Writer’s Quote: Dear Reader

Writer’s Quote: Dear Reader

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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 poem talks about taking care of a patient with Alzheimers, from the point of view of the nurse. I love the fact that the writer, Rita Mae Reese, left the identity of the patient and the carer genderless. Leaving it up to our creative minds to fill in the blanks.

This poem, “Dear Reader“, is not a poem one reads and immediately whips out the pen and notebook because of its poetic inspiration. No, it’s one of those reads which strike a chord in the heart. For lack of better wording, it’s what I like to call “beautiful and heartwarming”, and reading it, left me wanting more of it. Below is the poem:

Dear Reader by Rita Mae Reese
You have forgotten it all.
You have forgotten your name,
where you lived, who you
loved, why.
I am simply
your nurse, terse and unlovely
I point to things
and remind you what they are:
chair, book, daughter, soup.

And when we are alone
I tell you what lies
in each direction: This way
is death, and this way, after
a longer walk, is death,
and that way is death but you
won’t see it
until it is right
in front of you.

                Once after
your niece had been to visit you
and I said something about
how you must love her
or she must love you
or something useless like that,
you gripped my forearm
in your terrible swift hand
and said, she is
everything
—you gave

me a shake—everything
to me.

                   And then you fell
back into the well. Deep
in the well of everything. And I
stand at the edge and call:
                      chair, book, daughter, soup. 

If you could describe this poem in two words, what would they be? 

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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: Erin Hanson

Writer’s quote: Erin Hanson

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Hello, and welcome to writer’s Quote/poem Wednesday, where I share some of my favourite poems written by other authors. Today’s poet is a 22 year old Australian,
Erin Hanson, who is hands down, my favourite poet from among millennials. Read her poems and you will find out why.

Marilyn Monroe once said, “Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are“, and that, right there is truth. We forget sometimes, that the soul within our body and the heart encaged by our ribs are enough to reflect who we are. Everything else are just bonuses, beauty, hair, size, wealth, they are just extras.

We shouldn’t let them define our worth or give them more value than the fickle nature which they truly are. What happens is, when we value them more than should be, when we let them define us, we lose ourselves and we lose our identity with their loss and it shouldn’t be that way. We are much much more than than that. We have an identity behind the clothes and the cars and the jobs, we are a person first. Those things, should always come second.

Below is a poem which talks about letting ourselves be defined by all the things we are NOT.

Not by Erin Hanson

You are not your age,
Nor the size of clothes you wear,
You are not a weight,
Or the colour of your hair.
You are not your name,
Or the dimples in your cheeks,
You are all the books you read,
And all the words you speak,
You are your croaky morning voice,
And the smiles you try to hide,
You’re the sweetness in your laughter,
And every tear you’ve cried,
You’re the songs you sing so loudly,
When you know you’re all alone,
You’re the places that you’ve been to,
And the one that you call home,
You’re the things that you believe in,
And the people that you love,
You’re the photos in your bedroom,
And the future you dream of,
You’re made of so much beauty,
But it seems that you forgot,
When you decided that you were defined,
By all the things you’re not.

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?” 

Writers quote: Maya Angelou

Writers quote: Maya Angelou

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Last week, I went down with fever and after a few doses of injections, I am back by the grace of God as right as rain and ready for writer’s Quote/poem Wednesday. This week’s featured writer needs no introduction, it’s the phenomenal woman Maya Angelou. I knew I wanted to share a Maya Angelou poem with you guys, but I also didn’t want to share one of the more popular poems. It came down to two selections which are completely different in pattern and theme- alone and woman work.

I have decided to go with the poem, Alone. It’s got a pretty straightforward message with depth hidden within. It begins with the character lying and contemplating, about her life, others lives, and the world at large; and it ends with the conclusion that we cannot survive this world alone. Even with our wealth, for the few who have them, we’d still need company to survive and not isolation.

Alone by Maya Angelou

Lying, thinking
Last night
How to find my soul a home
Where water is not thirsty
And bread loaf is not stone
I came up with one thing
And I don’t believe I’m wrong
That nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

There are some millionaires
With money they can’t use
Their wives run round like banshees
Their children sing the blues
They’ve got expensive doctors
To cure their hearts of stone.
But nobody
No, nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Now if you listen closely
I’ll tell you what I know
Storm clouds are gathering
The wind is gonna blow
The race of man is suffering
And I can hear the moan,
‘Cause nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

What do you think about Maya Angelou’s conclusion? Can we make it out here alone?

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.”

Writer’s Quote: For the young who want to

Writer’s Quote: For the young who want to

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Welcome to another Writer’s quote/poem Wednesday, where I share a quote and poem from some of the amazing writers I have come across through reading and listening to poetry. Today’s choice poet is Marge Piercy. High five if you have come across her works before. The poem I chose to share today is one I will recommend to my fellow writers. If you’ve ever been told writing is not a real job, and you should quit it and join the employment pool, then this poem is for you.

For the young who want to- Marge Piercy

Talent is what they say
you have after the novel
is published and favorably
reviewed. Beforehand what
you have is a tedious
delusion, a hobby like knitting.

Work is what you have done
after the play is produced
and the audience claps.
Before that friends keep asking
when you are planning to go
out and get a job.

Genius is what they know you
had after the third volume
of remarkable poems. Earlier
they accuse you of withdrawing,
ask why you don’t have a baby,
call you a bum.

The reason people want M.F.A.’s,
take workshops with fancy names
when all you can really
learn is a few techniques,
typing instructions and some-
body else’s mannerisms

is that every artist lacks
a license to hang on the wall
like your optician, your vet
proving you may be a clumsy sadist
whose fillings fall into the stew
but you’re certified a dentist.

The real writer is one
who really writes. Talent
is an invention like phlogiston
after the fact of fire.
Work is its own cure. You have to
like it better than being loved.

Writer’s Quote: Cornelius Eady

Writer’s Quote: Cornelius Eady

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One of the things I enjoy doing during my free time is watching poetry recited out loud on YouTube. I don’t mean spoken word poetry, I mean those classical poems by Maya angelou, Emily Dickinson, Langston Hughes e.t.c. Watching them being recited adds more meaning to the poems, and increase in my understanding and love for the poems and poetry as a whole. It’s during one such occasion, I first heard the poem- I’m a fool to love you by Cornelius Eady. That poem touched me deeply; it spoke to me in ways many poems don’t and that’s why today I decided to share it with you guys for Writers Quote/Poem Wednesday.

I know I am not done with my AtoZ challenge and it’s already May, will try to roundup soon, the letter X is really not inspiring. Below is the poem

I’m a fool to love you- Cornelius Eady

Some folks will tell you the blues is a woman,
Some type of supernatural creature.
My mother would tell you, if she could,
About her life with my father,
A strange and sometimes cruel gentleman.
She would tell you about the choices
A young black woman faces.
Is falling in love with some man
A deal with the devil
In blue terms, the tongue we use
When we don’t want nuance
To get in the way,
When we need to talk straight.

My mother chooses my father
After choosing a man
Who was, as we sing it,
Of no account.
This man made my father look good,
That’s how bad it was.
He made my father seem like an island
In the middle of a stormy sea,
He made my father look like a rock.

And is the blues the moment you realize
You exist in a stacked deck,
You look in a mirror at your young face,
The face my sister carries,
And you know it’s the only leverage
You’ve got.
Does this create a hurt that whispers
How you going to do?
Is the blues the moment
You shrug your shoulders
And agree, a girl without money
Is nothing, dust
To be pushed around by any old breeze.
Compared to this,
My father seems, briefly,
To be a fire escape.
This is the way the blues works
Its sorry wonders,
Makes trouble look like
A feather bed,
Makes the wrong man’s kisses
A healing.

Writer’s Quote: To March

Writer’s Quote: To March

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Ah, and just as it came, its departing. Yes, you guessed it right, I am talking about the month of March. The quote above reminds me that as March rolls away, making way for April to waltz right in, so many people would always remember this month as the time when so and so happened. And for others like myself, it would mark the time of transition from one age/stage in life to another. Oh yes, I have officially joined the gang of 21 year olds (I miss saying I’m 20) and now, the only excuse I have left for not getting married is – I am still in university. Only one more year left for that excuse to run out. Oh and the excuse of “I’m not ready yet”, doesn’t work in Northern Nigerian homes. 

Do not mind me, and take everything I said in good humor and with a grain of salt. Below is a poem by Emily Dickinson about March, one I absolutely enjoy reading.

TO MARCH
Dear March, come in !
How glad I am !
I looked for you before.
Put down your hat-
You must have walked-
How out of breath you are !
Dear March, how are you ?
And the rest ?
Did you leave Nature well ?
Oh, March come right upstairs with me,
I have so much to tell !

I got your letter, and the birds’ ;
The maples never knew
That you were coming, -I declare,
How red their faces grew !
But, March, forgive me-
And all those Hills you left for me to Hue –
There was no Purple suitable –
You took it all with you –

Who knocks? That April –
Lock the Door –
I will not be pursued – “,
He stayed away a Year to call
When I am occupied –
But trifles look so trivial
As soon as you have come.

That blame is just as dear as Praise
And Praise as mere as Blame –

    By: Emily Dickinson