Okay, guys I clearly have some issues with follow through at the moment-but despite the lack of posting, I haven’t forgotten about our poetry challenge. Will try to be more consistent for the second half of April.
In the meantime, how is everyone’s month going? If you pledged to read a poem a day, are you keeping up with it? Anyone want to share something they’ve particularly liked? (Dare I say, anyone want to share a poem they’ve written?)
This poem, which has been hanging out on the front page of the Poetry Foundation’s website, has stayed with me all week. I know nothing about the author, but I kind of want to seek out everything they have written.
BY ANGEL NAFIS
my sister wraps the throw
around herself on the small
cream loveseat & i know
for sure that she is not
a speck of dirt on a pill.
she coughs & sniffs up all
the lucky air in the room
into her excellent nostrils,
which are endless
holy wells replenishing
the soft architecture of her guts.
not even the lupus can interrupt
this ritual of beholding.
you ever look at a thing
you ain’t make, but become
a mother in the looking?
our blood is a thread tied
around my finger, tied
around her finger, that helps
me love. when her knees
swell, when her joints rust,
when her hair thins & flees
making a small continent
of skin on the side of her head,
i am witnessing her in whatever
state her body will allow.
Bismillah to the brain that
put my name next to her name
and said look at this girl your
whole life and know some kind
of peace. littlest bald spot, that no one
expected or knew how to love
you remind me of us.
i know Dalya’s thinking, how ugly
what a shame, but i wanna
build a mosque right then
& there. make an annual
hajj to that brown meadow.
slick as a coin. little planet
her awful, but her own.
Then there is one of my all time favorite poems, by the great Yehuda Amichai, which manages to be mournful and complicated and exquisitely sexy, all at once.
TRANSLATED BY ASSIA GUTMANN
In the middle of this century we turned to each other
With half faces and full eyes
like an ancient Egyptian picture
And for a short while.
I stroked your hair
In the opposite direction to your journey,
We called to each other,
Like calling out the names of towns
Where nobody stops
Along the route.
Lovely is the world rising early to evil,
Lovely is the world falling asleep to sin and pity,
In the mingling of ourselves, you and I,
Lovely is the world.
The earth drinks men and their loves
And like the contours of the Judean hills,
We shall never find peace.
In the middle of this century we turned to each other,
I saw your body, throwing shade, waiting for me,
The leather straps for a long journey
Already tightening across my chest.
I spoke in praise of your mortal hips,
You spoke in praise of my passing face,
I stroked your hair in the direction of your journey,
I touched your flesh, prophet of your end,
I touched your hand which has never slept,
I touched your mouth which may yet sing.
Dust from the desert covered the table
At which we did not eat
But with my finger I wrote on it
The letters of your name.
Now here is a straightforward poetry prompt, stolen shamelessly from the magazine Rattle.
Write a poem in response to something that has happened in the news this month.
Share anything you want that’s poetry related, below.