Poem of the Week 49

A Brave and Startling Truth

Maya Angelou

We, this people, on a small and lonely planet
Traveling through casual space
Past aloof stars, across the way of indifferent suns
To a destination where all signs tell us
It is possible and imperative that we learn
A brave and startling truth

And when we come to it
To the day of peacemaking
When we release our fingers
From fists of hostility
And allow the pure air to cool our palms

When we come to it
When the curtain falls on the minstrel show of hate
And faces sooted with scorn are scrubbed clean
When battlefields and coliseum
No longer rake our unique and particular sons and daughters
Up with the bruised and bloody grass
To lie in identical plots in foreign soil

When the rapacious storming of the churches
The screaming racket in the temples have ceased
When the pennants are waving gaily
When the banners of the world tremble
Stoutly in the good, clean breeze

When we come to it
When we let the rifles fall from our shoulders
And children dress their dolls in flags of truce
When land mines of death have been removed
And the aged can walk into evenings of peace
When religious ritual is not perfumed
By the incense of burning flesh
And childhood dreams are not kicked awake
By nightmares of abuse

When we come to it
Then we will confess that not the Pyramids
With their stones set in mysterious perfection
Nor the Gardens of Babylon
Hanging as eternal beauty
In our collective memory
Not the Grand Canyon
Kindled into delicious color
By Western sunsets

Nor the Danube, flowing its blue soul into Europe
Not the sacred peak of Mount Fuji
Stretching to the Rising Sun
Neither Father Amazon nor Mother Mississippi who, without favor,
Nurture all creatures in the depths and on the shores
These are not the only wonders of the world

When we come to it
We, this people, on this minuscule and kithless globe
Who reach daily for the bomb, the blade and the dagger
Yet who petition in the dark for tokens of peace
We, this people on this mote of matter
In whose mouths abide cankerous words
Which challenge our very existence
Yet out of those same mouths
Come songs of such exquisite sweetness
That the heart falters in its labor
And the body is quieted into awe

We, this people, on this small and drifting planet
Whose hands can strike with such abandon
That in a twinkling, life is sapped from the living
Yet those same hands can touch with such healing, irresistible tenderness
That the haughty neck is happy to bow
And the proud back is glad to bend
Out of such chaos, of such contradiction
We learn that we are neither devils nor divines

When we come to it
We, this people, on this wayward, floating body
Created on this earth, of this earth
Have the power to fashion for this earth
A climate where every man and every woman
Can live freely without sanctimonious piety
Without crippling fear

When we come to it
We must confess that we are the possible
We are the miraculous, the true wonder of this world
That is when, and only when
We come to it.

Poem of the Week 48

From a Railway Carriage

Robert Louis Stevenson

 

Faster than fairies, faster than witches,
Bridges and houses, hedges and ditches,
And charging along like troops in a battle,
All through the meadows the horses and cattle:
All of the sights of the hill and the plain
Fly as thick as driving rain;
And ever again, in the wink of an eye,
Painted stations whistle by.

Here is a child who clambers and scrambles,
All by himself and gathering brambles;
Here is a tramp who stands and gazes;
And there is the green for stringing the daisies!
Here is a cart run away in the road,
Lumping along with man and load;
And here is a mill and there is a river;
Each a glimpse and gone for ever!

Poem of the Week 47

Song of the Worms

Margaret Atwood

 

We have been underground too long,

we have done our work,

we are many and one,

we remember when we were human.

 

We have lived among roots and stones,

we have sung but no one has listened,

we come into the open air

at night only to love

 

which disgusts the soles of boots,

their leather strict religion.

We know what a boot looks like

when seen from underneath,

we know the philosophy of boots,

their metaphysic of kicks and ladders.

We are afraid of boots

but contemptuous of the foot that needs them.

 

Soon we will invade like weeds,

everywhere but slowly:

the captive plants will rebel

with us, fences will topple,

brick walls ripple and fall,

 

there will be no more boots.

Meanwhile we eat dirt

and sleep; we are waiting

under your feet.

When we say Attack

you will hear nothing

at first.

 

Poem of theWeek 46

The Rainbow

Christina Rossetti

 

Boats sail on the rivers,

And ships sail on the seas;

But clouds that sail across the sky

Are prettier than these.

There are bridges on the rivers,

As pretty as you please;

But the bow that bridges heaven,

And overtops the trees,

And builds a road from earth to sky,

Is prettier far than these.

Poem of the Week 45

The Word Party

Richard Edwards

 

Loving words clutch crimson roses,

Rude words sniff and pick their noses,

Sly words come dressed up as foxes,

Short words stand on cardboard boxes,

Common words tell jokes and gabble,

Complicated words play Scrabble,

Swear words stamp around and shout,

Hard words stare each other out,

Foreign words look lost and shrug,

Careless words trip on the rug,

Long words slouch with stooping shoulders,

Code words carry secret folders,

Silly words flick rubber bands,

Hyphenated words hold hands,

Strong words show off, bending metal,

Sweet words call each other ‘petal’,

Small words yawn and suck their thumbs,

Till at last the morning comes.

Kind words give out farewell posies.

Snap! The dictionary closes.

Poem of the Week 44

First Day of the Summer Holiday

Paul Cookson

 

Time to put the pens to bed

Time to put the books away

Time to hide the uniform

We’re on Summer Holiday!

 

Time to switch my alarm clock off

Time to sleep and overlay

Time to lock the homework up

We’re on Summer Holiday!

 

Time to zip my schoolbag up

And in the cupboard let it stay

With my boring shoes for school

We’re on Summer Holiday!

 

Time for trainers, time for jeans

Time for riding on my bike

Time for football all day long

Time for doing what I like.

 

Time for camping out in tents

Time for having lots of fun

Time for swimming, time for grinning

Eating ice creams in the sun.

 

Time for playing hide and seek

Time for climbing high up over trees

Time to rope swing over ditches

Time for scratched and dirty knees.

 

Time for going out with mates

Time for playing any game

Time for watching videos

All day long if it should rain.

 

Time for tennis, time for cricket

Time for friends to come and call

Time for doing everything

Or doing nothing much at all.

 

Time for laughter, time for jokes

Time for fun and time for play

Time to fool so goodbye school!

We’re on summer holiday!

Poem of the Week 43

Bed in Summer

Robert Louis Stevenson

 

In winter I get up at night

And dress by yellow candle-light.

In summer, quite the other way,

I have to go to bed by day.

 

I have to go to bed and see

The birds still hopping on the tree,

Or hear the grown-up people’s feet

Still going past me in the street.

 

And does it not seem hard to you,

When all the sky is clear and blue,

And I should like so much to play,

To have to go to bed by day?