Poets United Midweek Motif ~ The World Is A Beautiful Place

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ The World Is A Beautiful Place

 “The mind is its
own place and in itself, can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.”—
Milton

“Mathematics has beauty and romance. It’s not a
boring place to be, the mathematical world. It’s an extraordinary place; it’s
worth spending time there.”— Marcus du Sautoy

Midweek
Motif ~ The World Is A Beautiful Place
The world is a beautiful place is the title and the first line of one of the poems of
Lawrence Ferlinghetti.
Whether the world is truly beautiful or not so
depends on an individual’s perspectives of the world. It’s an open ended line.
Either support or invalidate it. Be sarcastic
if you please J
The world might refer to the planet of ours. It
might be our own home or a place we love. A person might become our world or
books. When everything is going right anything has the chance of becoming our
world.
What if when it’s not so?
Our Motif for today is: The World Is A
Beautiful Place:
The World Is A Beautiful Place
by Lawrence Ferlinghetti
The world is a
beautiful place
to be born into
if you don’t mind happiness
not always being
so very much fun
if you don’t mind a touch of hell
now and then
just when everything is fine
because even in heaven
they don’t sing
all the time
The world is a
beautiful place
to be born into
if you don’t mind some people dying
all the time
or maybe only starving
some of the time
which isn’t half bad
if it isn’t you
Oh the world is a
beautiful place
to be born into
if you don’t much mind
a few dead minds
in the higher places
or a bomb or two
now and then
in your upturned faces
or such other improprieties
as our Name Brand society
is prey to
with its men of distinction
and its men of extinction
and its priests
and other patrolmen
and its various
segregations
and congressional investigations
and other constipations
that our fool flesh
is heir to
Yes the world is the
best place of all
for a lot of such things as
making the fun scene
and making the love scene
and making the sad scene
and singing low songs and having inspirations
and walking around
looking at everything
and smelling flowers
and goosing statues
and even thinking
and kissing people and
making babies
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Poets United Midweek Motif ~ City

“But a city is more than a place in space, it is a drama in time.”— Patrick Geddes

“The fact that over 50 percent of the residents of Toronto are not from Canada, that is always a good thing, creatively, and for food specially. That is easily a city’s biggest strength, and it is Toronto’s unique strength.” — Anthony Bourdain

Midweek Motif ~ City

In the eyes of a poet what would a busy city look like? A dream or a nightmare?

Is it easier to integrate and interact with others or is it a place for the aliens?

Will the poet ignore the bodily glamour and glitter and all those lucrative amenities and rather strike up a conversation with the soul of the city? Or will not?

Or what is your kind of city?

Have a city air in your poems today:

City Trees
by Edna St. Vincent Millay

The trees along this city street,
Save for the traffic and the trains,
Would make a sound as thin and sweet
As trees in country lanes.

And people standing in their shade
Out of a shower, undoubtedly
Would hear such music as is made
Upon a country tree.

Oh, little leaves that are so dumb
Against the shrieking city air,
I watch you when the wind has come,—
I know what sound is there.

The City Dead-House

by Walt Whitman

BY the City Dead-House, by the gate,
As idly sauntering, wending my way from the clangor,
I curious pause–for lo! an outcast form, a poor dead prostitute
brought;
Her corpse they deposit unclaim’d–it lies on the damp brick
pavement;
The divine woman, her body–I see the Body–I look on it alone,
That house once full of passion and beauty–all else I notice not;
Nor stillness so cold, nor running water from faucet, nor odors
morbific impress me;
But the house alone–that wondrous house–that delicate fair house–
that ruin!
That immortal house, more than all the rows of dwellings ever built!
Or white-domed Capitol itself, with majestic figure surmounted–or
all the old high-spired cathedrals;
That little house alone, more than them all–poor, desperate house!
Fair, fearful wreck! tenement of a Soul! itself a Soul!
Unclaim’d, avoided house! take one breath from my tremulous lips;
Take one tear, dropt aside as I go, for thought of you,
Dead house of love! house of madness and sin, crumbled! crush’d!
House of life–erewhile talking …

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Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Of Poems

Introduction To Poetry
by Billy Collins

I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem’s room

and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author’s name on the shore.

But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.

Poetry
by Pablo Neruda

And it was at that age … Poetry arrived
in search of me. I don’t know, I don’t know where
it came from, from winter or a river.
I don’t know how or when,
no they were not voices, they were not
words, nor silence,
but from a street I was summoned,
from the branches of night,
abruptly from the others,
among violent fires
or returning alone,
there I was without a face
and it touched me.

I did not know what to say, my mouth
had no way
with names,
my eyes were blind,
and something started in my soul,
fever or forgotten wings,
and I made my own way,
deciphering
that fire,
and I wrote the first faint line,
faint, without substance, pure
nonsense,
pure wisdom
of someone who knows nothing,
and suddenly I saw
the heavens
unfastened
and open,
planets,
palpitating plantations,
shadow perforated,
riddled
with arrows, fire and flowers,
the winding night, the universe.

And I, infinitesimal being,
drunk with the great starry
void,
likeness, image of
mystery,
felt myself a pure part
of the abyss,
I wheeled with the stars,
my heart broke loose on the wind.

A Quiet Poem
by Frank O’Hara

When music is far enough away
the eyelid does not often move

and objects are still as lavender
without breath or distant rejoinder.

The cloud is then so subtly dragged
away by the silver flying machine

that the thought of it alone echoes
unbelievably; the sound of the motor falls

like a coin toward the ocean’s floor
and the eye does not flicker

as it does when in the loud sun a coin
rises and nicks the near air. Now,

slowly, the heart …

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Poets United Midweek Motif ~ “a bundle of contradictions” (from Anne Frank’s last letter)

Anne Frank Huis

By Andrew Motion

Even now, after twice her lifetime of grief
and anger in the very place, whoever comes
to climb these narrow stairs, discovers how
the bookcase slides aside, then walks through
shadow into sunlit room, can never help

but break her secrecy again. Just listening
is a kind of guilt: the Westerkirk repeats
itself outside, as if all time worked round
towards her fear, and made each stroke
die down on guarded streets. Imagine it—

four years of whispering, and loneliness,
and plotting, day by day, the Allied line
in Europe with a yellow chalk. What hope
she had for ordinary love and interest
survives her here, displayed above the bed

as pictures of her family; some actors;
fashions chosen by Princess Elizabeth.
And those who stoop to see them find
not only patience missing its reward,
but one enduring wish for chances

like my own: to leave as simply
as I do, and walk at ease
up dusty tree-lined avenues, or watch
a silent barge come clear of bridges
settling their reflections in the blue canal.…

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Poets United Midweek Motif ~ When I Think About Myself

“This above all; to thine own self be true.”— Shakespeare
 
“I am very much aware of my own double self. The well-known one is very under control; everything is planned and very secure. The unknown one can be very unpleasant. I think this side is responsible for all the creative work — he is in touch with the child. He is not rational; he is impulsive and extremely emotional.”—Ingmar Bergman
 

Midweek Motif ~ When I think About Myself

Let’s begin today with Maya Angelou’s poem When I Think About Myself:

When I think about myself,
I almost laugh myself to death,
My life has been one great big joke,
A dance that’s walked
A song that’s spoke,
I laugh so hard I almost choke
When I think about myself.

Sixty years in these folks’ world
The child I works for calls me girl
I say ‘Yes ma’am’ for working’s sake.
Too proud to bend
Too poor to break,
I laugh until my stomach ache,
When I think about myself.

My folks can make me split my side,
I laughed so hard I nearly died,
The tales they tell, sound just like lying,
They grow the fruit,
But eat the rind,
I laugh until I start to crying,
When I think about my folks.

Do you find time to think about yourself? Even if you don’t you have to do it Now for this week’s Motif’s sake J We want a self-portrait poem this week.

What thoughts rise up when you think of yourself? Is it about the long path you’ve been walking that has almost shaped you? Is it about the small but meaningful and significant moments that have changed you? Is it about the thousand ‘yous’ that’s living within you?

The list can go on and on. Think over and write your lines:
 

I Am
by John Clare

I am: yet what I am none cares or knows,
My friends forsake me like a memory lost;
I am the self-consumer of my woes,
They rise and vanish in oblivious host,
Like shades in love and death’s oblivion lost;
And yet I am! and live with shadows tost

Into the nothingness of scorn and noise,
Into the living sea of waking dreams,
Where there is neither sense of life nor joys,
But the vast shipwreck of my life’s esteems;
And e’en the dearest- that I loved the best-
Are strange- …

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Poets United Midweek Motif

Anne Frank Huis
By Andrew Motion
 
Even now, after twice her lifetime of grief
and anger in the very place, whoever comes
to climb these narrow stairs, discovers how
the bookcase slides aside, then walks through
shadow into sunlit room, can never help
 
but break her secrecy again. Just listening
is a kind of guilt: the Westerkirk repeats
itself outside, as if all time worked round
towards her fear, and made each stroke
die down on guarded streets. Imagine it—
 
four years of whispering, and loneliness,
and plotting, day by day, the Allied line
in Europe with a yellow chalk. What hope
she had for ordinary love and interest
survives her here, displayed above the bed
 
as pictures of her family; some actors;
fashions chosen by Princess Elizabeth.
And those who stoop to see them find
not only patience missing its reward,
but one enduring wish for chances
 
like my own: to leave as simply
as I do, and walk at ease
up dusty tree-lined avenues, or watch
a silent barge come clear of bridges
settling their reflections in the blue canal.
Read More

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Human

“Listen and tell, thrums the grave heart of humans.
Listen well love, for it’s pitch dark down here.”
― Hailey Leithauser (See full poem below)

Midweek Motif ~ Human

I am human. I am only human.
I am sadly human. Happily, I am human.
Hmm.

When you describe something as “human,”
what do you mean?

BY WILLIAM BLAKE
Cruelty has a Human Heart
And Jealousy a Human Face
Terror the Human Form Divine
And Secrecy, the Human Dress

The Human Dress, is forged Iron
The Human Form, a fiery Forge.
The Human Face, a Furnace seal’d
The Human Heart, its hungry Gorge.

The Guest House
by Rumi
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

Arrhythmia
BY HAILEY LEITHAUSER
The heart of a bear is a cloud-shuttered
mountain. The heart of a mountain’s a kiln.
The white heart of a moth has nineteen white
chambers. The heart of a swan is a swan.

The heart of a wasp is a prick of plush.
The heart of a skunk is a mink. The heart
of an owl is part blood and part chalice.
The fey mouse heart rides a dawdy dust-cart.

The heart of a kestrel hides a house wren
at nest. The heart of lark is a czar.
The heart of a scorpion is swidden

and spark. The heart of a shark is a gear.
Listen and tell, thrums the grave heart of humans.
Listen well love, for it’s pitch dark down here.…

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