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POETRY SWAP MEET: Poetry we don't usually know about, or?

Thought Provoker
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(31 October 1795 – 23 February 1821)

Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art—
        Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
        Like nature's patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
        Of pure ablution round earth's human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
        Of snow upon the mountains and the moors—
No—yet still stedfast, still unchangeable,
        Pillow'd upon my fair love's ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
        Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever—or else swoon to death.

jade tiger
Tyrant of Words
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Jack McGavick


all roads lead here so it’s no surprise
under a hot sun the wad of gum
on the cobblestone rebecomes its chewy self
everything’s milling the everything grist
of the big city so dark so inky on the map
how could you have missed its eddying current
above the sucking of the drain just days ago
I stood with the dish soap in one hand
scrub brush in the other when it happened
just like that—pigeons bloom
newly unique from their milling
like the flock of bubbles caught
for a second in my kitchen window
before I flung myself car-first
down the interstate to see you
apparently in a park
surrounded by pigeons in bloom
the metaphor long pollinated
some pigeon kits survive the shift
withstand that sudden jostle
and some can’t bear the pull
of all that impossible space
the new shafts of light on the cobblestones
every time I blink I’m sure you’re gone

jade tiger
Tyrant of Words
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McKenzie Renfrew (age 13)


Behind my smile
I fear I may be reveling
In exaggerated truth.
In my eyes I paint the windows over blue,
So the cold winter may not enter.
In the hugs I give,
There is some reluctance
Hidden away by a warm embrace.
Within the books I read
Are characters better left in its pages,
But who walk among us
In the chair that I sit
Is a girl whose heart is always in question
Whose intellect is at war with her soul
She hides the uncertainty of her
Away deep inside
Where no one knows to go.

—from 2018 Rattle Young Poets Anthology


Why do you like to write poetry?

McKenzie Renfrew: “I write poetry because it serves as an emotional and creative outlet for me. I use it to put my feelings and thoughts into words. I also use it as a form of storytelling. Usually, I experience something, or someone I know does, and I feel the need to pass it on. Another reason is that I don’t want others to feel like they are alone in their struggle. I want them to know that their emotions are justified and are important to recognize (as opposed to bottling them up).”

jade tiger
Tyrant of Words
United States
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Ernest Hemingway

Notable awards
Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (1953)
Nobel Prize in Literature (1954)
Ernest Miller Hemingway (July 21, 1899 – July 2, 1961) was an American novelist, short story writer, and journalist. His economical and understated style—which he termed the Iceberg Theory—had a strong influence on 20th-century fiction, while his adventurous lifestyle and his public image brought him admiration from later generations.

Ernest Hemingway's
War Poetry


Some came in chains
Unrepentant but tired.
Too tired but to stumble.
Thinking and hating were finished
Thinking and fighting were finished.
Cures thus a long campaign,
Making death easy.

Chicago 1920

Champs d'Honneur

Soldiers never do die well;
     Crosses mark the places,
Wooden crosses where they fell;
     Stuck above their faces.
Soldiers pitch and cough and twitch;

     All the world roars red and black,
Soldiers smother in a ditch;
     Choking through the whole attack.

Chicago 1920


Half a million dead wops
And he got a kick out of it
The son of a bitch.

Chicago 1920

Killed Piave-July 8-1918

Desire and
All the sweet pulsing aches
And gentle hurtings
That were you,
Are gone into the sullen dark.
Now in the night you come unsmiling
To lie with me
A dull, cold, rigid bayonet
On my hot-swollen, throbbing soul

Chicago 1921

[All armies are the same…]

All armies are the same
Publicity is fame
Artillery makes the same old noise
Valor is an attribute of boys
Old soldiers all have tired eyes
All soldiers hear the same old lies
Dead bodies have always drawn flies

Paris 1922

Paris Bohemian   
Shock Troops

Men went happily to death
But they were not the men
Who marched
For years
Up to the line.
These rode a few times
And were gone
Leaving a heritage of obscene song.

Paris 1922

Riparto d'Assalto

Drummed their boots on the camion floor,
Hob-nailed boots on the camion floor.
Sergeants stiff,
Corporals sore.
Lieutenants thought of a Mestre whore-
Warm and soft and sleepy whore,
Cozy, warm and lovely whore:
Damned cold, bitter rotten ride,
Winding road up the Grappa side.
Arditi on benches stiff and cold,
Bristly faces, dirty hides-
Infantry marches, Arditi rides.
Grey, cold, bitter, sullen ride-
To splintered pines on the Grappa side
At Asalone, where the truck-load died.

Paris 1922

To Good Guys Dead

They sucked us in;
King and country,
Christ Almighty
And the rest.
Words and phrases,
They either bitched or killed us.

Paris 1922

[Arsiero, Asiago…]

Arsiero, Asiago,
     Half a hundred more,
Little border villages,
     Back before the war,
Monte Grappa, Monte Corno,
     Twice a dozen such,
In the piping times of peace
     Didn't come to much.

Paris 1922

The Age Demanded

The age demanded that we sing
and cut away our tongue.
The age demanded that we flow
and hammered in the bung.
The age demanded that we dance
and jammed us into iron pants.
And in the end the age was handed
the sort of shit it demanded.

Paris 1922

Credits and Thanks. All poems from Ernest Hemingway Complete Poems Edited, with an introduction and notes by Nicholas Gerogiannis University of Nebraska Press Lincoln and London 1979

jade tiger
Tyrant of Words
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Jimmy Santiago Baca (b. 1952, Santa Fe, New Mexico)

Jimmy Santiago Baca is an American poet and writer of Apache and Chicano descent.


Five hundred and five years
tortillas slapping between mamas’ hands,
farmers irrigating red and green chili, squash, and corn rows,
forming halves into wholes, braiding
two roots into one thriving, ever-deepening, mother-root
bridge between black and white,
blood rainbowing
opposite shores,
connecting south to north, east to west.

Five hundred and five years
of prayers mumbled from lips,
hands clasping other hands to endure,
keeping the line intact,
unbroken hope, rosaried faith,
from Incas, Moctezuma, Cortez, Villa y Chavez,
to the anonymous men sitting on park benches
meditating on the dawn,
to women climbing cathedral steps to attend Mass,
to whimpering, wakening infants
suckling at their mothers’ breasts.

Five hundred and five years
and still they remain
all beating with strong hearts,
hearts celebrating the magic songs,
acts of courage that leap from them
and integrity
that shines from them.

—from Rattle #12, Winter 1999
Tribute to Latino & Chicano Writers

Jimmy Santiago Baca (from Working in the Dark): “One night in my third month in the county jail, I was mopping the floor in front of the booking desk. Some detectives had kneed an old drunk and handcuffed him to the booking bars. His shrill screams raked my nerves like a hacksaw on bone, the desperate protest of his dignity against their inhumanity. But the detectives just laughed as he tried to rise and kicked him to his knees. When they went to the bathroom to pee and the desk attendant walked to the file cabinet to pull the arrest record, I shot my arm through the bars, grabbed one of the attendant’s university textbooks, and tucked it in my overalls. It was the only way I had of protesting.”

poet Anonymous

James Whitcomb Riley (October 7, 1849 – July 22, 1916) was an American writer, poet, and best-selling author from Greenfield, Indiana. During his lifetime he was known as the "Hoosier Poet" and "Children's Poet" for his dialect works and his children's poetry respectively. His poems tended to be humorous or sentimental, and of the approximately one thousand poems that Riley authored, the majority are in dialect. His famous works include "Little Orphant Annie" and "The Raggedy Man".

Three Dead Friends

Always suddenly they are gone--
The friends we trusted and held secure--
Suddenly we are gazing on,
Not a _smiling_ face, but the marble-pure
Dead mask of a face that nevermore
To a smile of ours will make reply--
The lips close-locked as the eyelids are--
Gone--swift as the flash of the molten ore
A meteor pours through a midnight sky,
Leaving it blind of a single star.

Tell us, O Death, Remorseless Might!
What is this old, unescapable ire
You wreak on us?--from the birth of light
Till the world be charred to a core of fire!
We do no evil thing to you--
We seek to evade you--that is all--
That is your will--you will not be known
Of men. What, then, would you have us do?--
Cringe, and wait till your vengeance fall,
And your graves be fed, and the trumpet blown?

You desire no friends; but _we_--O we
Need them so, as we falter here,
Fumbling through each new vacancy,
As each is stricken that we hold dear.
One you struck but a year ago;
And one not a month ago; and one--
(God's vast pity!)--and one lies now
Where the widow wails, in her nameless woe,
And the soldiers pace, with the sword and gun,
Where the comrade sleeps, with the laureled brow.

And what did the first?--that wayward soul,
Clothed of sorrow, yet nude of sin,
And with all hearts bowed in the strange control
Of the heavenly voice of his violin.
Why, it was music the way he _stood_,
So grand was the poise of the head and so
Full was the figure of majesty!--
One heard with the eyes, as a deaf man would,
And with all sense brimmed to the overflow
With tears of anguish and ecstasy.

And what did the girl, with the great warm light
Of genius sunning her eyes of blue,
With her heart so pure, and her soul so white--
What, O Death, did she do to you?
Through field and wood as a child she strayed,
As Nature, the dear sweet mother led;
While from her canvas, mirrored back,
Glimmered the stream through the everglade
Where the grapevine trailed from the trees to wed
Its likeness of emerald, blue and black.

And what did he, who, the last of these,
Faced you, with never a fear, O Death?
Did you hate _him_ that he loved the breeze,
And the morning dews, and the rose's breath?
Did you hate him that he answered not
Your hate again--but turned, instead,
His only hate on his country's wrongs?
Well--you possess him, dead!--but what
Of the good he wrought? With laureled head
He bides with us in his deeds and songs.

Laureled, first, that he bravely fought,
And forged a way to our flag's release;
Laureled, next--for the harp he taught
To wake glad songs in the days of peace--
Songs of the woodland haunts he held
As close in his love as they held their bloom
In their inmost bosoms of leaf and vine--
Songs that echoed, and pulsed and welled
Through the town's pent streets, and the sick child's room,
Pure as a shower in soft sunshine.

Claim them, Death; yet their fame endures,
What friend next will you rend from us
In that cold, pitiless way of yours,
And leave us a grief more dolorous?
Speak to us!--tell us, O Dreadful Power!--
Are we to have not a lone friend left?--
Since, frozen, sodden, or green the sod,--
In every second of every hour,
_Some one_, Death, you have left thus bereft,
Half inaudibly shrieks to God.

jade tiger
Tyrant of Words
United States
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James Valvis
(American Poet of Greek heritage)


for K

In those days I visited a local park,
hoping something would happen. Life
perhaps, or a check in the mailbox

so I could leave the apartment where
I was not living, lights turned off,
only water brown in its unflushed toilet.

This, I knew, was the life of an animal.
A bird, perhaps, a pigeon, gray and ugly,
waiting for crumbs to be tossed away.

A cold, damp bench was my favorite
like a drunk has a favorite barstool.
At first the pigeons gathered around,

waiting, wanting what I could not give,
but as soon as they realized I had nothing
they accepted me as one of their own.

All day we sat in our stale seconds,
our connection made possible mostly
by our lack of will to do anything else.

The silver winter sun was a dime
flipped in the air by some bored god,
and puddles lay about like mirrors

thrown into the gutter. City trees,
bearded with frost, bent forward like
beggars begging passersby for warmth.

But the pigeons, huddled together,
sat stoically, as if inside them beat
small hearts like white dwarf stars.

Daily no check came, and few crumbs.
What did come were joggers and taxi cabs
that sent pigeons scrambling a few feet.

What surprises us, in the end, is action,
will enough to shuffle and endure, when
there is no other ambition within you.

I too felt this odd urge to continue on,
to scurry just enough out of the way
of tragedy, to escape the tires of bikes,

stones thrown by kids, bolts of grief,
to survive long enough to make it here
to your luxurious embrace, my love.

Image: “The Sound of Wings” by Gretchen Rockwell.

Tyrant of Words
United States
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Forum Posts: 434

The Invitation

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for
and if you dare to dream
of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon...
I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you
to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me
if the story you are telling me is true.
I want to know if you can disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,

It doesn’t interest me to know where you live
or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me
where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like
the company you keep
in the empty moments.

by Oriah Mountain Dreamer

poet Anonymous

Generation of 1927

Gerardo Diego Cendoya (October 3, 1896 – July 8, 1987) was a Spanish poet, a member of the Generation of '27.
Diego taught language and literature at institutes of learning in Soria, Gijón, Santander and Madrid. He also acted as literary and music critic for several newspapers.


Do not you think, brothers,
that we have lived many years on Saturday?
We rested
because God gave us everything done.
And we did not do anything, because the world
better than God did ...
Brothers, let's overcome laziness.
Let's model, we create our Monday,
our Tuesday and Wednesday,
our Thursday and Friday ...
Let's do our Genesis.
With the broken planks,
with the same bricks,
with the crumbling stones,
let's raise our worlds again.
The page is blank:
«In the beginning it was ...»

Imagen , 1922

poet Anonymous


poet Anonymous

José "Pepín" Bello Lasierra (13 May 1904 – 11 January 2008) was a Spanish intellectual and writer.

Bello, born in Huesca, Aragon, was the son of engineer Severino Poëysuan Bello. His parents were friends of such Spanish intellectuals as Joaquin Costa, Santiago Ramón y Cajal, and Francisco Giner de los Rios. At the age of eleven, he participated in the Madrid artist promotion "Residencia de Estudiantes de Madrid" where he met Salvador Dalí, Luis Buñuel, Federico García Lorca, and Rafael Alberti.

Bello, who studied medicine, was a profound influence on his creative contemporaries. Even though some of his paintings, which he called "Artists Without Deeds", were published, he was known mainly as the organizer of art events. He also managed a hydropower plant in the province of Huesca, operated a tannery in Burgos, and owned a drive-in theatre in Madrid. None of these business ventures, however, was ultimately successful.

Bello died in his sleep in Madrid at the age of 103. He was regarded as the last survivor of the "Generation of '27" and the only member to survive into the 21st Century, but Francisco Ayala, who died in 2009, later came to be regarded as the last surviving member of the generation.

poet Anonymous

Rafael Alberti Merello (Puerto de Santa María, 1902 - 1999) Spanish poet, member of the Generation of 27. His parents belonged to families of Italian origin settled in the region and dedicated to the wine business. The frequent absences of the father for work reasons allowed him to grow free of all tutelage, running around the dunes and the salt lakes on the seashore in the company of his faithful dog Centella. A carefree childhood, open to the sun and the light, that will darken when you have to enter the school San Luis Gonzaga of El Puerto, directed by the Jesuits in a strictly traditional way.

Ah, Miss X, Miss X: 20 years!
Blouses in the windows,
the hairdressers
they cry without your hair
-fire blond cut-.
Ah, Miss X, Miss X without a hat,
alba without blusher,
so free,
in the wind!
You were not wearing earrings.
The dressmakers, in white, on the balconies,
lost by the sky.
-Let's see!
Do not!
It was just a bird,
not you,
Miss X girl.
The bartender, oh, how sad!
Gin cocktail.)
He has painted the bottles black.
And the flags,
joys of the bar,
in black, at half-mast.
And the sky without turning your radiogram!
Thirty boats,
forty seaplanes
and a sailboat loaded with oranges,
screaming for the sea and the clouds.

Oh, Miss X! Where?
S. M. the King of your country does not eat.
The King does not sleep.
He dies by the coast by car.
Banks of gold,
And, while, you, in the wind
-Do you squeeze shoes? -,
Miss X, from the seas
-di, do you hurt the air? -.
Ah, Miss X, Miss X, what annoying!
Good bye ...
(Nobody thinks of you anymore.
of steel,
with the wings cut off,
burning the air,
fixed on the dahlias
Movable of the winds.
Electrocuted sun
Charred moon
Fear of the white winter bear.
Hunting prohibited
maritime, celestial,
by order of the Government.
Nobody thinks about you anymore, Miss X girl.)

jade tiger
Tyrant of Words
United States
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Craig Van Rooyen


Lo, let that night be desolate;
let no joyful voice come therein.
Let them curse it that curse the day,
who are ready to rouse up leviathan.
—Job 3:7-8

This is a job
for your barnacle-wrecked body.
Grief, it turns out, is too much
for the mind. It enervates
the yellowed enamel of your
ground-down molars; chafes at
the skin sack separating your water
from the world’s water. Keep
your chin up. Not because
the sympathy cards tell you to,
but because the horizon’s gone,
replaced by a blubberless body
you must dive for again and again,
as it slips and sinks—body of your body
that you must propel to the surface
over and over, each time discovering
for the first time the lie of perfect form.

Three days and three nights,
across the Sound, afterbirth
trailing behind, swim
until your forehead becomes
an open tomb. You must balance
the weight of your old life on your nose
until the sky disappears and you become
a spectacle for pleasure-boaters.

Engines throbbing, they will point
as if the calf’s a rubber ball
you can’t put down.
The captain will turn on his mic:
No-one knows why. Instinct? Spirit?
It’s almost human.
This will be
your signal. Swim closer, closer
until the binoculars come down
and they flee the railing,
recognizing in your dead
their own.

—from Poets Respond


Craig Van Rooyen: “I wrote this poem in response to the story of the mother orca who has been swimming for more than five days in the Puget Sound with the body of her dead calf balanced on her forehead and nose.”

jade tiger
Tyrant of Words
United States
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Share a poem by a poet you'd like to enlighten fellow members about!

poet Anonymous

Mark McCloughan is a poet and artist living and working in Brooklyn.

... all these lathe-cut

things, perfect, precise, seemed
to fix and overwhelm, to parcel,
to part all the misty, braided
longings of my heart. I was after

something different, something less
defined, I said. I want a world
that remains unbroken, no
separating the gold from the lead.

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