STONES IN THE SNOW
To write a poem is
Finding stones in the snow –
Straining to see the nights,
Waiting to hear the winds,
Trying to smell the rain,
Stretching to touch the sun,
All these have turned
And borne them.
Snowflakes tasted are words
Which carry them.
B. B. Levchuk
He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ringed with the azure world, he stands.
The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.
Alfred, Lord Tennyson
The porthole overlooks a sea
Forever falling from the sky,
The water inextricably
Involved with buttons, suds and dye.
Like bits of shrapnel, shards of foam
Fly heavenward; a bedsheet heaves.
A stocking wrestles with a comb,
And cotton angels wave their sleeves.
The boiling purgatorial tide
Revolves our dreary shorts and slips,
While Mother coolly bakes beside
Her little jugged apocalypse.
In Just –
In Just –
spring when the world is mud –
luscious the little
whistles far and wee
and eddieandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it’s
when the world is puddle-wonderful
old balloonman whistles
far and wee
and bettyandisabel come dancing
from hop=scotch and jump-rope and
e. e. cummings
1969 Gwendolyn MacEwen
We have traveled far with ourselves
and our names have lengthened;
we have carried ourselves
on our backs, like canoes
in a strange portage, over trails,
and trees dethroned like kings,
from water-route to
seeing the edge, the end,
the coastlines of this land.
On earlier journeys we
were master ocean-goers
going out, and evening always found us
spooning the ocean from our boat,
and gulls, undiplomatic
courers brought us
cryptic messages from shore
till finally we sealords vowed
we’d sail no more.
Now under a numb sky, somber
cumuli weigh us down;
the trees are combed for winter
and bears’ tongues have melted
all the honey;
there is a lourd*
suggestion of thunder;
subtle drums under
the candid hands of Indians
are trying to tell us
why we have come.
But now we fear movement
and now we dread stillness;
we suspect it was the land
that always moved, not our ships;
we are in sympathy with the fallen
trees; we cannot relate
the cause of our grief.
We can no more carry
Our boats our selves
Over these insinuating trails. *sluggish/dull
Shuffling down the empty halls
I watch the shadows run and hide.
The silence calls for me to leave,
But another voice speaks to me
From the past:
I sweep the leaves which fall
From summer boughs
I pile them high and light a match
the creeping flames devour them one
and in a moment, flames with hungry lust
burn in scarlet fury and turn to ash
and in a silver plume of smoke
the silence calls for me to leave.
IT IS DANGEROUS TO READ NEWSPAPERS
While I was building neat
castles in the sandbox,
the hasty pits were
filling with bulldozed corpses
and as I walked to the school
washed and combed, my feet
stepping on the cracks in the cement
detonated red bombs.
Now I am grownup
and literate, and I sit in my chair
as quietly as a fuse
and the jungles are flaming, the under-
brush is charged with soldiers,
the names on the difficult
maps go up in smoke.
I am the cause. I am a stockpile of chemical
toys, my body
is a deadly gadget,
I reach out in love, my hands are guns.
my good intentions are completely lethal.
passive eyes transmute
everything I look at to the pocked
black and white of a war photo,
can I stop myself
It is dangerous to read newspaper.
Each time I hit a key
on my electric typewriter,
speaking of peaceful trees
another village explodes
THIS IS A PHOTOGRAPH OF ME
It was taken some time ago.
At first it seems to be
print: blurred lines and grey flecks
blended with the paper;
then, as you scan
it, you see in the left-hand corner
a thing that is like a branch: part of a tree
(balsam or spruce) emerging
and, to the right, halfway up
what ought to be a gentle
slope, a small frame house.
In the background there is a lake,
and beyond that, some low hills.
(The photograph was taken
the day after I drowned.
I am in the lake, in the centre
of the picture, just under the surface.
It is difficult to say where
precisely, or to say
how large or small I am:
the effect of water
on light is a distortion
but if you look long enough,
you will be able to see me.)
THE CLOD AND THE PEBBLE
“Love seeketh not itself to please,
Nor for itself hath any care,
But for another gives its ease,
And builds a Heaven in Hell’s despair.”
So sung a little Clod of Clay,
Trodden with the cattle’s feet,
But a Pebble of the brook
Warbled out these metres meet:
“Love seeketh only Self to please,
To bind another to its delight,
Joys in another’s loss of ease,
And builds a Hell in Heaven’s despite.”
(British poet – Romantic period)
STOPPING BY WOODS ON A SNOWY
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sounds’ the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
(American poet – modernist/post-modernist)