Tag Archives: Poet

To a Daughter Leaving Home by Linda Pastan

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On May 27, 1932, Linda Pastan was born to a Jewish family in the Bronx. She graduated from Radcliffe College and received an MA from Brandeis University.
Among her publications are – Carnival Evening: New and Selected Poems 1968-1998 (W. W. Norton, 1998), which was nominated for the National Book Award; The Imperfect Paradise (W. W. Norton, 1988), a nominee for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.
Linda Pastan lives in Potomac, Maryland.

I feature two of her poems. The first one makes me laugh and think. When I first read the title, I thought she was writing about her daughter going to college, or at a wedding. When I read on to the last line, I could feel her heart. Yes, our children leave us in different stages and different circumstances.

I found myself letting Mercy go little by little as she was growing up. Letting her go in a way of respect her to become independent but still stay close by to be her support. When Mercy was in fifth grade, she configured my first cell phone. When she was a young adult, she became my friend as remains to be my daughter. At the present, I rely on her expertise and am not afraid to ask.

~

To A Daughter Leaving Home by Linda Pastan

When I taught you
at eight to ride
a bicycle, loping along
beside you
as you wobbled away
on two round wheels,
my own mouth rounding
in surprise when you pulled
ahead down the curved
path of the park,
I kept waiting
for the thud
of your crash as I
sprinted to catch up,
while you grew
smaller, more breakable
with distance,
pumping, pumping
for your life, screaming
with laughter,
the hair flapping
behind you like a
handkerchief waving
goodbye.

The second poem evokes my reflection on the question: when am I most myself? I think it is ever since I had cancer. I reflect on life vs. death, health vs. sickness, essential vs. contemporary, personal right vs. relationship. I accept who I am and no interest in pretending. I’m satisfied with what I have and no ambition to acquire “one more.”

~

Something About the Trees by Linda Pastan

I remember what my father told me:
There is an age when you are most yourself.
He was just past fifty then,
Was it something about the trees that make him speak?
There is an age when you are most yourself.
I know more than I did once.
Was it something about the trees that make him speak?
Only a single leaf had turned so far.
I know more than I did once.
I used to think he’d always be the surgeon.
Only a single leaf had turned so far,
Even his body kept its secrets.
I used to think he’d always be the surgeon,
My mother was the perfect surgeon’s wife.
Even his body kept its secrets.
I thought they both would live forever.
My mother was the perfect surgeon’s wife,
I can still see her face at thirty.
I thought they both would live forever.
I thought I’d always be their child.
I can still see her face at thirty.
When will I be most myself?
I thought I’d always be their child.
In my sleep, it’s never winter.
When will I be most myself?
I remember what my father told me.
In my sleep, it’s never winter.
He was just past fifty then.

~

This is an expansion of Pantoum Poem Form from 4 stanzas to 7 stanzas.
Stanza 1: 1, 2, 3, 4
Stanza 2: 2, 5, 4, 6
Stanza 3: 5, 7, 6, 8
Stanza 4: 7, 9, 8, 10
Stanza 5: 9, 11, 10, 12
Stanza 6: 11, 13, 12, 14
Stanza 7: 13, 1, 14, 3

 

 

SoCS July 15, 2017 – Book Title

The prompt for “Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: ‘book title.’ Take the title of the book you’re currently reading or the one sitting closest to you when you’re ready to write your SoCS post and base your post on the title only. I’m not asking for a book review or a synopsis, just whatever the title itself brings to mind.” – Linda G Hill 

Even though Linda is not asking for a book review, and I’m not doing a book review, but Emily Dickinson’s journey of poetry proved herself as a moxie poet of her time. I can’t get this out of my mind but write something about her.

Emily_Dickinson 

The most recent book I read was entitled: “The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson” edited by two of her friends, Mabel Loomis Todd and Thomas Wentworth Higginson.

Emily Elizabeth Dickinson (December 10, 1830 – May 15, 1886) was an American poet. She was one of the greatest and most original poets of the 19th century. She took definition as her province and challenged the existing definitions of poetry and the poet’s work. She experimented with expression in order to free it from conventional restraints. She is now recognized as the most important American poet.

There were fewer than a dozen poems published during her lifetime. The published poems were extremely edited to match the punctuation and capitalization to late 19th century standards, with occasional re-wordings.

Upon her death, her sister found 1,800 poems in her room. Dickinson expressed her wishes to her sister to burn the poems after she died. Her sister did burn some of her correspondences. The three series of poems that Dickinson edited and organized during her good health years was kept, in addition to piles of loose poems written on tear-apart pieces of envelopes found in her desk drawers.

The following is one of her early poem in its original form of punctuation, capitalization, and spellings.

~   ~   ~

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –

And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –

I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.

~     ~     ~

SoCS July 14, 2017 – “Book Title”

Daily Prompt: Moxie

American Poet – Elizabeth Bishop

Elizabeth Bishop

Elizabeth Bishop

Elizabeth Bishop (February 8, 1911 – October 6, 1979) was an American poet and short-story writer. She was Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 1949 to 1950, the Pulitzer Prize winner for Poetry in 1956, the National Book Award winner in 1970, and the recipient of the Neustadt International Prize for Literature in 1976.

The following are two of my favorite poems by Elizabeth Bishop.

 

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The Art of Losing 

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother’s watch. And look! My last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.

– Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like a disaster.

Form: Villanelle

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I Am In Need Of Music 

I am in need of music that would flow
Over my fretful, feeling fingertips,
Over my bitter-tainted, trembling lips,
With melody, deep, clear, and liquid-slow.
Oh, for the healing swaying, old and low,
Of some song sung to rest the tired dead,
A song to fall like water on my head,
And over quivering limbs, dream flushed to glow!

There is a magic made by melody:
A spell of rest, and quiet breath, and cool
Heart, that sinks through fading colors deep
To the subaqueous stillness of the sea,
And floats forever in a moon-green pool,
Held in the arms of rhythm and of sleep.

 

The Road Not Taken – Poem by Robert Frost

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The phrases of “the road not taken,” or “the road less traveled” seem to evoke deep thinking, soul searching, or nostalgic feelings.

Who coined the phrases “the road not taken” or “the road less traveled?” I always wonder. They surely cause me to ponder upon several crossroads in my life, and how I determined my choices.

The poetry class I am taking was assigned to read the poems by Robert Frost. I looked through the poems, and my heart was drawn back to “The Road Not Taken” many times. During the class, I was hoping no one else ahead of me chose to read the same poem.

“Oh good, they all chose other poems!” It was my turn to read. I made an introduction by saying that, this poem induced a lot of thinking about the decisions I have made in my life. When I read the last two lines, my throat was choked up and my eyes were filled with tears.

The Road Not Taken – Poem by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

~

Robert Frost was born on March 26, 1874, in San Francisco, where his father, William Prescott Frost Jr., and his mother, Isabelle Moodie, had moved from Pennsylvania shortly after marrying. After the death of his father from tuberculosis when Frost was eleven years old, he moved with his mother and sister, Jeanie, who was two years younger, to Lawrence, Massachusetts. He became interested in reading and writing poetry during his high school years in Lawrence, enrolled at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, in 1892, and later at Harvard University in Boston, though he voluntarily withdrew due to illness.
In 1895, Frost married Elinor Miriam White, whom he’d shared valedictorian honors with in high school and who was a major inspiration for his poetry until her death in 1938.
Robert Frost lived and taught for many years in Massachusetts and Vermont, and died in Boston on January 29, 1963.
Robert Frost is ranked #3 of the top 500 poets, with William Shakespeare being #1.
Reference:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Frost

https://www.poemhunter.com/robert-frost

Bill Collins and His Poem

Williaimgresm James Collins was born on March 22, 1941. He is an American poet, appointed as Poet Laureate of the United States from 2001 to 2003.  He is a Distinguished Professor at Lehman College of the City University of New York and is the Senior Distinguished Fellow of the Winter Park Institute, Florida. Collins was recognized as a Literary Lion of the New York Public Library (1992) and selected as the New York State Poet for 2004-2006. Billy Collins has been called ‘The most popular poet in America’ by the New York Times. He ranked #36 in the top 500 poets. The following is one of his poems.

Another Reason Why I Don’t Keep a Gun in The House

The neighbors’ dog will not stop barking.
He is barking the same high, rhythmic bark
that he barks every time they leave the house.
They must switch him on their way out.

The neighbors’ dog will not stop barking.
I close all the windows in the house
and put on a Beethoven symphony full blast
but I can still hear him muffled under the music,
barking, barking, barking,

and now I can see him sitting in the orchestra,
his head raised confidently as if Beethoven
had included a part for barking dog.

When the record finally ends he is still barking,
sitting there in the oboe section barking,
his eyes fixed on the conductor who is
entreating him with his baton

while the other musicians listen in respectful
silence to the famous barking dog solo,
that endless coda that first established
Beethoven as an innovative genius.