Today is the last day of National Poetry Month here in the United States. Today also marks the last of my daily posts for my One Poem. One Planet. project. I’m going to miss it.
When I set out on April 1, 2016 to show that poetry has no national affiliations or borders, I had no idea what expect. Would anyone read these posts? Would I be able to find poets in all corners of the world, translated into English, because I am mono-lingual, sad to say?
The answer is a resounding YES!
I set out to explore the world by hopping from poem to poem around the globe, discovering poets I’d never heard of before, bumping into familiar poets and old favorites I as was so glad to revisit.
Below is a list of all the poems I found this year, listed by date, poet’s name and the country they come from–(In some cases, the country they were exiled from because poets are still dangerous in this day and age.)
I want to thank everyone who read and retweeted and liked and clicked. My first goal was to read more poetry from around the world. I realize now my secondary goal was to make some kind of connection–tenuous and electronic though it be–it is still a connection with people beyond my small local view.
I checked my stats, you know the part where it lists the countries that readers come from, and WOW!!! In addition to readers in the the United States this month, I had readers from 22 countries: Philippines, Serbia, Ghana, Italy, India, United Kingdom, Russia, European Union, Canada, Ukraine, Ireland, Egypt, Germany, Belgium, New Zealand, France, Netherlands, Turkey, Vietnam, Kenya, Australia and Taiwan.
I started #onepoemoneplanet to capture these postings. I encourage anyone who wants to use the hashtag and share the poems that speak to your life with the world. I will continue to do so as well, throughout the rest of the year. And I will be back next year for sure, with a whole new batch of poets from everywhere I can think of!
Happy Poetry Month!
One poem. One Planet.
This year’s poets:
April 1, 2016: Wislawa Szymborska (Poland)
Tribeca 2016: J.J. Abrams and Chris Rock on ‘Star Wars,’ Lens Flares, Comic Book Movies, and How to Write an Ending — Flavorwire
In theory, last night’s Tribeca Talks Directors’ Series conversation between J.J. Abrams and Chris Rock was, in fact, a talk between two directors; in addition to his stand-up and acting work, Rock wrote (or co-wrote) and directed his features Down to Earth, Head of State, I Think I Love My Wife, and Top Five. But…
April is National Poetry Month here in the US–strange to celebrate an endeavor that knows no boundary, nor does it pledge its allegiances to any flag or political doctrine. Poetry exists because of and for the people of this planet, the entire planet.
To celebrate, I’m going to spend the next 30 days looking for poems from around the world. Russia, New Zealand, China, Iraq, Sweden, is there a poet from Antarctica? I don’t know, but I’ll look for one.
No literary discussion or lengthy biographies. Simply, the abundance that is one poem.
One poem. One planet.
The rain outside my window is a gift and a sign–it’s time to hunker down and write.
Friday Night Writes tonight. I have revisions to work on, certainly, but the great thing about Friday Night Writes is it allows space and time for the unlooked-for inspiration to pop in.
Here’s the drill. Get home from work tonight. Make yourself a pot of tea, grab a bikkie and a sit down and write. Write til your hand cramps. Write til you can’t hold your head up. Write til the dog completely gives up on you and goes to bed on her own. Write til your familiar walls fall away and you are on your own mountain watching the sun sink down behind a horizon you created.
Write. Write. Write.
You want to join me?
Here’s what you do: Write.
Here’s how long you do it: For as long as humanly possible, until the stars come out and then go away again.
Here’s what you write: Anything. Write anything. Write.
Here’s when it starts: Right after the day job. Get your ass home and write.
THE FIRST MIRACLE OF THE DAY
The sandhill crane enters
the race at daybreak, declaring
she would be president of the day
with her promise of flight
and her lopsided laugh through that window
I forgot to close and latch last night.
The demos is up at dawn
and demands to be reckoned with
chickadees are into the pollen,
the birch crowds surround the house
to shout their green slogans
Now! Now! Now!
All right, already, I’m up
putting away my fraught dream
of a black-haired woman
carrying her child to safety—already forgetting
who the woman was, what safety offered—all I’m left
is the weight of the child and the drone
of the mother’s voice singing one word
over and over against the child’s temple
but now the word is gone
and the child has no name.
If these magpies would shut up,
job job job
and the light is hurting my eyes
Yes, Sun, I am aware
and awake and registered
in this world that did not crumble in the night
despite the plastic catastrophe of yesterday
Even the deaf can hear
the distant thunder of the unlocked
rivers rumbling in their march to join the sea
Even the blind can see
the tangerine light
velveting every surface
with un-temperate warmth
Even the dead understand
the gossip of contemporary worms budging downward
to the anthracitic rooms of ancient worms
the earth is untightening
making space for more of us
The Elect will know who they are
soon enough for already the first miracle of the day
travels ding-toed and nose down
along our dirt road, the collie named Hola!
leading Erma, my eighty-year-old neighbor
toward a brightening mountain in the East
From behind she looks like a waterfall
her waist a vigorous coursing, supple and clear,
her free hand a flower floating at her side
The sandhill croaks one last time
from on high amongst her rally of clouds
but Erma’s eyes are poor
so when she looks up
she spills into blue
— Arlitia Jones, April 30, 2016
A WIND WILL COME FROM THE SOUTH
A wind will come from the south with unleashed rain
to beat on closed doors and on the windows
to beat on faces with bitter expressions.
Happy noisy waves will come
climbing paths and silent streets
through the port district.
Let the hardened city wash its face
its stones and dusty wood, worn out
its heart sombre.
Let there be surprise at least in the opaque
And let many people be frightened, and the children laugh
and the greenness of the water’s light wake us
bathe us, follow us.
Let it make us run and embrace each other
and let the doors of all the houses open
and the people come out
down the stairs, from the balconies,
calling to each other…
— Circe Maia, (Uruguay)
I’m going to move ahead.
Behind me my whole family is calling,
My child is pulling my sari-end,
My husband stands blocking the door,
But I will go.
There’s nothing ahead but a river.
I will cross.
I know how to swim,
but they won’t let me swim, won’t let me cross.
There’s nothing on the other side of the river
but a vast expanse of fields,
But I’ll touch this emptiness once
and run against the wind, whose whooshing sound
makes me want to dance.
I’ll dance someday
and then return.
I’ve not played keep-away for years
as I did in childhood.
I’ll raise a great commotion playing keep-away someday
and then return.
For years I haven’t cried with my head
in the lap of solitude.
I’ll cry to my heart’s content someday
and then return.
There’s nothing ahead but a river,
and I know how to swim.
Why shouldn’t I go?
–Taslima Nasrin (Bangladesh)
You’re invited to Friday Night Writes!
Here’s the drill: come home tonight, do whatever you need to do to get the stink of the day-job off you, make a snack, make some coffee, whatever you need, then pull up a chair and write.
Write late into the night. Write til the lead breaks or the ink runs dry. Write til you can’t hold your head up anymore. Don’t worry about the rest of the world. They’ll go out and party without you. And they’ll go to sleep without you. Just write. That’s all you have to do.
Good luck! I’ll see you at the 3 am paper shuffle. Post, if you feel like it, at #fridaynightwrites.
when she comes
Neither father nor mother.
When she struggles
up from one of her abysses
she ignores Society and the State
disdains Water Regulations
like a young
in front of the Palace of Dawn.*
And only later
does she reconsider: kisses
the eyes of those who earn little
gathers into her arms
those who thirst for happiness
And promises to set the country on fire.
— Ferreira Gullar (Brazil)
*The presidential palace in Brasilia.
Karl Marx was playing a parlor game
with his daughters. To their question
What is the quality one should most abhor?
he wrote: Servility.
This was found–a scrap of paper
amongst the family albums and letters;
it is the most essential of all
the Complete Works.
— Robert Gray (Australia)
IN A FOREST
And in its lair, a lion thought
Of how, tomorrow, to attack the neighboring tiger.
The tiger was thinking:
Of how, tomorrow, to skin the fox.
The fox was thinking:
Of how, tomorrow, to approach the
garden’s gate to eat
The dove was thinking:
Of how, tomorrow, to bring together
the hunter, the birds and
the animals of the forest.
How could she, she wondered.
— Sherko Bekas (Iraq)