Age of Jahiliyah

A blog of wide and varied interest, including Islam, Muslims, Poetry, Art and much more.

Archive for the month “May, 2007”

Voyages by Hart Crane

I

Above the fresh ruffles of the surf

Bright striped urchins flay each other with sand.

They have contrived a conquest for shell shucks,

And their fingers crumble fragments of baked weed

Gaily digging and scattering.

And in answer to their treble interjections

The sun beats lightning on the waves,

The waves fold thunder on the sand;

And could they hear me I would tell them:

O brilliant kids, frisk with your dog,

Fondle your shells and sticks, bleached

By time and the elements; but there is a line

You must not cross nor ever trust beyond it

Spry cordage of your bodies to caresses

Too lichen-faithful from too wide a breast.

The bottom of the sea is cruel.

II

–And yet this great wink of eternity,

Of rimless floods, unfettered leewardings,

Samite sheeted and processioned where

Her undinal vast belly moonward bends,

Laughing the wrapt inflections of our love;

Take this Sea, whose diapason knells

On scrolls of silver snowy sentences,

The sceptred terror of whose sessions rends

As her demeanors motion well or ill,

All but the pieties of lovers’ hands.

And onward, as bells off San Salvador

Salute the crocus lustres of the stars,

In these poinsettia meadows of her tides,–

Adagios of islands, O my Prodigal,

Complete the dark confessions her veins spell.

Mark how her turning shoulders wind the hours,

And hasten while her penniless rich palms

Pass superscription of bent foam and wave,–

Hasten, while they are true,–sleep, death, desire,

Close round one instant in one floating flower.

Bind us in time, O Seasons clear, and awe.

O minstrel galleons of Carib fire,

Bequeath us to no earthly shore until

Is answered in the vortex of our grave

The seal’s wide spindrift gaze toward paradise.

III

Infinite consanguinity it bears
This tendered theme of you that light
Retrieves from sea plains where the sky
Resigns a breast that every wave enthrones;
While ribboned water lanes I wind
Are laved and scattered with no stroke
Wide from your side, whereto this hour
The sea lifts, also, reliquary hands.

And so, admitted through black swollen gates
That must arrest all distance otherwise,
Past whirling pillars and lithe pediments,
Light wrestling there incessantly with light,
Star kissing star through wave on wave unto
Your body rocking!
and where death, if shed,
Presumes no carnage, but this single change,-
Upon the steep floor flung from dawn to dawn
The silken skilled transmemberment of song;

Permit me voyage, love, into your hands . .

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Ghazal: Comet by Jacqueline Osherow

Amidst our troubles, a sudden blessing:

Look up. There’s a comet in the evening sky.

An omen for a pharaoh, caught retracing

Its half forgotten summit in the evening sky;

Two burning tails-one gas, one ice-arousing

Ancient tumult in the evening sky;

Debris of a lost planet decomposing,

Gypsy diplomat in the evening sky;

Debut of life on earth, its ice dispersing

Facts too intimate for the evening sky…

Traces of comet in us. This burning, this freezing?

Let’s just blame it on the evening sky,

The music of the spheres in us, rehearsing

Across the gamut of the evening sky.

But-see?-the comet’s already devising

A shortcut past the limit in the evening sky,

And when it comes again, we won’t be witnessing.

Who will even claim it in the evening sky?

What’s left of us may well be improvising

Our own last-minute plummet in the evening sky.

Because You Asked About the Line Between Prose and Poetry by Howard Nemerov

Sparrows were feeding in a freezing drizzle
That while you watched turned into pieces of snow
Riding a gradient invisible
From silver aslant to random, white, and slow.

There came a moment that you couldn’t tell.
And then they clearly flew instead of fell.

November by Linda Pastan

It is an old drama

this disappearance of the leaves,

this seeming death

of the landscape.

In a later scene,

or earlier,

the trees like gnarled magicians

produce handkerchiefs

of leaves

out of empty branches.

And we watch.

We are like children

at this spectacle

of leaves,

as if one day we too

will open the wooden doors

of our coffins

and come out smiling

and bowing

all over again.

Empties Coming Back by Angelo de Ponciano

have you ever sat by the railroad track
and watched the emptys cuming back?
lumbering along with a groan and a whine,-
smoke strung out in a long gray line
belched from teh panting injun’s stack
– just emptys cuming back.

i have – and to me the emptys seem
like dreams i sometimes dream –
of a girl – or munney – or maybe fame –
my dreams have all returned the same,
swinging along the homebound track
– just emptys cuming back.

It’s All I Have to Bring Today by Emily Dickinson

It’s all I have to bring to-day,
This, and my heart beside,
This, and my heart, and all the fields,
And all the meadows wide.
Be sure you count, should I forget,–
Some one the sum could tell,–
This, and my heart, and all the bees
Which in the clover dwell.

Bird by Pablo Neruda

It was passed from one bird to another,
the whole gift of the day.
The day went from flute to flute,
went dressed in vegetation,
in flights which opened a tunnel
through the wind would pass
to where birds were breaking open
the dense blue air –
and there, night came in.

When I returned from so many journeys,
I stayed suspended and green
between sun and geography –
I saw how wings worked,
how perfumes are transmitted
by feathery telegraph,
and from above I saw the path,
the springs and the roof tiles,
the fishermen at their trades,
the trousers of the foam;
I saw it all from my green sky.
I had no more alphabet
than the swallows in their courses,
the tiny, shining water
of the small bird on fire
which dances out of the pollen.

Prophecy by Elinor Wylie

I shall lie hidden in a hut
In the middle of an alder wood,
Wich the back door blind and bolted shut,
And the front door locked for good.

I shall lie folded like a saint,
Lapped in a scented linen sheet,
On a bedstead striped with bright-blue paint,
Narrow and cold and neat.

The midnight will be glassy black
Behind the panes, which wind about
To set his mouth against a crack
And blow the candle out.

The House of Bush by Carol Muske Dukes

This is the house of madnesss is the man who sits in the house of madness.
This is the time of the man named Bush who sits in the house of madness.
This is a time-bomb ticking away in the time of the man named Bush who
sits in the house of madness.This is the child strapped to the bomb ticking away the time of the man
named Bush who sits in the house of madness.
This is the ravaged land of the child strapped to the bomb ticking away
the time of the man named Bush who sits in the house of madness.

These are the years and the cries of loss, the starving poor,
the reeling stocks, the chanting young, the face of the child
strapped to the bomb ticking away the time of the man named Bush
who sits in the house of madness.

These are the oil wells pumping dry, the corporate lies, the Enron ties,
the reeling stocks, the jobless lines, the face of the child strapped to
the bomb ticking away by a cyclone fence with a nickel bag in Our Hometown
in the time of the man named Bush who sits in the house of madness.

These are the oil wells across the sea, the dictator’s deal, the
torturer’s cage, the affairs of state in the ravaged land of the child
strapped to the bomb ticking away in the time of the man named Bush who
sits alone in the all-White House of madness.

Trees by Joyce Kilmer

(For Mrs. Henry Mills Alden)

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

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