is clear
to give an accounting is so very near
those who think themselves high shall be made low
the dust of the earth their destined to know
the one that I follow has carved out the path
his star has shown brightly beneath thorn and the lash
I reach my arm forth to take hold his hand
to walk among humans woman and man
he paints a clear future for those of us all
a paradise lost to man in his fall

COPYRIGHT © 2009 C Michael Miller
via Duboff Law Group LLC

COPYRIGHT © 2009 C Michael Miller via Duboff Law Group LLC


Long poem by Brian Johnston | Details |

The Troll

‘An interesting guy I think,’
People might say on meeting you for the first time,
Oh yes, I’ve come to know you too well.
Thank God for the Internet,
Although there are bodies in your wake,
And stench follows you like a garbage scow
There is protection for many in distance from,
In the miles of wire, the waves of wireless
Communication, and so like a deer
Caught in the headlight of your amazing ego,
[Fashioned by the fires of Hell (like Gollum’s ring)
And as empty as the devil’s soul],
They stand frozen for a moment,
Throwing it off finally, the vision of their own death
Shaking their heads in wonder, ‘What just happened?’

It’s like the first lesson your mother tries to teach,
‘Be careful who you choose as a friend,’
A cautionary tale for adults too.
‘Fire does burn’ even when you reach adulthood,
All that sparkles is not gold, my friend,
And a ‘nom de plume’ like Talvia Sprinkles,
Just one more bush the troll hides in.
Sometimes that strange feeling that you have
Is actually another human? being? peeing on your soul
The golden shower they offer, however,
Does not assuage your guilt (which is real, so what?)
You’ve just been sold a bill of goods,
Dr. Killdeers Magic Elixir, a not so benign fixer.

If you have been in this dark place of the soul
And saved by Satan not in fact being God,
Then rejoice my friend in God’s provision
In youth or childhood, you did something good?
Do more, bear witness of your weakness to others,
Not to mortify your own flesh (God knows you’re sorry)
But so that those with ears to hear (also God’s gift)
Perchance will themselves not feel so alone.
Remember that half-truths strung together like pearls
Are still sh**, if you’ll pardon the expression.
‘If it sounds to good to be true it isn’t,’
Remember only God knows your soul,
Satan is just a very experienced guesser
And revels in our penchant to deny our own sin.
His wisdom does not serve the greater good.
Do not look for truth among the cold stones
Of the temple that once stood at Delphi either,
Or trust any oracle that does not bend his knee
To the living God, the creator of us all.
It is your life, it is your responsibility,
Don’t parrot Cesar’s surprised last words
As a ‘friend’ slipped his knife into Cesar’s heart,
‘Et tu, Brute?’ You have been warned!

Brian Johnston
September 26, 2014

Poet’s Notes:
The Troll now joins what I am calling ‘My Ring Trilogy’ and completes this cycle very well I think, though I had no idea I was writing a trilogy when I started it many months ago. ‘God is Great!’ Hope that you find it interesting too! All three poems while not written to attack Merov Tachgovirian specifically, do in my humble opinion describe him all most perfectly by accident as it were. Perhaps because he uses my verse as a sick goal for his own life, lacking the imagination to come up with his own game plan for a truely evil life.

On PoemHunter.com there is a poorly implemented rating system that if allowed by each individual poet, allows visitors to the poet's site to rate each poem from 1 - 10. Used in its intended manner, this allows visitors to my site for example, to easily see which of my 200+ poems have been the most popular so far. This can be a nice tool for a visitor when he/she comes to my site for the first time. I use it myself quite frequently in this way, not really a gauge of true quality but at least a crude measure of popularity. What Merov and his like are doing are doing on PoemHunter is to, without regard for the poem at all, to give the poem MULTIPLE VOTES of 1.0 which can bring the 'average rating' of a poem that has been given 4 votes of 10.0 for example whose average rating should in fact be 10.0 down considerably. I had one poem like this that Merov gave 8 votes of 1.0 to (in a 24 hour period). So doing the math, 40 normal points + 8 Merov points equals 48 points in total. You divide that by th number of votes cast 12 votes and now the poems average rating is 4.0 and not a perfect 10.0 that it should be. Merov can do this because he joins a site with multiple false identities and then uses these membership votes as a base from which to launch attacks on others.


A note in passing to honor the 'Walking Dead' among us (Hi Merov):

Well apparently PH has banished you from it’s halls and once again because of your amazing ego (your greatest weakness and most devastating weapon), and, of course, the pornographic language you use to comment on other's poems. If you have not been attacked by people like him, count yourself lucky. If you do not care about the pain that he brings to others by this behavior, then count yourself his victim already. ‘Talvia Sprinkles’ and  ‘Jimmy Tuhans’ (nom de plumes he used recently on PH) may be history, but Merov certainly is not. There are an infinite number of internet ‘nom de plumes’ for him to hide behind, more sites will be attacked, more sites and feelings damaged by his misinformation and scurrilous comments. Do not dream that evil is not real. Good men may lay down their arms, even admit defeat, admit that they were wrong. Evil never does. The suffering of others is its only goal.


Long poem by Darryl Ashton | Details |

CHRISTMAS MORNING - WITH ALF GARNETT JNR

The misery guts on Christmas Morning! 
Christmas Morning...With Alf Garnett jnr! 


(This is based on both the classic US and UK TV sitcoms of All In The Family, 
which starred Archie Bunker - and the Til Death Us Do Part - starring Warren 
Mitchell as the bigoted and loud mouth Alf Garnett - which actually did inspire 
All In The Family.)  


 
	 
(Some strong language is included in this feature) 


(Alf wakes up with a hangover) 


ALF: "Oh, my head!" 

ELSIE: "Serves you right! Stopping out till all hours, drinking and smoking. 
Now you're fit for nothing!" 

ALF: "Shaddap, you silly moo!" 

ELSIE: "Do you want some breakfast?" 

ALF: "No, I bloody don't! Just a cup of tea!" 

ELSIE: "I don't know what I'm gonna do with this!" 

ALF: "With what?" 

ELSIE: "This, turkey, you bought from the market! It's too big!" 

ALF: "Just cook it...and we'll all bloody well eat it!" 

ELSIE: "A nice bit of pork would have done us! This will be wasted!" 

ALF: "Oh, stop yer nagging, will you! Just bloody well cook it, and we'll eat 
what we can! Bloody women!" 

ELSIE: "But this won't fit in the oven! I don't know why you had to buy such a 
big fat bird, in the first place!" 

ALF: "Only you is doing the bloody complaining, my dear! Only you is bloody 
moaning about the bloody turkey! The good lord has seen fit to bless us with 
this turkey!" 

ELSIE: "Well, he hasn't got to cook it, has he!" 

ALF: "Well, perhaps if you pray a bit harder - he just might come down and 
bloody well cook it for you!" 

ELSIE: "You pig!" 


(Knock on the door) 

ALF: "Bloody hell, who's that, bloody knocking? Shouldn't be bloody knocking 
on people's houses - not Christmas morning! Tell them to sod off!" 

ELSIE: "They're carol singing! Can you hear them?" 

ALF: "Yes! Bloody yes! I don't want to bloody well hear them! Bloody annoying 
it is! Begging, they are! Bloody parents I blame!" 

ELSIE: "What's on the TV?" 

ALF: "The same as every bloody Christmas - bloody garbage! Repeats! Carol 
bloody singers, news readers, spitting out the bad news all the bloody time. 
Should be illegal, it should!" 

ELSIE: "Well, I like the carol singers! I like the fairies, too!" 

ALF: "What bloody fairies?" 

ELSIE: "The fairies on the tree!" 

ALF: "Bloody trees, waste of bloody money! Too much mess on the floor!" 

ELSIE: "Well, you don't clean up, do you, I do it! Just like I do all the cooking, 
and cleaning, and you go up the pub! Christmas is hard work for me!" 

ALF: "Oh...shaddap, you bloody silly moo! Bloody Christmas! Should be 
banned - too expensive! Bloody three wise men - starting a bloody panic they 
did!" 

ELSIE: "The hotels are always full at Christmas!" 

ALF: "Yeah, poor baby Jesus, was born in a bloody stable! Bloody cold he was, 
shivering!" 

ELSIE: "Yes, it was terrible! He was born in the stable with them cows and 
everything! You see, all the hotels were full! So they couldn't get in one!" 

ALF: " You bloody silly moo!!!! They didn't have hotels back then - it wasn't 
known as bloody Christmas! Sometimes your intelligence really does bloody 
well astound me!" 

ELSIE: "I love them carol singers! They sound like they're happy!" 

ALF: "Of course, they're bloody well happy - they going round and annoying 
people - singing their bloody heads off - when they should be home with their 
mom and dads!" 

ELSIE: "Look on the TV, all them stars are on! All working Christmas Day! Even 
America has been on! 

ALF: "Look?" 

Elsie: "I like the America!" 

ALF: "The people on the TV are recorded, they don't work on Christmas Day! 
There'd be bloody riots if they had to come in to work!" 

ELSIE: "But they're there, look, on the TV? How can they be at home - and on 
our televisions at the same time?" 

ALF: "You bloody silly moo! You really are going bloody well senile! Here, have a 
bloody drink! They prerecord their shows!" 

ELSIE: "Look? Obama's on the TV!" 

ALF: "Sod, Obama!!!!" 

ELSIE: "Well, I like him! He's got a good suntan!" 

ALF: "You bloody silly moo - he's naturally bloody brown! He's running around 
bloody well gloating! Bring back yer George Washington!" 

ELSIE: "What, Washington? Oh, the pub/bar!" 

ALF: "If you listened a bit more to the news - you'd bloody well know which 
Washington! It's yer American stuff!" 

ELSIE: "Well, I want to see the Queen! When she on?" 

ALF: "She's in her bloody palace - having her dinner! She's managed to cook 
her bloody turkey! Unlike you! You silly moo!" 

ELSIE: " Are you going down the pub tonight?" 

ALF: "Yes!" 

ELSIE: "You should stay here, with me!" 

ALF: "I've got to go! It's traditional!" 

ELSIE: "Yes, but it isn't traditional to come back home like a drunken pig!" 

ALF: "Shaddap! Stop yer bloody moaning, woman! It's Christmas! I'll bring yer 
a bottle of beer and some nuts back! Ha Ha Ha Ha!!!!" 

ELSIE: "You...PIG!!!! 

ALF: "Baa bloody humbug!!!!" 


THE END 


 


Long poem by Nii-Ayi Solomon | Details |

My First Love Experience

It was in the early days of our lives
We met
She was so beautiful 
My eyes could not stop admiring
My heart kept racing 
Every time it sensed
her good-looking approaching
But we were too young 
To give full meaning 
To the love language

Years passed
Time kept flying
We lost contact 
But the memory of our past
We lugged with us

Someway, somehow,
Fate found us
And brought us together

We have now grown 
So big and sweet
We both glitter
At each other’s presence
We were ready to do a recap 
of where we left off

We laughed and joked about our past
We talked about our hey days at the National Theatre
We remembered the beautiful past that reflects our true self
We both haven’t changed after all

At that moment my heart spoke 
The love language again
I knew I was in love with her
It wasn’t today
It started from when we were kids

Man must gather confidence
And speak out his feelings

Thoughts,
Thoughts of what she would say;

Don’t laugh at me,
We all do it sometimes


We were sweet friends
But now, I want to take 
The friendship a step further

My heart in full swing 
Of abnormal beating,
It beat faster
It spoke two different languages
Say it; and keep it
Don’t know which of these to believe 
I was shy
I was afraid
I was confused
I was happy
I was sad
I felt insane

There she was,
Standing in front me
In their house 
Beaming with smiles

Nii, she said tenderly,
‘I thought you said you had something to tell me,
Come on, I can’t wait any longer
My ears are itching’

My heart just jumped out
And now I want to escape from her presence
I wish I could vanish into thin air

Stop laughing at me
I’m not mouth lazy

I was just afraid of the outcome 
What if she said NO?
What if I lose her as a friend?
What if she vanishes into thin air?

And the what if’s continued …

Once in a man’s life time
He must draw together courage
To speak out his feelings

After all, I would not have violated any law
For telling a sweet scented woman 
Gorgeous, attractive and stunning 
About what I feel for her
So my nerves were clamed

This was how I started…

Esther, I mean, Naa Adjeley

The confusion has started

Errrmmm, you see,

Still didn’t know what to say

Hmmm, hope you are doing great?

Still confused…

‘I guess your brother, Thomas,
Is doing fine?’

She stared at me intently 
The smiles on her face kept 
My hopes alive 
And my heart awake 
I knew she was expecting 
Something more than making those comical remarks

It’s was now time to speak

Naa Adjeley, I travelled from Cape Coast 
To Accra to come see you
To tell you I miss you
and errmmm…

Please let it out
The small voice inside me whispered

I left campus to Accra just to let you know that
I AM IN LOVE WITH YOU

She laughed aloud and said
‘’are you serious!’’

‘Oh! Yes I am’
I said confidently,

Her face suddenly darkened
The smiles misplaced 
I wanted to fade away from her presence
After all I’ve let my feelings out
That was what mattered to me
But I did not have that special magic



How long have you felt this way towards me?
The next question to answer
‘When we were kids,
But it was revamped quite recently’
I replied

I could see the confusion on her face
She needed some more time 
To think things through
I was excited let it out
But she was confused

Days passed,
I went back to school,
We enjoyed chit chatting on the phone
But the answer to my request was still hanging

She mentioned in one of our conversations
She might be travelling
But didn’t say when
She was a nursing student
I was a tourism student
The beauty of having a friend 
You know and love
kept my mind awake in school

School was on recess
I arrived in Accra
Left my things unpacked
Borrowed money from my old girl
Picked a cab to Banana Inn
To see the woman 
That has taken my heart hostage

I kept bagging at their gate
Agoo! agoo! agooo! 

Waiting in anticipation to see
Her fine looking face
And present her with my first gift
Her brother, Thomas opened up

‘Hey! Where have you been?
It’s been a while’
Was the first question 
He asked

The only interest I had was to see her face
I wanted to see the woman 
That makes my heart beat
She was all I cared about

Where is Naa Adjeley?
I enquired from Thomas

I saw the shock on his face
My breathe was not catching up 
with me properly
I knew something was wrong

‘Where is she’,
I asked again
‘Didn’t she tell you
She was travelling?’
My face dropped dead at once
I felt a sharp heart ache
I almost fainted

She left for the U.K
Without even saying bye bye
Was that why, she didn’t give any reply
to my proposal?
Why did she keep my heart awake?

I left her house, depressed
Her gift was a bonus for the cab driver
My face drenched in pool of tears

I know it hurts
But I felt more relieved

Why?

My feelings had been made lucid to her
I now walk with my chest out
Ready to move on
Ready to open myself up to happiness

I still remember
Her looks
Her smiles
Her beauty
Her mannerism

My first love story
The one I have kept furtive
Over the years

Naa Adjeley
My old time love.


Long poem by Justin Bordner | Details |

Make Love To Me In That Ancient Place

The Bedouins, bequeathed with the sacred beauty of paradise harsh,
trusted guardians of jealous gorges and gifted groves
lead me from the Wadi Musa to the humble ingress of Petra,
saying with thrill, the Jin of your Jihad awaits you White Lion,
we embrace as Brothers of Light and ancient dust,
their camels wise in soft steps
impart wide eyed, gentle blessing to me,
a shrill whisper of teasing wonderment 
whisks the sand of centuries strewn small
with a cobra's awakening whisp and hungry hiss,
evening enters the terrible terrain
glowing a cool blue dark and daring
along with it a blowing a zephyr unzips the zodiac of my ancestors,
stars of a billion years sympathize with this soul sojourn, 
alone I journey inward like a brave wish wafting
into a heart wanting to disgorge a secret need,
the smell of salt, sandstone and myrrh infiltrate
my mind with a mineral magic animating millenia of sovereign economics,
lamp light revealing the blush and rue of the the Siq's colossal rock hue,
shadows of caravan traffic bespeak exotic trade from distant industry,
narcotics from Kush, Persian rugs, spices and incense of Arabia, 
jewels and hides from India, the medicine and silk of China,
beasts and papyrus of Africa, wine, weapons and art of Rome,
slaves beautiful and strong carried from every known ethnic throng,
a river of precious merchandise replacing the might of carving waters,
at the egress of this artery's eternal enterprise
I behold with burgeoning awe the Nabataean Treasury, 
it's gladsome geometry a harmony of will, wealth and worship,
warm red cream stone become bone of a peoples' politic,
architecture for their angels and sanctuary for culture,
depository for dreams indebted to desert Deities,
I blow a kiss to the niche of Tyche, Goddess of fantastic fortune,
as I tighten my checkered turbin I hear a soft song
of Hellenic, Semitic and Arabic recipe, stringed hums with chime
and it moves me into the open, bleak basin towards the Monastary facade, 
in the black of it's errie entrance a spirit of evanescent education
escalates my enchantment as corners wake to pathways,
murals like waving reflections stream across the walls
I see Moses crack the water stone for salvation
as the Holy Arch spirals an avalanche of absolution from Earth to Heaven,
Solomon and Sheba secure a trade treaty with royal love,
I witness Jesus in the Jordan with John the Baptist
kindly laying him in the steady float of faith,
then the tragedy of John's demise
by the sour ambition of Herodias, the whore of defacto power,
I observe the affection of Joshua Ben Joseph 
with his woman of street sense as they endure trial after trial,
scenes of the Pax Romana and Judaen revolts parade 
by my eyes as terror, torture and triumph
wear masks of glory and glee,
the Essenes embarking for the Dead Sea defense,
Muslims and Crusaders found not the bounty of this land,
here remains the treasure of Pharaonic voyage,
exiting with renewed moral for love
I look to the top of Zibb Atuf
where I see the thunderbolt of Zeus Hadad and cornucopia of Atargatis
burn sweetly in the night, periwinkle smolder signals righteous passion,
I feel you, my Love, paramount in the depth of every sense I have,
turning entranced to the Roman Theater I proceed to the north east rendezvou,
you are lovely and glamorous on the stage of amplified ardor,
starbeams spotlight your coordinated curves and fertile instinct,
you begin to seduce with a dance, breathtaking, impulsive balance,
moving with the smooth heat and poise of a breath blown candle flame,
a crescent of torches beautifies your frame, crimson silk wings from you,
I stand for a moment on the outer upper rim
gazing, with great heat upsurging through every muscle,
knowing you are jubilant for me by the way you move
I descend the stairs undistracted from the language of your invitation,
your cinnamon skin skims my own as you go round and round
and the crave for your ravishing rub forces my pursuit,
I catch your tender waist as you spin into my hunting arms,
your fingertips feel so right in my hands,
we sway like romance on fire in the storm of desire,
your restive back nestled inbetween my shoulders
my obsessed lips move up your neck in search for innocent sensitivity
overtaking your naked earlobe with a hot mouth and firm pull,
your body, begging to be breeched brutely calms slowly
as I release spontaneous poetry into your ear saying...

When the moon was young
unbattered by stone and age
glowing bold upon Earth newly spun
the first man and sacred Woman
made love of flesh warmly woven
from they're erupting hearts came wild knowledge...

J.A.B.


Long Poems