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Best Famous Ram Poems

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Written by Allen Ginsberg | Create an image from this poem

Plutonian Ode

 I

What new element before us unborn in nature? Is there
 a new thing under the Sun?
At last inquisitive Whitman a modern epic, detonative,
 Scientific theme
First penned unmindful by Doctor Seaborg with poison-
 ous hand, named for Death's planet through the 
 sea beyond Uranus
whose chthonic ore fathers this magma-teared Lord of 
 Hades, Sire of avenging Furies, billionaire Hell-
 King worshipped once
with black sheep throats cut, priests's face averted from
 underground mysteries in single temple at Eleusis,
Spring-green Persephone nuptialed to his inevitable
 Shade, Demeter mother of asphodel weeping dew,
her daughter stored in salty caverns under white snow, 
 black hail, grey winter rain or Polar ice, immemor-
 able seasons before
Fish flew in Heaven, before a Ram died by the starry
 bush, before the Bull stamped sky and earth
or Twins inscribed their memories in clay or Crab'd
 flood
washed memory from the skull, or Lion sniffed the
 lilac breeze in Eden--
Before the Great Year began turning its twelve signs,
 ere constellations wheeled for twenty-four thousand
 sunny years
slowly round their axis in Sagittarius, one hundred 
 sixty-seven thousand times returning to this night

Radioactive Nemesis were you there at the beginning 
 black dumb tongueless unsmelling blast of Disil-
 lusion?
I manifest your Baptismal Word after four billion years
I guess your birthday in Earthling Night, I salute your
 dreadful presence last majestic as the Gods,
Sabaot, Jehova, Astapheus, Adonaeus, Elohim, Iao, 
 Ialdabaoth, Aeon from Aeon born ignorant in an
 Abyss of Light,
Sophia's reflections glittering thoughtful galaxies, whirl-
 pools of starspume silver-thin as hairs of Einstein!
Father Whitman I celebrate a matter that renders Self
 oblivion!
Grand Subject that annihilates inky hands & pages'
 prayers, old orators' inspired Immortalities,
I begin your chant, openmouthed exhaling into spacious
 sky over silent mills at Hanford, Savannah River,
 Rocky Flats, Pantex, Burlington, Albuquerque
I yell thru Washington, South Carolina, Colorado, 
 Texas, Iowa, New Mexico,
Where nuclear reactors creat a new Thing under the 
 Sun, where Rockwell war-plants fabricate this death
 stuff trigger in nitrogen baths,
Hanger-Silas Mason assembles the terrified weapon
 secret by ten thousands, & where Manzano Moun-
 tain boasts to store
its dreadful decay through two hundred forty millenia
 while our Galaxy spirals around its nebulous core.
I enter your secret places with my mind, I speak with your presence, I roar your Lion Roar with mortal mouth.
One microgram inspired to one lung, ten pounds of heavy metal dust adrift slow motion over grey Alps the breadth of the planet, how long before your radiance speeds blight and death to sentient beings? Enter my body or not I carol my spirit inside you, Unnaproachable Weight, O heavy heavy Element awakened I vocalize your con- sciousness to six worlds I chant your absolute Vanity.
Yeah monster of Anger birthed in fear O most Ignorant matter ever created unnatural to Earth! Delusion of metal empires! Destroyer of lying Scientists! Devourer of covetous Generals, Incinerator of Armies & Melter of Wars! Judgement of judgements, Divine Wind over vengeful nations, Molester of Presidents, Death-Scandal of Capital politics! Ah civilizations stupidly indus- trious! Canker-Hex on multitudes learned or illiterate! Manu- factured Spectre of human reason! O solidified imago of practicioner in Black Arts I dare your reality, I challenge your very being! I publish your cause and effect! I turn the wheel of Mind on your three hundred tons! Your name enters mankind's ear! I embody your ultimate powers! My oratory advances on your vaunted Mystery! This breath dispels your braggart fears! I sing your form at last behind your concrete & iron walls inside your fortress of rubber & translucent silicon shields in filtered cabinets and baths of lathe oil, My voice resounds through robot glove boxes & ignot cans and echoes in electric vaults inert of atmo- sphere, I enter with spirit out loud into your fuel rod drums underground on soundless thrones and beds of lead O density! This weightless anthem trumpets transcendent through hidden chambers and breaks through iron doors into the Infernal Room! Over your dreadful vibration this measured harmony floats audible, these jubilant tones are honey and milk and wine-sweet water Poured on the stone black floor, these syllables are barley groats I scatter on the Reactor's core, I call your name with hollow vowels, I psalm your Fate close by, my breath near deathless ever at your side to Spell your destiny, I set this verse prophetic on your mausoleum walls to seal you up Eternally with Diamond Truth! O doomed Plutonium.
II The Bar surveys Plutonian history from midnight lit with Mercury Vapor streetlamps till in dawn's early light he contemplates a tranquil politic spaced out between Nations' thought-forms proliferating bureaucratic & horrific arm'd, Satanic industries projected sudden with Five Hundred Billion Dollar Strength around the world same time this text is set in Boulder, Colorado before front range of Rocky Mountains twelve miles north of Rocky Flats Nuclear Facility in United States of North America, Western Hemi- sphere of planet Earth six months and fourteen days around our Solar System in a Spiral Galaxy the local year after Dominion of the last God nineteen hundred seventy eight Completed as yellow hazed dawn clouds brighten East, Denver city white below Blue sky transparent rising empty deep & spacious to a morning star high over the balcony above some autos sat with wheels to curb downhill from Flatiron's jagged pine ridge, sunlit mountain meadows sloped to rust-red sandstone cliffs above brick townhouse roofs as sparrows waked whistling through Marine Street's summer green leafed trees.
III This ode to you O Poets and Orators to come, you father Whitman as I join your side, you Congress and American people, you present meditators, spiritual friends & teachers, you O Master of the Diamond Arts, Take this wheel of syllables in hand, these vowels and consonants to breath's end take this inhalation of black poison to your heart, breath out this blessing from your breast on our creation forests cities oceans deserts rocky flats and mountains in the Ten Directions pacify with exhalation, enrich this Plutonian Ode to explode its empty thunder through earthen thought-worlds Magnetize this howl with heartless compassion, destroy this mountain of Plutonium with ordinary mind and body speech, thus empower this Mind-guard spirit gone out, gone out, gone beyond, gone beyond me, Wake space, so Ah! July 14, 1978


Written by William Butler Yeats | Create an image from this poem

Vacillation

 I

Between extremities
Man runs his course;
A brand, or flaming breath.
Comes to destroy All those antinomies Of day and night; The body calls it death, The heart remorse.
But if these be right What is joy? II A tree there is that from its topmost bough Is half all glittering flame and half all green Abounding foliage moistened with the dew; And half is half and yet is all the scene; And half and half consume what they renew, And he that Attis' image hangs between That staring fury and the blind lush leaf May know not what he knows, but knows not grief III Get all the gold and silver that you can, Satisfy ambition, animate The trivial days and ram them with the sun, And yet upon these maxims meditate: All women dote upon an idle man Although their children need a rich estate; No man has ever lived that had enough Of children's gratitude or woman's love.
No longer in Lethean foliage caught Begin the preparation for your death And from the fortieth winter by that thought Test every work of intellect or faith, And everything that your own hands have wrought And call those works extravagance of breath That are not suited for such men as come proud, open-eyed and laughing to the tomb.
IV My fiftieth year had come and gone, I sat, a solitary man, In a crowded London shop, An open book and empty cup On the marble table-top.
While on the shop and street I gazed My body of a sudden blazed; And twenty minutes more or less It seemed, so great my happiness, That I was blessed and could bless.
V Although the summer Sunlight gild Cloudy leafage of the sky, Or wintry moonlight sink the field In storm-scattered intricacy, I cannot look thereon, Responsibility so weighs me down.
Things said or done long years ago, Or things I did not do or say But thought that I might say or do, Weigh me down, and not a day But something is recalled, My conscience or my vanity appalled.
VI A rivery field spread out below, An odour of the new-mown hay In his nostrils, the great lord of Chou Cried, casting off the mountain snow, `Let all things pass away.
' Wheels by milk-white asses drawn Where Babylon or Nineveh Rose; some conquer drew rein And cried to battle-weary men, `Let all things pass away.
' From man's blood-sodden heart are sprung Those branches of the night and day Where the gaudy moon is hung.
What's the meaning of all song? `Let all things pass away.
' VII The Soul.
Seek out reality, leave things that seem.
The Heart.
What, be a singer born and lack a theme? The Soul.
Isaiah's coal, what more can man desire? The Heart.
Struck dumb in the simplicity of fire! The Soul.
Look on that fire, salvation walks within.
The Heart.
What theme had Homer but original sin? VIII Must we part, Von Hugel, though much alike, for we Accept the miracles of the saints and honour sanctity? The body of Saint Teresa lies undecayed in tomb, Bathed in miraculous oil, sweet odours from it come, Healing from its lettered slab.
Those self-same hands perchance Eternalised the body of a modern saint that once Had scooped out pharaoh's mummy.
I - though heart might find relief Did I become a Christian man and choose for my belief What seems most welcome in the tomb - play a pre-destined part.
Homer is my example and his unchristened heart.
The lion and the honeycomb, what has Scripture said? So get you gone, Von Hugel, though with blessings on your head.
Written by Aleister Crowley | Create an image from this poem

The Garden of Janus

 I

The cloud my bed is tinged with blood and foam.
The vault yet blazes with the sun Writhing above the West, brave hippodrome Whose gladiators shock and shun As the blue night devours them, crested comb Of sleep's dead sea That eats the shores of life, rings round eternity! II So, he is gone whose giant sword shed flame Into my bowels; my blood's bewitched; My brain's afloat with ecstasy of shame.
That tearing pain is gone, enriched By his life-spasm; but he being gone, the same Myself is gone Sucked by the dragon down below death's horizon.
III I woke from this.
I lay upon the lawn; They had thrown roses on the moss With all their thorns; we came there at the dawn, My lord and I; God sailed across The sky in's galleon of amber, drawn By singing winds While we wove garlands of the flowers of our minds.
IV All day my lover deigned to murder me, Linking his kisses in a chain About my neck; demon-embroidery! Bruises like far-ff mountains stain The valley of my body of ivory! Then last came sleep.
I wake, and he is gone; what should I do but weep? V Nay, for I wept enough --- more sacred tears! --- When first he pinned me, gripped My flesh, and as a stallion that rears, Sprang, hero-thewed and satyr-lipped; Crushed, as a grape between his teeth, my fears; Sucked out my life And stamped me with the shame, the monstrous word of wife.
VI I will not weep; nay, I will follow him Perchance he is not far, Bathing his limbs in some delicious dim Depth, where the evening star May kiss his mouth, or by the black sky's rim He makes his prayer To the great serpent that is coiled in rapture there.
VII I rose to seek him.
First my footsteps faint Pressed the starred moss; but soon I wandered, like some sweet sequestered saint, Into the wood, my mind.
The moon Was staggered by the trees; with fierce constraint Hardly one ray Pierced to the ragged earth about their roots that lay.
VIII I wandered, crying on my Lord.
I wandered Eagerly seeking everywhere.
The stories of life that on my lips he squandered Grew into shrill cries of despair, Until the dryads frightened and dumfoundered Fled into space --- Like to a demon-king's was grown my maiden face! XI At last I came unto the well, my soul In that still glass, I saw no sign Of him, and yet --- what visions there uproll To cloud that mirror-soul of mine? Above my head there screams a flying scroll Whose word burnt through My being as when stars drop in black disastrous dew.
X For in that scroll was written how the globe Of space became; of how the light Broke in that space and wrapped it in a robe Of glory; of how One most white Withdrew that Whole, and hid it in the lobe Of his right Ear, So that the Universe one dewdrop did appear.
IX Yea! and the end revealed a word, a spell, An incantation, a device Whereby the Eye of the Most Terrible Wakes from its wilderness of ice To flame, whereby the very core of hell Bursts from its rind, Sweeping the world away into the blank of mind.
XII So then I saw my fault; I plunged within The well, and brake the images That I had made, as I must make - Men spin The webs that snare them - while the knee Bend to the tyrant God - or unto Sin The lecher sunder! Ah! came that undulant light from over or from under? XIII It matters not.
Come, change! come, Woe! Come, mask! Drive Light, Life, Love into the deep! In vain we labour at the loathsome task Not knowing if we wake or sleep; But in the end we lift the plumed casque Of the dead warrior; Find no chaste corpse therein, but a soft-smiling whore.
XIV Then I returned into myself, and took All in my arms, God's universe: Crushed its black juice out, while His anger shook His dumbness pregnant with a curse.
I made me ink, and in a little book I wrote one word That God himself, the adder of Thought, had never heard.
XV It detonated.
Nature, God, mankind Like sulphur, nitre, charcoal, once Blended, in one annihilation blind Were rent into a myriad of suns.
Yea! all the mighty fabric of a Mind Stood in the abyss, Belching a Law for "That" more awful than for "This.
" XVI Vain was the toil.
So then I left the wood And came unto the still black sea, That oily monster of beatitude! ('Hath "Thee" for "Me," and "Me" for "Thee!") There as I stood, a mask of solitude Hiding a face Wried as a satyr's, rolled that ocean into space.
XVII Then did I build an altar on the shore Of oyster-shells, and ringed it round With star-fish.
Thither a green flame I bore Of phosphor foam, and strewed the ground With dew-drops, children of my wand, whose core Was trembling steel Electric that made spin the universal Wheel.
XVIII With that a goat came running from the cave That lurked below the tall white cliff.
Thy name! cried I.
The answer that gave Was but one tempest-whisper - "If!" Ah, then! his tongue to his black palate clave; For on soul's curtain Is written this one certainty that naught is certain! XIX So then I caught that goat up in a kiss.
And cried Io Pan! Io Pan! Io Pan! Then all this body's wealth of ambergris, (Narcissus-scented flesh of man!) I burnt before him in the sacrifice; For he was sure - Being the Doubt of Things, the one thing to endure! XX Wherefore, when madness took him at the end, He, doubt-goat, slew the goat of doubt; And that which inward did for ever tend Came at the last to have come out; And I who had the World and God to friend Found all three foes! Drowned in that sea of changes, vacancies, and woes! XXI Yet all that Sea was swallowed up therein; So they were not, and it was not.
As who should sweat his soul out through the skin And find (sad fool!) he had begot All that without him that he had left in, And in himself All he had taken out thereof, a mocking elf! XXII But now that all was gone, great Pan appeared.
Him then I strove to woo, to win, Kissing his curled lips, playing with his beard, Setting his brain a-shake, a-spin, By that strong wand, and muttering of the weird That only I Knew of all souls alive or dead beneath the sky.
XXIII So still I conquered, and the vision passed.
Yet still was beaten, for I knew Myself was He, Himself, the first and last; And as an unicorn drinks dew From under oak-leaves, so my strength was cast Into the mire; For all I did was dream, and all I dreamt desire.
XXIV More; in this journey I had clean forgotten The quest, my lover.
But the tomb Of all these thoughts, the rancid and the rotten, Proved in the end to be my womb Wherein my Lord and lover had begotten A little child To drive me, laughing lion, into the wanton wild! XXV This child hath not one hair upon his head, But he hath wings instead of ears.
No eyes hath he, but all his light is shed Within him on the ordered sphere Of nature that he hideth; and in stead Of mouth he hath One minute point of jet; silence, the lightning path! XXVI Also his nostrils are shut up; for he Hath not the need of any breath; Nor can the curtain of eternity Cover that head with life or death.
So all his body, a slim almond-tree, Knoweth no bough Nor branch nor twig nor bud, from never until now.
XXVII This thought I bred within my bowels, I am.
I am in him, as he in me; And like a satyr ravishing a lamb So either seems, or as the sea Swallows the whale that swallows it, the ram Beats its own head Upon the city walls, that fall as it falls dead.
XXVIII Come, let me back unto the lilied lawn! Pile me the roses and the thorns, Upon this bed from which he hath withdrawn! He may return.
A million morns May follow that first dire daemonic dawn When he did split My spirit with his lightnings and enveloped it! XXIX So I am stretched out naked to the knife, My whole soul twitching with the stress Of the expected yet surprising strife, A martyrdom of blessedness.
Though Death came, I could kiss him into life; Though Life came, I Could kiss him into death, and yet nor live nor die! *** Yet I that am the babe, the sire, the dam, Am also none of these at all; For now that cosmic chaos of I AM Bursts like a bubble.
Mystical The night comes down, a soaring wedge of flame Woven therein To be a sign to them who yet have never been.
XXXI The universe I measured with my rod.
The blacks were balanced with the whites; Satan dropped down even as up soared God; Whores prayed and danced with anchorites.
So in my book the even matched the odd: No word I wrote Therein, but sealed it with the signet of the goat.
XXXII This also I seal up.
Read thou herein Whose eyes are blind! Thou may'st behold Within the wheel (that alway seems to spin All ways) a point of static gold.
Then may'st thou out therewith, and fit it in That extreme spher Whose boundless farness makes it infinitely near.
Written by Dylan Thomas | Create an image from this poem

Ballad Of The Long-Legged Bait

 The bows glided down, and the coast
Blackened with birds took a last look
At his thrashing hair and whale-blue eye;
The trodden town rang its cobbles for luck.
Then good-bye to the fishermanned Boat with its anchor free and fast As a bird hooking over the sea, High and dry by the top of the mast, Whispered the affectionate sand And the bulwarks of the dazzled quay.
For my sake sail, and never look back, Said the looking land.
Sails drank the wind, and white as milk He sped into the drinking dark; The sun shipwrecked west on a pearl And the moon swam out of its hulk.
Funnels and masts went by in a whirl.
Good-bye to the man on the sea-legged deck To the gold gut that sings on his reel To the bait that stalked out of the sack, For we saw him throw to the swift flood A girl alive with his hooks through her lips; All the fishes were rayed in blood, Said the dwindling ships.
Good-bye to chimneys and funnels, Old wives that spin in the smoke, He was blind to the eyes of candles In the praying windows of waves But heard his bait buck in the wake And tussle in a shoal of loves.
Now cast down your rod, for the whole Of the sea is hilly with whales, She longs among horses and angels, The rainbow-fish bend in her joys, Floated the lost cathedral Chimes of the rocked buoys.
Where the anchor rode like a gull Miles over the moonstruck boat A squall of birds bellowed and fell, A cloud blew the rain from its throat; He saw the storm smoke out to kill With fuming bows and ram of ice, Fire on starlight, rake Jesu's stream; And nothing shone on the water's face But the oil and bubble of the moon, Plunging and piercing in his course The lured fish under the foam Witnessed with a kiss.
Whales in the wake like capes and Alps Quaked the sick sea and snouted deep, Deep the great bushed bait with raining lips Slipped the fins of those humpbacked tons And fled their love in a weaving dip.
Oh, Jericho was falling in their lungs! She nipped and dived in the nick of love, Spun on a spout like a long-legged ball Till every beast blared down in a swerve Till every turtle crushed from his shell Till every bone in the rushing grave Rose and crowed and fell! Good luck to the hand on the rod, There is thunder under its thumbs; Gold gut is a lightning thread, His fiery reel sings off its flames, The whirled boat in the burn of his blood Is crying from nets to knives, Oh the shearwater birds and their boatsized brood Oh the bulls of Biscay and their calves Are making under the green, laid veil The long-legged beautiful bait their wives.
Break the black news and paint on a sail Huge weddings in the waves, Over the wakeward-flashing spray Over the gardens of the floor Clash out the mounting dolphin's day, My mast is a bell-spire, Strike and smoothe, for my decks are drums, Sing through the water-spoken prow The octopus walking into her limbs The polar eagle with his tread of snow.
From salt-lipped beak to the kick of the stern Sing how the seal has kissed her dead! The long, laid minute's bride drifts on Old in her cruel bed.
Over the graveyard in the water Mountains and galleries beneath Nightingale and hyena Rejoicing for that drifting death Sing and howl through sand and anemone Valley and sahara in a shell, Oh all the wanting flesh his enemy Thrown to the sea in the shell of a girl Is old as water and plain as an eel; Always good-bye to the long-legged bread Scattered in the paths of his heels For the salty birds fluttered and fed And the tall grains foamed in their bills; Always good-bye to the fires of the face, For the crab-backed dead on the sea-bed rose And scuttled over her eyes, The blind, clawed stare is cold as sleet.
The tempter under the eyelid Who shows to the selves asleep Mast-high moon-white women naked Walking in wishes and lovely for shame Is dumb and gone with his flame of brides.
Susannah's drowned in the bearded stream And no-one stirs at Sheba's side But the hungry kings of the tides; Sin who had a woman's shape Sleeps till Silence blows on a cloud And all the lifted waters walk and leap.
Lucifer that bird's dropping Out of the sides of the north Has melted away and is lost Is always lost in her vaulted breath, Venus lies star-struck in her wound And the sensual ruins make Seasons over the liquid world, White springs in the dark.
Always good-bye, cried the voices through the shell, Good-bye always, for the flesh is cast And the fisherman winds his reel With no more desire than a ghost.
Always good luck, praised the finned in the feather Bird after dark and the laughing fish As the sails drank up the hail of thunder And the long-tailed lightning lit his catch.
The boat swims into the six-year weather, A wind throws a shadow and it freezes fast.
See what the gold gut drags from under Mountains and galleries to the crest! See what clings to hair and skull As the boat skims on with drinking wings! The statues of great rain stand still, And the flakes fall like hills.
Sing and strike his heavy haul Toppling up the boatside in a snow of light! His decks are drenched with miracles.
Oh miracle of fishes! The long dead bite! Out of the urn a size of a man Out of the room the weight of his trouble Out of the house that holds a town In the continent of a fossil One by one in dust and shawl, Dry as echoes and insect-faced, His fathers cling to the hand of the girl And the dead hand leads the past, Leads them as children and as air On to the blindly tossing tops; The centuries throw back their hair And the old men sing from newborn lips: Time is bearing another son.
Kill Time! She turns in her pain! The oak is felled in the acorn And the hawk in the egg kills the wren.
He who blew the great fire in And died on a hiss of flames Or walked the earth in the evening Counting the denials of the grains Clings to her drifting hair, and climbs; And he who taught their lips to sing Weeps like the risen sun among The liquid choirs of his tribes.
The rod bends low, divining land, And through the sundered water crawls A garden holding to her hand With birds and animals With men and women and waterfalls Trees cool and dry in the whirlpool of ships And stunned and still on the green, laid veil Sand with legends in its virgin laps And prophets loud on the burned dunes; Insects and valleys hold her thighs hard, Times and places grip her breast bone, She is breaking with seasons and clouds; Round her trailed wrist fresh water weaves, with moving fish and rounded stones Up and down the greater waves A separate river breathes and runs; Strike and sing his catch of fields For the surge is sown with barley, The cattle graze on the covered foam, The hills have footed the waves away, With wild sea fillies and soaking bridles With salty colts and gales in their limbs All the horses of his haul of miracles Gallop through the arched, green farms, Trot and gallop with gulls upon them And thunderbolts in their manes.
O Rome and Sodom To-morrow and London The country tide is cobbled with towns And steeples pierce the cloud on her shoulder And the streets that the fisherman combed When his long-legged flesh was a wind on fire And his loin was a hunting flame Coil from the thoroughfares of her hair And terribly lead him home alive Lead her prodigal home to his terror, The furious ox-killing house of love.
Down, down, down, under the ground, Under the floating villages, Turns the moon-chained and water-wound Metropolis of fishes, There is nothing left of the sea but its sound, Under the earth the loud sea walks, In deathbeds of orchards the boat dies down And the bait is drowned among hayricks, Land, land, land, nothing remains Of the pacing, famous sea but its speech, And into its talkative seven tombs The anchor dives through the floors of a church.
Good-bye, good luck, struck the sun and the moon, To the fisherman lost on the land.
He stands alone in the door of his home, With his long-legged heart in his hand.
Written by Rg Gregory | Create an image from this poem

from the Ansty Experience

 (a)
they seek to celebrate the word
not to bring their knives out on a poem
dissecting it to find a heart
whose beat lies naked on a table
not to score in triumph on a line
no sensitive would put a nostril to
but simply to receive it as an
offering glimpsing the sacred there

poem probes the poet's once-intention
but each time said budges its truth
afresh (leaving the poet's self
estranged from the once-intending man)
and six ears in the room have tuned
objectives sifting the coloured strands
the words have hidden from the poet
asking what world has come to light

people measured by their heartbeats
language can't flout that come-and-go
to touch the heartbeat in a poem
calls for the brain's surrender
a warm diffusion of the mind
a listening to an eery silence
the words both mimic and destroy
(no excuses slipping off the tongue)

and when a poem works the unknown
opens a timid shutter on a world
so familiar it's not been seen
before - and then it's gone bringing
a frisson to an altered room
and in a stuttering frenzy dusty
attributes are tried to resurrect
a glimpse of what it's like inside

a truth (the glow a glow-worm makes)
this is not (not much) what happens
there's serious concern and banter
there's opacity there's chit-chat
diversions and derailings from
a line some avalanche has blocked
(what a fine pass through the mountains)
poetry and fidgets are blood-brothers

it's within all these the cosmos calls
that makes these afternoons a rich
adventure through a common field
when three men moving towards death
(without alacrity but conscious of it)
find youth again and bubble with
its springs - opening worn valves
to give such flow their own direction

there's no need of competition
no wish to prove that one of us
holds keys the others don't to the
sacral chambers - no want to find
consensus in technique or drench 
the rites of words in orthodox 
belief - difference is essential
and delightful (integrity's all)

quality's a private quarrel
between the poem and the poet - taste
the private hang-up of receivers
mostly migrained by exposure
to opinions not their own - fed
from a culture no one bleeds in
sustained by reputations manured
by a few and spread by hearsay

(b)
these meetings are a modest vow
to let each poet speak uncluttered
from establishment's traditions
and conditions where passions rippling
from the marrow can choose a space
to innocent themselves and long-held
tastes for carlos williams gurney
poems to siva (to name a few)

can surface in a side-attempt 
to show unexpected lineage from
the source to present patterns
of the poet - but at the core
of every poem read and comment made
it's not the poem or the poet
being sifted to the seed but
poetry itself given the works

the most despised belittled
enervated creative cowcake
of them all in the public eye
prestigious when it doesn't matter
to the clapped-out powers and turned
away from when too awkward and 
impolitic to confront - ball
to be bounced from high art to low

when fights break out amongst the teachers
and shakespeare's wielded as a cane
as the rich old crusty clan reverts
to the days it hated him at school
but loved the beatings - loudhailer
broken-down old-banger any ram-it-
up-your-**** and suck-my-prick to those
who want to tear chintz curtains down

and shock the cosy populace to taste
life at its rawest (most obscene)
courtesan to fashion and today's 
ploy - advertisement's gold gimmick
slave of beat and rhythm - dead but
much loved donkey in the hearts of all
who learned di-dah di-dah at school
and have been stuck in the custard since

plaything political-tool pop-
star's goo - poetry's been made to garb
itself in all these rags and riches
this age applauds the eye - is one 
of outward exploration - the earth
(in life) and universe (in fiction)
are there for scurrying over - haste
is everything and the beat is all

fireworks feed the fancy - a great ah
rewards the enterprise that fills
night skies with flashing bountifuls
of way-out stars - poetry has to be
in service to this want (is fed
into the system gracelessly)
there can be no standing-still or
stopping-by no take a little time

and see what blossoms here - we're into
poetry in motion and all that ****
and i can accept it all - what stirs
the surface of the ocean ignores
the depths - what talks the hindlegs off
the day can't murder dreams - that's not
to say the depths and dreams aren't there
for those who need them - it's commonplace

they hold the keystones of our lives
i fear something else much deeper
the diabolical self-deceiving
(wilful destruction of the spirit)
by those loudspeaking themselves
as poetry's protectors - publishers
editors literature officers
poetry societies and centres

all all jumping on the flagship
competition's crock of gold
find the winners pick the famous
all the hopefuls cry please name us
aspiring poets search their wardrobes
for the wordy swimsuit likely
to catch the eyeful of the judges
(winners too in previous contests

inured to the needle of success
but this time though now they are tops
totally pissed-off with the process
only here because the money's good)
winners' middle name is wordsworth
losers swallow a dose of shame
organisers rub their golden hands
pride themselves on their discernment

these jacks have found the beanstalk
castle harp and the golden egg
the stupid giant and his frightened wife
who let them steal their best possessions
whose ear for poetry's so poor
they think fum rhymes with englishman
and so of course they get no prizes
thief and trickster now come rich

poetry's purpose is to hit the jackpot
so great the lust for poetic fame
thousands without a ghost of winning
find poems like mothballs in their drawers
sprinkle them with twinkling stardust
post them off with copperplate cheques
the judges wipe their arses on them
the money's gone to a super cause

everyone knows it's just a joke
who gets taken - the foolish and vain
if they're daft enough and such bad poets
more money than sense the best advice 
is - keep it up grannies the cause
is noble and we'll take your cheque
again and again and again
it's the winners who fall in the bog

to win is to be preened - conceit
finds a little fluffy nest dear
to the feted heart and swells there
fed (for a foetal space) on all 
the praisiest worms but in the nest 
is a bloated thing that sucks (and chokes)
on hurt that has the knack of pecking
where there's malice - it grows two heads

winners by their nature soon become
winged and weighted - icarus begins
to prey upon their waking dreams 
prometheus gnawed by eagles 
the tight-shut box epimetheus
gave pandora about to burst
apart - yeats's centre cannot hold
being poets they know the references

and they learn the lesson quickly
climb upon others as they would
climb on you - in short be ruthless
or be dead they mostly fade away
being too intact or too weak-willed
to go the shining way with light-
ning bolts at every second bend 
agents breathing fire up their pants

those who withstand the course become
the poets of their day (and every one
naturally good as gold - exceptions
to the rule - out of the hearing
and the judgment of their rivals)
the media covet the heartache
and the bile - love the new meteor
can't wait to blast it from the heavens

universities will start the cult
with-it secondary teachers catch
the name on fast - magazines begin
to taste the honey on the plate
and soon another name is buzzing 
round the bars where literary pass-
ons meet to dole out bits of hem
i accept it all - it's not for me

above it all the literary lions
(jackals to each other) stand posed
upon their polystyrene mountains
constructed by their fans and foes
alike (they have such need of them)
disdaining what they see but terror-
stricken when newcomers climb up 
waving their thin bright books

for so long they've dubbed themselves
the intellectual cream - deigning
to hand out poems when they're asked
(for proper recompense in cash
or fawning) - but well beyond the risk
of letting others turn the bleeders
down so sure they are they're halfway
to the gods (yet still need preening)

a poem from one of them is like 
the loaves and fishes jesus touched
and rendered food for the five thousand
they too can walk on water in
their home - or so the reviewers say
poetry from their mouths is such a gift
if you don't read or understand it
you'll be damned - i accept all that

but what i can't accept is (all 
this while) the source and bed of what
is poetry to me as cracked and parched -
condemned ignored made mock of 
shoved in wilderness by those 
who've gone the gilded route (mapped out 
by ego and a driving need to claim
best prick with a capital pee)

it's being roomed with the said poem
coming back and back to the same
felt heartbeat having its way with words
absorbing the strains and promises
that make the language opt for paths
no other voice would go - shifting
a dull stone and knowing what bright
creature this instinct has bred there

it's trusting the poet with his own map
not wanting to tear it up before
the ink is dry because the symbols
he's been using don't suit your own
conception of terrain you've not
been born to - it's being pleased
to have connections made in ways
you couldn't dream of (wouldn't want to)
Written by Olu Oguibe | Create an image from this poem

I am bound to this Land by blood

I am bound to this land by blood
That's why my vision is blurred
I am rooted in its soil
And its streams flood my veins
I smell the sweat of its men
And the million feet that plod
The dust of its streets
Leave their prints on my soul
I have walked the footpaths of this land
Climbed the snake-routes of its hills
I have known the heat of its noon
And that in the fields where men toil till dusk
I have known the faces their creases
I have seen pain engraved on the foreheads of many
I have heard their agony

I have cried so often with broken men
And peered into a million faces blank
Faces without bodies bodies without faces
The owners of nothing breakers of stone
The owners who are owned I have known them all

I have heard the wailing of a million
I have stood in the crowd where men
Mixed their sweat and wiped blood
From their brows cursing silently
I have stood in the middle of silent whirlwinds
And their heat has left its mark
I bear the mark of the masses on my brow
And if I curse
If I raise this single voice
In the midst of dust and curse
If I lend a tiny voice to
The rustle of this crowd
It's because I am bound to this land

I am bound to the dying mother the widow
The man with a weight on his loins
I am tethered to their moan they are my own
I belong with they who have no voice
They who trudge outside the gate
Those who sigh in their hearts
Who only shake their heads

And if I sing not of roses and rivers
It's because I see rivers of blood
I look through the holler of the crowd
And I see blood on the ground
I see blood on the rockslabs
I look over the mangrove swamp
And I walk through fields of groundnut
And I see nothing but blood
I see blood in the face of the farmer
On the palm of the school child
I see blood on the statue
Of the Immaculate Mother

I walk through the streets and I see puddles of blood
I see blood on your shoes on your underwear
I see blood on the hands of men
And if I raise my voice to holler
It is because the grasses wither in this deluge of blood
Fishes float on their bellies with their eyes covered
By the sanguine flood

My verse spreads ungathered
In this spill of purple
Mine is the cry of a ram tethered
To the slaughterslab

There are no petals soft
No yellow centres
No polished pebble melodies
Piled into song
My words are rough-hewn from
These rocks where men toil
The plaintive voices of children
The plod of prisoners feet
The curses of the peasant woman
Are the wattle of my song

My pictures are the colour of dust
And I sing only of rust
I have swum in the flood
And I know better
For I am bound to this land
By blood.
Written by Robert Browning | Create an image from this poem

Pan and Luna

 Si credere dignum est.
--Virgil, Georgics, III, 390 Oh, worthy of belief I hold it was, Virgil, your legend in those strange three lines! No question, that adventure came to pass One black night in Arcadia: yes, the pines, Mountains and valleys mingling made one mass Of black with void black heaven: the earth's confines, The sky's embrace,--below, above, around, All hardened into black without a bound.
Fill up a swart stone chalice to the brim With fresh-squeezed yet fast-thickening poppy-juice: See how the sluggish jelly, late a-swim, Turns marble to the touch of who would loose The solid smooth, grown jet from rim to rim, By turning round the bowl! So night can fuse Earth with her all-comprising sky.
No less, Light, the least spark, shows air and emptiness.
And thus it proved when--diving into space, Stript of all vapor, from each web of mist, Utterly film-free--entered on her race The naked Moon, full-orbed antagonist Of night and dark, night's dowry: peak to base, Upstarted mountains, and each valley, kissed To sudden life, lay silver-bright: in air Flew she revealed, Maid-Moon with limbs all bare.
Still as she fled, each depth,--where refuge seemed-- Opening a lone pale chamber, left distinct Those limbs: mid still-retreating blue, she teemed Herself with whiteness,--virginal, uncinct By any halo save what finely gleamed To outline not disguise her: heavenwas linked In one accord with earth to quaff the joy, Drain beauty to the dregs without alloy.
Whereof she grew aware.
What help? When, lo, A succorable cloud with sleep lay dense: Some pinetree-top had caught it sailing slow, And tethered for a prize: in evidence Captive lay fleece on fleece of piled-up snow Drowsily patient: flake-heaped how or whence, The structure of that succorable cloud, What matter? Shamed she plunged into its shroud.
Orbed--so the woman-figure poets call Because of rounds on rounds--that apple-shaped Head which its hair binds close into a ball Each side the curving ears--that pure undraped Pout of the sister paps--that .
.
.
once for all, Say--her consummate circle thus escaped With its innumerous circlets, sank absorbed, Safe in the cloud--O naked Moon full-orbed! But what means this? The downy swathes combine, Conglobe, the smothery coy-caressing stuff Curdles about her! Vain each twist and twine Those lithe limbs try, encroached on by a fluff Fitting as close as fits the dented spine Its flexible ivory outside-flesh: enough! The plumy drifts contract, condense, constringe, Till she is swallowed by the feathery springe.
As when a pearl slips lost in the thin foam Churned on a sea-shore, and, o'er-frothed, conceits Herself safe-housed in Amphitrite's dome,-- If, through the bladdery wave-worked yeast, she meets What most she loathes and leaps from,--elf from gnome No gladlier,--finds that safest of retreats Bubble about a treacherous hand wide ope To grasp her--(divers who pick pearls so grope)-- So lay this Maid-Moon clasped around and caught By rough red Pan, the god of all that tract: He it was schemed the snare thus subtly wrought With simulated earth-breath,--wool-tufts packed Into a billowy wrappage.
Sheep far-sought For spotless shearings yield such: take the fact As learned Virgil gives it,--how the breed Whitens itself forever: yes, indeed! If one forefather ram, though pure as chalk From tinge on fleece, should still display a tongue Black 'neath the beast's moist palate, prompt men balk The propagating plague: he gets no young: They rather slay him,--sell his hide to calk Ships with, first steeped with pitch,--nor hands are wrung In sorrow for his fate: protected thus, The purity we loved is gained for us.
So did girl-Moon, by just her attribute Of unmatched modesty betrayed, lie trapped, Bruised to the breast of Pan, half god half brute, Raked by his bristly boar-sward while he lapped --Never say, kissed her! that were to pollute Love's language--which moreover proves unapt To tell how she recoiled--as who finds thorns Where she sought flowers--when, feeling, she touched--horns! Then--does the legend say?--first moon-eclipse Happened, first swooning-fit which puzzled sore The early sages? Is that why she dips Into the dark, a minute and no more, Only so long as serves her while she rips The cloud's womb through and, faultless as before, Pursues her way? No lesson for a maid Left she, a maid herself thus trapped, betrayed? Ha, Virgil? Tell the rest, you! "To the deep Of his domain the wildwood, Pan forthwith Called her, and so she followed"--in her sleep, Surely?--"by no means spurning him.
" The myth Explain who may! Let all else go, I keep --As of a ruin just a monolith-- Thus much, one verse of five words, each a boon: Arcadia, night, a cloud, Pan, and the moon.


Written by Edna St Vincent Millay | Create an image from this poem

Lament

 When I was a windy boy and a bit
And the black spit of the chapel fold,
(Sighed the old ram rod, dying of women),
I tiptoed shy in the gooseberry wood,
The rude owl cried like a tell-tale tit,
I skipped in a blush as the big girls rolled
Nine-pin down on donkey's common,
And on seesaw sunday nights I wooed
Whoever I would with my wicked eyes,
The whole of the moon I could love and leave
All the green leaved little weddings' wives
In the coal black bush and let them grieve.
When I was a gusty man and a half And the black beast of the beetles' pews (Sighed the old ram rod, dying of bitches), Not a boy and a bit in the wick- Dipping moon and drunk as a new dropped calf, I whistled all night in the twisted flues, Midwives grew in the midnight ditches, And the sizzling sheets of the town cried, Quick!- Whenever I dove in a breast high shoal, Wherever I ramped in the clover quilts, Whatsoever I did in the coal- Black night, I left my quivering prints.
When I was a man you could call a man And the black cross of the holy house, (Sighed the old ram rod, dying of welcome), Brandy and ripe in my bright, bass prime, No springtailed tom in the red hot town With every simmering woman his mouse But a hillocky bull in the swelter Of summer come in his great good time To the sultry, biding herds, I said, Oh, time enough when the blood runs cold, And I lie down but to sleep in bed, For my sulking, skulking, coal black soul! When I was half the man I was And serve me right as the preachers warn, (Sighed the old ram rod, dying of downfall), No flailing calf or cat in a flame Or hickory bull in milky grass But a black sheep with a crumpled horn, At last the soul from its foul mousehole Slunk pouting out when the limp time came; And I gave my soul a blind, slashed eye, Gristle and rind, and a roarers' life, And I shoved it into the coal black sky To find a woman's soul for a wife.
Now I am a man no more no more And a black reward for a roaring life, (Sighed the old ram rod, dying of strangers), Tidy and cursed in my dove cooed room I lie down thin and hear the good bells jaw-- For, oh, my soul found a sunday wife In the coal black sky and she bore angels! Harpies around me out of her womb! Chastity prays for me, piety sings, Innocence sweetens my last black breath, Modesty hides my thighs in her wings, And all the deadly virtues plague my death!
Written by Anne Sexton | Create an image from this poem

The Big Heart

 "Too many things are occurring for even a big heart to hold.
" - From an essay by W.
B.
Yeats Big heart, wide as a watermelon, but wise as birth, there is so much abundance in the people I have: Max, Lois, Joe, Louise, Joan, Marie, Dawn, Arlene, Father Dunne, and all in their short lives give to me repeatedly, in the way the sea places its many fingers on the shore, again and again and they know me, they help me unravel, they listen with ears made of conch shells, they speak back with the wine of the best region.
They are my staff.
They comfort me.
They hear how the artery of my soul has been severed and soul is spurting out upon them, bleeding on them, messing up their clothes, dirtying their shoes.
And God is filling me, though there are times of doubt as hollow as the Grand Canyon, still God is filling me.
He is giving me the thoughts of dogs, the spider in its intricate web, the sun in all its amazement, and a slain ram that is the glory, the mystery of great cost, and my heart, which is very big, I promise it is very large, a monster of sorts, takes it all in-- all in comes the fury of love.
Written by William Butler Yeats | Create an image from this poem

Shepherd And Goatherd

 Shepherd.
That cry's from the first cuckoo of the year.
I wished before it ceased.
Goatherd.
Nor bird nor beast Could make me wish for anything this day, Being old, but that the old alone might die, And that would be against God's providence.
Let the young wish.
But what has brought you here? Never until this moment have we met Where my goats browse on the scarce grass or leap From stone to Stone.
Shepherd.
I am looking for strayed sheep; Something has troubled me and in my rrouble I let them stray.
I thought of rhyme alone, For rhme can beat a measure out of trouble And make the daylight sweet once more; but when I had driven every rhyme into its Place The sheep had gone from theirs.
Goatherd.
I know right well What turned so good a shepherd from his charge.
Shepherd.
He that was best in every country sport And every country craft, and of us all Most courteous to slow age and hasty youth, Is dead.
Goatherd.
The boy that brings my griddle-cake Brought the bare news.
Shepherd.
He had thrown the crook away And died in the great war beyond the sea.
Goatherd.
He had often played his pipes among my hills, And when he played it was their loneliness, The exultation of their stone, that died Under his fingers.
Shepherd.
I had it from his mother, And his own flock was browsing at the door.
Goatherd.
How does she bear her grief? There is not a shepherd But grows more gentle when he speaks her name, Remembering kindness done, and how can I, That found when I had neither goat nor grazing New welcome and old wisdom at her fire Till winter blasts were gone, but speak of her Even before his children and his wife? Shepherd.
She goes about her house erect and calm Between the pantry and the linen-chest, Or else at meadow or at grazing overlooks Her labouring men, as though her darling lived, But for her grandson now; there is no change But such as I have Seen upon her face Watching our shepherd sports at harvest-time When her son's turn was over.
Goatherd.
Sing your song.
I too have rhymed my reveries, but youth Is hot to show whatever it has found, And till that's done can neither work nor wait.
Old goatherds and old goats, if in all else Youth can excel them in accomplishment, Are learned in waiting.
Shepherd.
You cannot but have seen That he alone had gathered up no gear, Set carpenters to work on no wide table, On no long bench nor lofty milking-shed As others will, when first they take possession, But left the house as in his father's time As though he knew himself, as it were, a cuckoo, No settled man.
And now that he is gone There's nothing of him left but half a score Of sorrowful, austere, sweet, lofty pipe tunes.
Goatherd.
You have put the thought in rhyme.
Shepherd.
I worked all day, And when 'twas done so little had I done That maybe "I am sorry' in plain prose Had Sounded better to your mountain fancy.
[He sings.
] "Like the speckled bird that steers Thousands of leagues oversea, And runs or a while half-flies On his yellow legs through our meadows.
He stayed for a while; and we Had scarcely accustomed our ears To his speech at the break of day, Had scarcely accustomed our eyes To his shape at the rinsing-pool Among the evening shadows, When he vanished from ears and eyes.
I might have wished on the day He came, but man is a fool.
' Goatherd.
You sing as always of the natural life, And I that made like music in my youth Hearing it now have sighed for that young man And certain lost companions of my own.
Shepherd.
They say that on your barren mountain ridge You have measured out the road that the soul treads When it has vanished from our natural eyes; That you have talked with apparitions.
Goatherd.
Indeed My daily thoughts since the first stupor of youth Have found the path my goats' feet cannot find.
Shepherd.
Sing, for it may be that your thoughts have plucked Some medicable herb to make our grief Less bitter.
Goatherd.
They have brought me from that ridge Seed-pods and flowers that are not all wild poppy.
[Sings.
] "He grows younger every second That were all his birthdays reckoned Much too solemn seemed; Because of what he had dreamed, Or the ambitions that he served, Much too solemn and reserved.
Jaunting, journeying To his own dayspring, He unpacks the loaded pern Of all 'twas pain or joy to learn, Of all that he had made.
The outrageous war shall fade; At some old winding whitethorn root He'll practise on the shepherd's flute, Or on the close-cropped grass Court his shepherd lass, Or put his heart into some game Till daytime, playtime seem the same; Knowledge he shall unwind Through victories of the mind, Till, clambering at the cradle-side, He dreams himself hsi mother's pride, All knowledge lost in trance Of sweeter ignorance.
' Shepherd.
When I have shut these ewes and this old ram Into the fold, we'll to the woods and there Cut out our rhymes on strips of new-torn bark But put no name and leave them at her door.
To know the mountain and the valley have grieved May be a quiet thought to wife and mother, And children when they spring up shoulder-high.
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