Was bloody, half the empire would fall
but battle only lays them for a time
they cut and burned the books to quell the live
Rites of Zhou replaced with rule of law
and rule of land and tombs that fit for kings
an infantry to make it great again,
chains of serfs and bastards moved as one
bound the little states that wrapped Beijing.
Two thousand years, about a million men,
a life for every foot of wall when done.
What is blocked and what is kept within?
Caged white roosters, mortar made from bone
like the scales of a sleeping dragon
and as visible, too, from the moon.
So, I just handed my poetry manuscript to a potential publisher. Whenever I do that, something strange happens. I re-read the manuscript and edits that I never saw before come to the fore. It's remarkable. So here is the latest. A freshly revised sonnet.
Thorax of tractor, trailer aground.
Letting the metal go.
The gathering is shrinking. Soon
we forget to ask.
Old men idle over tinto and war.
A dyke gives way nail by nail.
It doesn’t stop here, ever.
Through bulging sewers
and guttered debris,
the music snuck back,
slipped on a hot little dress.
What part of love is patience?
A blown-out, boarded-up
city stuffs its windows with toys.
The derelict car lot
Abandon as litter
Published Halifax Poetry Series, Frog Hollow Press and FreeFall Magazine
Proud to be part of this chorus of voices speaking out on the American election. Click on the link below to read the poems.
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For some reason, I've been giving this a lot of thought lately.
I like Adrienne Rich's answer to a similar question, "Can poetry affect social change?":
"Yes, where poetry is liberative language, connecting the fragments within us, connecting us to others like and unlike ourselves, replenishing our desire. . . . In poetry words can say more than they mean and mean more than they say. In a time of frontal assaults both on language and on human solidarity, poetry can remind us of all we are in danger of losing—disturb us, embolden us out of resignation."
Also Seamus Heaney crediting poetry with offering:
"a less binary and altogether less binding vocabulary"
The arresting and nuanced challenge positivist normative ways of thinking and moving in the world. Food for and voice of our authentic selves. What is more political than being completely in our skins?
Jean Baker Miller:
"Authenticity and subjugation are incompatible."
A Reading List on Loss, Death and Will
Nox, Anne Carson
One Crow Sorrow, Lisa Martin
As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner
Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking
A Grief Observed, CS Lewis
Adieux: A Farewell to Sartre by Simone de Beauvoir
A Very Easy Death, by Simone de Beauvoir
H is for Hawk, Helen Macdonald
Goshawk, by TH Whyte
The Long Goodbye, Meahan O'Rourke
Freud, Beyond the Pleasure principle
Adam Philips, Darwin's Worms
Schopenhaur, The World as Will and Representation
Walter A. Davis, Deracination: Historicity, Hiroshima, and the Tragic Imperative
When Pain is the Doorway, Pema Chodron
Wave, Sonali Deraniyagala
Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, Alison Bechdel
Bough Down, Karen Green
The Loved One, Evelyn Waugh