Poetry Fridays

Poetry Friday: Wallace Stevens’ The Emperor of Ice-Cream

Posted on April 29, 2007. Filed under: Poetry, Poetry Fridays |

The Emperor of Ice Cream

by Wallace Stevens, from Harmonium

Call the roller of big cigars,
The muscular one, and bid him whip
In kitchen cups concupiscent curds.
Let the wenches dwadle in such dress
As they are used to wear, and let the boys
Bring flowers in last month’s newspapers.
Let be be finale of seem.
The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

Take from the dresser of deal
Lacking the three glass knobs, that sheet
On which she embroidered fantails once
And spread it so as to cover her face.
If her horny feet protrude, they come
To show how cold she is, and dumb.
Let the lamp affix its beam.
The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

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Poetry Friday: Wallace Stevens’ “The Snow Man”

Posted on April 1, 2007. Filed under: Poetry Fridays |

The Snow Man

by Wallace Stevens, from Harmonium

One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;

And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter

Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,

Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place

For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.

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Poetry Friday: Tu Fu’s “South Wind”, Trans. by Kenneth Rexroth

Posted on March 9, 2007. Filed under: Poetry Fridays |

“South Wind”

by Tu Fu, trans. Kenneth Rexroth, collected in A Book of Luminous Things: An International Anthology of Poetry

The days grow long, the mountains
Beautiful. The south wind blows
Over blossoming meadows.
Newly arrived swallows dart
Over the streaming marshes.
Ducks in pairs drowse on the warm sand.

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Poetry Friday: Pattiann Rogers’s “The Significance of Location”

Posted on February 16, 2007. Filed under: Poetry Fridays |

“The Significance of Location” from Firekeeper
Pattiann Rogers

The cat has the chance to make the sunlight
Beautiful, to stop it and turn it immediately
Into black fur and motion, to take it
As shifting branch and brown feather
Into the back of the brain forever.

The cardinal has flown the sun in red
Through the oak forest to the lawn.
The finch has caught it in yellow.
And taken it among the thorns. By the spider
It has been bound tightly and tied
Into an eight-stringed knot.

The sun has been intercepted in its one
Basic state and changed into a million varieties
Of green stick and tassel. It has been broken
Into pieces by glass rings, by mist
Over the river. Its heat
Has been given the board fence for body,
The desert rock for fact. On winter hills
It has been laid down in white like a martyr.

This afternoon we could spread gold scarves
Clear across the field and say in truth,
“Sun you are silk.”

Imagine the sun totally isolated,
Its brightness shot in continuous streaks straight out
Into the black, never arrested,
Never once being made light.

Someone should take note
Of how the earth has saved the sun from oblivion.

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Poetry Friday: Mary Oliver’s “Spring”

Posted on February 9, 2007. Filed under: Poetry Fridays |

“Spring” from House of Light

by Mary Oliver

a black bear
has just risen from sleep
and is racing

down the mountain.
All night
in the brisk and shallow restlessness
of early spring

I think of her
her four black fists
flicking the gravel
her tongue

like a red fire
touching the grass,
the cold water.
There is only one question:

how to love this world.
I think of her
like a black and leafy ledge

to sharpen her claws against
the silence
of the trees.
Whatever else

my life is
with its poems
and its music
and its glass cities,

it is also this dazzling darkness
down the mountain
breathing and tasting;

all day I think of her–
her white teeth,
her wordlessness,
her perfect love.

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Poetry Friday: Langston Hughes’ Dreams

Posted on January 12, 2007. Filed under: Poetry Fridays |

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, a poem from Langston Hughes–out of my favorite kid lit poetry anthology EVER (Reflections on a Gift of Watermelon Pickle…And Other Modern Verse):


Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.

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