Here are seven Swine Flu poems–
Does your child cover her mouth when she coughs/Or is she a reflection of you/Because of the poor example you’ve set/Your kids are spreading the Swine Flu
You’ve enjoyed those pork chops/And that pork rib B-B-Q/But now the table has been turned/And pigs are killing you
Some are mad at Mexico/Because that is where the Swine Flu began/But when disease our ancestors brought killed Native Americans/We happily took their land
Here is a problem/For all you creationists to solve/ If evolution is not true/How is it that viruses evolve
Texas Governor Perry said/ Maybe Texas should secede/Then he called up Washington/And said send the flu medicine we need
People die in poverty and disease/All around the world each day/But we never hear the end of it/When people in wealthy nations get sick in some novel way
Between the global flu outbreak /And the global economic disaster/ Who can make a prediction/Of what will do us in faster
April is Nati0nal Poetry Month. Please click here for a great poetry month link.
The first poem that I ever learned goes like this—
Roses are red
Violets are blue
Toilet paper is white
But not when you are through.
I’ve been reciting that poem to folks for over 30 years now.
I’ve written some poetry myself.
Here is one example. It does not have a title at the moment because I changed a couple of words in it and the old title no longer makes sense.
The mob on the one side.
The few on the other side.
I’ll take my chances
With the Niagara below.
( Photo of Niagara River.)
Here is another poem I wrote called Self-Reliance.
He did not cast the characters.
He did not write the script.
When told that he was the author,
He immediately saw the trick.
A lot people feel that poetry is not accessible to them, but this is not the case.
People have the ability to grasp, enjoy and make use of much more than they realize.
I have a great faith in the ability of the average person to understand much more than they realize.
Here is a link to a number of very old Chinese poems. I enjoy this kind of poetry very much.
Here is some information about Walt Whitman with links also to many of his poems. You can poke around the Poets.org site and look up lots of poems.
There is always new stuff to learn and new ways of looking at life. Everybody is able to do this in their life.
Here’s a poem for if you want to write a Valentine’s Day poem to a one night stand you shared a brief time with. It is from India and was written about 1900 years ago. It’s author is anonymous.
The poem is called Scornfully. Maybe it will give you some thoughts for your poem for your one nighter…
the great lady
gave the poor traveller
to sleep on.
At daybreak she
gathers it up
Today we have a poem I’ve written about my wife. I ran this a couple of years ago and I am running it again today.
Tell your sweetie the truth about the good qualities they possess. Tell him or her in a direct and simple way that is consistent with your personality. In this fashion, you’ll make somebody happy, score points, and be believable.
Here is the poem. It is called “Poem About My Wife.”
With reasonable allowance
For awkward situations
My wife is quite straightforward.
If not always at first
People in time come to realize
The quality of my wife’s advice and skills.
My wife reflects on personal relationships
And tries to get them right.
My wife reflects on her responsibilities
And tries to be a good person.
A left-handed Jewish woman
My wife has no illusions about what people are
And the things they are capable of.
Valentine’s Day is coming up and you should have a poem for the occasion. Here is one for a Valentine’s Day where you are possibly planning to break up with your sweetie. Or maybe you figure you will be broken up with that day.
( Here is a poem I wrote about my wife. Maybe you would like to write a poem citing your sweetie’s virtues.)
This poem is called ” A Rehearsal Of Loss” and was written by Agha Shadid Ali. This poet lived between 1949 and 2001. He was a Muslim who was born in India and later taught in the United States.
Behind having a breaking up poem for Valentine’s Day, because sometimes life goes wrong, I like the idea here of sunrise as a loss.
(Above–canyon at sunrise. Below–Sunrise in Perth, Australia. )
Here is the poem—
The night rose from the rocks of the canyon.
I drove away from your door. And the night,
it left the earth the way a broken man,
his lover’s door closing behind him, leaves
that street in silence for the rest of his life.
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, here is a poem to remind you not to believe the lies your lover tells you. (I’ve got a picture of a parrot up there because a parrot is mentioned in the poem and the bird is quite colorful.) is a poem written in India almost 2000 years ago. The age of the poem just goes to show you—Things have long been the same way.
Here’s the poem. It is called What She Said To Her Girl-Friend—
Once you said
let’s go, let’s go
to the gay carnival in the big city;
the good elders spoke of many good omens
for our going.
But he waylaid me,
gave me a slingshot and rattles
for scaring parrots,
and a skirt of young leaves
which he said looked good
and with his lies
he took the rare innocence
that mother had saved for me.
And now I am like this.
The following is about the grief of Gilgamesh after the death of his friend Enkidu in the ancient poem Gilgamesh—
All that is left to one who grieves
Is convalescence. No change of heart or spiritual
Conversion, for the heart has changed
And the soul has been converted
To a thing that sees
How much it costs to lose a friend it loved.
It has grown past conversion to a world
Few enter without tasting loss
In which one spends a long time waiting
For something to move one to proceed.
It is that inner atmosphere that has
An unfamiliar gravity or none at all
Where words are flung out in the air but stay
Motionless without an answer,
Hovering about one’s lips
Or arguing back to haunt
The memory with what one failed to say,
Until one learns the acceptance of the silence
Amidst the new debris
Or turns again to grief
As the only source of privacy,
Alone with someone loved.
It could go for years and years,
And has, for centuries,
For being human holds a special grief
Of privacy within the universe
That yearns and waits to be untouched
By someone who can take away
The memory of death.
Here is a poem from the book Japanese Death Poems—Written by Zen Monks and Haiku Poets on the Verge of Death. The book was compiled by Yoel Hoffman. The poem was written by a man named Hakurin who died in 1817 at age 68.
Well, then, let’s follow
the peal of bells to the
I’d say Hakurin was taking his impending demise well enough.
Above is the painting Sappho which was completed by Charles Mengin in 1877. It is hanging in the Manchester Art Gallery in Manchester, England. The Manchester Art Gallery is publically owned. I’m sure many of my Texas Progressive Alliance blogger friends would support the idea of public ownership of an art gallery.
The current definitive translation of Sappho’s poetry is If Not, Winter–Fragments of Sappho by Anne Carson. Sappho lived on the Island of Lesbos 2600 years ago. Here is a link to a 1925 translation of Sappho’s poetry.
The Texas Progressive Alliance is a group of Texas bloggers, connected yet autonomous, who blog on Texas politics and other subjects. Each week a round-up is offered of best posts from the previous seven days. Here is this week’s collection—
Check out The Truth About Texas Republicans, a new blogger-powered website designed to expose the real truth about GOP Texas legislators. The opening posts look at the stuff state representatives Dwayne Bohac, Betty Brown, John Davis, Bill Zedler and State Sen. Mike Jackson don’t want you to see.
refinish69 was happy to introduce a real progressive Democrat to the readers of Doing My Part For The Left a few weeks ago, but has to wonder how to describe Michael Skelly: Democrat or Republican Lite?
Irony Alert: Mary McDaniels, Manager – Pipeline Safety, Texas Railroad Commission, lied on camera about the Atmos Energy gas pipeline couplings. She spoke in Fort Worth about pipeline safety, inspections, and regulations for Chesapeake Energy’s Barnett Shale pipeline, says TXsharon at Bluedaze.
Julie Pippert at MOMocrats asked: “Offshore drilling — whose issue is it anyway? The people’s? Or the politician’s?”
Public expressions of sentiment are often the kiss of death in America.
If elected officials, corporations, the media, or just plain folks, routinely express care and concern for specific groups of people, you can bet the objects of the attention are in for a rough ride.
Old people. Children. Veterans—They all need to run for cover.
We say we care. But if so, why don’t we do more for these people?
I’ve long thought the sin of people who may need our help was simply vulnerability. In America, we often despise those we see as unable to “pull their own weight.”
Recently I read something that did not change my perspective on this question, but amended and expanded my view.
I read the ancient Babylonian epic poem Gilgamesh. (The ancient tablet in the picture has a fragment of Gilgamesh written on it.) I read a 1970 translation by Herbert Mason that was a finalist for the National Book Award. This poem is over 4500 years old.
In Gilgamesh, one of the two main characters, Enkidu, lives in innocence with animals. From the poem—
He ran with the animals,
Drank at their springs,
Not knowing fear or wisdom.
He freed them from the traps
The hunters set.
The hunters resent Enkidu for freeing the animals. They ask the King, Gilgamesh, to do something. Gilgamesh sends a prostitute to the woods to lure Enkidu out of innocence. The prostitute accomplishes her task and the animals no longer want anything to do with Enkidu.
Enkidu joins human society and he and Gilgamesh become inseparable. Enkidu has the strength of the animals and is seen as an equal of the powerful king. Gilgamesh’s mother is a goddess.
At first Gilgamesh and Enkidu fought— many friendships start with conflict—but they see themselves in each other and they balance each other.
Gilgamesh and Enkidu are strong together and this angers the gods. Enkidu is wounded and marked by the gods to die. At the beginning of the story, Gilgamesh was portrayed as an arrogant king who slept with the future bride of every soon-to-be married couple in the kingdom. But it is the more innocent Enkidu who dies. Why this is so is explained by Enkidu to Gilgamesh—
That night the wound Enkidu received
In his struggle with Humbaba grew worse.
He tossed with fever and was filled with dreams.
He woke his friend to tell what he heard and saw:
The gods have said that one of us must die
Because we killed Humbaba and the Bull of Heaven.
Enlil said I must die, for you are two-thirds god
And should not die. But Shamash spoke
For me and called me “innocent.”
They all began to argue, as if that word
Touched off a universal rage.
I know that they have chosen me.
The anger that innocence provoked amongst the gods got me thinking.
While vulnerability and innocence are kindred in some respects, they are not the same. An innocent person may not be a vulnerable person, and a vulnerable person may not be an innocent.
When we see a child, a veteran wounded serving others, or an old person no longer capable of what he or she was once able, our response is quite often not one of kindness or assistance.
I think these circumstances remind us of our own failings. And that we may someday be reliant on others. The idea we might be vulnerable makes us afraid. The idea that some are more innocent or blameless than we are makes us angry.
Our reactions toward people who make us feel this way often ranges between indifference, and the active pursuit of public policies that harm children, veterans and older people.
It seems this reaction towards people who need help is as old as human society. Though it is hard to imagine that the cowboy go-it-alone strain in American thinking helps very much.
Still, we can mend our ways. People who require help are likely not as vulnerable or innocent as we imagine.
And we do not have to be the people we have been before.
Here is a poem I wrote called Ascent—
Separating one stage,
And then another,
I hope there’ll be something left of me
If I someday I return.
Here is a poem I wrote called Hurricane Poem
Projected one way
The storm went another way.
I have never been
In control of events.
The tide is up
From the force of the distant storm.
My life is shattered
By something I never saw.
I followed the evacuation route.
It was clearly marked by the signs.
Why are you still with me?
What can I do to get away?
The storm looped around
Ans destroyed what we thought had been spared.
Here is a poem I wrote called Finding His Way–
He was quiet,
And was called arrogant.
He spoke about what he imagined,
And was told he was wasting people’s time.
He got it just right,
And made something of himself.
He went out for cigarettes and never came back,
And people wondered how he could give it all up.
Here is a poem called Evening After Rain. It was written by the Chinese Poet Tu Fu. Tu Fu lived between 712 and 770.
Sudden rain this afternoon
Saved my thirsty garden.
Now sunset steams the grass
And the river softly glistens.
Who’ll organize my scattered books?
Tonight I’ll fill and fill my glass.
I know they love to talk about me.
But no one faults me for my reclusive life.
Here is a poem I wrote called “Currents”
A current may roll on its course a long way.
Before its path is stopped or diverted by a beach or a bay.
The shallow bottoms disturb the flow
You find you’ve gone as far as you can go.