Classical Poetry Book

Classical Poetry Book 27
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Published Date:04-07-2017
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GET LIT’S CLASSIC SLAM POEMS & EXCERPTS, 2014-2015 © 2014 Yellow Road Productions, Inc. All rights reserved.   1  Life Doesn’t Frighten Me Maya Angelou Shadows on the wall Noises down the hall Life doesn't frighten me at all Bad dogs barking loud Big ghosts in a cloud Life doesn't frighten me at all Mean old Mother Goose Lions on the loose They don't frighten me at all Dragons breathing flame On my counterpane That doesn't frighten me at all. I go boo Make them shoo I make fun Way they run I won't cry So they fly I just smile They go wild Life doesn't frighten me at all. Tough guys fight All alone at night Life doesn't frighten me at all. Panthers in the park Strangers in the dark No, they don't frighten me at all. That new classroom where Boys all pull my hair (Kissy little girls With their hair in curls) They don't frighten me at all. Don't show me frogs and snakes And listen for my scream, If I'm afraid at all It's only in my dreams. I've got a magic charm That I keep up my sleeve I can walk the ocean floor   11  And never have to breathe. Life doesn't frighten me at all Not at all Not at all. Life doesn't frighten me at all.   12  I am a Mute Iraqi with a Voice Anonymous I am an Iraqi but was never asked, personally, what was better? Saddam threatening to destroy me if I crossed him, politically? Or tons of deleted uranium, napalm, bullets, explosives and other unfamiliar concoctions, besieging me at some hidden corner of my street? I am an Iraqi, but was never asked, personally, what I wanted? Freedom to vote for men and women I know little about, who may or may not better my life, or to safely be able to step out of my house? I am an Iraqi, but was never asked, do I want democracy or the tradition of my ancestry? I am an Iraqi, but was never asked, personally, by those who've come to rescue me, have we really benefited you, my dear, since the day we came near? Or have we simply made a mess of your little hut?   13  Siren Song Margaret Atwood This is the one song everyone would like to learn: the song that is irresistible: the song that forces men to leap overboard in squadrons even though they see the beached skulls the song nobody knows because anyone who has heard it is dead, and the others can't remember. Shall I tell you the secret and if I do, will you get me out of this bird suit? I don't enjoy it here squatting on this island looking picturesque and mythical with these two feathery maniacs, I don't enjoy singing this trio, fatal and valuable. I will tell the secret to you, to you, only to you. Come closer. This song is a cry for help: Help me Only you, only you can, you are unique at last. Alas it is a boring song but it works every time.   14  Green Chile Jimmy Santiago Baca I prefer red chile over my eggs and potatoes for breakfast. Red chile ristras decorate my door, dry on my roof, and hang from eaves. They lend open-air vegetable stands historic grandeur, and gently swing with an air of festive welcome. I can hear them talking in the wind, haggard, yellowing, crisp, rasping tongues of old men, licking the breeze. But grandmother loves green chile. When I visit her, she holds the green chile pepper in her wrinkled hands. Ah, voluptuous, masculine, an air of authority and youth simmers from its swan-neck stem, tapering to a flowery collar, fermenting resinous spice. A well-dressed gentleman at the door my grandmother takes sensuously in her hand, rubbing its firm glossed sides, caressing the oily rubbery serpent, with mouth-watering fulfillment, fondling its curves with gentle fingers. Its bearing magnificent and taut as flanks of a tiger in mid-leap, she thrusts her blade into and cuts it open, with lust on her hot mouth, sweating over the stove, bandana round her forehead, mysterious passion on her face as she serves me green chile con carne between soft warm leaves of corn tortillas, with beans and rice - her sacrifice to her little prince. I slurp from my plate with last bit of tortilla, my mouth burns and I hiss and drink a tall glass of cold water. All over New Mexico, sunburned men and women drive rickety trucks stuffed with gunny-sacks of green chile, from Belen, Veguita, Willard, Estancia, San Antonia y Socorro, from fields to roadside stands, you see them roasting green chile in screen-sided homemade barrels, and for a dollar a bag, we relive this old, beautiful ritual again and again.   15  It Happens I am a Singer of the Heart Jimmy Santiago Baca It happens I am a singer of the heart and took my songs to the gutter to sing them to drunks, recite them to addicts, whisper them to thieves and madmen, outstretch them like my hands clasping prisoner's hands through cell bars. You see, it's these people who understand the poem's magic, who are not invited into society, whose opinions we denigrate as useless, but each unlike Uppidees fight hard for their existence, battle against armed keepers to speak, stand, and breathe. They've known the blessing light of the poem on their trampled hearts, the poem's respite in a merciless society, its sensory indulgence in their own severe deprivations, its love and respect away from the mockery, ridicule, and shame that accusers heap on them. The poem's words scrub away the rust on their hearts drawing out the burnished luster of their dreams, and radiates a certain light from their bones. As they roam the murky alleys, it transforms their suffering into songs of celebration.   16  One Art Elizabeth Bishop The art of losing isn’t hard to master; so many things seem filled with the intent to be lost that their loss is no disaster. Lose something every day. Accept the fluster of lost door keys, the hour badly spent. The art of losing isn’t hard to master. Then practice losing farther, losing faster: places, and names, and where it was you meant to travel. None of these will bring disaster. I lost my mother’s watch. And look my last, or next-to-last, of three loved houses went. The art of losing isn’t hard to master. I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster, some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent. I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster. —Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident the art of losing’s not too hard to master though it may look like (Write it) like disaster.   17  One Wants a Teller at a Time Like This Gwendolyn Brooks One wants a teller in a time like this One's not a man, one's not a woman grown To bear enormous business all alone. One cannot walk this winding street with pride Straight-shouldered, tranquil-eyed, Knowing one knows for sure the way back home. One wonders if one has a home. One is not certain if or why or how. One wants a Teller now: Put on your rubbers and you won't catch a cold Here's hell, there's heaven. Go to Sunday School Be patient, time brings all good things(and cool Strong balm to calm the burning at the brain?) Behold, Love's true, and triumphs; and God's actual.   18  Slim Greer in Hell (part I) Sterling Brown Slim Greer went to heaven; St. Peter said, "Slim, You been a right good boy." An' he winked at him. "You been travelin' rascal In yo'day. You kin roam once mo'; Den you come to stay. "Put dese wings on yo' shoulders, An' save yo' feet." Slim grin, and he speak up, "Thankye, Pete." Den Peter say, "Go To Hell an' see, All dat is doing, and Report to me. "Be sure to remember How everything go." Slim say, "I be seein' yuh On de late watch, bo." Slim got to cavortin' Swell as you choose, Like Lindy in de Spirit Of St. Louis Blues. He flew an' he flew, Till at last he hit A hangar wid de sign readin' DIS IS IT. Den he parked his wings, An' strolled aroun', Gittin' used to his feet On de solid ground.   19  Sonnet 43 Elizabeth Barrett Browning How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight For the ends of Being and ideal Grace. I love thee to the level of every day's Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight. I love thee freely, as men strive for Right; I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise. I love with a passion put to use In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith. I love thee with a love I seemed to lose With my lost saints, I love thee with the breath, Smiles, tears, of all my life and, if God choose, I shall but love thee better after death.   20  The Everyday Rosario Castellanos For love there is no heaven, love; only this day; this sad strand of hair that falls while you are combing before a mirror. Those long tunnels that we traverse panting and breathless; the eyeless walls, the emptiness that resound with some hidden and senseless voice. For love there is no respite, love. The night does not suddenly become bearable. And when a star breaks its chains and you see it madly zigzag, and disappear, not for this does the law loosen its claws. The encounter is in darkness. The taste of tears mixes with the kiss. And in the embrace you clasp the memory of that orphanhood, of that death.   21  Rondel of Merciless Beauty Geoffrey Chaucer Your two great eyes will slay me suddenly; Their beauty shakes me who was once serene; Straight through my heart the wound is quick and keen. Only your word will heal the injury To my hurt heart, while yet the wound is clean - Your two great eyes will slay me suddenly; Their beauty shakes me who was once serene. Upon my word, I tell you faithfully Through life and after death you are my queen; For with my death the whole truth shall be seen. Your two great eyes will slay me suddenly; Their beauty shakes me who was once serene; Straight through my heart the wound is quick and keen.   22  Cloud Sandra Cisneros If you are a poet, you will see clearly that there is a cloud floating in this sheet of paper. -Thich Nhat Hanh Before you became a cloud, you were an ocean, roiled and murmuring like a mouth. You were the shadows of a cloud cross- ing over a field of tulips. You were the tears of a man who cried into a plaid handkerchief. You were the sky without a hat. Your heart puffed and flowered like sheets drying on a line. And when you were a tree, you listened to the trees and the tree things trees told you. You were the wind in the wheels of a red bicycle. You were the spidery Mariatattooed on the hairless arm of a boy in dowtown Houston. You were the rain rolling off the waxy leaves of a magnolia tree. A lock of straw-colored hair wedged between the mottled pages of a Victor Hugo novel. A crescent of soap. A spider the color of a fingernail. The black nets beneath the sea of olive trees. A skein of blue wool. A tea saucer wrapped in newspaper. An empty cracker tin. A bowl of blueber- ries in heavy cream. White wine in a green-stemmed glass. And when you opened your wings to wind, across the punched- tin sky above a prison courtyard, those condemned to death and those condemned to life watched how smooth and sweet a white cloud glides.   23  I Am John Clare I am-yet what I am, none cares or knows; My friends forsake me like a memory lost: I am the self-consumer of my woes- They rise and vanish in oblivious host, Like shadows in love's frenzied stifled throes And yet I am, and live-like vapours tossed Into the nothingness of scorn and noise, Into the living sea of waking dreams, Where there is neither sense of life or joys, But the vast shipwreck of my life's esteems; Even the dearest that I love the best Are strange-nay, rather, stranger than the rest. I long for scenes where man hath never trod A place where woman never smiled or wept There to abide with my Creator God, And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept, Untroubling and untroubled where I lie The grass below, above, the vaulted sky.   24  Miss Rosie Lucille Clifton when I watch you wrapped up like garbage sitting, surrounded by the smell of too old potato peels or when I watch you in your old man's shoes with the little toe cut out sitting, waiting for your mind like next week's grocery I say when I watch you you wet brown bag of a woman who used to be the best looking gal in Georgia used to be called the Georgia Rose I stand up through your destruction I stand up   25  Introduction to Poetry Billy Collins I ask them to take a poem and hold it up to the light like a color slide or press an ear against its hive. I say drop a mouse into a poem and watch him probe his way out, or walk inside the poem’s room and feel the walls for a light switch. I want them to waterski across the surface of a poem waving at the author’s name on the shore. But all they want to do is tie the poem to a chair with rope and torture a confession out of it. They begin beating it with a hose to find out what it really means.   26  Anyone Lived in a Pretty How Town e.e. cummings anyone lived in a pretty how town (with up so floating many bells down) spring summer autumn winter he sang his didn’t he danced his did. Women and men(both little and small) cared for anyone not at all they sowed their isn’t they reaped their same sun moon stars rain children guessed(but only a few and down they forgot as up they grew autumn winter spring summer) that noone loved him more by more when by now and tree by leaf she laughed his joy she cried his grief bird by snow and stir by still anyone’s any was all to her someones married their everyones laughed their cryings and did their dance (sleep wake hope and then)they said their nevers they slept their dream stars rain sun moon (and only the snow can begin to explain how children are apt to forget to remember with up so floating many bells down) one day anyone died i guess (and noone stooped to kiss his face) busy folk buried them side by side little by little and was by was all by all and deep by deep and more by more they dream their sleep noone and anyone earth by april wish by spirit and if by yes. Women and men(both dong and ding) summer autumn winter spring reaped their sowing and went their came sun moon stars rain   27  Next to of Course God America I e.e. cummings "next to of course god america I love you land of the pilgrims' and so forth oh say can you see by the dawn's early my country 'tis of centuries come and go and are no more what of it we should worry in every language even deafanddumb thy sons acclaim your glorious name by gorry by jingo by gee by gosh by gum why talk of beauty what could be more beaut- iful than these heroic happy dead who rushed like lions to the roaring slaughter they did not stop to think they died instead then shall the voice of liberty be mute?" He spoke. And drank rapidly a glass of water.   28  Somewhere I have Never Traveled, Gladly Beyond e.e. cummings somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond any experience,your eyes have their silence: in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me, or which i cannot touch because they are too near your slightest look easily will unclose me though i have closed myself as fingers, you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens (touching skilfully,mysteriously)her first rose or if your wish be to close me,i and my life will shut very beautifully,suddenly, as when the heart of this flower imagines the snow carefully everywhere descending; nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals the power of your intense fragility:whose texture compels me with the color of its countries, rendering death and forever with each breathing (i do not know what it is about you that closes and opens;only something in me understands the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses) nobody,not even the rain,has such small hands   29  

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