Wednesday Poem: Saying Goodbye ~ Ralph Burns and Jeff Moss

Muppets-08

Saying Goodbye

Saying goodbye, going away
Seems like goodbye’s such a hard thing to say
Touching our hands, wondering why
It’s time for saying goodbye.

Saying goodbye, why is it sad?
Makes us remember the good times we’ve had
Much more to say, foolish to try
It’s time for saying goodbye.

Don’t want to leave, but we both know
Sometimes it’s better to go
Somehow I know, we’ll meet again
Not sure quite where and I don’t know just when

You’re in my heart, so until then
It’s time for saying goodbye.

Ralph Burns and Jeff Moss

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Wednesday Poem: Lavender’s Blue ~ Traditional, England circa 1680

lavender

Lavender’s Blue

“Lavender’s blue, dilly dilly, lavender’s green,
When I am king, dilly, dilly, you shall be queen.
Who told you so, dilly, dilly, who told you so?
‘Twas my own heart, dilly, dilly, that told me so.

Call up your men, dilly, dilly, set them to work
Some with a rake, dilly, dilly, some with a fork.
Some to make hay, dilly, dilly, some to thresh corn.
While you and I, dilly, dilly, keep ourselves warm.

Lavender’s green, dilly, dilly, Lavender’s blue,
If you love me, dilly, dilly, I will love you.
Let the birds sing, dilly, dilly, And the lambs play;
We shall be safe, dilly, dilly, out of harm’s way.

I love to dance, dilly, dilly, I love to sing;
When I am queen, dilly, dilly, You’ll be my king.
Who told me so, dilly, dilly, Who told me so?
I told myself, dilly, dilly, I told me so.”

Traditional

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Wednesday Poem: ‘Autumn’ ~ Rainer Maria Rilke

Autumn

‘Autumn’

The leaves are falling, falling as if from far up,

as if orchards were dying high in space.

Each leaf falls as if it were motioning “no.”

And tonight the heavy earth is falling

away from all other stars in the loneliness.

We’re all falling. This hand here is falling.

And look at the other one. It’s in them all.

And yet there is Someone, whose hands

infinitely calm, holding up all this falling.

Rainer Maria Rilke

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Wednesday Poem: August Moonrise ~ Sara Teasdale

august moonrise

August Moonrise

THE sun was gone, and the moon was coming
Over the blue Connecticut hills;
The west was rosy, the east was flushed,
And over my head the swallows rushed
This way and that, with changeful wills.
I heard them twitter and watched them dart
Now together and now apart
Like dark petals blown from a tree;
The maples stamped against the west
Were black and stately and full of rest,
And the hazy orange moon grew up
And slowly changed to yellow gold
While the hills were darkened, fold on fold
To a deeper blue than a flower could hold.
Down the hill I went, and then
I forgot the ways of men,
For night-scents, heady, and damp and cool
Wakened ecstasy in me
On the brink of a shining pool.
O Beauty, out of many a cup
You have made me drunk and wild
Ever since I was a child,
But when have I been sure as now
That no bitterness can bend
And no sorrow wholly bow
One who loves you to the end?
And though I must give my breath
And my laughter all to death,
And my eyes through which joy came,
And my heart, a wavering flame;
If all must leave me and go back
Along a blind and fearful track
So that you can make anew,
Fusing with intenser fire,
Something nearer your desire;
If my soul must go alone
Through a cold infinity,
Or even if it vanish, too,
Beauty, I have worshipped you.
Let this single hour atone
For the theft of all of me.

Sara Teasdale

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Wednesday Poem: Jim ~ Hilaire Belloc

Jim Lion

Jim, Who ran away from his Nurse, and was eaten by a Lion.

There was a Boy whose name was Jim;
His Friends were very good to him.
They gave him Tea, and Cakes, and Jam,
And slices of delicious Ham,
And Chocolate with pink inside
And little Tricycles to ride,
And read him Stories through and through,
And even took him to the Zoo—
But there it was the dreadful Fate
Befell him, which I now relate.

You know—or at least you ought to know,
For I have often told you so—
That Children never are allowed
To leave their Nurses in a Crowd;
Now this was Jim’s especial Foible,
He ran away when he was able,
And on this inauspicious day
He slipped his hand and ran away!

He hadn’t gone a yard when—Bang!
With open Jaws, a lion sprang,
And hungrily began to eat
The Boy: beginning at his feet.
Now, just imagine how it feels
When first your toes and then your heels,
And then by gradual degrees,
Your shins and ankles, calves and knees,
Are slowly eaten, bit by bit.
No wonder Jim detested it!
No wonder that he shouted “Hi!”

The Honest Keeper heard his cry,
Though very fat he almost ran
To help the little gentleman.
“Ponto!” he ordered as he came
(For Ponto was the Lion’s name),
“Ponto!” he cried, with angry Frown,
“Let go, Sir! Down, Sir! Put it down!”
The Lion made a sudden stop,
He let the Dainty Morsel drop,
And slunk reluctant to his Cage,
Snarling with Disappointed Rage.
But when he bent him over Jim,
The Honest Keeper’s Eyes were dim.
The Lion having reached his Head,
The Miserable Boy was dead!

When Nurse informed his Parents, they
Were more Concerned than I can say:—
His Mother, as She dried her eyes,
Said, “Well—it gives me no surprise,
He would not do as he was told!”
His Father, who was self-controlled,
Bade all the children round attend
To James’s miserable end,
And always keep a-hold of Nurse
For fear of finding something worse.

Hilaire Belloc

Wednesday Poem: Fireflies in the Garden ~ Robert Frost

fireflies

Fireflies in the Garden

Here come real stars to fill the upper skies,
And here on earth come emulating flies,
That though they never equal stars in size,
(And they were never really stars at heart)
Achieve at times a very star-like start.
Only, of course, they can’t sustain the part.

Robert Frost

Robert Frost, “Fireflies in the Garden” from The Poetry of Robert Frost, edited by Edward Connery Lathem. Copyright 1928, 1969 by Henry Holt and Company, Inc., renewed © 1956 by Robert Frost. Reprinted with the permission of Henry Holt and Company, LLC.
Source: The Random House Book of Poetry for Children (1983)

Wednesday Poem: Prayer ~ Jorie Graham

hands full of sand

Prayer

Over a dock railing, I watch the minnows, thousands, swirl
themselves, each a minuscule muscle, but also, without the
way to create current, making of their unison (turning, re-
infolding,
entering and exiting their own unison in unison) making of
themselves a
visual current, one that cannot freight or sway by
minutest fractions the water’s downdrafts and upswirls, the
dockside cycles of finally-arriving boat-wakes, there where
they hit deeper resistance, water that seems to burst into
itself (it has those layers) a real current though mostly
invisible sending into the visible (minnows) arrowing
motion that forces change–
this is freedom. This is the force of faith. Nobody gets
what they want. Never again are you the same. The longing
is to be pure. What you get is to be changed. More and more by
each glistening minute, through which infinity threads itself,
also oblivion, of course, the aftershocks of something
at sea. Here, hands full of sand, letting it sift through
in the wind, I look in and say take this, this is
what I have saved, take this, hurry. And if I listen
now? Listen, I was not saying anything. It was only
something I did. I could not choose words. I am free to go.
I cannot of course come back. Not to this. Never.
It is a ghost posed on my lips. Here: never.

Jorie Graham

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Wednesday Poem: Possibilities ~ Wislawa Szymborska

Wisława-Szymborska-02

Possibilities

I prefer movies.
I prefer cats.
I prefer the oaks along the Warta.
I prefer Dickens to Dostoyevsky.
I prefer myself liking people
to myself loving mankind.
I prefer keeping a needle and thread on hand, just in case.
I prefer the color green.
I prefer not to maintain
that reason is to blame for everything.
I prefer exceptions.
I prefer to leave early.
I prefer talking to doctors about something else.
I prefer the old fine-lined illustrations.
I prefer the absurdity of writing poems
to the absurdity of not writing poems.
I prefer, where love’s concerned, nonspecific anniversaries
that can be celebrated every day.
I prefer moralists
who promise me nothing.
I prefer cunning kindness to the over-trustful kind.
I prefer the earth in civvies.
I prefer conquered to conquering countries.
I prefer having some reservations.
I prefer the hell of chaos to the hell of order.
I prefer Grimms’ fairy tales to the newspapers’ front pages.
I prefer leaves without flowers to flowers without leaves.
I prefer dogs with uncropped tails.
I prefer light eyes, since mine are dark.
I prefer desk drawers.
I prefer many things that I haven’t mentioned here
to many things I’ve also left unsaid.
I prefer zeroes on the loose
to those lined up behind a cipher.
I prefer the time of insects to the time of stars.
I prefer to knock on wood.
I prefer not to ask how much longer and when.
I prefer keeping in mind even the possibility
that existence has its own reason for being.

By Wislawa Szymborska
From “Nothing Twice”, 1997
Translated by S. Baranczak & C. Cavanagh

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Wednesday Poem: Two Red Fire Flames ~ Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer

2 red fire flames

Two Red Fire Flames

Two red fire flames
That hug the same trunk
They get close and, kissing each other,
They form a single flame.

Two notes that of the lute
A hand plays at the same time,
And in the space they met each other
And harmonious they hug each other.

Two waves that come together
To die on a lonely beach
And while breaking they feel crown
With a silver pride.

Two shreds of vapor
That get up from the lake
And, when joining there in the sky,
They form a white cloud.

Two ideas that sprout at the same time,
Two kisses that at the same time explode,
Two echoes that join together
This is our two souls.

Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer

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Wednesday Poem: A Trenta-Sei of Mixed Feelings at the Early Onset of Winter~ Maryann Corbett

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A Trenta-Sei of Mixed Feelings at the Early Onset of Winter

with apologies to the shade of John Ciardi

As the first flakes are caught in streetlight-glimmer,
you gasp: Lovely! Your gasping throat still raw,
the truth grips like catarrh: a Midwest winter
beautiful? Like a left hook to the jaw,
the knuckled, scraping wait for spring’s mud-brown.
You bend your mind to months of hunkering down.

You gasp. Lovely? Your gasping throat still raw,
outward you bound to boisterous winter sports!
Thrill to the wind chill! (When will the fingers thaw?)
Joy! when the frozen stiffs stagger indoors!
(And what in this routine vaguely recalls
old saws that feature banging, and heads, and walls?)

The truth grips like catarrh: a Midwest winter
makes short work of its fairy tale. Snow-white
soils itself on plows. Ice-daggers splinter,
murder-minding the pavement. Ice-dams blight
cold attics. Traffic slogs and spins awry.
The bus slings up a wad of slush at an eye.

Unbeautiful. Like a left hook to the jaw—
except those fugitive seconds of pure peace:
Silence of evening shoveling, when you saw
that famous moonlight. Snow sculpting the trees.
Benches, fences slathered like wedding cakes.
Streetlights. Indigo dark, and the clean flakes.

The knuckled, scraping wait for spring’s mud-brown
craves every beauty bagged in the tangled mind
for cold-comfort. Sucks the marrowbone
of song. Tongues at old poems jarred and brined
like olives. Hears the orchard, shiver-thinned,
keen to itself: the sweep of easy wind….

You bend your mind to months of hunkering down:
You load the chafing dish. You light the sterno.
You heat the buttered rum. You cannot drown
your memory of those stanzas from the Inferno
at the tale-end of the terza rima spell
where Hell is cold. Where cold is the heart of Hell.

Maryann Corbett

Mid Evil
The University of Evansville Press