writer’s Quote: Joan Murray

writer’s Quote: Joan Murray

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Welcome to another writer’s quote/poem Wednesday, where I share some of my favourite poems written by other authors. I had initially planned on sharing a poem by C.K Williams, titled the Nail, as this week’s submission, but then decided against it today.

Why? Because, I personally have had enough of what’s going on in this world. We are not good to one another. I mean, just look at the ridiculousness carried out by “white supremacists”, in the United States. How did we even get here. From celebrating the first black president just a few years ago, to having to convince people that something as simple as the colour of one’s skin doesn’t make a person inferior.

This has got to stop. And so, I decided for this week, instead of bringing another poem depicting the sad world we live in, I wanted to take you guys along to South Africa, in this poem. Where one woman, against the backdrop of poverty, politics and economic difficulties, displays strength and courage. She plays her part in a society where even the leaders fail to play theirs.

Her Head by Joan Murray
Near Ekuvukeni,
in Natal, South Africa,
a woman carries water on her head.
After a year of drought,
when one child in three is at risk of death,
she returns from a distant well,
carrying water on her head.

The pumpkins are gone,
the tomatoes withered,
yet the woman carries water on her head.
The cattle kraals are empty,
the goats gaunt—
no milk now for children,
but she is carrying water on her head.

The engineers have reversed the river:
those with power can keep their power,
but one woman is carrying water on her head.
In the homelands, where the dusty crowds
watch the empty roads for water trucks,
one woman trusts herself with treasure,
and carries water on her head.

The sun does not dissuade her,
not the dried earth that blows against her,
as she carries the water on her head.
In a huge and dirty pail,
with an idle handle,
resting on a narrow can,
this woman is carrying water on her head.

This woman, who girds her neck
with safety pins, this one
who carries water on her head,
trusts her own head to bring to her people
what they need now
between life and death:
She is carrying them water on her head.

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Writer’s Quote: Domestic situation

Writer’s Quote: Domestic situation

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Welcome to another writer’s quote/poem Wednesday, where I share some of my favourite poems written by other authors. I have always loved the quote above my Maya Angelou and try to keep it at the back of my mind, always. It also goes with today’s poem, which is a narrative by Ernest Hilbert that runs on the simple theme that – love is blinding to some.

The main character is someone who should have ended up going to jail at the end of the poem, but rather, he was headed to the altar to get hitched. Like the last line said, “don’t try to understand what another person means by love”.
Here’s the poem below.

Domestic Situation by Ernest Hilbert

Maybe you’ve heard about this. Maybe not.
A man came home and chucked his girlfriend’s cat
In the wood chipper. This really happened.
Dinner wasn’t ready on time. A lot
Of other little things went wrong. He spat
On her father, who came out when he learned
About it. He also broke her pinky,
Stole her checks, and got her sister pregnant.
But she stood by him, stood strong, through it all,
Because she loved him. She loved him, you see.
She actually said that, and then she went
And married him. She felt some unique call.
Don’t try to understand what another
Person means by love. Don’t even bother.

Writer’s Quote: Carmen Giménez Smith

Writer’s Quote: Carmen Giménez Smith

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Welcome to another writer’s quote/poem Wednesday, where I share some of my favourite poems written by other authors. Today’s featured poem is one I came across only recently, and I haven’t been able to stop reading it. My heart bleeds at it’s verses. The poem is titled bleeding heart by Carmen Giménez Smith, and as I couldn’t stop at just one poem, I can safely say she is one amazing poet.

The poem, bleeding heart, talks about an overly sympathetic individual who feels so much, in fact too much. The poem begins as a metaphor- “my heart is bleeding”, then goes on to describe all the things which make the character feel so much; bleed so much. The suffocating effect of feeling too much can be felt in the line where the writer says, “it becomes the cork of me and I choke on it.”

She goes on to further explain her predicament by referencing, she bleeds so much, sometimes, she is a raisin (a dried fruit). And then immediately afterwards, she lists some more things which make her bleed, Indicating, as long as there is a sympathetic situation, she would always feel, bleed.

I love this poem in particular because it reminds me of the current situation we are living in, so much atrocities going on in different parts of the world, and my heart bleeds for them. It bleeds for the animals being treated cruelly for no fault of theirs, the children getting displaced, the women and men oppressed and abused- my heart bleeds.

Bleeding Heart BY Carmen Giménez Smith 

My heart is bleeding. It bleeds upward and fills
my mouth up with salt. It bleeds because of a city in ruins,
the chair still warm from sister’s body,
because it will all be irreproducible. My heart
bleeds because of baby bear not finding mama bear and it bleeds
to the tips of my fingers like I painted my nails Crimson.
Sometimes my heart bleeds so much I am a raisin.
It bleeds until I am a quivering ragged clot, bleeds at the ending
with the heroine and her sunken cancer eyes, at the ending
with the plaintive flute over smoke-choked killing fields. I’m bleeding
a river of blood right now and it’s wearing a culvert in me for the blood. My heart
rises up in me, becomes the cork of me and I choke on it. I am bleeding
for you and for me and for the tiny babies and the IED-blown
leg. It bleeds because I’m made that way, all filled up with blood,
my sloppy heart a sponge filled with blood to squeeze onto
any circumstance. Because it is mine, it will always bleed.
My heart bled today. It bled onto the streets
and the steps of city hall. It bled in the pizza parlor with the useless jukebox.
I’ve got so much blood to give inside and outside of any milieu.
Even for a bad zoning decision, I’ll bleed so much you’ll be bleeding,
all of us bleeding in and out like it’s breathing,
or kissing, and because it is righteous and terrible and red.

P.s What makes your heart bleed? 

Writer’s quote: Dorothy Parker

Writer’s quote: Dorothy Parker

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Hello and welcome to another writer’s Quote Wednesday where I share poems and quotes from some of my favourite poets. Today’s choice poet is Dorothy Parker and I am sharing the first poem of hers, I ever came across. It is titled “a very short song” and I can tell you, it lives up to its title. This poem also goes to show that poetry comes in different length and form.

Most of the poems I share on here are long, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy a good short poem. I actually have a few favourites. But coming to today’s poem, it talks about heartbreak in its few lines- both ends of the rope. The character describes how it feels to break a heart and how it feels to be heartbroken and which, she believes is worse.

She writes the poems without much bitterness but rather with a realism and wit which reminds me of billy Collins’s poem- litany, I have no idea why. Here is the poem below and I hope you enjoy it. And thank you for taking part in last week’s question, it was interesting to read your take on what poetry means.

A very short song by Dorothy Parker

Once, when I was young and true,
Someone left me sad-
Broke my brittle heart in two;
And that is very bad.

Love is for unlucky folk,
Love is but a curse.
Once there was a heart I broke;
And that, I think, is worse.

I’ve used the above poem one too many a time as my whatsapp profile picture (don’t ask me why), so i’ld love to hear, do you have any other heartbreak poem. It doesn’t have to be a romantic relationship. Looking forward to getting to know a few more poems from you guys.

Writer’s quote: W.H. Auden

Writer’s quote: W.H. Auden

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Hello there! Welcome to another writer’s quote/ poem Wednesday where I share some of my favourite poems written by other authors. Today’s poem has to do with the overwhelming feeling of grief and mourning. I just realised that last week poem (O captain, my captain) was also regarding a similar theme. But despite the similarities in theme, the way the poems and the emotions are depicted in the two poems are completely different.

Today’s poem- stop all clocks, talks about a person who has lost someone dearly close to him. What I love about this poem is that it requires little analysis, written in simple clear words with vivid imagery. The first stanza describes what the character wants to occur now that he has suffered a terrible loss. In the second stanza, the grief is so overwhelming that the character wants the world to mourn with him. In the third stanza, he describes what the person who had passed away means to him and then finally in the last stanza, the character is so blinded with grief, he sees no light past it and wants the entire universe once again to mourn with him.

This I find so sad as the poem ends with the statement- For nothing now can ever come to any good, I pray no one dwells in such a state for a long and may we always believe in at least an atom of good to come.

Stop all clocks by W. H. Auden

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

Indulge me dear readers. According to W.H Auden, poetry is the clear expression of mixed feelings. So I’m putting this question out to you all, “what is poetry according to you?” 

Writer’s Quote- Gwen Harwood

Writer’s Quote- Gwen Harwood

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I have to confess. I look forward to Wednesdays on this blog, where I get to share some of my favourite poems written by other authors with you guys. Today’s poem is titled “in the park” by Gwen Harwood. It’s a powerful pessimistic poem about a woman who has sacrificed so much for her children, she has given up her life so that they can have theirs. And rather than the emotion of joy and pride in her children, the character in the poem, feels and weary and resentment which is manifested in the line where she says- “they have eaten me alive”.

In Nigeria, especially the northern part, many women stay in marriages which are sometimes volatile and abusive simply for the sake of their kids. They view they’d rather take on the torment than leave their kids in the hands of the abusive partner or raise their kids in a broken home. According to an analysis by U.K. Essays, the dominant reading of the poem is that, for certain women, motherhood can be a burden. Sometimes when a woman’s life predominantly revolves around looking after her children, her sense of worth is devalued.” I’ld like to add, the above quote is not my opinion, but solely an analysis of the poem.

In The park by Gwen Harwood

She sits in the park. Her clothes are out of date.
Two children whine and bicker, tug her skirt.
A third draws aimless patterns in the dirt
Someone she loved once passed by – too late

to feign indifference to that casual nod.
“How nice” et cetera. “Time holds great surprises.”
From his neat head unquestionably rises
a small balloon…”but for the grace of God…”

They stand a while in flickering light, rehearsing
the children’s names and birthdays. “It’s so sweet
to hear their chatter, watch them grow and thrive, ”
she says to his departing smile. Then, nursing
the youngest child, sits staring at her feet.
To the wind she says, “They have eaten me alive.”