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“A Piece of the Sacred Planet”. . . and other poems in response to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

Lightening storm in Africa (Monrovia, Liberia), courtesy of Bethany Laird, Upsplash

“At the heart of globalization is a new kind of intolerance in the West towards other cultures, traditions and values, less brutal than in the era of colonialism, but more comprehensive and totalitarian.” Martin Jacques, British journalist, editor, academic, political commentator and author



Zimbabwean poet activist, Mbizo Chirasha, hosted this prompt on January 22, which called our attention to neocolonialism or the use in place of direct imperialism of capitalism, globalization, and cultural imperialism for the suppression of human rights by First World actors in Third World* arenas: Africa, Asia, Latin America. Admittedly this was a difficult challenge, especially for those who don’t live in a Third World country or if Third World issues aren’t something closely followed. Hence, we didn’t consistently make the target but we do have a thoughtful pointed collection to share today that emphasizes issues of poverty, violence, inequality, land-grab, and human rights abuses. This is gifted to us by Anjum Wasim Dar, Irma Do, Taman Tracy Moncur, and Pali Raj. Much appreciation to these writers for rising to the occasion with intelligence, courage, and passion.

I recognize that some might say “Developing Countries” would be the more appropriate terminology, However, I would suggest that where destabilizing by First World countries is the order of the day, “developing” is difficult, if not impossible.

Because I am working on moving to another apartment, I won’t be posting a writing prompt tomorrow. The next Wednesday Writing Prompt will publish on February 5.


A Piece of The Sacred Planet

A piece of sacred soil
whose land is it ,
why so many claim it ?
land of purple saffron gold,
land of golden apples bold,
land bought again and again
land controlled, land sold,

conquered, ruled taken by force
maharajas, badshah, rulers
for what crime natives told to
abandon ship’ can land ever sink?
who is to think?

August is a cruel month
leaves wither as souls fly,
the only flowers are on
warm cloth embroidered with
blood, cries muffled, eyes dry,

beauty reflected in aquatic surfaces
camouflaged evil toads in inner deeps,
land of pure peace, poets and dreams
land of silence, in sounds of screams’
world has forgotten to cry,

law is a uniform,rule is a gun,
power is the force under the sun
all bodies are war,blood spills are fun
and we children too were on the run
we hand no toys no food nor bun
then all fell, one by one-

a crime a time a right unknown
a helpless innocence grown
the king can do no wrong
people can never be strong
pansies died in the flower beds
governors live in far away towns
all is owned all belongs to the crown.

I see the soldiers they look like me
their garb is like mine, how then
are they my enemy?
I am not to think I am not to speak
why I had to leave my land
why I laugh and cry, sit and stand
I wish I could understand…
I wish I could Understand…

© 2020, Anjum Wasim Dar

In Freedom

In freedom there is fear
When a close and dear
one, is no more,

In freedom there is blood
When all you made in life
Is washed away in flood;

In freedom there is sacrifice
When all you claim and own
Is taken away without a price;

In freedom there is liberty
For many just a statue
fights, no rights, nor equality;

In freedom there are letters
promises and false hopes
soon you are in iron fetters;

In freedom I was born
I never saw my land
I long for its beauty,
like dewdrops in the morn;

In freedom there is a gift
treasure not and you find
it floating by and adrift;

In freedom there is ease
calm and harmony, hold
it strong for eternal peace.

© 2020, Anjum Wasim Dar

Anjum-ji’s sites are:

“POETRY PEACE and REFORM Go Together -Let Us All Strive for PEACE on EARTH for ALL -Let Us Make a Better World -WRITE To Make PEACE PREVAIL.” Anjum Wasim Dar


“Do You Want Fries With That?”

Your wild red hair,
Pale skin and
Painted lips belied
Your power.
Despite Scientists showing
The Traditional Ways were better,
Our greased guts and
A-salt-Ed hearts craved the
Colonial Menu
Of broken McPromises and
Big McLies.
Our health for Your wealth.
Not funny Clown.

© 2020, Irma Do

Irma’ site is: I Do Run, And I do a few other things too …


Poverty Rocks Hard
The ratta tat tat of guns in the night…a fight…a fight to the death…in search of illusive respect. The convictions of the streets supersede all cognition…all rationality…all logic…it’s dog eat dog, tit for tat, disrespect me I’ll disrespect you right back. No space or place for politeness…kindness portrays weakness… that’s just the way it is. What’s there to do but live hard in the face of endless denial; laugh hard during the constant struggle; party hard to revitalize and make dry bones come to life.

Poverty rocks hard!

The music blasts…feet dance fast…hearts beat as blood rushes through the veins transporting surreal images of feigned happiness…another puff…that’s the stuff to die for…another puff…calms nerves…another puff supports muscles that inadvertently crave in evolving waves of dependency…another puff to the point of no return to any pretense of normalcy.

Poverty rocks hard!

The high is fleeting looking down into the neck of an empty bottle, ranting…raving…fixating on who took the last of the elixir…the fixer. Rage that has been smothered by day to day survival spies out a rival…a beef erupts spewing volcanic emotions and repressed anger into the atmosphere mushrooming into a toxic waste laced with venom… a gun is fired that eradicates all semblance of euphony and implodes into a rubble of broken dreams as a stream of blood oozes from the collapsed corpse.

Poverty rocks hard!

Sirens wail in the night. Violence devours innocence…sorrow then masticates the essence of life and regurgitates hopelessness. Shame becomes ingrained into the psyche…anger lashes out slapping kindness into a condition of degeneration… masochism becomes entrapped in isolation …love and fury become enmeshed in confusion crippling empathy impeding the expansion and the maturation of the human spirit.

Poverty rocks hard!

© 2020, Tamam Tracy Moncur

Diary of an Inner City Teacher is a probe into the reality of teaching in our inner city school systems as seen from the front line. Over two decades in the trenches, educator Tamam Tracy Moncur exposes through her personal journal the plights, the highlights, the sadness, and the joys she has experienced as a teacher. Come to understand why the United States Department of Education and the various state departments of education must realize the teaching of academics cannot be divorced from the social issues that confront the students. Let s be innovative together and design new millennium schools that address the educational needs of the inner city students before it s too late! Our children s very existence is at stake! Laugh, cry, and become informed as you embrace the accounts of an inner city teacher.


Poverty, Hunger, and Sanitation
Oh, I throw myself upon
Violence, Terrorism
Once where was war
Now tearing our nations apart
May be, thus, they are taking control
(May be it’s neocolonism) but
What has happened to the whole world?
Poverty, Hunger, and Sanitation
Oh, I throw myself upon

© 2020, Pali Raj


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Your donation HERE helps to fund the ongoing mission of The Poet by Day in support of poets and writers, freedom of artistic expression, and human rights.

Poetry rocks the world!



FEEL THE BERN

For Peace, Sustainability, Social Justice

The Poet by Day officially endorses Bernie Sanders for President.

The New New Deal

Link HERE for Bernie’s schedule of events around the country.

“Democracy is not a spectator sport.” Bernie Sanders



“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

Japanese-American Poet and Photojournalist, Jun Fujita, is the focus of Newberry Library and the Poetry Foundation Exhibition

Photographer Unknown, Courtesy of Graham and Pamela Lee private collection. More photographs HERE.

The November sky without a star
Droops low over the midnight street;
On the pale pavement, cautiously
A leaf moves.
– Jun Fujita



Groundbreaking poet and photojournalist Jun Fujita is the focus of a new exhibition presented by the Newberry Library and the Poetry Foundation. A multi-media experience comprising poetry, photographs, personal correspondence and archival artifacts, Jun Fujita: American Visionary explores the life and career of one of Chicago’s master chroniclers.

As the first Japanese American photojournalist, Fujita captured many of the most infamous moments in Chicago history, including the Eastland Disaster, the 1919 race riots and the St. Valentine’s Day massacre. As an English-language poet writing in the Japanese tanka tradition, his poems appeared regularly in Poetry magazine, published in Chicago since 1912.

Jun Fujita was a visionary ahead of his time, both in his visual and written art forms, as well as his contemporary 45-year partnership with Florence Carr,” said Katherine Litwin, Poetry Foundation library director and exhibition cocurator. “We’re honored to partner with the Newberry to further expand and unfold the layers of his life and Chicago legacy through this exhibition.”

As anti-Japanese xenophobia crested during World War II, Fujita faced hostility, prejudice, and persecution. The U.S. government declared him an “enemy alien,” and his assets were frozen. Yet despite this adversity, Fujita achieved unprecedented success in his profession and offered an alternative model of what it means to be “American.”

“Jun Fujita put forth a vision for what’s possible, particularly love, acceptance, and sanctuary in a place bent on exclusion,” adds Fred Sasaki, Poetry art director and exhibition curator.



Morning Woods
A static mood, in the morning woods
Wet and clear –
In a majestic pattern, leaves are spellbound
By a fawn, ears perked.

JUN FUJITA was born Junnosuke Fujita on 13 December 1888 in Nishimura, a village near Hiroshima, Japan. When he was older, Fujita moved from Japan to Canada, where he worked odd jobs to save enough money to move to the United States of America, which he considered to be a “land of opportunity.” He moved to Chicago, Illinois, where he attended and graduated from Wendell Phillips Academy High School, a four-year predominantly African-American public school whose notable alumni include Nat “King” Cole, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Archibald Carey, Jr. Following his high school graduation, he studied mathematics at the Armour Institute of Technology, which later became the Illinois Institute of Technology, with plans to become an engineer. To help pay his way through college, Fujita took a job as the first and only photojournalist at the Chicago Evening Post, which later became the Chicago Daily News. MORE [Wikipedia]

Read more of Jun Fujita’s poetry HERE at Poetry Foundation. His collection is available through Amazon but is unfortunately prohibitively priced. It is not available through the Gutenberg Project or Internet Archive. Poems and journal articles about Fujita’s photography are accessible at JSTOR HERE.



Jun Fujita: American Visionary runs from January 24 through March 31 at the Newberry. The exhibition is free and open to all.

Throughout the exhibition, a series of related public programs will further explore its major themes. These programs include:

Curator Talk with Katherine Litwin, Fred Sasaki, and Graham Lee
Tuesday, February 4, at 6:00 PM

The Love and Life of Jun Fujita
Thursday, February 13, at 6:00 PM

Photographic Memory: Carlos Javier Ortiz Reflects on Jun Fujita’s Iconic Images
Tuesday, March 10, at 6:00 PM

*****

This post is compiled courtesy of the Poetry Foundation, Wikipedia, and Amazon. The poems are courtesy of Poetry Foundation in concert with JSTOR.

The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in American culture. It exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience. The Poetry Foundation seeks to be a leader in shaping a receptive climate for poetry by developing new audiences, creating new avenues for delivery, and encouraging new kinds of poetry through innovative literary prizes and programs.

Follow the Poetry Foundation and Poetry on Facebook at facebook.com/poetryfoundation,  Twitter @PoetryFound and @Poetrymagazine, and Instagram @PoetryFoundation.

About the Newberry Library
At the Newberry Library, visitors and researchers explore centuries of human history, from the Middle Ages to the present. The library’s collection—some 1.6 million books, 600,000 maps, and 5 million manuscript pages—is accessible to all in Newberry reading rooms, program spaces, exhibition galleries, and online digital resources. Since its founding in 1887, the Newberry has remained dedicated to deepening our collective understanding of ourselves, others, and the world around us. As individuals engage with Newberry collections and staff, they discover stories that bridge the past and present and illuminate the human condition.


Jamie DedesAbout /Testimonials / Disclosure / Facebook / Medium Ko-fi

Your donation HERE helps to fund the ongoing mission of The Poet by Day in support of poets and writers, freedom of artistic expression, and human rights.

Poetry rocks the world!



FEEL THE BERN

For Peace, Sustainability, Social Justice

The Poet by Day officially endorses Bernie Sanders for President.

The New New Deal

Link HERE for Bernie’s schedule of events around the country.

“Democracy is not a spectator sport.” Bernie Sanders



“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

How to Write a Limerick by Esther Spurrill-Jones, The Word Artist

An illustration of the fable of Hercules and the Wagoner by Walter Crane in the limerick collection “Baby’s Own Aesop” (1887) under CC BY-SA 2.0 license

The limerick packs laughs anatomical
Into space that is quite economical.
But the good ones I’ve seen
So seldom are clean
And the clean ones so seldom are comical.
Leonard Feinberg, The Secret of Humor (Rodopi, 1978)



There was an old man with a beard,
Who said: ‘It is just as I feared!
Two owls and a hen,
Four larks and a wren
Have all built their nests in my beard.
-Edward Lear

Most people have heard or read a limerick, even if you don’t read poetry as a rule. A limerick is one of the most fun forms of poetry, as it is meant to be tongue-in-cheek.

Lear by Wilhelm Marstrand / Public Domain

Edward Lear is probably the most famous, or at least the most prolific, limerick writer. He is credited with popularizing the form. His pieces are pretty much pure nonsense, while other poets often create “bawdy” limericks.

A limerick is a five-line poem with a strict rhyme and rhythm. The rhyme scheme is aabba and the rhythm is anapestic (dadaDUM). This gives the poem a bouncy feel that suits the light subject matter.

Lines 1, 2, and 5 are anapestic trimeter and lines 3 and 4 are anapestic dimeter. This means the first, second, and last lines have three stressed syllables, while the third and fourth have only two. With the two unstressed syllables for each stressed, the lines don’t feel overly short. There are nine or ten syllables in the longer lines and five or six in the shorter ones. There is some variance in syllable count as you can drop the first unstressed syllable of each line if you like.

Technically you can use the limerick form for any subject matter you like, but if it’s not silly, is it really a limerick? Here’s one I did with more serious subject matter. Does it feel like a “real” limerick? I don’t know. I don’t really think so.

Spring is a season of birth,
As winter lets go of the earth.
The days become longer;
The light becomes stronger,
And we put off our furs and go forth.

The style doesn’t really lend itself to the subject matter that well. Nonsense words fit better, don’t they? But you can do whatever you like if you write your own.

Here’s a better one I wrote recently:

Overdrawn

If you don’t have the money to cover,
And the debits come out and go over,
Be sure that the fees
Will advance your unease,
And assist you in going e’er lower!

It’s not nonsense, but it is a kind of dark humour.

You’ll notice that I used some near rhymes rather than exact rhymes. For more information on how to do this, check out my article on rhyming HERE.

Now, it’s your turn. Find something silly or annoying or whatever to write about and try your hand at crafting a limerick. Have fun!

Originally published in The Writing Cooperative, a Medium Publication. Shared here with Esther’s permission.

© 2020, Esther Spurrill-Jones

ESTHER SPURRILL-JONES (Esther Jones, I Just Live Here) is a poet, lover, thinker, human. She tells us, “I am not an open book although I wish that I could be. A part of me is all you see—the rest is hidden deep inside. Words have always been my art. They dance for me and sing for me. They laugh for me and cry for me. They are my paint and brushes. They are my clay.”  Connect with Esther: FacebookTwitterMediumInstagramBlog; Email; Amazon.


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Your donation HERE helps to fund the ongoing mission of The Poet by Day in support of poets and writers, freedom of artistic expression, and human rights.

Poetry rocks the world!



FEEL THE BERN

For Peace, Sustainability, Social Justice

The Poet by Day officially endorses Bernie Sanders for President.

The New New Deal

Link HERE for Bernie’s schedule of events around the country.

“Democracy is not a spectator sport.” Bernie Sanders



“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

Two Poems by Mbizo Chirasha. . . and your next Wednesday Writing Prompt

Sandstone rock formations typical of Mapungubwe National Park courtesy of Laura SA under CC BY-SA 3.0 license.

The Kingdom of Mapungubwe (or Maphungubgwe) (c.1075–1220) was a medieval state in Southern Africa, the first stage in a development that would culminate in the creation of the Kingdom of Zimbabwe in the 13th century.



This week’s prompt is graciously hosted by Zimbabwean poet, Mbizo Chirasha. 

MAPUNGUBWE

Land of baobab, land of eagles
Mapungubwe,sagging with ambition of nujoma, madikizela and sobukwe
Land of crocodiles and spiritual eagles- Mapungubwe
Rivers groaning with sweet tongues and sacred laughters
Mapungubwe – dream of stones
Bones and spirits quietly sleeping under the burden of peaceful rocks
Your songs , mapungubwe rhythm to bones of dead heroes and sleeping heroines
Mapungubwe ,crying tears of laughter, struggle and freedom ,
Mapungubwe!

Editor’s Note: nujoma is Sam Nujoma, a Namibian revolutionary, anti-apartheid activist and politician; Madikizela is Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, a South-African anti-apardied activest, politician, and the second wife of Nelson Mandela; Sobukwe is Robert Sobukwe, South African political dissident, teacher, founder of the Pan Africanist Congress. 

© 2020, Mbizo Chirasha

SUNSET ACCOUSTICS

Sing Bamako, sing of spiders blighting freedom tomatoes
Sing of our pimped heritage
Somalia, the dramatic irony of Africa
Ethiopia, bring back the oil of our anthems and the clay of our identity
Ivory coast , your hands are hardened by hard years of madness
Cockroaches are walking over sleeping Zambezi
Gugulethu ,tired of scathy tongues and maruajuana
Egypt bulletins drenched by Arab spring urine
Abuja, how long are you going to walk in shadows?

© 2020, Mbizo Chirasha

Mbizo Chirasha

MBIZO CHIRASHA (Mbizo, The Black Poet) is one of the newest members of The BeZine core team. He is a poet from Zimbabwe who is on the run. We have been coordinating in the search for safe harbor. In part I am doing this today to remind everyone that while we’ve made progress with funding, we still need to find a host for Mbizo, preferably Germany, but England or U.S. would work too.  Open to suggestion.  Connect with me if you are able to help, have leads, or have questions. You can read more about Mbizo and his story: Zimbabwean Poet in Exile: Award-Winning Poet Mbizo Chirasha, A Life on the Run, Interview.

Kwame Nkrumah, Ghanaian politician and revolutionary coined the term “neocolonialism” in 1957.

WEDNESDAY WRITING PROMPT

Mbizo’s prompt for us this week is “Neocolonialism” or the use in place of direct imperialism of capitalism, globalization, and cultural imperialism for the suppression of human rights by First World actors in Third World arenas, Africa, Asia, Latin America.  Or, short story: power and profits over people. What is the fallout? Poverty. Hunger. Violence. Failed states. Terrorism. Have we all lost our souls?  These are my thoughts as I ponder what I might write in response to Mbizo’s prompt.

Share you own poem or poems and …

  • please submit your poem/s by pasting them into the comments section and not by sharing a link
  • please submit poems only, no photos, illustrations, essays, stories, or other prose

PLEASE NOTE:

Poems submitted through email or Facebook will not be published.

IF this is your first time joining us for The Poet by Day, Wednesday Writing Prompt, please send a brief bio and photo to me at thepoetbyday@gmail.com to introduce yourself to the community … and to me :-). These are partnered with your poem/s on first publication.

PLEASE send the bio ONLY if you are with us on this for the first time AND only if you have posted a poem (or a link to one of yours) on theme in the comments section below.  

Deadline:  Monday, January by 27 pm Pacific Time. If you are unsure when that would be in your time zone, check The Time Zone Converter.

Anyone may take part Wednesday Writing Prompt, no matter the status of your career: novice, emerging or pro.  It’s about exercising the poetic muscle, showcasing your work, and getting to know other poets who might be new to you.

You are welcome – encouraged – to share your poems in a language other than English but please accompany it with a translation into English.


Jamie DedesAbout /Testimonials / Disclosure / Facebook / Medium Ko-fi

Your donation HERE helps to fund the ongoing mission of The Poet by Day in support of poets and writers, freedom of artistic expression, and human rights.

Poetry rocks the world!



FEEL THE BERN

For Peace, Sustainability, Social Justice

The Poet by Day officially endorses Bernie Sanders for President.

The New New Deal

Link HERE for Bernie’s schedule of events around the country.

“Democracy is not a spectator sport.” Bernie Sanders



“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton