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06 November 2014 @ 11:49 am
Dear friends,

Please share with me a favorite poem, preferably by a woman.

Thank you!
<3 aroraborealis
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(Deleted comment)
ruthless compassion: flowaroraborealis on November 7th, 2014 02:37 am (UTC)
Ahh, nostalgia. Thank you!
גילנהgilana on November 6th, 2014 05:37 pm (UTC)
From Outer Space

Moving & delicate
we saw you
that time, fragile as a raindrop
you seemed then
shining & vulnerable, in colors
we had not known to be yours,
rare, jewel-like,
but more alive than a jewel,
grained & printed,
scratched by the finger-nails of living,
a thousand
ways of life, millions, even,
with that first
lifting of man's foot, heavy on
the surface of the stony moon-rock we saw you
for the first time, earth, our earth, young,
fresh, bestowed on us as new, newest of
all possible new stars, even knowing you
stained, soiled & trampled
by our filth,
all of it transmuted somehow into living sapphire.
emerald breathing, topaz, carnelian alight with

O small bell, lit with living,
swinging into danger —
where is our tenderness
enough to care for you?

Hilda Morley
ruthless compassion: alonearoraborealis on November 7th, 2014 02:36 am (UTC)
Oh, yes. Thank you!
גילנהgilana on November 7th, 2014 02:39 am (UTC)
I've never been much into poetry, but one year I decided to read one poem a day for the entire year. It taught me a lot about how to read and enjoy poetry, and this was one of the ones that made the biggest impression. It's particularly delicious to read aloud.
(Deleted comment)
ruthless compassion: happyaroraborealis on November 7th, 2014 02:35 am (UTC)
This is like dancing in a rainstorm! Thank you!
Renata Piper: guitarlyonesse on November 6th, 2014 05:57 pm (UTC)
Lucille Clifton

the raising of lazarus

the dead shall rise again
whoever say
dust must be dust
don’t see the trees
smell rain
remember Africa
everything that goes
can come
stand up
even the dead shall rise
ruthless compassion: rosepetalsaroraborealis on November 7th, 2014 02:34 am (UTC)
I love how bodily this is. Thank you!
(Deleted comment)
ruthless compassion: happy sidearoraborealis on November 7th, 2014 02:32 am (UTC)
The Cope one is especially sweet and poignant. Thank you!
ceelove on November 6th, 2014 10:22 pm (UTC)
The Connoisseuse of Slugs, by Sharon Olds
When I was a connoisseuse of slugs
I would part the ivy leaves, and look for the
naked jelly of those gold bodies,
translucent strangers glistening along the
stones, slowly, their gelatinous bodies
at my mercy. Made mostly of water, they would shrivel
to nothing if they were sprinkled with salt,
but I was not interested in that. What I liked
was to draw aside the ivy, breathe the
odor of the wall, and stand there in silence
until the slug forgot I was there
and sent its antennae up out of its
head, the glimmering umber horns
rising like telescopes, until finally the
sensitive knobs would pop out the ends,
delicate and intimate. Years later,
when I first saw a naked man,
I gasped with pleasure to see that quiet
mystery reenacted, the slow
elegant being coming out of hiding and
gleaming in the dark air, eager and so
trusting you could weep.
ruthless compassion: happyaroraborealis on November 7th, 2014 02:29 am (UTC)
Re: The Connoisseuse of Slugs, by Sharon Olds
I love this -- tender and funny. Thank you!
our lady of perpetual amusementdakotakym on November 6th, 2014 11:07 pm (UTC)
Song for Ishtar
The moon is a sow
and grunts in my throat
Her great shining shines through me
so the mud of my hollow gleams
and breaks in silver bubbles

She is a sow
and I a pig and a poet

When she opens her white
lips to devour me I bite back
and laughter rocks the moon

In the black of desire
we rock and grunt, grunt and
ruthless compassion: happy petalsaroraborealis on November 7th, 2014 02:28 am (UTC)
Oh, wow. This is amazing, and new to me. Thank you!
evolution, and some other stuffjacflash on November 7th, 2014 12:04 am (UTC)
Obvious, perhaps, but among my very favorites
The Journey

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice--
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do--
determined to save
the only life you could save.

- Mary Oliver
evolution, and some other stuffjacflash on November 7th, 2014 12:06 am (UTC)
My other very favorite, not by a woman
WHEN I heard the learn’d astronomer;
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me;
When I was shown the charts and the diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them;
When I, sitting, heard the astronomer, where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon, unaccountable, I became tired and sick;
Till rising and gliding out, I wander’d off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.

- Walt Whitman

Edited at 2014-11-07 12:06 am (UTC)
ruthless compassion: happyaroraborealis on November 7th, 2014 02:27 am (UTC)
Re: My other very favorite, not by a woman
Those two are amazingly great together! Thank you.
veek on November 7th, 2014 03:29 am (UTC)
Marina Tsvetayeva, to fellow poet Osip Mandelstam, 1916:

Where does such tenderness come from?
These aren’t the first curls
I’ve wound around my finger—
I’ve kissed lips darker than yours.

The sky is washed and dark
(Where does such tenderness come from?)
Other eyes have known
and shifted away from my eyes.

But I’ve never heard words like this
in the night
(Where does such tenderness come from?)
with my head on your chest, rest.

Where does this tenderness come from?
And what will I do with it? Young
stranger, poet, wandering through town,
you and your eyelashes—longer than anyone’s.

(translated by Ilya Kaminsky and Jean Valentine)
elvendollelvendoll on November 7th, 2014 07:22 am (UTC)
Another Edna St. Vincent Millay
What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why (Sonnet XLIII)

What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why,
I have forgotten, and what arms have lain
Under my head till morning; but the rain
Is full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sigh
Upon the glass and listen for reply,
And in my heart there stirs a quiet pain
For unremembered lads that not again
Will turn to me at midnight with a cry.
Thus in winter stands the lonely tree,
Nor knows what birds have vanished one by one,
Yet knows its boughs more silent than before:
I cannot say what loves have come and gone,
I only know that summer sang in me
A little while, that in me sings no more.
Ellenkeyne on November 7th, 2014 04:19 pm (UTC)
post-election poetry

--Dorothy Parker

Razors pain you;
Rivers are damp;
Acids stain you;
And drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren’t lawful;
Nooses give;
Gas smells awful;
You might as well live.
eestiplika on November 8th, 2014 05:07 am (UTC)
Prayer in My Boot
For the wind no one expected

For the boy who does not know the answer

For the graceful handle I found in a field
attached to nothing
pray it is universally applicable

For our tracks which disappear
the moment we leave them

For the face peering through the cafe window
as we sip our soup

For cheerful American classrooms sparkling
with crisp colored alphabets
happy cat posters
the cage of guinea pig
the dog with division flying out of his tail
and the classrooms of our cousins
on the other side of the earth
how solemn they are
how gray or green or plain
how there is nothing dangling
nothing striped or polka-dotted or cheery
no self-portraits or visions of cupids
and in these rooms the students raise their hands
and learn the stories of the world

For library books in alphabetical order
and family businesses failed
and the house with the boarded windows
and the gap in the middle of a sentence
and the envelope we keep mailing ourselves

For every hopeful morning given and given
and every future rough edge
and every afternoon
turning over in its sleep

Naomi Shihab Nye

wild, predictable abandon: me-treecontessagrrl on November 8th, 2014 09:56 am (UTC)
Knocking or Nothing

Knock me or nothing, the things of this world
ring in me, shrill-gorged and shrewish,

clicking their charms and their chains and their spouts.
Let them. Let the fans whirr.

All the similar virgins must have emptied
their flimsy pockets, and I

was empty enough,
sugared and stretched on the unmown lawn,

dumb as the frost-pink tongues
of the unpruned roses.

When you put your arms around me in that moment,
when you pulled me to you and leaned

back, when you lifted me
just a few inches, when you shook me

hard then, had you ever heard
such emptiness?

I had room for every girl's locket,
every last dime and pocketknife.

Oh my out-sung, fierce, unthinkable—
why rattle only the world

you placed in me? Won't you clutter the unkissed,
idiot stars? They blink and blink

like quiet shepherds,
like brides-about-your-neck.

Call them out of that quietness.
Knock them in their nothing, against their empty enamel,

against the dark that has no way to hold them
and no appetite.

Call in the dead to touch them.
Let them slip on their own chinks of light.

-Mary Szybist

A Woman Speaks

Moon marked and touched by sun
my magic is unwritten
but when the sea turns back
it will leave my shape behind.
I seek no favor
untouched by blood
unrelenting as the curse of love
permanent as my errors
or my pride
I do not mix
love with pity
nor hate with scorn
and if you would know me
look into the entrails of Uranus
where the restless oceans pound.

I do not dwell
within my birth nor my divinities
who am ageless and half-grown
and still seeking
my sisters
witches in Dahomey
wear me inside their coiled cloths
as our mother did

I have been woman
for a long time
beware my smile
I am treacherous with old magic
and the noon's new fury
with all your wide futures
I am
and not white.

-Audre Lorde

(I couldn't pick just one!)
Adamslipjig on November 9th, 2014 04:57 pm (UTC)
Effort at Speech Between Two People

: Speak to me. Take my hand. What are you now?
I will tell you all. I will conceal nothing.
When I was three, a little child read a story about a rabbit
who died, in the story, and I crawled under a chair :
a pink rabbit : it was my birthday, and a candle
burnt a sore spot on my finger, and I was told to be happy.

: Oh grow to know me. I am not happy. I will be open:
now I am thinking of white sails againsta sky like music,
like glad horns blowing, and birds tilting, and an arm about me.
There was one I loved, who wanted to live, sailing.

: Speak to me. Take my hand. What are you now?
When I was nine, I was fruitily sentimental,
fluid : and my widowed aunt played Chopin,
and I bent my head on the painted woodwork, and wept.
I want noe to be close to you. I would
link the minutes of my days close, somehow, to your days.

: I am not happy. I will be open.
I have liked lamps in evening corners, and quiet poems.
There has been fear in my life. Sometimes I speculate
On what a tragedy his life was, really.

: Take my hand. First my mind in your hand. What are you now?
When I was fourteen, I had a dreams of suicide,
and I stood at a steep window, at sunset, hoping toward death :
if the light had not melted clouds and pains to beauty,
if light had not transformed that day, I would have leapt.
I am unhappy. I am lonely. Speak to me.

: I will be open. I think he never loved me:
he loved the bright beaches, the little lips of foam
that ride small waves, he loved the veer of gulls:
he said with a gay mouth: I love you. Grow to know me.

: What are you now? If we could touch one another,
if these our separate entities could come to grips,
clenched like a Chinese puzzle ... yesterday
I stood in a crowded street that was live with people,
and no one spoke a word, and the morning shone.
Everyone silent, moving... Take my hand. Speak to me.

— Muriel Rukeyser (1913-1980)

Edited at 2014-11-09 04:57 pm (UTC)
phoenix: blissedamber_phoenix on November 10th, 2014 02:18 pm (UTC)
I wrote a good omelet...and ate
a hot poem... after loving you
Buttoned my car...and drove my
coat home...in the rain...
after loving you
I goed on red...and stopped on
green...floating somewhere in between...
being here and being there...
after loving you
I rolled my bed...turned down
my hair...slightly
confused but...I don't care...
Laid out my teeth...and gargled my
gown...then I stood
...and laid me down...
To sleep...
after loving you

-Nikki Giovanni
Confluence of Kitchen and Kinkdietrich on November 15th, 2014 06:39 am (UTC)
I cannot believe that nobody has posted
Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting --
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.