apoemaday
apoemaday
A Poem A Day
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apoemaday · 9 hours ago
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Fuck Your Lecture on Craft, My People Are Dying
by Noor Hindi
Colonizers write about flowers. I tell you about children throwing rocks at Israeli tanks seconds before becoming daisies. I want to be like those poets who care about the moon. Palestinians don’t see the moon from jail cells and prisons. It’s so beautiful, the moon. They’re so beautiful, the flowers. I pick flowers for my dead father when I’m sad. He watches Al Jazeera all day. I wish Jessica would stop texting me Happy Ramadan. I know I’m American because when I walk into a room something dies. Metaphors about death are for poets who think ghosts care about sound. When I die, I promise to haunt you forever. One day, I’ll write about the flowers like we own them.
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apoemaday · a day ago
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Wanting to Die
by Anne Sexton
Since you ask, most days I cannot remember. I walk in my clothing, unmarked by that voyage.   Then the almost unnameable lust returns. Even then I have nothing against life. I know well the grass blades you mention,   the furniture you have placed under the sun. But suicides have a special language. Like carpenters they want to know which tools. They never ask why build. Twice I have so simply declared myself,   have possessed the enemy, eaten the enemy,   have taken on his craft, his magic. In this way, heavy and thoughtful,   warmer than oil or water, I have rested, drooling at the mouth-hole. I did not think of my body at needle point. Even the cornea and the leftover urine were gone.   Suicides have already betrayed the body. Still-born, they don’t always die, but dazzled, they can’t forget a drug so sweet   that even children would look on and smile. To thrust all that life under your tongue!— that, all by itself, becomes a passion.   Death’s a sad bone; bruised, you’d say, and yet she waits for me, year after year,   to so delicately undo an old wound,   to empty my breath from its bad prison. Balanced there, suicides sometimes meet,   raging at the fruit a pumped-up moon,   leaving the bread they mistook for a kiss, leaving the page of the book carelessly open, something unsaid, the phone off the hook and the love whatever it was, an infection.
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apoemaday · 2 days ago
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On the Pulse of Morning
by Maya Angelou
A Rock, A River, A Tree Hosts to species long since departed, Marked the mastodon, The dinosaur, who left dried tokens Of their sojourn here On our planet floor, Any broad alarm of their hastening doom Is lost in the gloom of dust and ages.
But today, the Rock cries out to us, clearly, forcefully, Come, you may stand upon my Back and face your distant destiny, But seek no haven in my shadow. I will give you no hiding place down here.
You, created only a little lower than The angels, have crouched too long in The bruising darkness Have lain too long Face down in ignorance. Your mouths spilling words
Armed for slaughter. The Rock cries out to us today, you may stand upon me, But do not hide your face.
Across the wall of the world, A River sings a beautiful song. It says, Come, rest here by my side.
Each of you, a bordered country, Delicate and strangely made proud, Yet thrusting perpetually under siege. Your armed struggles for profit Have left collars of waste upon My shore, currents of debris upon my breast. Yet today I call you to my riverside, If you will study war no more. Come, Clad in peace, and I will sing the songs The Creator gave to me when I and the Tree and the rock were one. Before cynicism was a bloody sear across your Brow and when you yet knew you still Knew nothing. The River sang and sings on.
There is a true yearning to respond to The singing River and the wise Rock. So say the Asian, the Hispanic, the Jew The African, the Native American, the Sioux, The Catholic, the Muslim, the French, the Greek The Irish, the Rabbi, the Priest, the Sheik, The Gay, the Straight, the Preacher, The privileged, the homeless, the Teacher. They hear. They all hear The speaking of the Tree.
They hear the first and last of every Tree Speak to humankind today. Come to me, here beside the River. Plant yourself beside the River.
Each of you, descendant of some passed On traveler, has been paid for. You, who gave me my first name, you, Pawnee, Apache, Seneca, you Cherokee Nation, who rested with me, then Forced on bloody feet, Left me to the employment of Other seekers—desperate for gain, Starving for gold. You, the Turk, the Arab, the Swede, the German, the Eskimo, the Scot, You the Ashanti, the Yoruba, the Kru, bought, Sold, stolen, arriving on the nightmare Praying for a dream. Here, root yourselves beside me. I am that Tree planted by the River, Which will not be moved. I, the Rock, I the River, I the Tree I am yours — your passages have been paid. Lift up your faces, you have a piercing need For this bright morning dawning for you. History, despite its wrenching pain Cannot be unlived, but if faced With courage, need not be lived again.
Lift up your eyes upon This day breaking for you. Give birth again To the dream.
Women, children, men, Take it into the palms of your hands, Mold it into the shape of your most Private need. Sculpt it into The image of your most public self. Lift up your hearts Each new hour holds new chances For a new beginning. Do not be wedded forever To fear, yoked eternally To brutishness.
The horizon leans forward, Offering you space to place new steps of change. Here, on the pulse of this fine day You may have the courage To look up and out and upon me, the Rock, the River, the Tree, your country. No less to Midas than the mendicant. No less to you now than the mastodon then.
Here, on the pulse of this new day You may have the grace to look up and out And into your sister’s eyes, and into Your brother’s face, your country And say simply Very simply With hope— Good morning.
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apoemaday · 3 days ago
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1964
by Jorge Luis Borges
I. The world has lost its magic. They have left you. You no longer share the clear moon nor the slow gardens. Now there is no moon that isn’t a mirror to the past,
Solitary crystal, anguished sun. Goodbye to the mutual hands and the temples that brought love closer. Today all you have is the faithful memory and the deserted days.
Nobody loses (you repeat vainly) Except what they don’t have and never had, but it is not enough to be valiant
For to learn the art of forgetting a symbol, a rose, rips you apart and a guitar can kill you.
II. I will no longer be happy. Maybe it doesn’t matter. there are many other things in the world; any moment is more profound and diverse than the sea. Life is short
and though hours are very long, a dark delight lies in wait for us Death, that other sea, the other arrow come to free us from the sun and the moon
and the love. the joy you gave me and took away must be crossed out; that which was everything has to be nothing.
All I have left to enjoy is sadness, that vain habit that brings me South, to a certain door, to a certain corner
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apoemaday · 4 days ago
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Adam’s Curse
by W.B. Yeats
We sat together at one summer’s end, That beautiful mild woman, your close friend,   And you and I, and talked of poetry. I said, ‘A line will take us hours maybe; Yet if it does not seem a moment’s thought,   Our stitching and unstitching has been naught.   Better go down upon your marrow-bones   And scrub a kitchen pavement, or break stones   Like an old pauper, in all kinds of weather;   For to articulate sweet sounds together Is to work harder than all these, and yet   Be thought an idler by the noisy set Of bankers, schoolmasters, and clergymen   The martyrs call the world.’                                           And thereupon That beautiful mild woman for whose sake   There’s many a one shall find out all heartache   On finding that her voice is sweet and low   Replied, ‘To be born woman is to know— Although they do not talk of it at school— That we must labour to be beautiful.’ I said, ‘It’s certain there is no fine thing   Since Adam’s fall but needs much labouring. There have been lovers who thought love should be   So much compounded of high courtesy   That they would sigh and quote with learned looks   Precedents out of beautiful old books;   Yet now it seems an idle trade enough.’ We sat grown quiet at the name of love;   We saw the last embers of daylight die,   And in the trembling blue-green of the sky   A moon, worn as if it had been a shell   Washed by time’s waters as they rose and fell   About the stars and broke in days and years. I had a thought for no one’s but your ears:   That you were beautiful, and that I strove   To love you in the old high way of love; That it had all seemed happy, and yet we’d grown   As weary-hearted as that hollow moon.
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apoemaday · 5 days ago
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How It Is
by Maxine Kumin
Shall I say how it is in your clothes? A month after your death I wear your blue jacket. The dog at the center of my life recognizes you’ve come to visit, he’s ecstatic. In the left pocket, a hole. In the right, a parking ticket delivered up last August on Bay State Road. In my heart, a scatter like milkweed, a flinging from the pods of the soul. My skin presses your old outline. It is hot and dry inside. I think of the last day of your life, old friend, how I would unwind it, paste it together in a different collage, back from the death car idling in the garage, back up the stairs, your praying hands unlaced, reassembling the bits of bread and tuna fish into a ceremony of sandwich, running the home movie backward to a space we could be easy in, a kitchen place with vodka and ice, our words like living meat. Dear friend, you have excited crowds with your example. They swell like wine bags, straining at your seams. I will be years gathering up our words, fishing out letters, snapshots, stains, leaning my ribs against this durable cloth to put on the dumb blue blazer of your death.
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apoemaday · 6 days ago
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Thanks in Old Age
by Walt Whitman
Thanks in old age—thanks ere I go,For health, the midday sun, the impalpable air—for life, mere life, For precious ever-lingering memories, (of you my mother dear—you, father—you, brothers, sisters, friends,) For all my days—not those of peace alone—the days of war the same, For gentle words, caresses, gifts from foreign lands, For shelter, wine and meat—for sweet appreciation, (You distant, dim unknown—or young or old—countless, un-specified, readers belov'd, We never met, and ne'er shall meet—and yet our souls embrace, long, close and long;) For beings, groups, love, deeds, words, books—for colors, forms, For all the brave strong men—devoted, hardy men—who've forward sprung in freedom's help, all years, all lands, For braver, stronger, more devoted men—(a special laurel ere I go, to life's war's chosen ones, The cannoneers of song and thought—the great artillerists—the foremost leaders, captains of the soul:) As soldier from an ended war return'd—As traveler out of myriads, to the long procession retrospective, Thanks—joyful thanks!—a soldier's, traveler's thanks.
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apoemaday · 7 days ago
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Any Prince to Any Princess
by Adrian Henri
August is coming and the goose, I’m afraid, is getting fat. There have been no golden eggs for some months now. Straw has fallen well below market price despite my frantic spinning and the sedge is, as you rightly point out, withered. I can’t imagine how the pea got under your mattress. I apologize humbly. The chambermaid has, of course, been sacked. As has the frog footman. I understand that, during my recent fact-finding tour of the Golden River, despite your nightly unavailing efforts, he remained obstinately froggish. I hope that the Three Wishes granted by the General Assembly will go some way towards redressing this unfortunate recent sequence of events. The fall in output from the shoe-factory, for example: no one could have foreseen the work-to-rule by the National Union of Elves. Not to mention the fact that the court has been fast asleep for the last six and a half years. The matter of the poisoned apple has been taken up by the Board of Trade: I think I can assure you the incident will not be repeated. I can quite understand, in the circumstances, your reluctance to let down your golden tresses. However I feel I must point out that the weather isn’t getting any better and I already have a nasty chill from waiting at the base of the White Tower. You must see the absurdity of the situation. Some of the courtiers are beginning to talk, not to mention the humble villagers. It’s been three weeks now, and not even a word. Princess, a cold, black wind howls through our empty palace. Dead leaves litter the bedchamber; the mirror on the wall hasn’t said a thing since you left. I can only ask, bearing all this in mind, that you think again, let down your hair, reconsider.
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apoemaday · 8 days ago
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Lilacs
by Amy Lowell
Lilacs, False blue, White, Purple, Color of lilac, Your great puffs of flowers Are everywhere in this my New England. Among your heart-shaped leaves Orange orioles hop like music-box birds and sing Their little weak soft songs; In the crooks of your branches The bright eyes of song sparrows sitting on spotted eggs Peer restlessly through the light and shadow Of all Springs. Lilacs in dooryards Holding quiet conversations with an early moon; Lilacs watching a deserted house Settling sideways into the grass of an old road; Lilacs, wind-beaten, staggering under a lopsided shock of bloom Above a cellar dug into a hill. You are everywhere. You were everywhere. You tapped the window when the preacher preached his sermon, And ran along the road beside the boy going to school. You stood by the pasture-bars to give the cows good milking, You persuaded the housewife that her dishpan was of silver. And her husband an image of pure gold. You flaunted the fragrance of your blossoms Through the wide doors of Custom Houses— You, and sandal-wood, and tea, Charging the noses of quill-driving clerks When a ship was in from China. You called to them: “Goose-quill men, goose-quill men, May is a month for flitting.” Until they writhed on their high stools And wrote poetry on their letter-sheets behind the propped-up ledgers. Paradoxical New England clerks, Writing inventories in ledgers, reading the “Song of Solomon” at night, So many verses before bed-time, Because it was the Bible. The dead fed you Amid the slant stones of graveyards. Pale ghosts who planted you Came in the nighttime And let their thin hair blow through your clustered stems. You are of the green sea, And of the stone hills which reach a long distance. You are of elm-shaded streets with little shops where they sell kites and marbles, You are of great parks where every one walks and nobody is at home. You cover the blind sides of greenhouses And lean over the top to say a hurry-word through the glass To your friends, the grapes, inside. Lilacs, False blue, White, Purple, Color of lilac, You have forgotten your Eastern origin, The veiled women with eyes like panthers, The swollen, aggressive turbans of jeweled pashas. Now you are a very decent flower, A reticent flower, A curiously clear-cut, candid flower, Standing beside clean doorways, Friendly to a house-cat and a pair of spectacles, Making poetry out of a bit of moonlight And a hundred or two sharp blossoms. Maine knows you, Has for years and years; New Hampshire knows you, And Massachusetts And Vermont. Cape Cod starts you along the beaches to Rhode Island; Connecticut takes you from a river to the sea. You are brighter than apples, Sweeter than tulips, You are the great flood of our souls Bursting above the leaf-shapes of our hearts, You are the smell of all Summers, The love of wives and children, The recollection of gardens of little children, You are State Houses and Charters And the familiar treading of the foot to and fro on a road it knows. May is lilac here in New England, May is a thrush singing “Sun up!” on a tip-top ash tree, May is white clouds behind pine-trees Puffed out and marching upon a blue sky. May is a green as no other, May is much sun through small leaves, May is soft earth, And apple-blossoms, And windows open to a South Wind. May is full light wind of lilac From Canada to Narragansett Bay. Lilacs, False blue, White, Purple, Color of lilac. Heart-leaves of lilac all over New England, Roots of lilac under all the soil of New England, Lilac in me because I am New England, Because my roots are in it, Because my leaves are of it, Because my flowers are for it, Because it is my country And I speak to it of itself And sing of it with my own voice Since certainly it is mine.
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apoemaday · 9 days ago
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Snowdrops
by Louise Glück
Do you know what I was, how I lived? You know what despair is; then winter should have meaning for you.
I did not expect to survive, earth suppressing me. I didn’t expect to waken again, to feel in damp earth my body able to respond again, remembering after so long how to open again in the cold light of earliest spring–
afraid, yes, but among you again crying yes risk joy
in the raw wind of the new world.
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apoemaday · 10 days ago
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“Something I learned about agape when I was young...”
by Christina Pugh
Something I learned about agape when I was young: the Iliad tells us fellow-feeling is finite in communities. Brotherly love becomes a number that has to be divided among persons—so if you’re too kind to others, that might explain your neighbor’s graft. I sometimes wonder if perception is the same; if the quantity of percepts, or our trove of eidetic things, is not limitless but rather constant: the measure, say, of a sunlit field. So if we dip like deep-sea divers to the world, we’ll have to use a purse-seine to sieve our sense impressions. We’re hoarding the image at our peril. That bluest scilla smeared by a finger writing in the grass? Endangered. Poetry’s work is not to ravish, but diminish.
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apoemaday · 11 days ago
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To Be in Love
by Gwendolyn Brooks
To be in love Is to touch things with a lighter hand. In yourself you stretch, you are well. You look at things Through his eyes.     A cardinal is red.     A sky is blue. Suddenly you know he knows too. He is not there but You know you are tasting together The winter, or light spring weather. His hand to take your hand is overmuch. Too much to bear. You cannot look in his eyes Because your pulse must not say What must not be said. When he Shuts a door— Is not there— Your arms are water. And you are free With a ghastly freedom. You are the beautiful half Of a golden hurt. You remember and covet his mouth, To touch, to whisper on. Oh when to declare Is certain Death! Oh when to apprize, Is to mesmerize, To see fall down, the Column of Gold, Into the commonest ash.
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apoemaday · 12 days ago
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Oranges
by Jean Little
I peel oranges neatly. The sections come apart cleanly, perfectly in my hands.
When Emily peels an orange, she tears holes in it. Juice squirts in all directions.
“Kate,” she says, “I don’t know how you do it!”
Emily is my best friend. I hope she never learns how to peel oranges.
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apoemaday · 13 days ago
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Bird
by Pablo Neruda
It was passed from one bird to another, the whole gift of the day. The day went from flute to flute, went dressed in vegetation, in flights which opened a tunnel through the wind would pass to where birds were breaking open the dense blue air-- and there, night came in. When I returned from so many journeys, I stayed suspended and green between sun and geography-- I saw how wings worked, how perfumes are transmitted by feathery telegraph, and from above I saw the path, the springs and the roof tiles, the fishermen at their trades, the trousers of the foam; I saw it all from my green sky. I had no more alphabet than the swallows in their courses, the tiny, shining water of the small bird on fire which dances out of the pollen.
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apoemaday · 14 days ago
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Walking Home from Oak-Head
by Mary Oliver
There is something about the snow-laden sky in winter in the late afternoon that brings to the heart elation and the lovely meaninglessness of time. Whenever I get home—whenever— somebody loves me there. Meanwhile I stand in the same dark peace as any pine tree, or wander on slowly like the still unhurried wind, waiting, as for a gift, for the snow to begin which it does at first casually, then, irrepressibly. Wherever else I live — in music, in words, in the fires of the heart, I abide just as deeply in this nameless, indivisible place, this world, which is falling apart now, which is white and wild, which is faithful beyond all our expressions of faith, our deepest prayers. Don’t worry, sooner or later I’ll be home. Red-cheeked from the roused wind, I’ll stand in the doorway stamping my boots and slapping my hands, my shoulders covered with stars.
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apoemaday · 15 days ago
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The First Rule of Sinhalese Architecture
by Michael Ondaatje
Never build three doors in a straight line. A devil might rush through them deep into your house, into your life.
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apoemaday · 17 days ago
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Earthseed
by Octavia Butler
Here we are-- Energy, Mass, Life, Shaping life, Mind, Shaping Mind God, Shaping God. Consider— We are born Not with purpose, But with potential. All that you touch You Change. All that you Change Changes you. The only lasting truth Is Change. God Is Change.
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apoemaday · 18 days ago
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“I lived in the first century of world wars”
by Muriel Rukeyser
I lived in the first century of world wars. Most mornings I would be more or less insane, The newspapers would arrive with their careless stories, The news would pour out of various devices Interrupted by attempts to sell products to the unseen. I would call my friends on other devices; They would be more or less mad for similar reasons. Slowly I would get to pen and paper, Make my poems for others unseen and unborn. In the day I would be reminded of those men and women, Brave, setting up signals across vast distances, Considering a nameless way of living, of almost unimagined values. As the lights darkened, as the lights of night brightened, We would try to imagine them, try to find each other, To construct peace, to make love, to reconcile Waking with sleeping, ourselves with each other, Ourselves with ourselves. We would try by any means To reach the limits of ourselves, to reach beyond ourselves, To let go the means, to wake. I lived in the first century of these wars.
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apoemaday · 19 days ago
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Eating Alone
by Li-Young Lee
I’ve pulled the last of the year’s young onions. The garden is bare now. The ground is cold, brown and old. What is left of the day flames in the maples at the corner of my eye. I turn, a cardinal vanishes. By the cellar door, I wash the onions, then drink from the icy metal spigot. Once, years back, I walked beside my father among the windfall pears. I can’t recall our words. We may have strolled in silence. But I still see him bend that way—left hand braced on knee, creaky—to lift and  hold to my eye a rotten pear. In it, a hornet spun crazily, glazed in slow, glistening juice. It was my father I saw this morning waving to me from the trees. I almost called to him, until I came close enough to see the shovel, leaning where I had left it, in the flickering, deep green shade. White rice steaming, almost done. Sweet green peas fried in onions. Shrimp braised in sesame oil and garlic. And my own loneliness. What more could I, a young man, want.
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apoemaday · 20 days ago
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Democracy
by Langston Hughes
Democracy will not come Today, this year Nor ever Through compromise and fear.
I have as much right As the other fellow has To stand On my two feet And own the land.
I tire so of hearing people say, Let things take their course. Tomorrow is another day. I do not need my freedom when I’m dead. I cannot live on tomorrow’s bread.
Freedom Is a strong seed Planted In a great need.
I live here, too. I want freedom Just as you.
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