Poem of the Week 108

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
That 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
And 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
They don’t frighten me at all.

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
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.

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Poem of the Week 107

A Woman Speaks

Audre Lorde

 

Moon marked and touched by sun

my magic is unwritten

but when the sea turns back

it will leave my shape behind.

I seek no favor

untouched by blood

unrelenting as the curse of love

permanent as my errors

or my pride

I do not mix

love with pity

nor hate with scorn

and if you would know me

look into the entrails of Uranus

where the restless oceans pound.

 

I do not dwell

within my birth nor my divinities

who am ageless and half-grown

and still seeking

my sisters

witches in Dahomey

wear me inside their coiled cloths

as our mother did

mourning.

 

I have been woman

for a long time

beware my smile

I am treacherous with old magic

and the noon’s new fury

with all your wide futures

promised

I am

woman

and not white.

 

Poem of the Week 106

Oh, I Wish I’d Looked After Me Teeth

Pam Ayres

 

Oh, I wish I’d looked after me teeth,
And spotted the dangers beneath
All the toffees I chewed,
And the sweet sticky food.
Oh, I wish I’d looked after me teeth.

I wish I’d been that much more willin’
When I had more tooth there than fillin’
To give up gobstoppers,
From respect to me choppers,
And to buy something else with me shillin’.

When I think of the lollies I licked
And the liquorice allsorts I picked,
Sherbet dabs, big and little,
All that hard peanut brittle,
My conscience gets horribly pricked.

My mother, she told me no end,
‘If you got a tooth, you got a friend.’
I was young then, and careless,
My toothbrush was hairless,
I never had much time to spend.

Oh I showed them the toothpaste all right,
I flashed it about late at night,
But up-and-down brushin’
And pokin’ and fussin’
Didn’t seem worth the time – I could bite!

If I’d known I was paving the way
To cavities, caps and decay,
The murder of fillin’s,
Injections and drillin’s,
I’d have thrown all me sherbet away.

So I lie in the old dentist’s chair,
And I gaze up his nose in despair,
And his drill it do whine
In these molars of mine.
‘Two amalgam,’ he’ll say, ‘for in there.’

How I laughed at my mother’s false teeth,
As they foamed in the waters beneath.
But now comes the reckonin’
It’s methey are beckonin’
Oh, I wish I’d looked after me teeth.

Poem of the Week 105

Time

Joyce Grenfell

 

When I was a girl there was always time,

There was always time to spare.

There was always time to sit in the sun;

And we were never done

With lazing and flirting,

And doing our embroidery,

And keeping up our memory books,

And brushing our hair,

And writing little notes,

And going on picnics,

And dancing, dancing, dancing, dancing–

When I was a girl there was always time to waste.

 

Thank the Lord.

 

When I was a young woman there was always time,

There was always time to spare.

There was always time to walk in the sun,

And we were never done

With going to weddings,

Our own and our friends’,

And going to parties,

Away at weekends,

And having our children

And bringing them up,

And talking, talking, talking, talking–

When I was a young woman there was always time to enjoy things.

 

Thank the Lord.

 

And when I was an elderly woman there was no more time,

There was no more time to spare.

There was no more time to sit in the sun,

For we were never done

With answering the telephone,

And looking at the TV,

And doing baby-sitting,

And talking to our friends,

And shopping, shopping, shopping, shopping,

And washing-up, washing-up, washing-up,

Writing letters, writing letters

Rushing, Rushing, rushing,

And we were always hurried,

And we were never bored.

When I was an elderly woman

There was never time to think.

 

Thank the Lord.

 

But now I’m an old old woman,

So I want the last word:

There is no such thing as time–

Only this very minute

And I’m in it.

 

Thank the Lord.

 

Poem of the Week 104

Lady Lazarus

Sylvia Plath

 

I have done it again.

One year in every ten

I manage it——

 

A sort of walking miracle, my skin

Bright as a Nazi lampshade,

My right foot

 

A paperweight,

My face a featureless, fine

Jew linen.

 

Peel off the napkin

O my enemy.

Do I terrify?——

 

The nose, the eye pits, the full set of teeth?

The sour breath

Will vanish in a day.

 

Soon, soon the flesh

The grave cave ate will be

At home on me

 

And I a smiling woman.

I am only thirty.

And like the cat I have nine times to die.

 

This is Number Three.

What a trash

To annihilate each decade.

 

What a million filaments.

The peanut-crunching crowd

Shoves in to see

 

Them unwrap me hand and foot——

The big strip tease.

Gentlemen, ladies

 

These are my hands

My knees.

I may be skin and bone,

 

Nevertheless, I am the same, identical woman.

The first time it happened I was ten.

It was an accident.

 

The second time I meant

To last it out and not come back at all.

I rocked shut

 

As a seashell.

They had to call and call

And pick the worms off me like sticky pearls.

 

Dying

Is an art, like everything else.

I do it exceptionally well.

 

I do it so it feels like hell.

I do it so it feels real.

I guess you could say I’ve a call.

 

It’s easy enough to do it in a cell.

It’s easy enough to do it and stay put.

It’s the theatrical

 

Comeback in broad day

To the same place, the same face, the same brute

Amused shout:

 

‘A miracle!’

That knocks me out.

There is a charge

 

For the eyeing of my scars, there is a charge

For the hearing of my heart——

It really goes.

 

And there is a charge, a very large charge

For a word or a touch

Or a bit of blood

 

Or a piece of my hair or my clothes.

So, so, Herr Doktor.

So, Herr Enemy.

 

I am your opus,

I am your valuable,

The pure gold baby

 

That melts to a shriek.

I turn and burn.

Do not think I underestimate your great concern.

 

Ash, ash—

You poke and stir.

Flesh, bone, there is nothing there——

 

A cake of soap,

A wedding ring,

A gold filling.

 

Herr God, Herr Lucifer

Beware

Beware.

 

Out of the ash

I rise with my red hair

And I eat men like air.

 

Poem of the Week 103

Think

Aretha Franklin

You better think (think)
Think about what you’re trying to do to me
Think (think, think)
Let your mind go, let yourself be free

Let’s go back, let’s go back
Let’s go way on way back when
I didn’t even know you
You couldn’t have been too much more than ten (just a child)
I ain’t no psychiatrist, I ain’t no doctor with degrees
But it don’t take too much high IQ to see what you’re doing to me

You better think (think)
Think about what you’re trying to do to me
Yeah, think (think, think)
Let your mind go, let yourself be free

‘Cause freedom (freedom) stands for freedom (freedom)
Oh, freedom, yeah, freedom, (freedom) right now
Freedom, (freedom) oh, freedom (freedom)
Give me some freedom, oh, freedom, (freedom) right now

Yeah, think about it!
You, think about it!

There ain’t nothing you could ask
I could answer you but I won’t (I won’t)
I was gonna change, but I’m not
If you keep doing things I don’t

You better think (think)
Think about what you’re trying to do to me
(What you’re tryna to do to me)
Oh, think (think)
Let your mind go, let yourself be free

People walking around everyday
Playing games and taking scores
Trying to make other people lose their minds
Well, be careful, you’re goin’ to lose yours

Oh, think (think)
Think about what you’re trying to do to me
Wooh! Think (think)
Let your mind go, let yourself be free

You need me (need me)
And I need you (don’t you know it?)
Without each other
There ain’t nothing neither can do

Oh yeah, think aboutta me (what you’re tryna do to me)
Oh baby, think about it right now
Yeah, right now
(Think about it, for me) Oh
(Think about it, for me) Yeah right now
(Think about it, for me)
(Think about it, for me) Please baby, baby, baby
(Think about it, for me) What I’m tryna say
(Think about it, for me)
(Think about it, for me)

Poem of the Week 102

For the Young Who Want To

Marge Piercy

Talent is what they say

you have after the novel

is published and favorably

reviewed. Beforehand what

you have is a tedious

delusion, a hobby like knitting.

Work is what you have done

after the play is produced

and the audience claps.

Before that friends keep asking

when you are planning to go

out and get a job.

Genius is what they know you

had after the third volume

of remarkable poems. Earlier

they accuse you of withdrawing,

ask why you don’t have a baby,

call you a bum.

The reason people want M.F.A.’s,

take workshops with fancy names

when all you can really

learn is a few techniques,

typing instructions and some-

body else’s mannerisms

is that every artist lacks

a license to hang on the wall

like your optician, your vet

proving you may be a clumsy sadist

whose fillings fall into the stew

but you’re certified a dentist.

The real writer is one

who really writes. Talent

is an invention like phlogiston

after the fact of fire.

Work is its own cure. You have to

like it better than being loved.

Poem of the Week 101

Spellbound

Emily Brontë

 

The night is darkening round me,

The wild winds coldly blow;

But a tyrant spell has bound me

And I cannot, cannot go.

 

The giant trees are bending

Their bare boughs weighed with snow.

And the storm is fast descending,

And yet I cannot go.

 

Clouds beyond clouds above me,

Wastes beyond wastes below;

But nothing drear can move me;

I will not, cannot go.

Poem of the Week 100

Let It Be

Paul McCartney

 

When I find myself in times of trouble,
Mother Mary comes to me,
Speaking words of wisdom,
Let it be

And in my hour of darkness,
She is standing right in front of me,
Speaking words of wisdom,
Let it be

Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom
Let it be

And when the broken-hearted people
Living in the world agree
There will be an answer
Let it be

For though they may be parted,

There is still a chance that they will see
There will be an answer
Let it be

Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
Yeah, there will be an answer
Let it be

And when the night is cloudy
There is still a light that shines on me
Shine until tomorrow
Let it be

I wake up to the sound of music
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom
Let it be

Let it be, let it be, let it be, yeah, let it be
There will be an answer
Let it be

Let it be, let it be, let it be, yeah, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom
Let it be

Poem of the Week 99

Thousands

Leonard Cohen

 

Out of the thousands
who are known,
or who want to be known
as poets,
maybe one or two
are genuine
and the rest are fakes,
hanging around the sacred precincts
trying to look like the real thing.
Needless to say
I am one of the fakes,
and this is my story.