Poem of the Week 96

Come on into my Tropical Garden

Grace Nichols



Come on into my tropical garden

Come on in and have a laugh in

Taste my sugar cake and my pine drink

Come on in please come on in


And yes you can stand up in my hammock

and breeze out in my trees

you can pick my hibiscus

and kiss my chimpanzees


O you can roll up in the grass

and if you pick up a flea

I’ll take you down for a quick dip-wash

in the sea

believe me there’s nothing better

for getting rid of a flea

than having a quick dip-wash in the sea


Come on into my tropical garden

Come on in please come on in





Poem of the Week 95


Warsan Shire


I think I brought the war with me

on my skin, a shroud

circling my skull, matter under my nails.

It sits at my feet while I watch TV.

I hear its damp breath in the background

of every phone call. I feel it sleeping

between us in the bed. It lathers

my back in the shower. It presses

itself against me at the bathroom sink.

At night, it passes me the pills, it holds

my hand, I never meet its gaze.

Poem of the Week 94


Edip Cansever

Translated from the Turkish by Julia Clare Tillinghast & Richard Tillinghast



A man filled with the gladness of living

Put his keys on the table,

Put flowers in a copper bowl there.

He put his eggs and milk on the table.

He put there the light that came in through the window,

Sound of a bicycle, sound of a spinning wheel.

The softness of bread and weather he put there.

On the table the man put

Things that happened in his mind.

What he wanted to do in life,

He put that there.

Those he loved, those he didn’t love,

The man put them on the table too.

Three times three make nine:

The man put nine on the table.

He was next to the window next to the sky;

He reached out and placed on the table endlessness.

So many days he had wanted to drink a beer!

He put on the table the pouring of that beer.

He placed there his sleep and his wakefulness;

His hunger and his fullness he put there.


Now that’s what I call a table!

It didn’t complain at all about the load.

It wobbled once or twice, then stood firm.

The man kept piling things on.

Poem of the Week 93

I Love the Look of Words

Maya Angelou


Popcorn leaps, popping from the floor

of a hot black skillet

and into my mouth.

Black words leap,

snapping from the white

page. Rushing into my eyes. Sliding

into my brain which gobbles them

the way my tongue and teeth

chomp the buttered popcorn.


When I have stopped reading,

ideas from the words stay stuck

in my mind, like the sweet

smell of butter perfuming my

fingers long after the popcorn

is finished.

I love the book and the look of words

the weight of ideas that popped into my mind

I love the tracks

of new thinking in my mind.

Poem of the Week 92

We Refugees

Benjamin Zephaniah


I come from a musical place

Where they shoot me for my song

And my brother has been tortured

By my brother in my land.


I come from a beautiful place

Where they hate my shade of skin

They don’t like the way I pray

And they ban free poetry.


I come from a beautiful place

Where girls cannot go to school

There you are told what to believe

And even young boys must grow beards.


I come from a great old forest

I think it is now a field

And the people I once knew

Are not there now.


We can all be refugees

Nobody is safe,

All it takes is a mad leader

Or no rain to bring forth food,

We can all be refugees

We can all be told to go,

We can be hated by someone

For being someone.


I come from a beautiful place

Where the valley floods each year

And each year the hurricane tells us

That we must keep moving on.


I come from an ancient place

All my family were born there

And I would like to go there

But I really want to live.


I come from a sunny, sandy place

Where tourists go to darken skin

And dealers like to sell guns there

I just can’t tell you what’s the price.



I am told I have no country now

I am told I am a lie

I am told that modern history books

May forget my name.


We can all be refugees

Sometimes it only takes a day,

Sometimes it only takes a handshake

Or a paper that is signed.

We all came from refugees

Nobody simply just appeared,

Nobody’s here without a struggle,

And why should we live in fear

Of the weather or the troubles?

We all came here from somewhere.