Whom do you love?

I never thought I was a contest-y sort of blogger. Protest-y, sure, but what the hell would I raffle off? I can neither sew nor craft, nor do I feel like sending freshly baked biscuits across the country or around the world.

But Downith has inspired me. I like the idea of spreading words around. So here’s what I have:

Post your favorite poem in the comments. I will choose my favorite favorite poem through a highly sophisticated statistical analysis. The winner will receive one of my favorite books of poetry (the exact identity of which will depend on the favorite favorite poem—and damn you, Downith, I swear I almost spelled “favorite” with a “u”). Multiple submissions allowed.

Don’t like poems? I don’t believe you.

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12 responses to “Whom do you love?

  1. So many I can’t choose, but here’s one I bookmarked last weekend:

    Listening to the Mourners
    by James Wright

    Crouched down by a roadside windbreak
    At the edge of the prairie,
    I flinch under the baleful jangling of wind
    Through the telephone wires, a wilderness of voices
    Blown for a thousand miles, for a hundred years.
    They all have the same name, and the name is lost.
    So: it is not me, it is not my love
    Alone lost.
    The grief that I hear is my life somewhere.
    Now I am speaking with the voice
    Of a scarecrow that stands up
    And suddenly turns into a bird.
    This field is the beginning of my native land,
    This place of skull where I hear myself weeping.

  2. Damn you Downith. Now there’s something I don’t hear every day.

    No fair having this contest when my books are still in boxes.

    I shall return.

  3. Can I recommend a poetry book? It’s by a Canadian astronomer, Rebecca Elson and called A Responsibility to Awe. It’s in a box somewhere but there were some good poems in there.

    • Here’s some Elson I found online:

      Sometimes as an antidote
      To fear of death,
      I eat the stars.

      Those nights, lying on my back,
      I suck them from the quenching dark
      Til they are all, all inside me,
      Pepper hot and sharp.

      or

      Aberration
      -the Hubble Space Telescope before Repair

      The way they tell it
      All the stars have wings
      The sky so full of wings
      There is no sky
      And just for a moment
      You forget
      The error and the crimped
      Paths of light
      And you see it
      The immense migration
      And you hear the rush
      The beating

  4. Oh my I’m no good for poetry but I like Ample Make This Bed by Emily Dickinson and a book that Downith sent me The World’s Wife by Carol Ann Duffy. I’m too dense to ever understand poetry but I do love me a good Lyle Lovett tune.

    • There’s a lot of Lyle Lovett played at Fangs and Clause central. I hope you have heard his new album, it is very good.

      As for my girl ED:

      Ample make this Bed-
      Make this Bed with Awe-
      In it wait till Judgment break
      Excellent and Fair.

      Be its Mattress straight-
      Be its Pillow round-
      Let no Sunrise’ yellow noise
      Interrupt this Ground-

  5. Okay, we all know my poetry issues but that above? “I eat the stars.” Love.

    And just a moment, Lyle Lovett, oh yes. When he married Julia Roberts the world said what does she see in him? All I could think was, “Are you stupid? Listen to that man.” Dumb people. So dumb.

  6. Okay, multiple submission time. Thank you Bobbi for reminding me of Carol Ann Duffy:

    Anne Hathaway
    The bed we loved in was a spinning world
    of forests, castles, torchlight, clifftops, seas
    where we would dive for pearls. My lover’s words
    were shooting stars which fell to earth as kisses
    on these lips; my body now a softer rhyme
    to his, now echo, assonance; his touch
    a verb dancing in the centre of a noun.
    Some nights, I dreamed he’d written me, the bed
    a page beneath his writer’s hands. Romance
    and drama played by touch, by scent, by taste.
    In the other bed, the best, our guests dozed on,
    dribbling their prose. My living laughing love –
    I hold him in the casket of my widow’s head
    as he held me upon that next best bed.

    And

    Premonitions

    We first met when your last breath
    cooled in my palm like an egg;
    you dead, and a thrush outside
    sang it was morning.
    I backed out of the room, feeling
    the flowers freshen and shine in my arms.

    The night before, we met again, to unsay
    unbearable farewells, to see
    our eyes brighten with re-strung tears.
    O I had my sudden wish –
    though I barely knew you –
    to stand at the door of your house,
    feeling my heartbeat calm,
    as they carried you in, home, home and healing.
    Then slow weeks, removing the wheelchair, the drugs,
    the oxygen mask and tank, the commode,
    the appointment cards,
    until it was summer again
    and I saw you open the doors to the gift of your garden.

    Strange and beautiful to see
    the roses close to their own premonitions,
    the grass sweeten and cool and green
    where a blackbird eased a worm into the lawn.
    There you were,
    a glass of lemony wine in each hand,
    walking towards me always, your magnolia tree
    marrying itself to the May air.

    How you talked! And how I listened,
    spellbound, humbled, daughterly,
    to your tall tales, your wise words,
    the joy of your accent, unenglish, dancey, humorous;
    watching your ash hair flare and redden,
    the loving litany of who we had been
    making me place my hands in your warm hands,
    younger than mine are now.
    Then time only the moon. And the balm of dusk.
    And you my mother.

    (I heard her read Premonitions a few years back – it was about her mother who had died and she envisaged time going backwards from the moment of death. I was not the only one in the room moved to tears.

    And speaking of mothers, here’s one my mother wrote when I was pregnant:

    Time Sensitive

    A woman with goals,
    Planning, making lists
    Milestones and deliverables
    The Day Timer Queen

    The predictability of rota
    Agenda and meetings
    And the reward of things
    On budget, and on time.

    But Blackberrying days are over.
    A different dispensation
    Now rules the hours.
    Another clock is ticking at the centre.

    Insistent, growing stronger.
    Staking its claim.
    It will not be hurried
    Nor slowed down.

    Its software is in the stars
    Too old to be reprogrammed
    And Artemis as always
    Readies her basket

    And in the painted nursery
    The woman with goals is waiting
    Timeless, for her first child.

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