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Poets in Conversation Series
Norwalk LitCrawl 2017
Norwalk Public Library
1 Belden Ave.
Norwalk, CT 06850
South Norwalk Branch
10 Washington St.
Norwalk, CT 06854
Norwalk Poet Laureate
To You STRANGER!
If you, passing, meet me, and desire to speak to me,
why should you not speak to me?
And why should I not speak to you?
Find a pleasure; meet and know it. /That sensation is the seed/ for your orchard of beauty,/ bliss and becoming.
"Hey, Fat Kid!"
The perfect poem is something/ crass and kissing, full of assumptions,/ is green and gamey, a field of chamomile/ or nettles, filigreed, and lit from within.
I'm not flat and sly
Like a spatula creeping up from below.
At most I am a heavy and clumsy pestle
Mashing good and bad together
"What Kind of Person"
In the west the falling light still glows,
and the clustered housetops glitter in the sun,
but here Death is already chalking the doors with crosses,
and calling the ravens, and the ravens are flying in.
"Why is This Age Worse…?"
I was angry with my friend:
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.
"A Poison Tree"
"Will you walk a little faster?" said a whiting to a snail,
"There's a porpoise close behind us, and he's treading on my tail.
See how eagerly the lobsters and the turtles all advance!
They are waiting on the shingle, will you come and join the dance?
"The Lobster Quadrille"
The south-winds are quick-witted,
The schools are sad and slow,
The masters quite omitted
The lore we care to know.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Left hand, off land, I hear the lark ascend,
His rash-fresh re-winded new-skeinèd score
In crisps of curl off wild winch whirl, and pour
And pelt music, till none's to spill nor spend.
"The Sea and the Skylark"
Gerard Manley Hopkins
Awake! arise! the hour is late!
Angels are knocking at thy door!
They are in haste and cannot wait,
And once departed come no more.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
I'll tell you a plan for gaining wealth,
Better than banking, trade or leases,
Take a bank note and fold it up,
And then you will find your money in creases!
"Epigram for Wall Street"
Edgar Allen Poe
How many masks wear we, and undermasks,
Upon our countenance of soul, and when,
If for self-sport the soul itself unmasks,
Knows it the last mask off and the face plain?
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove
Here pause: the poet claims at least this praise,
That virtuous Liberty hath been the scope
Of his pure song, which did not shrink from hope
In the worst moment of these evil days;
"Here Pause: The poet claims at least this praise"
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
"The Second Coming"
William Butler Yeats
When I ask you to remember,
you show me finches in a field.
You are filled with birds that startle,
won’t allow me near.
The world has no memory;/ the forsythia, persistent, perennial,/ naïve, bursts again into spring time,/ asks us again to believe.
I still don’t know my place. I cross against the red light,
teach Whitman and Doty, and love the awkward ones
who end up in my office, in black lipstick
and studded leather, insisting on beauty.
If my lover were a comet
Hung in air,
I would braid my leaping body
In his hair.
"This Much and More"
Darkly I gaze into the days ahead,
And see her might and granite wonders there,
Beneath the touch of Time’s unerring hand,
Like priceless treasures sinking in the sand.
The heart of a woman falls back with the night,
And enters some alien cage in its plight,
And tries to forget it has dreamed of the stars
While it breaks, breaks, breaks on the sheltering bars.
"The Heart of a Woman"
Georgia Douglass Johnson
Awake! for Morning in the Bowl of Night
Has flung the Stone that puts the Stars to Flight":
And Lo! the Hunter of the East has caught
The Sultan's Turret in a Noose of Light.
"The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám"
It's not just me having difficulty breathing
as I hike up this mountain in high altitude.
A river I passed a mile back stopped
running, slowed down and started to walk.
Sky dark as coffee.
You dress by TV’s blue glow.
Time to go, head for the bus stop
wait as day breaks pink and full of promise.
The lights in my eyes wink at hers in the street
Luminous her desire, my surrender unconditional
We journey sitting still, rooted in place we fly
Do I know anyone who’s been burned by too much love?
I am from long sidewalks and the rush
of commuter trains, parks that roamed
the rind of the Long Island Sound, and
the flash of bicycle spokes in the sun.
Black mellow dark beautiful majesty
I stared it in the eye
a wide and indivisible geography
Since then I am a doubt planting questions
"The Last Bellybutton of Bongo"
La majestad tersa oscura—negra—bella
Le mire a los ojos—geografía extensa e indivisible—
Desde entonces soy una duda clavando interrogantes
"El Ombligo Negro de un Bongó"
I'm nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there's a pair of us - don't tell!
They'd banish - you know!
How dreary to be somebody!
How public like a frog
To tell one's name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!
'Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers today;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.
"A Prayer in Spring"
Fear is a dark horizon
a stone wall against dreams
a levee against change
a chasm too wide.
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