National Poetry Month: Week 4- Rabindranath Tagore

The Music Of The Rains

In rainy days
When it rains in pattering sounds
I cannot tell how I feel
So bewildered is my mind.
It seems as if someone has left
After calling and calling
And knocking at my door at night
When in rainy days
It rains in pattering sounds.
Be kind to me, my love and light up my heart
Seeing someone’s shadow in my dream
Half awake and half asleep
My eyes are filled with tears
I feel someone came to me at night
When in rainy days
It rains in pattering sounds.

source: http://allpoetry.com/The-Music-Of-The-Rains–English-Translation

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National Poetry Month: Week 3- Holocaust Remembrance Week

This week I’m actually going to post poems about the Holocaust to celebrate Holocaust Remembrance Week. Let us pray for those who suffered and those who are still suffering.

The Butterfly by Pavel Friedman

The last, the very last,

So richly, brightly, dazzlingly yellow.

Perhaps if the sun’s tears would sing

against a white stone. . . .

Such, such a yellow

Is carried lightly ‘way up high.

It went away I’m sure because it wished to

kiss the world good-bye.

 

For seven weeks I’ve lived in here,

Penned up inside this ghetto.

But I have found what I love here.

The dandelions call to me

And the white chestnut branches in the court.

Only I never saw another butterfly.

 

That butterfly was the last one.

Butterflies don’t live in here,

in the ghetto. 

Written in Pencil in the Sealed Railway-Car by Dan Pagis

Here in this carload

I, Eve,

with my son, Abel.

If you see my older boy,

Cain, the son of man,

tell him I

 

Holocaust  by Barbara Sonek

 

We played, we laughed 

we were loved. 

We were ripped from the arms of our 

parents and thrown into the fire. 

We were nothing more than children. 

We had a future. We were going to be 

lawyers, rabbis, wives, teachers, mothers. 

We had dreams, then we had no hope. 

We were taken away in the dead of night 

like cattle in cars, no air to breathe 

smothering, crying, starving, dying. 

Separated from the world to be no more. 

From the ashes, hear our plea. This 

atrocity to mankind can not happen 

again. Remember us, for we were the 

children whose dreams and lives were 

stolen away. 

National Poetry Month: Week 2- Maya Angelou

Still I Rise

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

Photo Credit:Still I Rise poster by Kathrine Kelly
http://www.kkelly.us/still-i-rise-project/

National Poetry Month: Week 1- Pablo Neruda

Love feeding on love… What a nice thought.

If You Forget Me

I want you to know
one thing.

You know how this is:
if I look
at the crystal moon, at the red branch
of the slow autumn at my window,
if I touch
near the fire
the impalpable ash
or the wrinkled body of the log,
everything carries me to you,
as if everything that exists,
aromas, light, metals,
were little boats
that sail
toward those isles of yours that wait for me.

Well, now,
if little by little you stop loving me
I shall stop loving you little by little.

If suddenly
you forget me
do not look for me,
for I shall already have forgotten you.

If you think it long and mad,
the wind of banners
that passes through my life,
and you decide
to leave me at the shore
of the heart where I have roots,
remember
that on that day,
at that hour,
I shall lift my arms
and my roots will set off
to seek another land.

But
if each day,
each hour,
you feel that you are destined for me
with implacable sweetness,
if each day a flower
climbs up to your lips to seek me,
ah my love, ah my own,
in me all that fire is repeated,
in me nothing is extinguished or forgotten,
my love feeds on your love, beloved,
and as long as you live it will be in your arms
without leaving mine.

Photograph by Abigail Dienner; Temple Photojournalism
http://smcsites.com/photography/tag/temple-photojournalism/

Deep Waters

And then it begins.
Molten lava wedged in between
The crevices of my heart,
Piercing reddish orange.
The words from my mouth stumble out,
Tripping and falling,
Causing the others behind them
To miss their step
And come to a full stop.
Twenty one and half pair of eyes
In my direction… Lying in wait.
My words take too long to recover,
But there they are.
Still.
Waiting.
I wish I too could look them back in the eyes,
All twenty one and half of them.
I wish I too could watch them as they watch me. Intently.

S   I   L   E   N   C   E

A shadowed hand strangulates
As I struggle to escape from its grasp.
I…can’t…breathe!
My lungs burn as if I’ve been running,
Far too long,
As if I’ve been held captive in a closed room,
The water slowly climbing up
My feet…
Hips…
Chin.
My hands reach out in desperation.
My hands reach out into nothingness.
Take a deep breath.
Inhale…
I can’t
Exhale…
Do this…
I can’t.
Inhale…
My breathing and talking are out of sync,
My brain can’t seem to make up its mind.
Should I breathe first,
Then talk or talk,
Then breathe first.
It tries too much.
So much…that ultimately
I’m the one who gets stuck in between.

s   i   l   e   n   c   e

Everything stops.
The eyes, the thoughts,
My words.
They stop coming forth,
But my body still doesn’t respond.
My ears steam out hot air,
My cheeks flush against
The calmness of the room.
Show me the way out.

The Book Thief

I picked the book up as I waited for the student I agreed to tutor at the library. The Book Thief, I whispered to myself. It sounded interesting. Another Holocaust book. For some reason, I like reading books about the Holocaust. They are sad and heartbreaking but they also provide another side to the story. Last summer, I read The Boy in Stiped Pajamas and it was told in the viewpoint of a nine year old Nazi boy. The story was both wonderful and heartbreaking. I cried at the end. But that’s something I know that will always happen. Holocaust stories almost never have a happy ending no matter which side the story is from.

I liked the way The Book Thief was written. The narrator of this book is Death and that in itself is so intriguing. Many times, the words are just so beautiful and poetic that I can’t help but post some excerpts here:

Death is poetic.

“So many humans.
So many colours.

They keep triggering inside me. They harass my memory. I see them tall in their heaps, all mounted on top of each other. There is air like plastic, a horizon like setting glue. There are skies manufactured by people, punctured and leaking, and there are soft, coal-coloured clouds, beating, like black hearts.

And then.
There is death.
Making his way through all of it.
On the surface: unflappable, unwavering.
Below: unnerved, untied, and undone.”

Death feels emotions (o_O)… that’s a whole different perspective.

“I carried him softly through the broken street with one salty eye and a heavy, deathly heart. With him I tried a little harder. I watched the contents of his soul for a moment and saw a black-painted boy calling the name Jesse Owens as he ran through an imaginary tape. I saw him hip-deep in some icy water, chasing a book, and I saw a boy lying in bed, imagining how a kiss would taste from his glorious next-door neighbor. He does something to me, that boy. Every time. It’s his only detriment. He steps on my heart. He makes me cry.”

Death sees colors. Way more than we do.

“People observe the colors of a day only at its beginnings and ends, but to me it’s quite clear that a day merges through a multitude of shades and intonations with each passing moment. A single hour can consist of thousands of different colors. Waxy yellows, cloud-spot blues. Murky darkness. In my line of work, I make it a point to notice them.”

Death fears us.

“I am haunted by humans.”

And I think that this is one of my favorite parts of the book:

“As the sky began to charcoal toward light, we both moved on. We both observed the boy as he reached into his toolbox again and searched through some picture frames to pull out a small, stuffed yellow toy.

Carefully, he climbed to the dying man.

He placed the smiling teddy bear cautiously onto the pilot’s shoulder. The tip of its ear touched his throat.

The dying man breathed it in. He spoke. In English, he said, Thank you. His straight-line cuts opened as he spoke, and a small drop of blood rolled crookedly down his throat.”

This book was a phenomenal read. The words were just beautifully written. It’s something I wouldn’t mind reading over again. I like the sound the words make when I read them aloud in my mind. In short, I’ve fallen for this book. I love the words. The poetry. Papa and his accordion. And I have most definitely fallen in love with Rudy Steiner.