Every Now & Then Poems
By Kwame Alexander. Poet John Agard. John Agard was born in Guyana and writes for children and adults. Poet Allan Ahlberg. Allan Ahlberg is the author of over books. Poem Aleppo Cat. By Philip Gross. Poet Kwame Alexander. Kwame Alexander is a poet, children's book author, playwright, producer, public speaker and performer. Poem All Night. By Sarah Crossan.
Poem Alternative Santa. By Roger McGough. Poem Among The Hairyboos and Smoothyboos. By John Agard. A child said What is the grass? How could I answer the child? I do not know what it is any more than he. I guess it must be the flag of my disposition, out of hopeful green stuff woven. Bearing the owner's name someway in the corners, that we may see and remark, and say Whose?
Or I guess the grass is itself a child, the produced babe of the vegetation. It may be you are from old people, or from offspring taken soon out of their mothers' laps,. This grass is very dark to be from the white heads of old mothers,. And I perceive they do not come from the roofs of mouths for nothing.
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I wish I could translate the hints about the dead young men and women,. And the hints about old men and mothers, and the offspring taken soon out of their laps. And what do you think has become of the women and chil- dren? And if ever there was it led forward life, and does not wait at the end to arrest it,.
I hasten to inform him or her it is just as lucky to die, and I know it. I pass death with the dying and birth with the new-wash'd babe, and am not contain'd between my hat and boots,. I am the mate and companion of people, all just as immortal and fathomless as myself,. For me the man that is proud and feels how it stings to be slighted,. For me the sweet-heart and the old maid, for me mothers and the mothers of mothers,.
And am around, tenacious, acquisitive, tireless, and cannot be shaken away. I lift the gauze and look a long time, and silently brush away flies with my hand.
The youngster and the red-faced girl turn aside up the bushy hill,. I witness the corpse with its dabbled hair, I note where the pistol has fallen. The blab of the pave, tires of carts, sluff of boot-soles, talk of the promenaders,. The heavy omnibus, the driver with his interrogating thumb, the clank of the shod horses on the granite floor,. The flap of the curtain'd litter, a sick man inside borne to the hospital,. The excited crowd, the policeman with his star quickly working his passage to the centre of the crowd,. What groans of over-fed or half-starv'd who fall sunstruck or in fits,.
What exclamations of women taken suddenly who hurry home and give birth to babes,. What living and buried speech is always vibrating here, what howls restrain'd by decorum,. Arrests of criminals, slights, adulterous offers made, acceptances, rejections with convex lips,. I mind them or the show or resonance of them—I come and I depart. Falling asleep on the gather'd leaves with my dog and gun by my side. The Yankee clipper is under her sky-sails, she cuts the sparkle and scud,. My eyes settle the land, I bend at her prow or shout joyously from the deck.
I tuck'd my trowser-ends in my boots and went and had a good time;. I saw the marriage of the trapper in the open air in the far west, the bride was a red girl,. Her father and his friends sat near cross-legged and dumbly smoking, they had moccasins to their feet and large thick blankets hanging from their shoulders,. On a bank lounged the trapper, he was drest mostly in skins, his luxuriant beard and curls protected his neck, he held his bride by the hand,.
She had long eyelashes, her head was bare, her coarse straight locks descended upon her voluptuous limbs and reach'd to her feet. Through the swung half-door of the kitchen I saw him limpsy and weak,. And brought water and fill'd a tub for his sweated body and bruis'd feet,. And gave him a room that enter'd from my own, and gave him some coarse clean clothes,. And remember perfectly well his revolving eyes and his awkwardness,. And remember putting plasters on the galls of his neck and ankles;.
He staid with me a week before he was recuperated and pass'd north,. I had him sit next me at table, my fire-lock lean'd in the corner. Dancing and laughing along the beach came the twenty-ninth bather,. The beards of the young men glisten'd with wet, it ran from their long hair,. The young men float on their backs, their white bellies bulge to the sun, they do not ask who seizes fast to them,. They do not know who puffs and declines with pendant and bend- ing arch,.
The butcher-boy puts off his killing-clothes, or sharpens his knife at the stall in the market,. Each has his main-sledge, they are all out, there is a great heat in the fire. The lithe sheer of their waists plays even with their massive arms,. Overhand the hammers swing, overhand so slow, overhand so sure,. The negro holds firmly the reins of his four horses, the block swags underneath on its tied-over chain,.
The negro that drives the long dray of the stone-yard, steady and tall he stands pois'd on one leg on the string-piece,. His blue shirt exposes his ample neck and breast and loosens over his hip-band,. His glance is calm and commanding, he tosses the slouch of his hat away from his forehead,. The sun falls on his crispy hair and mustache, falls on the black of his polish'd and perfect limbs.
I behold the picturesque giant and love him, and I do not stop there,. In me the caresser of life wherever moving, backward as well as forward sluing,. To niches aside and junior bending, not a person or object miss- ing,. Oxen that rattle the yoke and chain or halt in the leafy shade, what is that you express in your eyes? My tread scares the wood-drake and wood-duck on my distant and day-long ramble,.
And do not call the tortoise unworthy because she is not something else,. And the jay in the woods never studied the gamut, yet trills pretty well to me,. Ya-honk he says, and sounds it down to me like an invitation,. The sharp-hoof'd moose of the north, the cat on the house-sill, the chickadee, the prairie-dog,. Of the builders and steerers of ships and the wielders of axes and mauls, and the drivers of horses,. The carpenter dresses his plank, the tongue of his foreplane whistles its wild ascending lisp,. The married and unmarried children ride home to their Thanks- giving dinner,. The mate stands braced in the whale-boat, lance and harpoon are ready,.
The spinning-girl retreats and advances to the hum of the big wheel,. The farmer stops by the bars as he walks on a First-day loafe and looks at the oats and rye,. He will never sleep any more as he did in the cot in his mother's bed-room;. He turns his quid of tobacco while his eyes blurr with the manu- script;. The quadroon girl is sold at the auction-stand, the drunkard nods by the bar-room stove,. The machinist rolls up his sleeves, the policeman travels his beat, the gate-keeper marks who pass,.ecolearning.org.uk/73.php
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The young fellow drives the express-wagon, I love him, though I do not know him;. The western turkey-shooting draws old and young, some lean on their rifles, some sit on logs,. Out from the crowd steps the marksman, takes his position, levels his piece;. As the woolly-pates hoe in the sugar-field, the overseer views them from his saddle,. The bugle calls in the ball-room, the gentlemen run for their part- ners, the dancers bow to each other,. The youth lies awake in the cedar-roof'd garret and harks to the musical rain,.
The squaw wrapt in her yellow-hemm'd cloth is offering moccasins and bead-bags for sale,. The connoisseur peers along the exhibition-gallery with half-shut eyes bent sideways,. As the deck-hands make fast the steamboat the plank is thrown for the shore-going passengers,. The young sister holds out the skein while the elder sister winds it off in a ball, and stops now and then for the knots,. The one-year wife is recovering and happy having a week ago borne her first child,.
The clean-hair'd Yankee girl works with her sewing-machine or in the factory or mill,. The paving-man leans on his two-handed rammer, the reporter's lead flies swiftly over the note-book, the sign-painter is lettering with blue and gold,. The canal boy trots on the tow-path, the book-keeper counts at his desk, the shoemaker waxes his thread,.
The conductor beats time for the band and all the performers follow him,. The child is baptized, the convert is making his first professions,. The regatta is spread on the bay, the race is begun, how the white sails sparkle! The drover watching his drove sings out to them that would stray,. The pedler sweats with his pack on his back, the purchaser hig- gling about the odd cent;.
The bride unrumples her white dress, the minute-hand of the clock moves slowly,. The prostitute draggles her shawl, her bonnet bobs on her tipsy and pimpled neck,. The crowd laugh at her blackguard oaths, the men jeer and wink to each other,. The President holding a cabinet council is surrounded by the great Secretaries,.
On the piazza walk three matrons stately and friendly with twined arms,. The crew of the fish-smack pack repeated layers of halibut in the hold,. The Missourian crosses the plains toting his wares and his cattle,. As the fare-collector goes through the train he gives notice by the jingling of loose change,. The floor-men are laying the floor, the tinners are tinning the roof, the masons are calling for mortar,. Seasons pursuing each other the indescribable crowd is gather'd, it is the fourth of Seventh-month, what salutes of cannon and small arms!
Seasons pursuing each other the plougher ploughs, the mower mows, and the winter-grain falls in the ground;. Off on the lakes the pike-fisher watches and waits by the hole in the frozen surface,. The stumps stand thick round the clearing, the squatter strikes deep with his axe,. Flatboatmen make fast towards dusk near the cotton-wood or pecan-trees,. Coon-seekers go through the regions of the Red river or through those drain'd by the Tennessee, or through those of the Arkansas,.
Torches shine in the dark that hangs on the Chattahooche or Altamahaw,. Patriarchs sit at supper with sons and grandsons and great-grand- sons around them,. In walls of adobie, in canvas tents, rest hunters and trappers after their day's sport,. The old husband sleeps by his wife and the young husband sleeps by his wife;. Stuff'd with the stuff that is coarse and stuff'd with the stuff that is fine,. One of the Nation of many nations, the smallest the same and the largest the same,. A Southerner soon as a Northerner, a planter nonchalant and hospitable down by the Oconee I live,. A Yankee bound my own way ready for trade, my joints the limberest joints on earth and the sternest joints on earth,.
A Kentuckian walking the vale of the Elkhorn in my deer-skin leggings, a Louisianian or Georgian,. A boatman over lakes or bays or along coasts, a Hoosier, Badger, Buckeye;. At home on Kanadian snow-shoes or up in the bush, or with fishermen off Newfoundland,. At home in the fleet of ice-boats, sailing with the rest and tack- ing,. At home on the hills of Vermont or in the woods of Maine, or the Texan ranch,.
Comrade of Californians, comrade of free North-Westerners, lov- ing their big proportions,. Comrade of raftsmen and coalmen, comrade of all who shake hands and welcome to drink and meat,. The bright suns I see and the dark suns I cannot see are in their place,. These are really the thoughts of all men in all ages and lands, they are not original with me,. If they are not yours as much as mine they are nothing, or next to nothing,. If they are not the riddle and the untying of the riddle they are nothing,.
If they are not just as close as they are distant they are nothing. This is the grass that grows wherever the land is and the water is,. I play not marches for accepted victors only, I play marches for conquer'd and slain persons. I also say it is good to fall, battles are lost in the same spirit in which they are won. And to all generals that lost engagements, and all overcome heroes! And the numberless unknown heroes equal to the greatest heroes known! It is for the wicked just the same as the righteous, I make appoint- ments with all,.
This is the press of a bashful hand, this the float and odor of hair,. Well I have, for the Fourth-month showers have, and the mica on the side of a rock has. Does the daylight astonish? Whimpering and truckling fold with powders for invalids, con- formity goes to the fourth-remov'd,. Having pried through the strata, analyzed to a hair, counsel'd with doctors and calculated close,.
In all people I see myself, none more and not one a barley-corn less,. I know this orbit of mine cannot be swept by a carpenter's compass,. I know I shall not pass like a child's carlacue cut with a burnt stick at night.
- Economía de urgencia (Spanish Edition).
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I reckon I behave no prouder than the level I plant my house by, after all. One world is aware and by far the largest to me, and that is my- self,. And whether I come to my own to-day or in ten thousand or ten million years,. I can cheerfully take it now, or with equal cheerfulness I can wait. The pleasures of heaven are with me and the pains of hell are with me,. The first I graft and increase upon myself, the latter I translate into a new tongue.
It is a trifle, they will more than arrive there every one, and still pass on. Press close bare-bosom'd night—press close magnetic nourishing night! Earth of the vitreous pour of the full moon just tinged with blue! Earth of the limpid gray of clouds brighter and clearer for my sake! Prodigal, you have given me love—therefore I to you give love! We must have a turn together, I undress, hurry me out of sight of the land,. Sea of the brine of life and of unshovell'd yet always-ready graves,.
Partaker of influx and efflux I, extoller of hate and conciliation,. Shall I make my list of things in the house and skip the house that supports them? I am not the poet of goodness only, I do not decline to be the poet of wickedness also. Evil propels me and reform of evil propels me, I stand indifferent,. Did you guess the celestial laws are yet to be work'd over and rectified?
What behaved well in the past or behaves well to-day is not such a wonder,. The wonder is always and always how there can be a mean man or an infidel. Here or henceforward it is all the same to me, I accept Time abso- lutely. This is the lexicographer, this the chemist, this made a grammar of the old cartouches,. This is the geologist, this works with the scalpel, and this is a mathematician. And more the reminders they of life untold, and of freedom and extrication,.
And make short account of neuters and geldings, and favor men and women fully equipt,. And beat the gong of revolt, and stop with fugitives and them that plot and conspire. No sentimentalist, no stander above men and women or apart from them,. Through me the afflatus surging and surging, through me the cur- rent and index.
By God! I will accept nothing which all cannot have their coun- terpart of on the same terms. And of the threads that connect the stars, and of wombs and of the father-stuff,. I keep as delicate around the bowels as around the head and heart,. Seeing, hearing, feeling, are miracles, and each part and tag of me is a miracle. Divine am I inside and out, and I make holy whatever I touch or am touch'd from,. If I worship one thing more than another it shall be the spread of my own body, or any part of it,. Root of wash'd sweet-flag! Winds whose soft-tickling genitals rub against me it shall be you!
Broad muscular fields, branches of live oak, loving lounger in my winding paths, it shall be you! Hands I have taken, face I have kiss'd, mortal I have ever touch'd, it shall be you. I cannot tell how my ankles bend, nor whence the cause of my faintest wish,. Nor the cause of the friendship I emit, nor the cause of the friend- ship I take again. A morning-glory at my window satisfies me more than the meta- physics of books. Hefts of the moving world at innocent gambols silently rising freshly exuding,.
The earth by the sky staid with, the daily close of their junction,. We found our own O my soul in the calm and cool of the day- break. With the twirl of my tongue I encompass worlds and volumes of worlds. Come now I will not be tantalized, you conceive too much of articulation,. My knowledge my live parts, it keeping tally with the meaning of all things,. Happiness, which whoever hears me let him or her set out in search of this day. My final merit I refuse you, I refuse putting from me what I really am,. To accrue what I hear into this song, to let sounds contribute toward it.
I hear bravuras of birds, bustle of growing wheat, gossip of flames, clack of sticks cooking my meals,. Sounds of the city and sounds out of the city, sounds of the day and night,. Talkative young ones to those that like them, the loud laugh of work-people at their meals,. The angry base of disjointed friendship, the faint tones of the sick,. The judge with hands tight to the desk, his pallid lips pronoun- cing a death-sentence,. The heave'e'yo of stevedores unlading ships by the wharves, the refrain of the anchor-lifters,.
The ring of alarm-bells, the cry of fire, the whirr of swift-streak- ing engines and hose-carts with premonitory tinkles and color'd lights,.
The steam-whistle, the solid roll of the train of approaching cars,. The slow march play'd at the head of the association marching two and two,. They go to guard some corpse, the flag-tops are draped with black muslin. I hear the violoncello, 'tis the young man's heart's complaint,. It wrenches such ardors from me I did not know I possess'd them,. It sails me, I dab with bare feet, they are lick'd by the indolent waves,.
Steep'd amid honey'd morphine, my windpipe throttled in fakes of death,. If nothing lay more develop'd the quahaug in its callous shell were enough. To touch my person to some one else's is about as much as I can stand. My flesh and blood playing out lightning to strike what is hardly different from myself,. Deluding my confusion with the calm of the sunlight and pasture- fields,.
They bribed to swap off with touch and go and graze at the edges of me,. I talk wildly, I have lost my wits, I and nobody else am the greatest traitor,. I went myself first to the headland, my own hands carried me there. You villain touch! Blind loving wrestling touch, sheath'd hooded sharp-tooth'd touch! Sprouts take and accumulate, stand by the curb prolific and vital,. And a summit and flower there is the feeling they have for each other,. And they are to branch boundlessly out of that lesson until it becomes omnific,.
I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars,. And the pismire is equally perfect, and a grain of sand, and the egg of the wren,. I find I incorporate gneiss, coal, long-threaded moss, fruits, grains, esculent roots,. In vain the plutonic rocks send their old heat against my approach,. In vain the ocean settling in hollows and the great monsters lying low,. I follow quickly, I ascend to the nest in the fissure of the cliff. I think I could turn and live with animals, they are so placid and self-contain'd,. Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of owning things,.
Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands of years ago,. They bring me tokens of myself, they evince them plainly in their possession. Picking out here one that I love, and now go with him on brotherly terms. A gigantic beauty of a stallion, fresh and responsive to my caresses,. Eyes full of sparkling wickedness, ears finely cut, flexibly moving. His well-built limbs tremble with pleasure as we race around and return. And again as I walk'd the beach under the paling stars of the morning. By the city's quadrangular houses—in log huts, camping with lumbermen,.
Along the ruts of the turnpike, along the dry gulch and rivulet bed,. Weeding my onion-patch or hoeing rows of carrots and parsnips, crossing savannas, trailing in forests,.
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Scorch'd ankle-deep by the hot sand, hauling my boat down the shallow river,. Where the panther walks to and fro on a limb overhead, where the buck turns furiously at the hunter,. Where the rattlesnake suns his flabby length on a rock, where the otter is feeding on fish,. Where the black bear is searching for roots or honey, where the beaver pats the mud with his paddle-shaped tail;. Over the growing sugar, over the yellow-flower'd cotton plant, over the rice in its low moist field,.
Over the sharp-peak'd farm house, with its scallop'd scum and slender shoots from the gutters,. Over the western persimmon, over the long-leav'd corn, over the delicate blue-flower flax,. Over the white and brown buckwheat, a hummer and buzzer there with the rest,. Over the dusky green of the rye as it ripples and shades in the breeze;. Scaling mountains, pulling myself cautiously up, holding on by low scragged limbs,.
45 Short Poems to Sneak More Poetry Into Your Life | Book Riot
Walking the path worn in the grass and beat through the leaves of the brush,. Where the bat flies in the Seventh-month eve, where the great gold- bug drops through the dark,. Where the brook puts out of the roots of the old tree and flows to the meadow,.
Where cattle stand and shake away flies with the tremulous shud- dering of their hides,. Where the cheese-cloth hangs in the kitchen, where andirons straddle the hearth-slab, where cobwebs fall in festoons from the rafters;. Where trip-hammers crash, where the press is whirling its cylinders,. Wherever the human heart beats with terrible throes under its ribs,. Where the pear-shaped balloon is floating aloft, floating in it my- self and looking composedly down,.
Where the life-car is drawn on the slip-noose, where the heat hatches pale-green eggs in the dented sand,. Where the fin of the shark cuts like a black chip out of the water,. Where shells grow to her slimy deck, where the dead are corrupt- ing below;. Where the dense-starr'd flag is borne at the head of the regiments,. Under Niagara, the cataract falling like a veil over my countenance,. Upon the race-course, or enjoying picnics or jigs or a good game of base-ball,. At he-festivals, with blackguard gibes, ironical license, bull-dances, drinking, laughter,. At the cider-mill tasting the sweets of the brown mash, sucking the juice through a straw,.
At musters, beach-parties, friendly bees, huskings, house-raisings;. Where the mocking-bird sounds his delicious gurgles, cackles, screams, weeps,. Where the hay-rick stands in the barn-yard, where the dry-stalks are scatter'd, where the brood-cow waits in the hovel,. Where the bull advances to do his masculine work, where the stud to the mare, where the cock is treading the hen,.
Where the heifers browse, where geese nip their food with short jerks,. Where sun-down shadows lengthen over the limitless and lonesome prairie,. Where herds of buffalo make a crawling spread of the square miles far and near,. Where the humming-bird shimmers, where the neck of the long- lived swan is curving and winding,. Where the laughing-gull scoots by the shore, where she laughs her near-human laugh,. Where bee-hives range on a gray bench in the garden half hid by the high weeds,. Where band-neck'd partridges roost in a ring on the ground with their heads out,.