Saturday, January 26, 2013

Oneself : Poem In Your Post


our Selves, Ourselves
Apart and a Part
with every Thing, of Everything
from one Another, an Other
one Self

One self graph

Here I offer up a poem of happenstance, and I love this 21st Century method for finding poems serendipitously.

What's my method?  Look and listen to the moment.  Let your intuition choose some words grounded in the world around you.  Google them with "poem" at the end and see what pops up. 

How did I do it?  I was winding down after an incredibly intense Friday-before-finals by writing while watching an episode of the PBS cooking show Simply Ming.  In this episode, Ming Tsai visited Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto to cook fish.   I wasn't that interested in cooking fish, but Morimoto is a fascinatingly expert "Zen master" of his craft, so I immediately Googled "morimoto poem".

What did I get?
The above is from the fascinating blog of David Morimoto, "Math Poet" and ecologist, conservation biologist, and animal behaviorist, who specializes in studying birds and teaches at Lesley University in MA.  I found his image and poem comforting and grounding after a wild and chaotic day, and there's no doubt that many of my passions dwell in his area of expertise.  In addition, I discovered the website Talking Writing, to which I will return when life calms down in a few weeks.

So why not search out a Googly-poem of happenstance for yourself?


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Famous : Poem In Your Post

The river is famous to the fish.

The loud voice is famous to silence,   
which knew it would inherit the earth   
before anybody said so.   

The cat sleeping on the fence is famous to the birds   
watching him from the birdhouse.   

The tear is famous, briefly, to the cheek.   

The idea you carry close to your bosom   
is famous to your bosom.   

The boot is famous to the earth,   
more famous than the dress shoe,   
which is famous only to floors.

The bent photograph is famous to the one who carries it   
and not at all famous to the one who is pictured.   

I want to be famous to shuffling men   
who smile while crossing streets,   
sticky children in grocery lines,   
famous as the one who smiled back.

I want to be famous in the way a pulley is famous,   
or a buttonhole, not because it did anything spectacular,   
but because it never forgot what it could do.   

                                               - Naomi Shihab Nye

Another of my favorites from Poetry Out Loud, I learned this one a few years back.  May we all be famous.


Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Promise : Poem In Your Post

Stay, I said
to the cut flowers.
They bowed
their heads lower.

Stay, I said to the spider,
who fled.

Stay, leaf.
It reddened,
embarrassed for me and itself.

Stay, I said to my body.
It sat as a dog does,
obedient for a moment,
soon starting to tremble.

Stay, to the earth
of riverine valley meadows,
of fossiled escarpments,
of limestone and sandstone.
It looked back
with a changing expression, in silence.

Stay, I said to my loves.
Each answered,

                       - Jane Hirshfield

My ultimate choice for Poetry Out Loud.  I haven't learned a Hirshfield poem in by heart, although "The Gods Are Not Large" is one of my all-time favorites.  The images here, and the lightly pessimistic humor engaged me and I suspect will do so for all.  I'm planning to learn both poems for Poetry Out Loud next week, and you can check out "The Gods Are Not Large" on an earlier "Poem in Your Post" entry.  There's an interview with Ms. Hirshfield there too.

If you find this poem intriguing, sample more at her author site on

MFB, aloud,

Saturday, January 5, 2013

It would be neat if with the New Year : Poem In Your Post

                  for Miguel

It would be neat if with the New Year
I could leave my loneliness behind with the old year.
My leathery loneliness an old pair of work boots
my dog vigorously head-shakes back and forth in its jaws,
chews on for hours every day in my front yard—
rain, sun, snow, or wind
in bare feet, pondering my poem,
I’d look out my window and see that dirty pair of boots in the yard.

But my happiness depends so much on wearing those boots.

At the end of my day
while I’m in a chair listening to a Mexican corrido
I stare at my boots appreciating:
all the wrong roads we’ve taken, all the drug and whiskey houses
we’ve visited, and as the Mexican singer wails his pain,
I smile at my boots, understanding every note in his voice,
and strangers, when they see my boots rocking back and forth on my
keeping beat to the song, see how
my boots are scuffed, tooth-marked, worn-soled.

I keep wearing them because they fit so good
and I need them, especially when I love so hard,
where I go up those boulder strewn trails,
where flowers crack rocks in their defiant love for the light.
                                                           - Jimmy Santiago Baca

Another Poetry Out Loud frontrunner, and a favorite poet of mine.  What a life he has experienced, and now, in addition to what's noted below, Baca works regularly with at-risk kids and has published a book for teachers on how to support them via literacy.

Jimmy Santiago Baca
b. 1952
Jimmy Santiago Baca

Born in Santa Fe of Chicano and Apache descent, Jimmy Santiago Baca was abandoned by his parents and at thirteen ran away the from orphanage where his grandmother put him. He was convicted on drug charges in 1973 and spent five years in prison. There he learned to read and began writing poetry. His verse novel, Martin and Meditations on the South Valley, received the American Book Award in 1989. In addition to seven books of poetry, he has published memoirs, essays, stories, and a movie screenplay—Bound by Honor, released in 1993.   (Text from POL's author page)

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