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

Writer’s Quote: Mother’s Smile

Writer’s Quote: Mother’s Smile

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It’s another Wednesday, which means, it’s time for Writer’s Quote and Poem. I noticed on Facebook, a lot “happy Mother’s Day” was trending about two days ago. I guess it was Mother’s Day in my side of the world. In honours of that, I would like to dedicate today’s quote and the poem below, written by Michael Burch, to all the parents striving and sacrificing,  with their time, their sweat and their little wealth to make sure their children always have enough and more, with regards love and happiness. I hope you like the poem below.

Mother’s Smile by Michael Burch
For my wife, Elizabeth Harris Burch, and my mother, Christine Ena Burch

There never was a fonder smile
than mother’s smile, no softer touch
than mother’s touch. So sleep awhile
and know she loves you more than “much.”

So more than “much,” much more than “all.”
Though tender words, these do not speak
of love at all, nor how we fall
and mother’s there, nor how we reach

from nightmares in the ticking night
and she is there to hold us tight.

There never was a stronger back
than father’s back, that held our weight
and lifted us, when we were small,
and bore us till we reached the gate,

then held our hands that first bright mile
till we could run, and did, and flew.
But, oh, a mother’s tender smile
will leap and follow after you!

Writer’s Quote: Mother to son

Writer’s Quote: Mother to son

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It’s Wednesday, which means, it’s time for writers quote Wednesday again. Today, I picked the quote above that speaks about “giving up”, which is a topic I believe is timely and cannot be said enough. The poem I chose to go with the quote is one by one  of my favourite poets, Langston Hughes. 

The poem is about a conversation between a mother and her son; it’s actually a one sided conversation, with the mother doing all the talking and the son, I envision, is taking it all in, in silence. A scene I am all  too familiar with, but I digress. Below is the poem, 

Mother To Son by Langston Hughes

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.

Don’t feel shy to share your thoughts on the poem and let me know if you are already familiar with the Poem. 

Writer’s Quote: Personal

Writer’s Quote: Personal

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I was planning on skipping this week’s writers quote post because it has been a roller coaster kind of week, as evidenced by my lack of posts. But then, something happened today which I took personally. I know I shouldn’t take it personal because it’s really that small, but guess what, I am human and it hurt me and I took it personally. It’s almost midnight so hopefully, tomorrow, I wouldn’t feel the same way. But for now, here is a poem by Tony Hoagland titled Personally

Don’t take it personal, they said;
but I did, I took it all quite personal—

the breeze and the river and the color of the fields;
the price of grapefruit and stamps,

the wet hair of women in the rain—
And I cursed what hurt me

and I praised what gave me joy,
the most simple-minded of possible responses.

The government reminded me of my father,
with its deafness and its laws,

and the weather reminded me of my mom,
with her tropical squalls.

Enjoy it while you can, they said of Happiness
Think first, they said of Talk

Get over it, they said
at the School of Broken Hearts

but I couldn’t and I didn’t and I don’t
believe in the clean break;

I believe in the compound fracture
served with a sauce of dirty regret,

I believe in saying it all
and taking it all back

and saying it again for good measure
while the air fills up with I’m-Sorries

like wheeling birds
and the trees look seasick in the wind.

Oh life! Can you blame me
for making a scene?

You were that yellow caboose, the moon
disappearing over a ridge of cloud.

I was the dog, chained in some fool’s backyard;
barking and barking:

trying to convince everything else
to take it personal too.

Have you ever taken things personally when it’s probably trivial and you know you shouldn’t take it personal too?

The above image is courtesy of Behappy.me

writer’s Quote: Solitude-

writer’s Quote: Solitude-

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For the first writer’s quote of February, I chose an author whose poems I only recently became familiar with recently- Ella wheeler Wilcox. There, I gave out the author’s name already so no worries. There is no quiz this week. The title of the poem is Solitude.

Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone;
For the sad old earth must borrow its 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 large and lordly train,
But one by one we must all file on
Through the narrow aisles of pain.

The verses of the poem were culled from Poetry foundation and the above image quote is courtesy of Quotesfancy.com

Writer’s Quote: How frail the heart must be-

Writer’s Quote: How frail the heart must be-

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For this week’s writer’s quote, I want to try something different. But of course, it requires you guys to play along. So, last time, I shared the poem “thoughtless cruelty” by Charles Lamb. This week, what I’m going to do is share a poem and leave it up to you guys to guess the author. Are you ready? Okay.

The author wrote the poem below at the bare age of fourteen. I am almost 21 and I can only hope to write as good as that some day. When the author was asked regarding the poem, she said “Once a poem is made available to the public, the right of interpretation belongs to the reader”. I absolutely agree with that. Here is the poem below:

I thought that I could not be hurt;
I thought that I must surely be
impervious to suffering-
immune to pain
or agony.

My world was warm with April sun
my thoughts were spangled green and gold;
my soul filled up with joy, yet
felt the sharp, sweet pain that only joy
can hold.

My spirit soared above the gulls
that, swooping breathlessly so high
o’erhead, now seem to brush their whir-
ring wings against the blue roof of
the sky.

(How frail the human heart must be-
a throbbing pulse, a trembling thing-
a fragile, shining instrument
of crystal, which can either weep,
or sing.)

Then, suddenly my world turned gray,
and darkness wiped aside my joy.
A dull and aching void was left
where careless hands had reached out to
destroy

my silver web of happiness.
The hands then stopped in wonderment,
for, loving me, they wept to see
the tattered ruins of my firma-
ment

(How frail the human heart must be-
a mirrored pool of thought. So deep
and tremulous an instrument
of glass that it can either sing,
or weep).

As I asked at the beginning, who do you know write the poem? Looking forward to your answers in the comments, come on, don’t hide your knowledge. 🙂

Writer’s Quote: Charles Lamb

Writer’s Quote: Charles Lamb

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The above quote is part of a poem I came across recently, thoughtless cruelty by Charles Lamb. The poem talks about a man who queries a boy called Robert, for killing a fly which had in no way harmed him. The man goes on to explain to Robert that a fly already has a short life, which is made even shorter by nature’s forces like wind and birds; and there goes Robert, further shortening it.

He explains that though a fly may be small in size, it doesn’t in anyway belittle it’s pain. The nerves are still there, the fibres are still there although the we can’t see them.

Below, is the full poem which I got from Poetry Foundation. I hope you enjoy it as much I do.

There, Robert, you have kill’d that fly,
And should you thousand ages try
The life you’ve taken to supply,
You could not do it.

You surely must have been devoid
Of thought and sense, to have destroy’d
A thing which no way you annoy’d —
You’ll one day rue it.

Twas but a fly perhaps you’ll say,
That’s born in April, dies in May;
That does but just learn to display
His wings one minute,

And in the next is vanish’d quite.
A bird devours it in his flight —
Or come a cold blast in the night,
There’s no breath in it.

The bird but seeks his proper food —
And Providence, whose power endu’d
That fly with life, when it thinks good,
May justly take it.

But you have no excuses for’t —
A life by Nature made so short,
Less reason is that you for sport
Should shorter make it.

A fly a little thing you rate —
But, Robert do not estimate
A creature’s pain by small or great;
The greatest being

Can have but fibres, nerves, and flesh,
And these the smallest ones possess,
Although their frame and structure less
Escape our seeing.


This post is in response to The Writer’s Quote Wednesday Challenge hosted by Jacqueline and Bernadette 

Writer’s Quote: On Defeats & Victories

Writer’s Quote: On Defeats & Victories

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The theme for this week’s writers quote Wednesday writing challenge is “strength” and for it, I chose to share a quote by a poet whose works I admire, enjoy and gain inspiration from- Charles Bukowski. Below, is a poem I wrote inspired by the quote.

It’s like this-
Some nights,
All you can do is
Curl up under sheets
With a burning lump
Stuck in your throat
Of all the things
You shoulda said-
But didn’t.

Your cheeks
Stained with droplets
And the darkness
Offering little comfort,
Wallowing
in self pity- you are,
At the what ifs,
And the could have beens.

These are the days,
we focus on our defeats.

But the sun,
It’ll rise again as it does,
And golden rays,
Will stream at the break of dawn.
And just as the darkness
Departs
I hope you keep last night
Where it belongs-
the past;
You may wallow at times,
At your defeat
But do remember- defeats
Are what make up victories.