Category Archives: Poetry

Anxious nights

Yesterday’s activities in D.C. championed by the President and the Republican Party (yes, I find the entire Republican Party complicit) had me tossing and turning last night much like I was last spring when I first wrote this poem.

random thoughts ramble through my head
thinking these thoughts are keeping me from bed-
round-n-round, back-n-forth they go
yet where will this lead? i don’t know-

so i toss-n-turn in my bed
with images run amuck in my head-
a restful sleep i need, i know
but that will have to wait til tomorrow-

An image of a terrorist roaming the halls of the U.S. Congress with a Confederate flag, while someone who appears to be “security” doing nothing to stop him.

Delusions of a wanna be dictator

I will watch this pot and bring it to a boil!
More and more lies should help start this roil.
Now a dash of sedition to make more turmoil.

“My kingdom for a horse” he shouts into the air,
I need to poke, provoke and create dispair.

Hate and anger I’ll throw into the pot!
Stir it, stir it – can you smell the rot?
Lies and half truths will season this lot.

Double double toil and trouble,
Fire burn and caldron bubble.

The votes of 80+ million were what was required!
Even still, all those politicians balked and conspired.
But hear me now, on January 20th, “You’re fired!”

***** ***** *****

I know rhyming patterns can make poems sound like nursery rhymes, but for someone who only dabbles in poetry, a rhyming pattern gives some structure to my poems. I’ve never been particularly artful in my writing so there is none of the subtlety usually associated with poetry, but in this instance, I’m okay with that.

“little tree” by e.e. cummings

little tree
little silent Christmas tree
you are so little
you are more like a flower

who found you in the green forest
and were you very sorry to come away?
see          i will comfort you
because you smell so sweetly

i will kiss your cool bark
and hug you safe and tight
just as your mother would,
only don’t be afraid

look          the spangles
that sleep all the year in a dark box
dreaming of being taken out and allowed to shine,
the balls the chains red and gold the fluffy threads,

put up your little arms
and i’ll give them all to you to hold
every finger shall have its ring
and there won’t be a single place dark or unhappy

then when you’re quite dressed
you’ll stand in the window for everyone to see
and how they’ll stare!
oh but you’ll be very proud

and my little sister and i will take hands
and looking up at our beautiful tree
we’ll dance and sing
“Noel Noel”

Initially published in 1920, EE Cummings is one of America’s greatest poets. Born in 1894 in Cambridge, MA, he lived most of his life in New England, passing away in 1962 in his home in North Conway, NH.

The poem shares the excitement a young brother and sister feel about their little Christmas tree. In more modern times, a children’s book was illustrated and used the poem, but I couldn’t find much more about this work. MichaelasMommy Blog provides some more thoughts and insights into the poem for those who may be interested.

Aedh Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven by Yeats

Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

I love poetry but I know that it is a form of expression that confounds or can come across as trite to many, and I get it. I often don’t understand or appreciate poems either, but when I connect with a poem it inspires something within me and evokes a strong emotional response.

The poem shared above is by one of the greatest English speaking poets of all time. W.B. Yeats. It was first published in 1899, but still inspires me. What I have always been struck by in this poem are the last two lines.

I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

It is fair to say that 2020 has been a difficult year no matter who you are, what you do or your politics might be. So let’s all be mindful of each other’s dreams and tread softly as we approach election day here in the U.S. and in the days, weeks and months that follow the election.

Nothing gold can stay

New England foliage
Photo courtesy of my friend, Slobodan Miseljic

Every fall since 2009, I post this poem from American poet, Robert Frost. It’s one of my favorites and is accessible to even those who “don’t get poetry”. His words, which were inspired by the fall foliage of New England, create a visual that is easy to follow and the underlying meaning is both meaningful and obvious. The poem was first published in the Yale Review in 1923 and won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry the following year in 1924.

Nature’s first green is gold
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

In the summer

walking on the beachWith the Summer Solstice having just occurred, I thought it appropriate to repost this poem.  Slightly melancholic and romantic, In the Summer, is a personal favorite that was written by a Syrian poet, Nizar Qabbani.

Devotion by Robert Frost

loveValentine’s Day may have been on Friday, but I’m in favor of extending any holiday that is about expressing your love. This poem, published by Robert Frost in 1928, is a personal favorite. He masterfully paints a picture with his words to describe love in such an intimate manner. Whenever I read this poem it is with a soundtrack softly playing in my head of waves crashing on the beach followed by the rushing noise of the water quickly receding back into the ocean.

Devotion

The heart can think of no devotion
Greater than being shore to ocean –
Holding the curve of one position,
Counting an endless repetition. 

In the summer by Nizar Qabbani

walking on the beachWith the start of Summer season in the US starting today – the start of Memorial Day Weekend – I wanted to share this poem which I post each summer.

In the Summer was written by a Syrian named Nizar Qabbani. Its slightly melancholic message makes it all the more romantic, which is pretty impressive considering the entire poem is less than 40 words.

At the Touch of You

loveAt the Touch of You
Witter Bynner, 1881 – 1968

At the touch of you,
As if you were an archer with your swift hand at the bow,
The arrows of delight shot through my body.

You were spring,
And I the edge of a cliff,
And a shining waterfall rushed over me.

Bynner was born in NYC, spending his formative years in Brookline, MA and at Harvard before embarking on travels, that ultimately led him to Santa Fe, NM. Bynner was friends with D.H. Lawrence who based characters on these two “friends” in his book, The Plumed Serpent.

Nothing Gold Can Stay

robert frost, poem, poetryIn what has become an unintentional tradition, each October I post this poem. It is a personal favorite and happens to be by the 20th century poet, Robert Frost.

Nothing gold can stay was inspired by the fall foliage in New England and was written nearly 100 years ago, back in 1923.

Nature’s first green is gold
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

It Can’t Be August Yet by Matt Albiani

When I was growing up I spent a lot of time with my cousins but as we’ve grown older we’ve gone our separate ways and rarely see each other. However, I still love and care about my family, so I was impressed when his boyfriend posted this brief video that my cousin, Matt Albiani, created. It appears to be based off of a poem he wrote back in 1996.

Check out the video above then leave a comment and like it. 🙂

IT CAN’T BE AUGUST YET, CAN IT?
I DON’T KNOW – I JUST WOKE UP AND LOST TRACK OF TIME.
BUT THE DOOR IS OPEN. AND SO IS THE WINDOW
WHERE I STAND, LEAN OUT
AND LET THE SUN ON MY SHOULDERS
NOW BROWN AND FRECKLED.
FROM HERE.
I CAN SEE BLUE WATER THROUGH THE TREES
AND WHITE CANVAS SAILS THAT TAKE ME AWAY
TO THE ISLAND ON THE LAKE
WHERE THE SKY IS ALWAYS CLEAR
AND SEPTEMBER NEVER COMES

-matt albiani

Summer lovin’

walking on the beach

I’ve posted this poem previously but thought it worth sharing again.

In the Summer was written by a Syrian named Nizar Qabbani.  I love this poem and its melancholic message seems to make it all the more romantic.

Massachusetts poetry festival

Boston Gay Men's Book ClubSalem, MA is set to host the 10th annual Massachusetts Poetry Festival, May 4-6. Turning this picturesque New England town into epicenter of contemporary American poetry, and providing you the chance to hear many of the nation’s best poets read and discuss their work in intimate and engaging forums.

The Massachusetts Poetry Festival is the nation’s largest annual poetry festival, showcasing nearly 100 poetry readings and workshops, a small press and literary fair, panels, poetry slams, visual arts, and open-air performances. This year’s festival will include nearly 300 local and nationally known poets.

Of particular interest are the discussions, College Slammers – Poetry Slam from students at area colleges on Friday, May 4th from 9-10:30PM at the Hawthorne Hotel; We’re Here. We’re Queer: New Poetry Books by LGBTQ Writers on Saturday, May 5th from 2-3PM at the Hawthorne Hotel; and The Shakespeare Time-Traveling Speakeasy on Sunday, May 6th from 2:30 – 3:30PM at the P.E.M.For more information about the festival visit their website, masspoetry.org.

Cynical love poem by Dorothy Parker

George Olesky

Photo of George Olesky by Nile Hawver / Nile Scott Shots from SpeakEasy Stage Co. “Shakespeare in Love”

Dorothy Parker’s six-line poem from the 1920s is a cynical assessment of romance. However in the age of Tinder and exchanging dozens of emails or texts before coming together or organically meeting, Ms. Parker’s cynicism seems remarkably current for a poem that is nearly 100 years old.

By the time you swear you’re his,
Shivering, and sighing,
And he vows his passion is
Indefinite, undying –
Lady, make a note of this:
One of you is lying.

– Dorothy Parker, from Unfortunate Coincidence

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

poetry, family, NH, LakeEvery winter I share this poem – a personal favorite from one of my favorite poets, Robert Frost. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening is a poem Frost wrote nearly 100 years ago in 1922 and was first published a year later in his Pulitzer Prize winning, New Hampshire volume.

STOPPING BY WOODS ON A SNOWY EVENING

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.