Tuesday, September 02, 2014

TUESDAY POEM | Earth by Derek Walcott


                                             Let the day grow on you upward
                                             through your feet,
                                             the vegetal knuckles,

                                             to your knees of stone,
                                             until by evening you are a black tree;
                                             feel, with evening,

                                             the swifts thicken your hair,
                                             the new moon rising out of your forehead,
                                             and the moonlit veins of silver

                                             running from your armpits
                                             like rivulets under white leaves.
                                             Sleep, as ants

                                             cross over your eyelids.
                                             You have never possessed anything 
                                             as deeply as this. 

                                             This is all you have owned
                                             from the first outcry
                                             through forever; 

                                             you can never be dispossed. 

                                             Derek Walcott 
                                                            (from the collection 'Staying Alive - real poems for real times', edited by Neil Astley)

 ". . . It's so hard to write the poem of grief or absence, to make it approachable and fresh, and not to push the reader too hard to feel the deep upwelling ugly thing. 'candle' is powerful for its restraint and its ranging unexpectedness. For its cavernous, versatile waha that does everything except cry. . .'  Stunning commentary by Mary McCallum, this week's editor on the Tuesday Poem hub. Mary's chosen poem is 'candle' by mightily-multi-talented Hinemoana Baker.

                                      '. . . The boat was a mouth, the word was a whale,
                                      the moon was a flying fish, the swoop of a letter. . .'

Please click on the quill.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

TUESDAY POEM | Happiness by Stephen Dunn



                                      A state you must dare not enter
                                            with hopes of staying,
                                      quicksand in the marshes, and all

                                      the roads leading to a castle
                                           that doesn't exist.
                                      But there it is, as promised,

                                      with its perfect bridge above
                                           the crocodiles,
                                      and its doors forever open.

                                      Stephen Dunn


This week's editor on the Tuesday Poem hub is Michelle Elvy with lost and found on the b train in winter by Walter Bjorkman - writer, photographer, book & web designer and editor from Brooklyn, NY - living now in the Adirondack foothills.

Please click on the quill.

* details from various paintings in progress - Oil on Paper  | CB 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014



Untitled | Pastel on Paper | CB | c. 1987


                                          The very best we can be is like water.
                                          Reflect on the value of water:
                                          It benefits all creatures, without competing,
                                          It settles in places people dislike;
                                          Yes, this is very close to the way.
                                          Goodness in a house is its foundations,
                                          Goodness in a mind is its depth,
                                          Goodness in companions is their kindness,
                                          Goodness in speaking is sincerity,
                                          Goodness in government is straightforwardness,
                                          Goodness in work is skill,
                                          Goodness in movement is timing.
                                          It is only by not competing
                                          that we can avoid going wrong.

                                          Lao Tzu

This week's editor on the Tuesday Poem hub is Tim Jones with A Whimper After a Bang by Emily Manger. Tim writes

". . . What I like most about this poem is its swagger. Most post-apocalyptic poems are, believe it or not, something of a downer, but - at least on the surface - the protagonist of this poem is full of vim and vigour, tough as biltong, a kickass predator perfectly adapted to her environment. The toughness of the character is mirrored by the toughness of the poem, a landscape of spiky lines.

Look a little closer, though. . . " 

Please click on the quill.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

TUESDAY POEM | Two stanzas from A Fiordland Notebook by CB

                                   The mountains do not remember
                                    asking the forests
                                    to shelter birds
                                    with silent tongues
                                    and leaves of bark.

                                    CB  |  Camelot River, Dusky Sounds, Western Fiordland 

                             When dawn comes and the ruru return
                                    we will cast our bodies
                                    on your banks and
                                    with spines to the ground
                                    and eyes wide open, wonder
                                    at the tenacity of moss, 
                                    the complex miracle of breathing. 

                                    CB | Camelot River, Broadshaw Sounds, Western Fiordland

This week's editor on the Tuesday Poem hub is UK-based poet Kathleen Jones with Another Exile Paints a Spring Portrait of Katherine Mansfield by Riemke Ensing. Kathleen writes, "This poem takes me straight to Mansfield’s account of being in John Fergusson’s studio - her descriptions of the china, the way the light fell across the room, all the colours, but it is actually a dialogue with one of Frances Hodgkins’ still-life portraits. . . "

~ please click on the quill ~

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

TUESDAY POEM | Man Eating by Jane Kenyon

(Okay, so this is not the poem's pearl-white plastic spoon; it is, however, a spoon I love!)

                  MAN EATING

                  The man at the table across from mine
                  is eating yogurt. His eyes, following
                  the progress of the spoon, cross briefly
                  each time it nears his face. Time,

                  and the world with all its principalities,
                  might come to an end as prophesied
                  by the Apostle John, but what about
                  this man, so completely present

                  to the little carton with its cool,
                  sweet food, which has caused no animal
                  to suffer, and which he is eating
                  with a pearl-white plastic spoon.

                  Jane Kenyon

This week's editor on the Tuesday Poem hub is Sarah Jane Barnett
with The Noise
by Lee Posna

 x !! x

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

TUESDAY POEM | Grapefruit (a birthday poem) by CB

Photo: Shutterstock


                   for Daniel

                    He has two wishes for his sixth
                    birthday; a pocket of ruby grapefruit
                    and a citrus knife with a bend in it.

          It is the Fast of Ramadan  - the twenty-eight day
          in - and the weather shows no consideration.
          Flies and an irreverent heat
          nudge Mr. Salie the fruit seller
          and his carthorse up the street.

          The children are waiting. They know
          he will come. He will spoil them
          with a fistful of pomegranate, a slice of ice
          green melon. Upside down they wait
          dangling limbs and rinds of chatter
          from the purple crown of a jacaranda
          tree. They swing from a sandpit sky
          scuffed toes bare, swishing through
          a thick mirage of air.

          Up at the gate, in the postbox shade
          beach buckets brim with the horse's drink.

          Ramadan. And today is my boy's
          sixth birthday. He drops to the ground
          with a ripe fruit sound, runs
          pelter, pelter down the street.
          There's a horse, a cart and an old man
          to meet.

          Of course he's remembered. He whistles
          and grins, heaves the grapefruit down.
          Next week - they agree - when the Fast
          is complete, they will sit on the pavement
          enjoy a pink feast.

         "Why, Mr Salie?" I hear my son speak.
         "Why do they smell so wet
          and so deep?"

          Claire Beynon 

Today we celebrate TUESDAY POEM's 4th Birthday! 

As a collective we celebrate poetry every week but birthdays are special as each year during March/April we come together to build a collaborative poem in one giant poetry celebration. This year, we asked contributing poets to send a line that included something about either food or birthdays or both, and to send the line 'blind' - that is, without seeing any other contributions. As our most excellent sub-hub editor Michelle Elvy asked, "How to fit blue cake with a clarinetist's curls, or fairy bread with the explosion of candles? Four vignettes fired together to form one whole that includes a birth and a light, a cake and a secret, a moment and a memory, anticipation and celebration.

                      I was born the day my mother stopped being pregnant
                              a full-baked warm wetness taking its first breath
                      flame flickering, a miniature torch; a moth fluttering
                      against the pane, the porch. She held: a curved moon-nail,
                      thistle-like lock, darkened milk; and the clarinetist curled
                      slow circles around the moon

Visit the TP hub to read Three plus one:  four poems for a birthday - guaranteed to surprise and delight you!

Extra cause for celebration: Tuesday Poem has had 335, 130 page views since its inception (on Mary McCallum's blog, O Audacious Book) in April 2010 with 16, 280 page views on the hub this past month. Contributing poets hail from New Zealand, the US, UK, Australia, Italy and Lesotho with visitors to the blog from places as far flung as the United States, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, India, Indonesia and Russia. 

Happy Birthday Tuesday Poem! And a heartfelt 'yes' and 'thank you' to Mary, Michelle, TP poets and readers and writers of poetry everywhere.  

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

TUESDAY POEM | Antarctica by Katherine Glenday


Sounding bells | 80 feet below the ice - Explorers Cove, New Harbor, Antarctica 2008
Katherine Glenday (with a little help from her friends!) Photograph by Shawn Harper


                                                  Our thoughts form us
                                                  And like the forams
                                                  And the caddis creatures
                                                  We live in our
                                                  Patterned habits

                                                  I can run with this
                                                  And do
                                                  Away from text and fact
                                                  And the common herded wayfare
                                                  Of thought and learned behaviour

                                                  It is too dense for me

                                                  I am overwhelmed already
                                                  And the truth of it
                                                  Scampers off somewhere
                                                  And snarls in the brambles
                                                  Beneath the woods
                                                  Of a forest of trees

                                                  I would rather drop my sounding bells
                                                  Below a frozen sea
                                                  And watch with my long distance heart
                                                  As my friends swim them down

                                                 To sing an angelus
                                                 On the ocean bed

                                                 Here all things are weighed
                                                 In the company of creatures
                                                 Who build their hearts on the sleeves
                                                 Of their houses.

                                                 Katherine Glenday

Katherine and I met at the age of eighteen as we embarked on a degree in Fine Arts at the University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg. Our lives have been woven together in ways mundane, mysterious and magical ever since. During our 2008 season in Explorers Cove, Antarctica, scientist Sam Bowser and I traveled with a series of porcelain forms created by ceramic artists Christina Bryer and Katherine. (You can see some of these on my new, very-much-still-under-construction, website here - scroll down to the bottom of the Antarctica page).

Katherine lives in Kalk Bay, a quaint fishing village in Cape Town (SA). Last weekend she opened the doors of her home and studio to the public for an extensive retrospective - 30 years of her exquisite porcelain work. The words 'numinous' and 'luminous' come immediately to mind. She is an artist in light, her work at once grounded in the natural world and occupying a space that's 'beyond' form. Weightless. Metaphysical. It needs to be seen to be believed --- please visit Katherine's website, prepared to be moved, awed and - yes - altered.

This week's editor on the Tuesday Poem hub is Janis Freegard
with Tuatara by Nola Borrell

Please click on the quill. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

TUESDAY POEM | Who Learns My Lessons Complete? by Walt Whitman

CB | Light Calligraphy

                    Who learns my lesson complete?
                     Boss, journeyman, apprentice, churchman and atheist,
                     The stupid and the wise thinker, parents and offspring, merchant,
                     clerk, porter and customer,
                     Editor, author, artist, and schoolboy--draw nigh and commence;
                     It is no lesson--it lets down the bars to a good lesson,
                     And that to another, and every one to another still.
                     The great laws take and effuse without argument,
                     I am of the same style, for I am their friend,
                     I love them quits and quits, I do not halt and make salaams.
                     I lie abstracted and hear beautiful tales of things and the reasons
                     of things,
                     They are so beautiful I nudge myself to listen.
                     I cannot say to any person what I hear--I cannot say it to myself--
                     it is very wonderful.
                     It is no small matter, this round and delicious globe moving so
                     exactly in its orbit for ever and ever, without one jolt or
                     the untruth of a single second,
                     I do not think it was made in six days, nor in ten thousand years,
                     nor ten billions of years,
                     Nor plann'd and built one thing after another as an architect plans
                     and builds a house.
                     I do not think seventy years is the time of a man or woman,
                     Nor that seventy millions of years is the time of a man or woman,
                     Nor that years will ever stop the existence of me, or any one else.
                     Is it wonderful that I should be immortal? as every one is immortal;
                     I know it is wonderful, but my eyesight is equally wonderful, and
                     how I was conceived in my mother's womb is equally wonderful,
                     And pass'd from a babe in the creeping trance of a couple of
                     summers and winters to articulate and walk--all this is
                     equally wonderful.
                     And that my soul embraces you this hour, and we affect each other
                     without ever seeing each other, and never perhaps to see
                     each other, is every bit as wonderful.
                     And that I can think such thoughts as these is just as wonderful,
                     And that I can remind you, and you think them and know them to
                     be true, is just as wonderful.
                     And that the moon spins round the earth and on with the earth, is
                     equally wonderful,
                     And that they balance themselves with the sun and stars is equally

                     Walt Whitman

To read this week's Tuesday Poems, click on the quill then make your way down the list of poets on the Left-hand side of the TP page. Zireaux is this week's editor. Bonzai by Cecily Barnes begins -  

                     Who needs your stunted style, your tiny jewels
                     of thwarted art, to snatch a kite flown loose
                     or bad-thrown ball? Or your unsayable rules
                     of infinite pleasures unknown, delights abstruse,
                     to feel soft feathers, their talons' sponsal band? . . .

Zireaux's commentary is anything but stunted! He takes the reader on what I think you'll agree is a fair romp of personal disclosure.