Category: Poetry

Melville on War

Read about Herman Melville and consider Battlepieces and Aspects of the War (free Google eBook). Here is an excerpt from “The March into Virginia”

Did all the lets and bars appear
      To every just or larger end,
Whence should come the trust and cheer?
      Youth must its ignorant impulse lend—
Age finds place in the rear.
      All wars are boyish, and are fought by boys,
The champions and enthusiasts of the state:
      Turbid ardors and vain joys
            Not barrenly abate—
Stimulants to the power mature,
      Preparatives of fate.

The Americans

An excerpt (the last stanza) from a poem by Robert Hayden:

confess i am curiously drawn     unmentionable     to
the americans     doubt i could exist among them for 
long however     psychic demands far too severe 
much violence     much that repels     i am attracted 
none the less     their variousness their ingenuity 
their elan vital     and that some thing     essence 
quiddity     i cannot penetrate or name

Fifteen Years of Darkness

This poem is by Liu XiaoBo, translated by Jeffrey Yang. Here are the first two stanzas:

15 years ago
a massacre took place at daybreak
I died then was reborn

15 years have passed
daybreak bayonets dyed red
is still a blade fixed in the eyes


My life has been the poem I would have writ

This lovely poem is by Henry David Thoreau:

My life has been the poem I would have writ

But I could not both live and utter it.

“An online word-sculpture protesting the prison-industrial complex”

This is a wonderful idea:

“I Am Writing A Letter Each Day to My Brother Who Is In Prison For 4-15 Years” 

Here are posts.

“Why Afghan Women Risk Death to Write Poetry”

Love these investigative multiple-page articles.

“A poem is a sword.” -Saheera Sharif

“Making love to an old man is like

Making love to a limp cornstalk blackened by fungus.”

-Gulmakai, 22, an Afghan woman whose father made her marry an old man at 15

On Air

Today I saw my first published poem in VISIONS, at their release party! Here it is:

On Air

What if the world was a feather and we were lost on a piece of dirt?

Infinite landscape of bushes and rough-leaved trees.

What if my breasts could kiss the clouds?

Wet air clinging to warmth.

What if my tongue were to lick the dusty sweet surface of the moon?

Stars setting fire to my skin as the Milky Way wrapped me up with black softness.

What if a melody of light filled me with deep strokes of night sky?

Dimension becomes a synonym for displacement.

What if gravity melded me heavy to the raindrops so I became the sum of my falling?

A weighted speck of dust, lying on the landscape stretched out.

Trained to Kill

“I thought, I can’t, I can’t allow myself to be trained to kill on orders, to take life on orders.” -Poet Laureate W.S. Merwin, on NPR Fresh Air. Merwin was put in a psychiatric ward in 1946 for being a Pacifist (as he’d enlisted when he was 17 previously), he said.


Maybe poetry is the closest thing to experiencing life again and again. And photography and creating and writing and synthesizing. So maybe experiencing life is a life experienced over and over again. So maybe, then, as all the Buddhist philosophers remind us, living in the moment is the only true way to experience life.

Free Documentary Site

This is a wonderful site! You can watch documentaries ranging the spectrum of possibilities.

Poem 444

It feels a shame to be Alive—
When Men so brave— are dead—
One envies the Distinguished Dust—
Permitted— such a Head—

The Stone— that tells defending Whom
This Spartan put away
What little of Him we— possessed
In Pawn for Liberty—

The price is great— Sublimely paid—
Do we deserve— a Thing—
That lives— like Dollars— must be piled
Before we may obtain?

Are we that wait— sufficient worth—
That such Enormous Pearl
As life— dissolved be— for Us—
In Battle’s— horrid Bowl?

It may be— a Renown to live—
I think the Man who die—
Those unsustained— Saviors—
Present Divinity—

Emily Dickinson

Look Down Fair Moon

Look down fair moon and
bathe this scene,
Pour softly down night’s
nimbus floods on
faces ghastly,
swollen, purple,
On the dead on their
backs with arms
toss’d wide,
Pour down your unstinted
nimbus sacred moon.

Walt Whitman

Projects for Peace

I love the idea of philanthropist Kathryn W. Davis, who dedicated $1 million for 100 Projects for Peace. I also love that the word “peace” is not defined, and left to the individual(s) to creatively interpret. There are so many projects created by so many creative young people, and the best part is that the proposals and reports are accessible by clicking on the title of the project. Here is one college president’s opinion:

“…if the 100 Projects for Peace stimulated as much initiative across other campuses as it did here, it can be declared a success already – it is a wonderfully conceived catalyst for public service in the best sense of the word.”