Poetry Sunday: Jennifer Gray

Horses   by Jennifer Gray

The neighbor’s horses idle
under the roof
of their three-sided shelter,
looking out at the rain.

Sometimes
one or another
will fade into the shadows
in the corner, maybe
to eat, or drink.

Still, the others stand,
blowing out their warm
breaths. Rain rattles
on the metal roof.

Their hoof prints
in the corral
open gray eyes to the sky,
and wink each time
another drop falls in.

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See more excellent poems in Sabio’s Poetry Anthology

About Jennifer Gray:

“Jennifer Gray has been writing ever since a school assignment in third grade, when she wrote a poem called “Jack Frost” . She spent her childhood roaming the west with her family following the boom-and-bust economy of the oilfield. They finally settled in Bakersfield California where she graduated high school.

Because of an unintentional mix-up with a gang member, she went to live with her grandma in Colorado the summer after graduation. From there she came to Nebraska for college, and except for a brief stint in Texas, Nebraska has been home ever since. Jennifer’s writing is a process of seeking connection and synthesis. Perhaps this is related to a wandering childhood. Her poetry has been featured in the Lincoln Underground, with more work forthcoming in their Autumn and Winter Issues. She has taught English at York College in Nebraska, and is a graduate student in Creative Writing at UNL.” (source, 11/2014)

My Impression:

  • My eyes have always been inclined to make puddles and other inanimate objects come to life.  This poem does the same while describing the setting beautifully.

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Poetry Sunday: Ron Koertge

Koertge_Ron

Sidekicks  by Ron Koertge

They were never handsome and often came
with a hormone imbalance manifested by corpulence,
a yodel of a voice or ears big as kidneys.

But each was brave. More than once a sidekick
has thrown himself in front of our hero in order
to receive the bullet or blow meant for that
perfect face and body.

Thankfully, heroes never die in movies and leave
the sidekick alone. He would not stand for it.
Gabby or Pat, Pancho or Andy remind us of a part
of ourselves,

the dependent part that can never grow up,
the part that is painfully eager to please,
always wants a hug and never gets enough.

Who could sit in a darkened theatre, listen
to the organ music and watch the best
of ourselves lowered into the ground while
the rest stood up there, tears pouring off
that enormous nose.

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Meet Ron Koertge:

Ron was born in 1940 in Illinois.  He teaches in California and has written lots of novels and poems.

My Impressions:

Ron’s poem reminds me of Blumenthal’s poem on Great Men . And the last lines remind me of our “Many Selves” and the my notion of inward-outward morality.

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Poetry Sunday: Peter Everwine

A Story Can Change Your Life  by Peter Everwine

On the morning she became a young widow,
my grandmother, startled by a sudden shadow,
looked up from her work to see a hawk turn
her prized rooster into a cloud of feathers.
That same moment, halfway around the world
in a Minnesota mine, her husband died,
buried under a ton of rockfall.
She told me this story sixty years ago.
I don’t know if it’s true but it ought to be.
She was a hard old woman, and though she knelt
on Sundays when the acolyte’s silver bell
announced the moment of Christ’s miracle,
it was the darker mysteries she lived by:
shiver-cry of an owl, black dog by the roadside,
a tapping at the door and nobody there.
The moral of the story was plain enough:
miracles become a burden and require a priest
to explain them. With signs, you only need
to keep your wits about you and place your trust
in a shadow world that lets you know hard luck
and grief are coming your way. And for that
—so the story goes—any day will do.

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See more poems in Sabio’s Poetry Anthology

About Peter Everwine

Peter Everwine was born in 1930 in Detroit, Michigan but grew up in western Pennsylvania.  He retired from Fresno University after 30 years of teaching.

My Impressions

I’ve written a bit about superstitions here, but this poem captures so much more!  “I don’t know if it’s true but it ought to be.”

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Ancient Hindu Plastic Surgeons

Ganesh_beer

Ganesh is the popular elephant-headed god worshipped all over India. The most well-known explanation of how he came to have an elephant head is that his father (Shiva) decapitated him, but Paravati (Shiva’s wife and the boy’s mother) insisted Ganesh be restored to life, so Shiva ordered a servant to put an elephant head on his lifeless-body, then Shiva breathed new life into Ganesh. [Watch this cute children’s Hindu cartoon showing this story, or read wiki.]

Well, this is obviously a myth (as in, false story meant to carry other meaning), but it seems that the Prime Minister of India feels that this re-capitation really did happen and was possible because ancient Indians knew advanced Plastic Surgery.
Source: This Guardian Article

So it you ever despair over the silly beliefs of some religious American politicians, maybe this story will help you feel a more universal disgust for human stupidity and stop focusing on us Americans.

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A Poetry Anthology by Sabio

Sabio’s Poetry Anthology (alphabetical by author):

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poetry_circle I have a long, love-hate relationship with poetry caused by forced reading of painfully difficult poetry in High School, and even since then I have read very little poetry that I truly enjoyed. But like many other things in my life, I continually return to see if I am missing anything.

In 2010 I began to explore this love-hate relationship and started writing a few of my own poems.  In September 2012 I decided to make a poetry blog (Fields of Yuan) where I would participate in poetry blogs to share my unabashed amateur experimentations and learn from others. And typical with my other experiments in therapeutic immersions, I learned to enjoy more poetry than I imagined I could have. It is so wonderful to destroy old bigotry and expand our pleasures (see how I have done the same with French, here).

So, I am posting “Sunday Poetry” to share just some of the poetry I have enjoyed over the last few years. This post is an index of those that poetry anthology through which hope that others, who have some of the same aversions I have to poetry, will find poets who may help them lose their unnecessary bigotry, as I have lost mine.  I find diving into aversions to be very freeing.

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Sunday Poetry: Paul Hostovsky

HostovskyTrombone Lesson    by Paul Hostovsky

The twenty minutes from half past nine
to ten of ten is actually slightly longer
than the twenty minutes from ten of ten
to ten past ten, which is half downhill
as anyone who’s ever stared at the hillocky
face of a clock in the 5th grade will tell you.
My trombone lesson with Mr. Leister
was out the classroom door and down
the tessellating hallway to the band room
which was full of empty chairs and music stands
from ten past ten to ten-forty, which is half
an hour and was actually slightly shorter
than the twenty minutes that came before or after
which as anyone who’s ever played trombone
will tell you, had to do with the length of the slide
and the smell of the brass and also the mechanism
of the spit-valve and the way that Mr. Leister
accompanied me on his silver trumpet making
the music sound so elegantly and eminently
better than when I practiced it at home
for hours and hours which were all much shorter
than an hour actually, as anyone who’s ever
practiced the art of deception with a musical
instrument will tell you, if he’s honest and has any
inkling of the spluttering, sliding, flaring,
slippery nature of time, youth and trombones.

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See more poems in Sabio’s Poetry Anthology

About Paul Hostovsky

Paul is a sign language interpreter in Boston at the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf: “Because it pays better than the poetry”. His wife is deaf while Paul is burdened with hearing.

Paul’s father was the Czech novelist Egon Hostovsky. But Paul did not learn Czech, but actually “spent much of [his] early childhood trying to correct his [father’s] pronunciation.” His father’s family all perished in the Holocaust and his father died when Paul was 14 years-old.

Paul dropped out of High School, enjoying pot and women more than study, but passed his GED and eventually did a college degree. He writes early each morning before going to work.

“Hostovsky’s poems strike me as kinds of (non-religious) prayers—of joy, of grief, of praise, of pain, of a blind man reading a braille book with it closed on his hand, but mostly prayers as a form of gratitude, a kind of thank you, thank you, Life!”
by Thomas Lux

“But a fine poet, Grace Paley, once said: “Poetry isn’t important; people are important.” And I would add: keep your eyes on the people, and the poems will come.”
by Paul Hostovsky

Links

My Thoughts:

Today’s poem is in honor of the ridiculous switch to “Daylight Savings Time” this morning in my part of the world. Here, Americans pretend to be in charge of time. Yet our self-deceived control is only to the detriment of our health.

This poem illustrates how time, like color (see my post), is deceptive: with only a casual modicum of observation, we can see her for who she is – fluid, flirtatious and fictitious. She let’s us constantly know when the things we are doing are special.

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Sir Thomas North & The Panchatantra

You have probably never heard of Sir Thomas North (1535-1604), and neither had I until recently. Among other things, North was a highly skilled translator. But he was not just known for what he translated, but North’s writing style was highly influential — even of Shakespeare. North’s translation of Plutarch’s Parallel Lives, for instance, was used by William Shakespeare to inform the history he used in writing several of his plays. Some scholars have called North the first master of English prose — early Modern English (illustrated here – click to enlarge the chart).

History of the English Language

North’s three most influential translation (with links to the originals) are as follows:

Note that all three of his major works are books of moral importance. And of special interest for this post is that the second, The Morall Philosophie of Doni, is another name for the Panchatantra — an ancient Indian moral text ( see my other posts here on the Panchatantra). North’s translation was the first English version of this text even if it was the translation of an Italian text — not the original Sanskrit. Indeed, none of North’s translations were from their original languages but translated from the translations of other European languages.

If you want to get a flavor of Early Modern English and the first English rendering of the Panchatantra, please take a look at the above links.  I enjoyed them. Thomas North’s works also made me reflect on how much we owe to translators, who names are soon forgotten.

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