Tag Archives: American poet

Friday Poem – Arithmetic

A slightly weird, but geeky poem about Maths by the American poet, writer and editor Carl Sandburg (1878-1967) – and as a maths geek, what can I say I love it

Arithmetic

Arithmetic is where numbers fly like pigeons in and out of your
head.
Arithmetic tells you how many you lose or win if you know how
many you had before you lost or won.
Arithmetic is seven eleven all good children go to heaven — or five
six bundle of sticks.
Arithmetic is numbers you squeeze from your head to your hand
to your pencil to your paper till you get the answer.
Arithmetic is where the answer is right and everything is nice and
you can look out of the window and see the blue sky — or the
answer is wrong and you have to start all over and try again
and see how it comes out this time.
If you take a number and double it and double it again and then
double it a few more times, the number gets bigger and bigger
and goes higher and higher and only arithmetic can tell you
what the number is when you decide to quit doubling.
Arithmetic is where you have to multiply — and you carry the
multiplication table in your head and hope you won’t lose it.
If you have two animal crackers, one good and one bad, and you
eat one and a striped zebra with streaks all over him eats the
other, how many animal crackers will you have if somebody
offers you five six seven and you say No no no and you say
Nay nay nay and you say Nix nix nix?
If you ask your mother for one fried egg for breakfast and she
gives you two fried eggs and you eat both of them, who is
better in arithmetic, you or your mother?

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Friday Poem – Phenomenal Woman

In honour of the 2nd anniversary of her death, this week’s “Friday Poem” (and yes, I know it’s Saturday) is Phenomenal Woman by the amazing American poet Maya Angelou.

So this one is for every woman out there – and “always remember you are stronger and braver than you think” (courtesy of Winnie the Pooh – love that silly old bear!)

Phenomenal Woman

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman

Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
‘Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

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Friday Poem – Mother to Son

I stumbled across this poem by the American poet Langston Hughes (1901 – 1967)

It’s a lovely motivational poem about never giving up.

We all feel sometimes that life is unfair, or a struggle. But we can’t give up, however much we want to just curl up into a ball and hide (believe me, I’ve tried and it doesn’t work), we have to keep going.

Mother to Son

Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor—
Bare.
But all the time
I’se been a-climbin’ on,
And reachin’ landin’s,
And turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’t been no light.
So, boy, don’t you turn back.
Don’t you set down on the steps.
‘Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now—
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

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Friday Poem – A Little Bit of Sunshine

sunshineSeeing as we’ve had some lovely sunny weather this week, here’s a poem about the effects that a little bit of sunshine has on every single one of us, by the American poet Juan Olivarez.

We can all try to be a little bit of sunshine in everyone’s life.

A Little Bit of Sunshine

A little bit of sunshine every day,
Helps to keep the rain clouds far away.
A little bit of sunshine, for your soul,
Helps you to weather even bitter cold.

A little bit of sunshine in your week,
Helps pull you out of bed, when you are sick.
A little bit of sunshine on your brain,
Helps get out all bad feelings, and mental strain.

A little bit of sunshine in your life,
Helps you to deal, with all your stress and strife.
A little bit of sunshine at the start,
Can even help to heal a broken heart.

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Friday Poem – Trees

A beautiful poem for this sultry Friday, by the American poet Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918). He was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey and died on 30th July 1918 on the battlefields of dancing treeFrance.

Trees

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

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Friday Poem – “Fairy-Land”

This poem written in 1829 by the American poet, Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849), was originally entitled “Heaven”, and was written whilst Poe was at the United States Military Academy starsat West Point.

One of the poem’s original publisher’s called it “exquisite nonsense”, whilst others have called it a prescursor to the “Walrus and the Carpenter” – “a portrait of fancy created with a feeling of beauty conveyed in fantastic words and delicate music”.

Is the poem really about fairy land, or maybe something more celestial??

Fairy-Land

Dim vales- and shadowy floods-
And cloudy-looking woods,
Whose forms we can’t discover
For the tears that drip all over!
Huge moons there wax and wane-
Again- again- again-
Every moment of the night-
Forever changing places-
And they put out the star-light
With the breath from their pale faces.
About twelve by the moon-dial,
One more filmy than the rest
(A kind which, upon trial,
They have found to be the best)
Comes down- still down- and down,
With its centre on the crown
Of a mountain’s eminence,
While its wide circumference
In easy drapery falls
Over hamlets, over halls,
Wherever they may be-
O’er the strange woods- o’er the sea-
Over spirits on the wing-
Over every drowsy thing-
And buries them up quite
In a labyrinth of light-
And then, how deep!- O, deep!
Is the passion of their sleep.
In the morning they arise,
And their moony covering
Is soaring in the skies,
With the tempests as they toss,
Like- almost anything-
Or a yellow Albatross.
They use that moon no more
For the same end as before-
Videlicet, a tent-
Which I think extravagant:
Its atomies, however,
Into a shower dissever,
Of which those butterflies
Of Earth, who seek the skies,
And so come down again,
(Never-contented things!)
Have brought a specimen
Upon their quivering wings

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Friday Poem – Barbie Doll

A poem by the American poet Marge Piercy (1936- )Barbie

An extremely accurate description of how one seemingly innocent comment can have such an impact on a life. We are all beautiful in our own way, whether we are big, small, freckled, muscular, mis-shapen nosed, etc. We cannot, and should not be made to feel that we have to fit in to the mould of stick insect, sunken-cheeked, false everything fashion driven looks. We should be happy in our own skin. It matters not one iota if we are a size zero or a size 20.

You are beautiful by being true to yourself!

Barbie Doll

This girl child was born as usual
and presented dolls that did pee-pee
and miniature GE stoves and irons
and wee lipsticks the color of cherry candy.
Then in the magic of puberty, a classmate said:
You have a great big nose and fat legs.

She was healthy, tested intelligent,
possessed strong arms and back,
abundant sexual drive and manual dexterity.
She went to and fro apologizing.
Everyone saw a fat nose on thick legs.

She was advised to play coy,
exhorted to come on hearty,
exercise, diet, smile and wheedle.
Her good nature wore out
like a fan belt.
So she cut off her nose and her legs
and offered them up.

In the casket displayed on satin she lay
with the undertaker’s cosmetics painted on,
a turned-up putty nose,
dressed in a pink and white nightie.
Doesn’t she look pretty? everyone said.
Consummation at last.
To every woman a happy ending.

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Friday Poem – Art

A poem by the American poet Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882).

A poem that celebrates man’s imagination and creativity, and that through art, in whatever form, man gives his life importance.

Art

Give to barrows, trays, and pans
Grace and glimmer of romance;
Bring the moonlight into noon
Hid in gleaming piles of stone;
On the city’s paved street
Plant gardens lined with lilacs sweet;
Let spouting fountains cool the air,
Singing in the sun-baked square;
Let statue, picture, park, and hall,
Ballad, flag, and festival,
The past restore, the day adorn,
And make to-morrow a new morn.
So shall the drudge in dusty frock
Spy behind the city clock
Retinues of airy kings,
Skirts of angels, starry wings,
His fathers shining in bright fables,
His children fed at heavenly tables.
‘T is the privilege of Art
Thus to play its cheerful part,
Man on earth to acclimate,
And bend the exile to his fate,
And, moulded of one element
With the days and firmament,
Teach him on these as stairs to climb,
And live on even terms with Time;
Whilst upper life the slender rill
Of human sense doth overfill.

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Friday Poem – The Genius of the Crowd

An AMAZING poem by the American poet Charles Bukowski (1920 – 1994)crowds

What do you think?

The Genius of the Crowd

there is enough treachery, hatred violence absurdity in the average
human being to supply any given army on any given day

and the best at murder are those who preach against it
and the best at hate are those who preach love
and the best at war finally are those who preach peace

those who preach god, need god
those who preach peace do not have peace
those who preach peace do not have love

beware the preachers
beware the knowers
beware those who are always reading books
beware those who either detest poverty
or are proud of it
beware those quick to praise
for they need praise in return
beware those who are quick to censor
they are afraid of what they do not know
beware those who seek constant crowds for
they are nothing alone
beware the average man the average woman
beware their love, their love is average
seeks average

but there is genius in their hatred
there is enough genius in their hatred to kill you
to kill anybody
not wanting solitude
not understanding solitude
they will attempt to destroy anything
that differs from their own
not being able to create art
they will not understand art
they will consider their failure as creators
only as a failure of the world
not being able to love fully
they will believe your love incomplete
and then they will hate you
and their hatred will be perfect

like a shining diamond
like a knife
like a mountain
like a tiger
like hemlock

their finest art

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Friday Poem – Solitude

This is the poem that starts “laugh and world laughs with you” – a line which everyone knows.tears

The poem ‘Solitude’ is the most famous work of the American poet Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850-1919).

“The inspiration for the poem came as she was travelling to attend the Governor’s inaugural ball in Madison, Wisconsin. On her way to the celebration, there was a young woman dressed in black sitting across the aisle from her. The woman was crying. Miss Wheeler sat next to her and sought to comfort her for the rest of the journey. When they arrived, the poet was so depressed that she could barely attend the scheduled festivities. As she looked at her own radiant face in the mirror, she suddenly recalled the sorrowful widow. It was at that moment that she wrote the opening lines of “Solitude”:

Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone.

She sent the poem to the Sun and received $5 for her effort. It was collected in the book Poems of Passion shortly after in May 1883″ [source: Wikipedia]

Solitude

Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone.
For the sad old earth must borrow it’s mirth,
But has trouble enough of its own.
Sing, and the hills will answer;
Sigh, it is lost on the air.
The echoes bound to a joyful sound,
But shrink from voicing care.

Rejoice, and men will seek you;
Grieve, and they turn and go.
They want full measure of all your pleasure,
But they do not need your woe.
Be glad, and your friends are many;
Be sad, and you lose them all.
There are none to decline your nectared wine,
But alone you must drink life’s gall.

Feast, and your halls are crowded;
Fast, and the world goes by.
Succeed and give, and it helps you live,
But no man can help you die.
There is room in the halls of pleasure
For a long and lordly train,
But one by one we must all file on
Through the narrow aisles of pain

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