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' Live-Poets Society ' – A Corner For Poetry

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@AC Benus The Ballade of Small Talk is indeed an example of timeless poetry. Thank you for sharing it with everyone. I read the original to myself, despite my horrid French; it is quite beautiful.

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Since it was advised I begin at, well, the beginning ...   A bitter wind blows, drifting lazy bits of fluff, hallmarks of winter.     Softly twittering, a flutter amongst evergreen boughs. Ch

Hi and Welcome! This is an open thread, intended for poets to help one another on GA. It's not tied to any one piece, but a forum where we can exchange ideas, get feedback on a project we're intending

A poem for this morning, and several others.    The junco wakes before the dawn disturbing all the crows; their caws explode across the lawn, and so the morning goes, Bright cardinal

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This poem is exceptional, AC. All of the senses combining to bring remembrance of a love gone... and making it anew. Funny how a simple fragrance or touch can accomplish that. 



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Beautiful , profound, but it makes me sad somehow. Hugs my dearest friend xo

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And let me add to the other voices praising this awesome poem. It pulls the heart and heightens every sense, striving to hear, scent and touch along with you, that we may share in recollection.

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  • 2 weeks later...
1 minute ago, AC Benus said:

I wrote a little poem yesterday....





Two older men talk;

The themes of death and things past

Salt their mellow tone.



wonderful, AC ... i love the term salt; it works perfectly here.  thanks for sharing this!

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3 hours ago, Mikiesboy said:

wonderful, AC ... i love the term salt; it works perfectly here.  thanks for sharing this!


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Remembrance is not a right it is a duty.   Three poems:


The Gift of India

by Sarojini Naidu (India, 1915)

Is there ought you need that my hands withhold,
Rich gifts of raiment or grain or gold?
Lo! I have flung to the East and the West
Priceless treasures torn from my breast,
And yielded the sons of my stricken womb
To the drum-beats of the duty, the sabers of doom.
Gathered like pearls in their alien graves
Silent they sleep by the Persian waves,
Scattered like shells on Egyptian sands,
They lie with pale brows and brave, broken hands,
they are strewn like blossoms mown down by chance
On the blood-brown meadows of Flanders and France
Can ye measure the grief of the tears I weep
Or compass the woe of the watch I keep?
Or the pride that thrills thro' my heart's despair
And the hope that comforts the anguish of prayer?
And the far sad glorious vision I see
Of the torn red banners of victory?
when the terror and the tumult of hate shall cease
And life be refashioned on anvils of peace,
And your love shall offer memorial thanks
To the comrades who fought on the dauntless ranks,
And you honour the deeds of the dauntless ones,
Remember the blood of my martyred sons!



 In Flanders Fields by Maj. John M. McRae:



"In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

"We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

"Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields."




Siegfried Sassoon (1886-1967)


    Have you forgotten yet?...
    For the world's events have rumbled on since those gagged days,
    Like traffic checked a while at the crossing of city ways:
    And the haunted gap in your mind has filled with thoughts that flow
    Like clouds in the lit heavens of life; and you're a man reprieved to go,
    Taking your peaceful share of Time, with joy to spare.
    But the past is just the same—and War's a bloody game...
    Have you forgotten yet?...
    Look down, and swear by the slain of the War that you'll never forget.


    Do you remember the dark months you held the sector at Mametz—
    The nights you watched and wired and dug and piled sandbags on parapets?
    Do you remember the rats; and the stench
    Of corpses rotting in front of the front-line trench—
    And dawn coming, dirty-white, and chill with a hopeless rain?
    Do you ever stop and ask, 'Is it all going to happen again?'


    Do you remember that hour of din before the attack—
    And the anger, the blind compassion that seized and shook you then
    As you peered at the doomed and haggard faces of your men?
    Do you remember the stretcher-cases lurching back
    With dying eyes and lolling heads—those ashen-gray
    Masks of the lads who once were keen and kind and gay?

    Have you forgotten yet?...
    Look up, and swear by the slain of the war that you'll never forget!


    March 1919.

Edited by Mikiesboy
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Just read about him today. Interested enough to look up his poetry:


Wild Broom by Giacomo Leopardi



Fragrant broom,

content with deserts:

here on the arid slope of Vesuvius,

that formidable mountain, the destroyer,

that no other tree or flower adorns,

you scatter your lonely

bushes all around. I’ve seen before

how you beautify empty places

with your stems, circling the City

once the mistress of the world,

and it seems that with their grave,

silent, aspect they bear witness,

reminding the passer-by

of that lost empire.

Now I see you again on this soil,

a lover of sad places abandoned by the world,

a faithful friend of hostile fortune.

These fields scattered

with barren ash, covered

with solid lava,

that resounds under the traveller’s feet:

where snakes twist, and couple

in the sun, and the rabbits return

to their familiar cavernous burrows:

were once happy, prosperous farms.

They were golden with corn, echoed

to lowing cattle:

there were gardens and palaces,

the welcome leisure retreats

for powerful, famous cities,

which the proud mountain crushed

with all their people, beneath the torrents

from its fiery mouth. Now all around

is one ruin,

where you root, gentle flower, and as though

commiserating with others’ loss, send

a perfume of sweetest fragrance to heaven,

that consoles the desert. Let those

who praise our existence visit

these slopes, to see how carefully

our race is nurtured

by loving Nature. And here

they can justly estimate

and measure the power of humankind,

that the harsh nurse, can with a slight movement,

obliterate one part of, in a moment, when we

least fear it, and with a little less gentle

a motion, suddenly,

annihilate altogether.

The ‘magnificent and progressive fate’

of the human race

is depicted in this place.


Proud, foolish century, look,

and see yourself reflected,

you who’ve abandoned

the path, marked by advancing thought

till now, and reversed your steps,

boasting of this regression

you call progress.

All the intellectuals, whose evil fate

gave them you for a father,

praise your babbling, though

they often make a mockery

of you, among themselves. But I’ll

not vanish into the grave in shame:

As far as I can, I’ll demonstrate,

the scorn for you, openly,

that’s in my heart,

though I know oblivion crushes

those hated by their own time.

I’ve already mocked enough

at that fate I’ll share with you.

You pursue Freedom, yet want thought

to be slave of a single age again:

by thought we’ve risen a little higher

than barbarism, by thought alone civilisation

grows, only thought guides public affairs

towards the good.

The truth of your harsh fate

and the lowly place Nature gave you

displease you so. Because of it

you turn your backs on the light

that illuminated you: and in flight,

you call him who pursues it vile,

and only him great of heart

who foolishly or cunningly mocks himself

or others, praising our human state above the stars.


A man generous and noble of soul,

of meagre powers and weak limbs,

doesn’t boast and call himself

strong and rich in possessions,

doesn’t make a foolish pretence

of splendid living or cutting a fine

figure among the crowd:

but allows himself to appear

as lacking wealth and power,

and says so, openly, and gives

a true value to his worth.

I don’t consider a man

a great-hearted creature, but stupid,

who, born to die, nurtured in pain,

says he is made for joy,

and fills pages with the stench

of pride, promising

an exalted destiny on earth,

and a new happiness, unknown to heaven

much less this world, to people

whom a surging wave, a breath

of malignant air, a subterranean tremor,

destroys so utterly that they

scarcely leave a memory behind.

He has a noble nature

who dares to raise his voice

against our common fate,

and with an honest tongue,

not compromising truth,

admits the evil fate allotted us,

our low and feeble state:

a nature that shows itself

strong and great in suffering,

that does not add to its miseries with fraternal

hatred and anger, things worse

than other evils, blaming mankind

for its sorrows, but places blame

on Her who is truly guilty, who is the mother

of men in bearing them, their stepmother in malice.

They call her enemy:

and consider

the human race

to be united, and ranked against her,

from of old, as is true,

judge all men allies, embrace

all with true love, offering sincere

prompt support, and expecting it

in the various dangers and anguish

of the mutual war on her. And think

it as foolish to take up arms against men

and set up nets and obstacles

against their neighbours as it would be in war,

surrounded by the opposing army, in the most

intense heat of battle,

to start fierce struggles with friends,

forgetting the enemy,

to incite desertion, and wave their swords

among their own forces.

If such thoughts were revealed

to the crowd, as they used to be,

along with the horror that first

brought men together in social contract

against impious Nature,

then by true wisdom

the honest, lawful intercourse

of citizens would be partly renewed,

and justice and piety, would own

to another root than foolish pride,

on which the morals of the crowd

are as well founded

as anything else that’s based on error.


Often I sit here, at night,

on these desolate slopes,

that a hardened lava-flow has clothed

with brown, and which seem to undulate still,

and over the gloomy waste,

I see the stars flame, high

in the purest blue,

mirrored far off by the sea:

the universe glittering with sparks

that wheel through the tranquil void.

And then I fix my eyes on those lights

that seem pin-pricks,

yet are so vast in form

that earth and sea are really a pin-prick

to them: to whom man,

and this globe where man is nothing,

are completely unknown: and gazing

at those still more infinitely remote,

knots, almost, of stars,

that seem like mist to us, to which

not only man and earth but all

our stars, infinite in number and mass,

with the golden sun,

are unknown, or seem like points

of misted light, as they appear

from earth: what do you seem like,

then, in my thoughts, O children

of mankind? And mindful of

your state here below, of which

the ground I stand on bears witness,

and that, on the other hand, you believe

that you’ve been appointed the master

and end of all things: and how often

you like to talk about the creators

of all things universal, who descended

to this obscure grain of sand called earth,

for you, and happily spoke to you, often:

and that, renewing these ridiculous dreams,

you still insult the wise, in an age

that appears to surpass the rest

in knowledge and social customs: what feeling is it,

then, wretched human race, what thought

of you finally pierces my heart?

I don’t know if laughter or pity prevails.


As a little apple that falls from a tree:

late autumn ripeness,

and nothing else, bringing it to earth:

crushes, wastes, and covers

in a moment, the sweet nests

of a tribe of ants, carved out

of soft soil, with vast labour,

and the works, the wealth,

that industrious race had vied

to achieve, with such effort,

and created in the summer: so the cities

of the farthest shores

that the sea bathed,

were shattered, confounded, covered

in a few moments, by a night of ruin,

by ashes, lava and stones,

hurled to the heights of heaven

from the womb of thunder,

falling again from above,

mingled in molten streams,

or by the vast overflow

of liquefied masses,

metals and burning sand,

descending the mountainside

racing over the grass: so that now

the goats graze above them,

and new cities rise beside them, whose base

is their buried, demolished walls

that the cruel mountain seems to crush underfoot.

Nature has no more love or care

for the seed of man

than for the ants: and if the destruction

of one is rarer than that of the other,

it’s for no other reason

than that mankind is less rich in offspring.


Fully eighteen hundred years

have passed, since those once-populated cities

vanished, crushed by fiery force,

yet the farmer intent

on his vines, this dead

and ashen soil barely nourishes,

still lifts his gaze

with suspicion,

to the fatal peak

that sits there brooding,

no gentler than ever, still threatening

to destroy him, his children, and his

meagre possessions. And often

the wretch, lying awake

on the roof of his house, where

the wandering breezes blow at night,

jumps up now and again, and checks

the course of the dreadful boiling,

that pours from that inexhaustible lap

onto its sandy slopes, and illuminates

the bay of Capri, the ports

of Naples and Mergellina.

And if he sees it nearing, or hears

the water bubbling, feverishly, deep

in the well, he wakes his children, quickly

wakes his wife, and fleeing, with whatever

of their possessions they can grasp,

watches from the distance, as his familiar

home, and the little field

his only defence against hunger,

fall prey to the burning tide,

crackling as it arrives, inexorably

spreading over all this, and hardening.

Lifeless Pompeii returns to the light of heaven

after ancient oblivion, like a buried

skeleton, that piety or the greed

for land gives back to the open air:

and, from its empty forum,

through the ranks of broken

columns, the traveller contemplates

the forked peak and the smoking summit,

that still threatens the scattered ruins.

And, like night’s secret horror,

through the empty theatres,

the twisted temples, the shattered

houses, where the bat hides its brood,

like a sinister brand

that circles darkly through silent palaces,

the glow of the deathly lava runs,

reddening the shadows

from far away, staining the region round.

So, indifferent to man, and the ages

he calls ancient, and the way descendants

follow on from their ancestors,

Nature, always green, proceeds instead

by so long a route

she seems to remain at rest. Meanwhile empires fall,

peoples and tongues pass: She does not see:

and man lays claim to eternity’s merit.


And you, slow-growing broom,

who adorn this bare landscape

with fragrant thickets,

you too will soon succumb

to the cruel power of subterranean fire,

that, revisiting places

it knows, will stretch its greedy margin

over your soft forest. And you’ll bend

your innocent head, without a struggle,

beneath that mortal burden:

yet a head that’s not been bent in vain

in cowardly supplication

before a future oppressor: nor lifted

in insane pride towards the stars,

or beyond the desert, where

your were born and lived,

not through intent, but chance:

and you’ll have been so much wiser

so much less unsound than man, since you

have never believed your frail species,

can be made immortal by yourself, or fate.

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17 minutes ago, AC Benus said:

Wow @Mikiesboy-- nice and short poem :) What drew you to Leopardi? ( I know nothing about him) 

it was an essay about him i read on a website called:  aeon   


Here is the link: The Great Disillusionist : In an age when so many people are at a loss to give life meaning and direction, Giacomo Leopardi is essential reading


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  • 2 weeks later...

I miss snow. A random comment yesterday by @Parker Owensmade me suddenly see an entire scene in my mind's eye.




Atramentous snow 
veiling a luminous sky

turns ground day from night. 



What do you think? Too obtuse...? Can you grasp the scene I have in mind (or more likely, the lighting I have in mind)?


Hopefully we will seen a wonderful Haibun from Parker explaining a bit about his "inky snow." And oh, yes, atramentous = inky; ink-like



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3 minutes ago, AC Benus said:



Atramentous snow 
veiling a luminous sky

turns ground day from night. 

no not too obtuse ... i think it paints a wonderful picture ... the light sky making the snow dark to our view... yet on the ground it is light once more.  Rather a lot to describe in such a small poem.... you did brilliantly !



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Just now, Mikiesboy said:

no not too obtuse ... i think it paints a wonderful picture ... the light sky making the snow dark to our view... yet on the ground it is light once more.  Rather a lot to describe in such a small poem.... you did brilliantly !



...yes, only 11 words...


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58 minutes ago, AC Benus said:

I miss snow. A random comment yesterday by @Parker Owensmade me suddenly see an entire scene in my mind's eye.




Atramentous snow 
veiling a luminous sky

turns ground day from night. 



What do you think? Too obtuse...? Can you grasp the scene I have in mind (or more likely, the lighting I have in mind)?


Hopefully we will seen a wonderful Haibun from Parker explaining a bit about his "inky snow." And oh, yes, atramentous = inky; ink-like



very nice AC, very nice

now that i've seen you define atramentous, i can see the lighting :)


and i don't miss snow not one little bit :) 


Edited by mollyhousemouse
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Here is the draft of the Haibun suggested by @AC Benus. I’m grateful for his prompting...



“Snowing down ink" was a phrase of my father's; I’m not sure where it came from. I wonder if it was meant to mean white ink, rather than black. 
Snowfall, thick and white,
obscures both spruce and maple,
silencing the world. 
remember one particular Thanksgiving day it snowed down ink; Mom had invited an older couple to join us - but the snow was so bad, they couldn't make the two-mile drive up the road. Dad fired up the ancient Land Rover, engaged the four-wheel drive, and off we went in a roar and cloud of smoke under the white veil. Its primitive wipers struggled to keep the windshield clear, whining asynchronously all the way. The old folks didn't seem to mind too much, even though getting in and out of the beast was quite an adventure for them. 
“Well, it’s 
snowing down ink,”
or so my father said;
Thanksgiving incomplete without
our guests,
he drove
undignified transportation,
fetched in the iron beast,
bringing them home 
to feast.
I suppose the cold journey made the welcome scent of turkey and pie all the more delicious when we arrived safely back with our guests. 
Bright snowdrifts
and the cold silent night
made the kitchen seem more welcoming,
roasting turkey and pecan pies more appealing,
the hearth warmer and the fire brighter;
enough to thaw old smiles 
and tired bones. 
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7 hours ago, Mikiesboy said:

no not too obtuse ... i think it paints a wonderful picture ... the light sky making the snow dark to our view... yet on the ground it is light once more.  Rather a lot to describe in such a small poem.... you did brilliantly !



Totally not too obtuse... but thank you @Mikiesboy for the description-explanation because I was wondering whether I grasped the meaning correctly :)

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      i count every hour 
      every minute
      every second
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      to see your delighted eyes
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      for just a second...
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      iwant to take my last look of your face
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      i want to kiss your hand while dying,having your hand in my fist
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    • By AC Benus
      Poetry Prompt 6 – Elegy
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      We have studied how verse form relates to certain patterns, like line length, using end-of-line rhymes for emphasis and memorability, and stanza patterns like the Tanka, Haiku, and Couplet.
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      Of those fair arms which bound him to her breast,
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      Poetry Prompt  2 – Haiku
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      It's arguable that Haiku is now the most popular set form of verse in the English language. Today more Haiku are written around the world than Sonnets and all the other forms put together.
      Haiku, or Hokku, arose out of Tanka and a variation on that form. The natural way in which the five lines of Tanka can be broken into strophes of three and two lines, in either combination, was known as Renga, or linked verses. These witty poems, which often took the form of question and answer, were light and popular entertainment.
      That all changed with a Gay genius. Basho Mastsuo (1644-1694) spent his life sequestered with the men he loved, first with the teenager with whom he was raised almost as a brother within a samurai family, and then later as a lay Buddhist monk with several men who formed his acolytes and partners.     
      In the summer of 1684 (when he was forty years old,) he set out with his partner Chiri (who was thirty-six,) to see the country. These adventures resulted in the flowering of his poetry and the widespread dispersal of his brand of Haiku. Later, his most influential travel collection of verse was finalized the year he died as Oku no Hosomichi, or A Narrow Path through Open Country. Its posthumous publication in 1702 ensured his poetic immortality.    
      So, Basho's form was a serious attempt to redact out the subjective view of the poet, and in this regard he was influenced by Zen thought that the "I" is an illusion. Within a very limited form he tried to capture the corporal impressions of an event, and trusted that the reader would insert his or her own emotions into what they were shown. By corporal I mean the bodily senses: sight, smell, touch, taste, and hearing. His most famous Haiku is this:
      Which translates literally as:
      There is a particular anthology of one hundred English language versions of those eight simple Japanese words, and all of them are different, and all of them are in proper Haiku form.
      The Haiku is based on a three-lined structure, and has the following syllables: 5,7,5. Like all Japanese poetry and traditional lyrics, a seasonal word is essential. In the frog poem, the frog is a symbol of summer. Another summer poem that illustrates his totally subjective style is this one from Oku no Hosomichi:
      The prompt: write two Haiku. One inspired by a sight you witnessed outdoors, in a secluded patch of nature (either in your yard, a city park, or the great untamed wilderness). And a second one inspired by an urban sight (something that catches your eye on the street), or that happens indoors. You must be true to the form and include a seasonal word within both poems, but remember, words like 'surfboard' and 'bug spray' speak of summer just as much as 'frog' and 'cicada' do. Think outside the box and just use a sight that speaks to the season in the part of the world you are right now. 
      To be a true Haiku, do not use words or concepts like "I," "my," "mine," etc. Stick to plain scene painting, for if the sight moved you, it has the potential to move others too. 
    • By Juan Manuel Sandoval
      Hi everyone! I’ve only recently joined the site, but it’s felt so warm and welcoming that I thought it’d be interesting to share something for discussion. I write poetry in both English and Spanish and only recently have begun to blend both my languages within poems. I was having in interesting exchange with a professor at my university this year where I confessed that sometimes I felt pressured to offer translated versions of my writing, while sacrificing the value of what a Spanish word or phrase was adding to my poem in order to please non-Spanish speaking readers. I mentioned I had begun blending the two languages without offering translations and he said I shouldn’t feel obliged to offer translations. He said readers shouldn’t force a type of language or culture censorship where the value of a piece is diminished because they can’t simply put the effort to translate words and phrases themselves or research the context of a piece. I’m curious if anyone else has thought about this dilemma of culture and language in your poetry and whether you share the professors opinion or have something else regarding it. It’ll be lovely to discuss!
    • By Valkyrie
      I know it's a bit early, but it seems like there are quite a few new poets on site.  So I thought I'd post a shout-out for National Poetry Writing Month, which starts April 1st.  The goal for NaPoWriMo is to write 30 poems in 30 days.  There's no structure as to how to accomplish that goal, although most writers strive for one per day.  It's a great time to go through AC's poetry prompts.  I've been stockpiling a few prompts of my own, which I will post here.  I also receive daily prompts via email from a lady who has done this for years.  If anyone is interested in receiving these prompts, please PM me your email address and I will either forward them to you or send her your email so you can receive them directly; it's entirely up to you.  
      Most people post their NaPoWriMo poems in a weekly "chapter", although some people prefer to post daily.  To get an idea of how past participants have done it, check out my own "April Musings",  Parker Owens "Parker's NaPoWriMo 2017", or Aditus' "Going to the Movies".  
      Participating in NaPoWriMo is a lot of fun.  I hope to see a lot of participants in April!  

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