Monthly Archives: April 2008

The Butterfly

The Butterfly
Pavel Friedman, April 6, 1942

The last, the very last,
So richly, brightly, dazzlingly yellow.
Perhaps if the sun's tears would sing
     against a white stone. . . .

Such, such a yellow
Is carried lightly 'way up high.
It went away I'm sure because it wished to
     kiss the world good-bye.

For seven weeks I've lived in here,
Penned up inside this ghetto.
But I have found what I love here.
The dandelions call to me
And the white chestnut branches in the court.
Only I never saw another butterfly.

That butterfly was the last one.
Butterflies don't live in here,
     in the ghetto.

National Poetry Month comes to an end….You can certainly expect to see poetry on this blog in months besides April, but a little bit more spread out. I hope you’ve seen and enjoyed one or two poems/poets that you weren’t familiar with previously.

Can he see, or is he blind?

My cousin is appearing in the upcoming movie Iron Man. Released this coming weekend, I will be attending a sneak preview tonight courtesy of a co-worker who was unable to use a ticket he received.

My cousin, apparently, will be Press Reporter #4. At the current moment, I know nothing more than that.

This gives him a Stan Lee Number of 1, since Stan Lee is of course making his usual cameo in Marvel Universe movies.

He already had a Kevin Bacon Number of 1 (if you count television appearances, since he apepared on the same episode of Will and Grace as KB…the final episode)

Now the time is here
for Iron Man to spread fear
Vengeance from the grave
Kills the people he once saved

[Movie Trivia Note: Gwyneth Paltrow is the godsister of Drew Barrymore. I’m not sure that term is used very often, but they apparently share the same godfather – Steven Spielberg]

A Pict Song – by Rudyard Kipling

Rome never looks where she treads.
Always her heavy hooves fall,
On our stomachs, our hearts or our heads;
And Rome never heeds when we bawl.
Her sentries pass on—that is all,
And we gather behind them in hordes,
And plot to reconquer the Wall,
With only our tongues for our swords.
We are the Little Folk—we!
Too little to love or to hate.
Leave us alone and you’ll see
How we can drag down the State!
We are the worm in the wood!
We are the rot at the root!
We are the taint in the blood!
We are the thorn in the foot!

Mistletoe killing an oak—
Rats gnawing cables in two—
Moths making holes in a cloak—
How they must love what they do!
Yes—and we Little Folk too,
We are busy as they—
Working our works out of view—
Watch, and you’ll see it some day!

No indeed! We are not strong,
But we know Peoples that are.
Yes, and we’ll guide them along,
To smash and destroy you in War!
We shall be slaves just the same?
Yes, we have always been slaves,
But you—you will die of the shame,
And then we shall dance on your graves!

We are the Little Folk—we!
Too little to love or to hate.
Leave us alone and you’ll see
How we can drag down the State!
We are the worm in the wood!
We are the rot at the root!
We are the taint in the blood!
We are the thorn in the foot

Happy Birthday, McGregory Van Every

These poems today are in honor of the birthday of McGregory Van Every, my fifth-great grandfather, who is 285 years old today. He was born on April 27th, 1723.

It’s also partially in honor of May 1st…since it is upcoming…and it is Loyalty Day. My fifth great grandfather was loyal.

Centennial Hymn
John Greenleaf Whittier (1876)

OUR fathers’ God! from out whose hand
The centuries fall like grains of sand,
We meet to-day, united, free,
And loyal to our land and Thee,
To thank Thee for the era done,
And trust Thee for the opening one.

Here, where of old, by Thy design,
The fathers spake that word of Thine
Whose echo is the glad refrain
Of rended bolt and falling chain,
To grace our festal time, from all
The zones of earth our guests we call.

Be with us while the New World greets
The Old World thronging all its streets,
Unveiling all the triumphs won
By art or toil beneath the sun;
And unto common good ordain
This rivalship of hand and brain.

Thou, who hast here in concord furled
The war flags of a gathered world,
Beneath our Western skies fulfil
The Orient’s mission of good-will,
And, freighted with love’s Golden Fleece,
Send back its Argonauts of peace.

For art and labor met in truce,
For beauty made the bride of use,
We thank Thee; but, withal, we crave
The austere virtues strong to save,
The honor proof to place or gold,
The manhood never bought nor sold!

Oh make Thou us, through centuries long,
In peace secure, in justice strong;
Around our gift of freedom draw
The safeguards of thy righteous law:
And, cast in some diviner mould,
Let the new cycle shame the old!

The following poem I wrote several years ago. It has appeared here before, but during the month of July.

John Newmark

In history class I was taught
in order to be good Americans
we must seek to address our grievances
by working within the system.

If there are problems with the system,
the system, too, can be changed
from within.

I have ancestors who agreed completely
with this philosophy;
however, in this same history class
I was taught my ancestors
were wrong. They were loyalists,
and sought to address their grievances
within the system — The British system.

Their neighbors believed in Revolution.
It wasn’t Marxist,
but still it was a revolution,
and today our teachers tell us
revolutions aren’t necessary.

That’s what my ancestors tried to tell their neighbors.
Their neighbors didn’t listen.
Should we?

For those who like to interpret the poet’s beliefs from their poems (even though “The doll and the maker are never identical” – see April 20th entry) note that the question in the last line goes unanswered.

Our Strange Lingo

Our Strange Lingo
Lord Cromer (1902)

When the English tongue we speak.
Why is break not rhymed with freak?
Will you tell me why it’s true
We say sew but likewise few?
And the maker of the verse,
Cannot rhyme his horse with worse?
Beard is not the same as heard
Cord is different from word.
Cow is cow but low is low
Shoe is never rhymed with foe.
Think of hose, dose,and lose
And think of goose and yet with choose
Think of comb, tomb and bomb,
Doll and roll or home and some.
Since pay is rhymed with say
Why not paid with said I pray?
Think of blood, food and good.
Mould is not pronounced like could.
Wherefore done, but gone and lone –
Is there any reason known?
To sum up all, it seems to me
Sound and letters don’t agree.

Several other Poems Showing the Absurdities of English Spelling The Spelling Society aims to phoneticize English spelling. While I don’t support their mission, the poems are fun.

as seen at Elonka’s Memestream

Dylan Thomas

There are many who say that a dog has his day,
And a cat has a number of lives;
There are others who think that a lobster is pink,
And that bees never work in their hives.

The Collected Works of Dylan Thomas (Courtesy of Australia’s Project Gutenberg – where copyright expires 50 years after the death of the author)

Not in that collection, though, is the first poem Dylan Thomas ever published, at age 11. The Song of the Mischievous Dog (Scroll down to the third page.)