Thursday Love Poems by Mark Strand

Micah‘s Friday love poem post got me thinking that it’s been some time since we’ve had a proper Thursday Love Poem feature here on The Dad Poet.  If you’re a new visitor and don’t know what a Thursday Love Poem is, you can check out the original here.  The feature is based on Edna St. Vincent Millay’s  poem called “Thursday,” which Continue reading

“Fabric” by Bruce Snider

poet-brian-dean-powersI do not know how I missed this in May, but this was shared by my friend Brian Dean Powers when he was guest blogging on Words for the Year. I somehow came across this today and it is, I think, one of the most powerful poems I’ve ever read. And so, I wanted to share it again here.

Thank you, Brian and Christina.

The title of the poem is “Fabric.”

What the lawyers didn’t say
was that neither of you
had a choice once you saw how small
he was, once you heard his narrow
shoulders speak to you about the frail
architecture of his rib cage,
about the delicate, finely scooped bowl
of his skull, about how in this life
there are so few chances
to dominate another man,

Continue Reading: “Fabric” by Bruce Snider

These Are Extraordinary Times

http://www.scmp.com/news/world/article/1827315/amazing-grace-barack-obama-delivers-searing-speech-us-race-relations

US President Barack Obama sings Amazing Grace during the eulogy. Photo: EPA

The small thought, as I re-post this from my friend Jeremy’s excellent blog, The Sand County, is that anyone who watches this full eulogy and comes away still thinking that our President is not a Christian. . . well, frankly, you people baffle me.

Maybe you don’t worship the same way at your church. Maybe you don’t agree with every point of doctrine, but how can you watch and listen, and not know in your soul that this is the gospel of Grace? Might not be the sermon you would have preached, Pastor, but it was there. This is what real Christianity is about.

Some of you, some of my friends and family, have needled me with barbed comments about our president for nearly eight years now. How much of that came from you? How much from the mouths of others, and you just repeated it because it made you feel better? How much came from a pre-prejudice, not necessarily about his skin, but about his faith, about his political party, about his goodness and humanity?

I cannot help but wonder. As a man who went to Bible college myself, so long ago, a former youth president, drama ministry member, Bible quiz champion, youth pastor, choir director, wedding singer, church bus driver–as a man who knows as much about your Christian faith as you do, I say: You spent 8 years spitting back the articles and Limbaugh quips. After 8 years, I’m asking for less than an hour; listen to this man and tell me you’re not proud to have a president like him in troubled times like these.

The larger lesson here for me is not about him though; it’s in the words he says, and the grace he calls for, in the demand for owning up to our prejudice and selfishness, our one-sided-ness. His call for a truly UNITED States.

I’m sick of going back to business as usual. Can’t we shake up this nation and get back on track? He all but said what I’ve been saying for ages: We agree on more than the nightly “news” stars want us to believe we do. I think we’ve made some good starts. You believe in freedom to pursue happiness? You believe that maybe Cain was wrong when he declined to be his brother’ keeper? Let’s do each other and our founders proud. How about some of that love we preach? How about some of that Grace?

Love Poems You Wish You had Written #2–Elizabeth Bishop’s “One Art”

bishopyoung1Suzie has published her second Valentine poem of the week, a lovely and human piece by W. H. Auden, called “Lullaby.”  The deal this year is that we are posting requests, but I will tell you up front that this one was requested by nobody but me. It’s one of my favorite poems of all time, and certainly my favorite villanelle. We talked about this French form recently here on the Dad Poet when I discussed three villanelle examples that the library workshop used. You may see at least some of the fruits of our efforts in an upcoming post.

But I chose “One Art” today for other reasons. An old friendship has re-ignited from more than twenty years ago, from my first college days in the flatlands of Indiana. You can find some truly excellent advice on editing over at Joel’s blog, the Green Caret. Caret (^) is that little upside-down v character that editors use to insert a word, letter or correction.  Our favorite former English professor inspired his use of a green editing pen, and she just happened to be the first person I ever heard read the poem “One Art,” by Elizabeth Bishop.

The piece was written for her long time partner Lota Soares. It is not a happy love poem, and so perhaps not the best choice for a Valentine card, but love poems don’t have to have happy endings. Loss is a part of the experience of love, as so many songs and poems prove.

And so while Joel did not request this, he did inspire it, so that’s close enough. I have another E. E. Cummings poem coming up this week that one of you suggested, so stay tuned. Meanwhile, what love poem do you wish you had written? Let me know in the comments.

This reading was one of the ones testing out my new microphone, and it will probably be rerecorded later because it is just crying out for a short video I think. The last recording I did of this piece was probably in 2010. You can find the entire text of the poem on the Poetry Foundation website here.

Love Poems You Wish You Had Written #1–“Aimless Love,” by Billy Collins

AimlessIt was two years ago that Suzie Grogan and I played a game of tennis with posts about the love poems we wish we had written, and yet, romantically perhaps, it seems a lifetime ago. Please pardon the cliché! Well, Suzie is at it again on No More Wriggling Out of Writing, and I’m going to follow her lead this time. She’s taking requests this year, or at least suggestions, and I’ll do the same.

What love poem makes you wish you had written it?

Suzie’s first of the week is the classic, and very romantic, “The Good Morrow,” by John Donne, with a marvelous reading by Kenneth Branagh. In this age of Grey’s fifty shades, I concur with her insistence that “Donne is sexier by far than anything E L James came up with.”

The poem I have chosen for my first of this 2015 Valentine’s week, by contrast, is contemporary, and was recommended by my son Micah, known in the blogging world as The Monkey Prodigy. The poem even features a heart just waiting for arrows to pierce it. Sounds like a Valentine’s Day poem, no? Well, maybe it’s a different kind of love, maybe a better kind, the sort of love born of attention and care, and well, how could that not be a romantic good?

Billy Collins is often a guest on “A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor.” Just this weekend he appeared with guest host Chris Thile for another wonderful show. The video below was from a PHP reading a little over a year ago.

The poem seems to start as a lighthearted exploration of the way we thoughtlessly toss around the concept of falling in love, but in the end, even in the joke of the soap after handling a mouse, there is something in the way the poet caresses the details, the way great poets do, that brings about a simple authenticity that just feels right and, well good. Well, I think it’s lovely, and a good first choice, as it is from his 2013 book of the same title, “Aimless Love.” Thank you, Micah!

The full text can be read on the September 1st, edition of Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac from 2013, where you can also hear the smooth voice in the red shoes read the poem. Here’s Billy’s version.

 

One Perfect Thursday Love Poem, with Dorothy Parker

quotes-oh-life-is-a-glorious_5971-0We’re due for another Thursday Love poem feature, and so in the spirit of “Thursday,” a sort-of love poem by one of my poetic heroines, Edna St. Vincent Millay, I give you a piece from another New York mistress of words and wit, Dorothy Parker.

If you’re not familiar with the Thursday Love Poem feature, just go ahead and enjoy the poem below first, but then go back and click on that Thursday link in the first line of this post in order to get the original poem that inspired this irreverent tribute to love.

Like Vincent (as Millay liked to be called), Parker was both a poet and a social activist in the 1920’s New York literary scene. They were quite progressive ladies, though their poetry did not go the way of the Modernists, into ideas and abstractions, in the mid 30’s.

The Dorothy Parker Society has created a great little website dedicated to her and you should check it out. They even have a pretty hefty audio archive of Dorothy’s readings, including today’s:

A single flow’r he sent me, since we met.
All tenderly his messenger he chose;
Deep-hearted, pure, with scented dew still wet–
One perfect rose.

I knew the language of the floweret;
“My fragile leaves,” it said, “his heart enclose.”
Love long has taken for his amulet
One perfect rose.

Why is it no one ever sent me yet
One perfect limousine, do you suppose?
Ah no, it’s always just my luck to get
One perfect rose.