Poem of the Week

Everyday in April, National Poetry Monthmy friend J’Ann Allen shares a poem she’s written.

Here’s today’s:

Each one
locked behind
half drawn shades and
closed doors.

Each one
thinking the other is
better off than s/he.

Each one
discussing
shopping choices and
lack of funds.

Each one
wishing it were spring and
done.

Each one
tells me who I am.
Open a window;
listen.

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Poem of the Week

Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

W.B. Yeats

Poem of the Week

Chinese Restaurant

by David Shumate

After an argument, my family always dined at the Chinese
restaurant. Something about the Orient washed the bitterness
away. Like a riverbank where you rest for awhile. The owner
bowed as we entered. The face of one who had seen too much.
A revolution. The torture of loved ones. Horrors he would never
reveal. His wife ushered us to our table. Her steps smaller than
ours. The younger daughter brought us tea. The older one took
our orders in perfect English. Each year her beauty was more
delicate than before. Sometimes we were the only customers
and they smiled from afar as we ate duck and shrimp with our
chopsticks. After dinner we sat in the comfort of their silence.
My brother told a joke. My mother folded a napkin into the shape
of a bird. My sister broke open our cookies and read our fortunes
aloud. As we left, my father always shook the old man’s hand.

Poem of the Week

Nothing is Lost

by Noel Coward

Deep in our sub-conscious, we are told
Lie all our memories, lie all the notes
Of all the music we have ever heard
And all the phrases those we loved have spoken,
Sorrows and losses time has since consoled,
Family jokes, out-moded anecdotes
Each sentimental souvenir and token
Everything seen, experienced, each word
Addressed to us in infancy, before
Before we could even know or understand
The implications of our wonderland.
There they all are, the legendary lies
The birthday treats, the sights, the sounds, the tears
Forgotten debris of forgotten years
Waiting to be recalled, waiting to rise
Before our world dissolves before our eyes
Waiting for some small, intimate reminder,
A word, a tune, a known familiar scent
An echo from the past when, innocent
We looked upon the present with delight
And doubted not the future would be kinder
And never knew the loneliness of night.

Poem of the Week

Now Winter Nights Enlarge

by Thomas Campion
Now winter nights enlarge
The number of their hours;
And clouds their storms discharge
Upon the airy towers.
Let now the chimneys blaze
And cups o’erflow with wine,
Let well-turned words amaze
With harmony divine.
Now yellow waxen lights
Shall wait on honey love
While youthful revels, masques, and courtly sights
Sleep’s leaden spells remove.

This time doth well dispense
With lovers’ long discourse;
Much speech hath some defense,
Though beauty no remorse.
All do not all things well;
Some measures comely tread,
Some knotted riddles tell,
Some poems smoothly read.
The summer hath his joys,
And winter his delights;
Though love and all his pleasures are but toys,
They shorten tedious nights.

Poem of the Week

The Meeting

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

After so long an absence
At last we meet again:
Does the meeting give us pleasure,
Or does it give us pain?

The tree of life has been shaken,
And but few of us linger now,
Like the Prophet’s two or three berries
In the top of the uttermost bough.

We cordially greet each other
In the old, familiar tone;
And we think, though we do not say it,
How old and gray he is grown!

We speak of a Merry Christmas
And many a Happy New Year
But each in his heart is thinking
Of those that are not here.

We speak of friends and their fortunes,
And of what they did and said,
Till the dead alone seem living,
And the living alone seem dead.

And at last we hardly distinguish
Between the ghosts and the guests;
And a mist and shadow of sadness
Steals over our merriest jests.

“The Meeting” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Poem of the Week

After You, Who?

by Cole Porter

VERSE
Though with joy I should be reeling
That at last you came my way,
There’s no further use concealing
That I’m feeling far from gay.
For the rare allure about you
Makes me all the plainer see
How inane, how vain, how empty
Life without you would be.

REFRAIN
After you, who
Could supply my sky of blue?
After you, who
Could I love?
After you, why
Should I take the time to try,
For who else could qualify
After you, who?
Hold my hand and swear
You’ll never cease to care,
For without you there what could I do?
I could search years
But who else could change my tears
Into laughter after you?

“After You, Who?” by Cole Porter

Poem of the Week

Gifted and Talented

by Krista Lukas

For my teaching license, I am required
to take a class called “Mainstreaming,”
in which we learn about every kind
of kid who could walk or be wheeled
through our future classroom doors.

Not the blind, the deaf, and the handicapped,
but students with
blindness, deafness, developmental delays,
autism, moderate to severe
learning disabilities, hyperactivity,
attention deficit, oppositional defiance
disorder, and so on.

The instructor, an elementary
principal by day, who outlines
each chapter and reads to us
these outlines each Wednesday
from six to nine, devotes
one hour one night to the subject
of students with
gifts and talents, who might also
come through our future.

Regarding special programs
for such students, one teacher-candidate asks,
“Do you have to be gifted to teach them?”
“No.” The principal-instructor
shakes her head, as if
such a thing would be impossible.
“Not many gifted people
go into education.”

Poem of the Week: If I Should Have a Daughter

If you can’t listen to it all, just listen to the first 4 minutes or so when Sarah Day shares her poem.

From the Writer’s Almanac

It’s the birthday of poet William Carlos Williams (and me), born in Rutherford, New Jersey (1883). His father was a businessman, born in England, and his mother was Puerto Rican. His mother spoke and read to him in Spanish. He went off to school in Switzerland and France and learned French. But then he came back, went to medical school, and settled in Rutherford, where he was born, and lived there more or less for the rest of his life with his wife, Flossie. He practiced medicine full time and wrote his poems during breaks, on scraps of paper, without time to revise. He was often asked how he had the time and energy to pursue two professions, but he loved them both, and he couldn’t imagine writing without medicine. In his Autobiography of William Carlos Williams (1951), he said: “I have never felt that medicine interfered with me but rather that it was my very food and drink, the very thing which made it possible for me to write. Was I not interested in man? There the thing was, right in front of me. I could touch it, smell it. It was myself, naked, just as it was, without a lie telling itself to me in its own terms.”

Williams is best known for his shorter poems like “The Red Wheelbarrow” (1962):
so much depends
upon

a red wheel
barrow

glazed with rain
water

beside the white
chickens.

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