I Name You Fear . . and other poetic responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

Michael Ancher, “The Sick Girl”, 1882, Statens Museum for Kunst / Public domain photograph courtesy of Michael Peter Ancher

“Kleitos, a likeable young man,
about twenty-three years old
with a first-class education, a rare knowledge of Greek
is seriously ill. He caught the fever
that reaped a harvest this year in Alexandria.”
Kleitos’ Illness, Constantine P. Cavafy



Of special note:

  • Please don’t miss Iron Wind, Zimbabwean poet in exile Mbizo Chirasha’s response to the current prompt. An explanation for its solitary publication is included in the post.
  • Wisconsin poet, DeWitt Clinton, wrote, “I’ve visited many hospital rooms over the years, and occasionally, I was a patient. I’m always drawn to Sylvia Plath’s poem about her stay in a hospital following a surgical procedure.”  I didn’t have enough time to get Harper Collins’ permission to publish Tulips today. You can read it in its entirety HERE.
  • Irene Emmanuel and Diana Lundell, if you have sites or Amazon pages to which you’d like me to link, email the links to me at thepoetbyday@gmail.com

Today I am pleased to present the responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt, At the Beginning of the Pandemic, March 11, in which Michael Dickel asked poets to ponder: “How to bring illness (personal or pandemic) of the ailing body, pain, and language to point to culture, philosophy, and consciousness in poetry that also points ‘…to what is still to be learned about our fragility, our mortality, and how to live a meaningful life’? Especially at this cultural-historical moment of an emerging pandemic?” The result is a journey through a spectrum of experiences and perspectives.

The poets who contributed to this collection are: Paul Brookes, Jamie Dedes, Irene Emanual, Joe Hesch, Diana Lundell, Sonja Benskin Mesher, Nancy Ndeke, Bozhidar Pangelov (bogpan), Corina Ravenscraft, RedCat, and Clarissa Simmens. Joe Hesch, Diana Lundell, and RedCat are new to Wednesday Writing Prompt and warmly welcome.

Please do come out to play tomorrow for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt, All are welcome: beginning, emerging, and pro.

Stay safe and healthy,

Warmly,
Jamie


As I write this, my daughter is watching a YouTube live stream lesson. The Ministry of Education streams a lesson to all first graders from 9–9:30 each school morning. My son is working on tasks and following links posted on this class web page. At 11 am the fourth graders, his class, will have their half-hour live-streamed lesson. I have a moment to write while they work, before I leave for an “essential” appointment, which will likely be my last meeting this week. Later, I will go to the grocery store to pick up three or four things we are running low on. I’ll probably notice a couple of other things to get, just in case. The people I see and I will try to maintain a distance of two meters. Yesterday I went for a walk, just to get out of the house. The sun was warm, so I sat on a bench with my iPad and answered some emails. Those of us out kept our distance, but more than usual we made eye-contact, greeted each other, wished each other good health.

Welcome to COVID-19 time. I think that it is important to make eye contact, to acknowledge each other, especially as we make wide arcs around each other. I think it is important too keep our connections, even across distance. And this is something poetry does. Here, we offer the week’s responses to my prompt on writing poems about illness (personal to global) and pandemic, creating a literature that points to culture and meaning in the time of COVID-19.

We have amazing and strong responses. They range from cancer to COVID-19 pandemic panic syndrome, from personal to observational. The language is strong. The poems succeed in doing what Ann Jurecic, (Illness as Narrative: Composition, Literacy, and Culture, p. 131)  “…all point to what is still to be learned about our fragility, our mortality, and how to live a meaningful life.…”

In this COVID-19 time, please do your best to stay healthy. Support your community as you can, especially in helping to prevent spread, but also by catching a distant eye, nodding, smiling, saying “Shalom, manishma?” (Peace, how are you?) And wish them, “Libryut” “to (your) health.” Social distance need not be without connections.

Shalom, how are you? To (y)our health!

—Michael (Meta/ Poor(e) /Play)


The Virus

On my till
An old lady flinches when I touch
Her handing her change.

Boss is stockpiling anti-bac wipes.
Wash your hands as often as you can
As money is the dirtiest of things.

Anti-bac wipe your touch screen,
And where folk lift up the fridge doors,
And the price strips.

Toilet rolls are disappearing.
It dissipates the virus,
While it rests on other surfaces.

Folk avoid public bannisters,
Walk down the middle.
That old woman’s flinch
Stays in my mind.

© 2020, Paul Brookes

My Caladrius

All white bird a ghost who stares intently
into my jaundiced eye,

then flies towards sunblaze
where it sweats all my illness
in droplets to the earth.

If the bird looks away
this disease succeeds.

Some healthy hide the bird
under their coat,
refuse to offer it
with the thought
nobody gets owt for free.

Some say the bird is a saviour.
Some put faith in fleeting things.

Originally published in the Blue Mountain Review

© 2020, Paul Brookes

Disease Is A Gift

It was really cool to see who could get
illest first, cos you’d like get all this fuss.
My bestest mate Rhianna, reporters interviewed her, and she’d be on the news.

And folk who felt sorry for her gave
her lots of money so she could go
to Disney in America and have
the most expensive doctors,

and like, get well, but she didn’t,
and they wouldn’t let me see her,
said she was too ill, and then
she died and I cried a lot,

she wasn’t on the news anymore
but to me she was even famouser.

Except from Paul’s collection A World Where (Nixes Mate Press, 2017)

© 2017, Paul Brookes 

Paul’s site is The Wombwell Rainbow
Paul’s Amazon Page U.S. HERE
Paul’s Amazon Page U.K.
HERE

More poems by Paul at Michael Dickel’s Meta/ Phore(e) /Play


Lockdown

Bronchi and alveoli seeking respiratory droplets
Float on the air, a nightmare of guided munitions
Always a reckoning when such assassins are loosed,
And now the vineyard of joy is dead and gated, the
Elders are on lockdown, prisoners of Corvid-19,
Of a government that moves too slowly and this
Virus that moves with speed, children sent home
From school, the workers forced from their jobs, a
Run on TP, tissues and hand sanitizers, breezes
Caressing the face, now just a memory like love
And blisses, handshakes and bracing bear hugs
Like social networking of the off-line variety

© 2020, Jamie Dedes

Jamie is the curator of The Poet by Day.


Never Named

Chatter-clips in muffled murmurs
overheard.
Overt opinions in strained silence
suspended.
Tactful teacups in stilled saucers
of tears.
Reverberating reels of sudden shock
echoing.
Mystified minor in innocent ignorance
unaware.
Death danced in devilish delight
unnamed.
Years later, I learned about
CANCER.

A TOUCH OF CANCER

Unasked, unwanted, it appeared;
a black dot on the middle of my right cheek.
A spider bite? A probable assumption.
It developed a white head,
I squished it, it spurted and grew a scab.
Then it became an unsightly scabby growth
of potent ugliness, taking over my cheek.
A skin specialist was consulted.
He was fascinated, he concluded that this “spider bite”
needed an investigation.
He cut and sent a sliver to be biopsied.
Final diagnosis:
“Squamous Cell Carcinoma” of the cancerous type.
Remedy:
Immediate removal, non-negotiable.
Twenty-one stitches later, the growth lay vanquished.
As “Frankenstein’s” distant cousin, I faced the World.
Vitamin E oil has finally smoothed the scar
into a faded memory of a major scare.
I am eternally grateful to faith and Dr. J.

© 2020, Irene Emanuel


The Virus 

A sneeze from behind makes people cringe and turn
to see what culprit’s spreading the disease.
They’ve yet to call at night for dead to burn,
but just wait ’til we’ve more fatalities.

We ‘Mericans think we’re super powered
to fend off almost any aggressor.
But lately our record with wee foes has soured,
or haven’t you noticed that, Professor?

Now comes the smallest we’ve faced in a while,
and folks worry about how serious.
Heed your doctors, they won’t jive you with guile;
just don’t listen to pols imperious.

Wash hands, cover coughs, it’s not just the flu.
So prepare, but don’t panic. I care ‘bout you.

© 2020, Joe Hesch

Joe’s site is A Thing for Words


Pandemic

I have a small cold
and a library book to return.
Should I wipe it clean with disinfectant
and return it through the book drop?
Or let it become overdue?

I have a hair appointment
for next week Thursday.
If I feel better by then,
should I keep it?

I have a massage appointment
for the following week
which I really need
because I’m stressed
but they tell me not to come
for two weeks from the onset
of an illness. Do I count from
Monday when I began feeling
run-down or Friday
when I finally I knew why?
One means keep it,
the other cancel.

I don’t know if I have a fever.
My thermometer’s broken
and there are none in the stores,
but I’m in the target age group who die.

I have health insurance. Should I get tested?
The news says not to just show up
at your doctor’s office,
if you think you have the virus.
But will they then show at mine
making a spectacle, lights a-flaring,
outing me to the neighbors?
Or will it be like China
removing me by force?

My job tells us to stay home if sick
but they don’t provision for those
who don’t have enough sick leave
so I don’t call the doctor and go to work,
pretending to be perfectly well.

© 2020, Diana Lundell


..spoons..

yes, we have been indoors a while now

it has happened before, do you remember

that year the snow came & i had to have a

taxi to get there

how all the guttering & aerials went with

the weight of it

suspension springs snapped

then after everything was repaired

some words we google then change

the letters about to confirm with

that which is deemed correct

granny had special knives too, fish

and butter and some others. on a

rainy day she would let us play with them

i still enjoy cutlery

i am not called that, mine is more

the usual without the d, however

now he texts me i am abbreviated

into gma

which is cool

i am enjoying being in so much

yesterday i was already and coated

then saw the snow warnings on the

pass

so made coffee and ate malt loaf

the only other issue being some virus

out there

another reason, should i say excuse

for staying home

with my google assistant

© 2020, Sonja Benskin Mesher

Sonja’s sites are:


I NAME YOU FEAR

Like the wind, your exact birth is shadowy, even murky,
But the flow, and rush, like an old bull, is marked by scores of bruises,
Laughter is now whispered jest,
Camaraderie is thinning like a slippery path,
Ten fingers pointing at one location,
Might we be missing the point?
Like the wind on a sneeze,
Breath carries death so they say,
Goose pimples on a population that now hibernates indoors,
Scrubbing hands behind masks to keep the stray bullets off the air waves,
Palpable is FEAR rippling down the spines of the assumed healthy,
Boarders shrinking before the eyes of a cruise ship afloat a memorable trip,
Statistics roll out with diversity,
Some minimizing, some maximizing,
Along while back, we learnt a sweet investment called individualism,
Fenced diffences against the onslaught of our privacy,
Would the wind honor this paid service or even approve it?
Death is a chief garantor of flesh after a time,
It’s the fate of birth,
But fear is the monster that serves deathness to the living,
As we suffer shortage of basics in the war against a warring virus,
Some have hoarded food supplies for a decade,
Some are stocking distance for their own in remote homes,
Some are breathing through masks In bunkers below the ground,
History has a thing about life,
Mans best intentions are tested by calamity,
And the world has one right now,
The morbid fear of catching a dreaded virus,
That has already taken some down and has no respect for boundaries,
How we die depends on how we live,
If fear governs our senses enough to barricade ourselfs away from those in need,
We shall for sure die,
But before the physical,
Our Soul will have died Twice over from fear,
And thrice over from the meanness of withholding help to the needy, in an effort to preserve ourselves,
So ” I name you fear”, O you colonial hunter of human health,
And banish you to the deserts of dusty horizons,
Where your barren unconcern must remain buried,
To give man a chance at rebirth in the genuine concern of one facing this ultimate test of living,
I ” name you fear” O you coward who escaped your masters rogue shed to shade the color of life a night without the dance of the stars,
I ” name you fear” and tag you loser for records show others came before you and perhaps did worse,
So we know we shall survive you for life is a survivor from the realms of amniotic fluids to the trenches of war,
For life is held by a divine hand that constantly looks onto it wellness,
So though unwelcome you came and may stay a bad season,
Tomorrow is not yours except in records.
And those too, shall remain in archival shelves,
Once more to remind tomorrow that the human soul is a giant ,
And indomitable to any spirit that is not from it’s maker.
We shall suffer pain.
We shall lose some.
But we shall overcome the fear that you sow indifference that kills the living.

© 2020, Nancy Ndeke

Nancy’s Amazon Page is HERE.


Viva Italia

because we all
get influenced by all
and all is you
and the air is heavy on the shoulders
let’s sit down all
(the night is a round table)
accept each other and
give ourselves to all
then the song remains
eternal
(because is chanted)

after your voice comes mine
around fire

© 2020, Bozhidar Pangelov (Bogpan)

Bozhidar’s site is (bogpan – блог за авторска поезия  блог за авторска поезия )


~ SK was Right ~

They call it COVID, magic number 19,
One letter off, from birds who pick the bones clean.
Who are the carrion crows of this battle?
Who rake in profits from each, extended death-rattle?

The child king fired all the medic Gunslingers.
Now that he needs help, he only points fingers.
Has “Captain Trips” finally come at long last?
Does the Man in Black wear a plague doctor’s beaked mask?

“KA is a wheel…its one purpose, is to turn.”
Maybe Gaia just got tired of watching the world burn?
Each life snuffed out: a brick in the Dark Tower,
Each one, marking Mankind’s plummet from power?

All the child king’s puppets, and all his “Yes-Men”
Can’t put the world back together again.
If only we had some sort of Pandemic Team!
Or money for tests, instead of golf on the green.
Hindsight in 2020? Remains to be seen.

They call it COVID, magic number 19,

Perhaps it’s KA…and “All things serve the Beam.”

(Stephen King fans are probably likely to enjoy this piece a bit more than other readers. The number 19 is important to him, and figures deeply in many of his works, but none more so than in his Magnum Opus, “The Dark Tower” series.)

© 2020, Corina Ravenscraft


Novel Virus

Can a novel virus teach
What climate emergency so far have not?
The interconnectedness of a global world
No country beyond its reach
Collective action the only sensible plot
Work together without accusing insults hurled

Can a novel virus show
What’s closest to our hearts
What we value most of all
Do we dare accept, have courage to know
Faithfully confess what we display in all our art
Happiness only ever lay in following loving soul calls

Can a novel virus reveal
How compassionate living will be
Only way out the materialistic maze
Can we make a New Green Deal
Accept responsibility humbly
Changing our planet wrecking, extreme storm inducing ways?

© 2020, RedCat

RedCat’s site is The World According to RedCat


C-VIRUS

Moving toward the Megallion Swamp
My mystical swamp with a
Host of ghost characters
Summer sweats pheromones for
Mosquito troops hunting sweet blood
Females, say the science sites
Pregnant females feed on humans
I swat and stomp in ankle combat boots
Water moccasins visible
In the evaporating water
But me, I have a mission

Peopled swamp calling me
Some dressed in white
Hoodoo circle chanting
Others in white Baptismal light
Some in Grays or Blues
Maybe reenactment troops
Some in cheap suits like old
Blues bands shredding their guitars
Ghostly voices drifting over a
Tract of swamp advertised for sale
Of More-Or-Less 4.5 acres
Me, my mission moving toward summer
In the Sunshine State

Candidates spewing hate
Quarantined countries
Smiles and frowns hid behind
Medical masks while hoarding
Cases of hand sanitizers
The swamp shadows I see
Doctors with beaks
Bubonic Plague masks
“Bring out your dead!”
Time an illusion as
Einstein said
Because surely we’ve
Stepped off the Tardis of Time
Without Dr. Who to rescue me and you
Into a swamp of history
Repeating itself and all the
Technology
Uselessly
Impotent in the swarm of germs

What mission can a high-risk
So-called “elderly” woman claim?
What can I do except
Crash through the watery milieu of
Chaos
Carrying a bag of herbs
Extracted in Winn Dixie vodka
Waiting for the full moon to offer
The untried elixir to swamp denizens
And others
Gathered beyond my back yard
Of a once-sane haven
Beneath Orion’s protection.

And I hear voices
Voices in the swamp
I see miasmic misery
Smell the smoke of
Charred dreams
And must see if it is
A vision of expectations
Or the real thing

Healing Reiki bear
Comes bearing herbal gifts
From the Forest of pure rain
Cordoncillo
Jaborandi
Lapacho
Mighty words that
Might as well
Mean Abracadabra
Yet even that has worked for some
In the past

I so want to save us all…

© 2020, Clarissa Simmens


Jamie Dedes:

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

“Price Check”. . . and other poems in response to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

Courtesy of Tiago Felipe Ferreira, Unsplash

“We cannot expect people to have respect for law and order until we teach respect to those we have entrusted to enforce those laws.”  Hunter S. Thompson



And here we are with another week spent and back at Tuesday for the responses to guest host Mbizo Chirasha’s Wednesday Writing, Presidential Griot, February 19, which suggested poems that address corruption in government.  Hence, this stellar collection gifted to us by Anjum Wasim Dar, Sonia Benskin Mesher, Miroslava Pananyotova, and Corina Ravenscraft.  Miroslava is new to our community and warmly welcome.

Enjoy this collection and do join in tomorrow for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt.  All are welcome: beginning, emerging, and pro.


Cerastes

In innocent days of innocent joys, we played
in the sand, on the new land, feeling safe, with plenty
in peace- nor wailing sirens nor piercing screams,
but flowers blooming, amid ever green trees,

clear water streams accessible, giving shade and fruit,
in freedom solved all oncoming problems, offered gratitude
for blessings affordable, friendly neighbors, open roads-
open houses, environments clean and safe-

but silent troubles surf, time turns pages, changes the scenes,
begin new chapters, peace fades into parades, clippoty clop turns
into metallic squeaks marching boots sound in the streets-
soldiers all over, stand guard blocked are the roads ,

no free pass, stopped by wires, barbed-‘country is saved ‘the radio says,
‘ the enemy disgraced- but why do the people feel enslaved?
aedes have attacked ,Hyades hides in the milky way, martial law in place
‘noble plow land bears no grains’ ‘all is grief, all is pain’

how can any character be tested? in a sensitive situation
or by the power in him, vested?’ But where have all the good
people gone? Killed? murdered jailed, arrested ? Was peace in or out?
Long time passing, when will they ever learn? Will they ever learn?

‘I am a free man’, he said.’ In power to command and control
in ruling over all. If you want peace, stay peaceful’.
Fear tension came to stay, fetters applied, bullets sprayed
tear gas shells burst every week, thus began the traitors greed

Never can anyone be fully aware of preexisting ethical tendencies-
now our afflictions have no end, power shifts from same hand to hand
rich getting richer, poor poorer, greedy greedier, rented killers are beasts
falsehood is truth, favored is the law, so grab the land , enjoy the feasts.

There is more than meets the eye on paper , Anjum, millions are bitten,
suffer the disease, Dengue is here as malaria malingers, cursed is the
marching anopheles,cannot kill Cyclops of prices, caught is the nation
in the corrupted fleece, Beware Beware Cerastes has arrived,

Arise !
Arise Awaken ‘ Prepare to Defend or be forever bitten.’

© 2020, Anjum Wasim Dar

Anjum-ji’s sites are:


:: the politician ::

memory is thought to be gone,
remnants remain, hiding.
working faster with out all

those words,
those images .

ideals

bare bones of the fact replaced,
restarted, corrupted items place gently
in the box, tied.
turn with dust.

crosses.

© 2020, Sonja Benskin Mesher

Sonja’s sites are:


BIGMAN VIRUS.

This one, defies prayers and herbs,
Cooked in the dark of day at five star dinners,
Gentility curves life turkey’s before they are hatched,
The farmer, his back bent, stews in his dark sweat,
While down the bowels of Earth, men known as boys smoke coals,
Spitting life out in bloodied plegms,
So cronyism and patronage saints at state joints can light up their dreams,
Exhortation exhausts those who dare get pregnant,
Nepotistic partriacs regale the nation with catchy tunes,
Of dependence disguised as independence,
Politics of economics and economics of politics,
Lording it on the already marginalized by virtue of their location,
Welcome to nowhere in the state of nothing led by something akin to a leech,
A leech fat and sleek from draining the collective coffers
In cohorts with like minded ogres who jam church isles on Sundays,
Paying their tithes to fellow brothers in lootery,
Direction remains fixed,
Loud trumpets announce the loyalty pledge to a Nation on it’s knees,
Beggary is a career and preoccupation of the masses,
When not oddly cheering the fat cats on the stadiums,
They are dying of curable diseases and hunger in peace,
The fate of many a Nation State,
Whose leadership is a radarless fighter be jet,
That is crushing on it’s own side ,
Making merry on the skeletal frames of an impoverished people,
For corruption and cancer have one thing in common if truth be told,
It fells the sick, and infects the sorroudings,
It takes down the sick and drains the caregiver,
It Rob’s the family of joy and peace,
A malady that no one should get comfortable with,
For it never knows not to take,
Till, collectively, the entire falls into a heap of lostness,
Corruption is the devil’s dance that so attracts the sly eyed,
Tragedy is often in the final moments before enough is echoed,
It crushes on itself, eating the eater and the remains of the eaten,
Stuff of the most unnecessary revolutions and counter revolutions,
Blood baths and massacres,
Shocking results of long term abuse by morally decadent chiefs long turned thieves,
Those who steal till the owners notice,
And in harsh attempts to preserve their rotten systems,
Gag all who dare to raise a voice.
The way of corruption is the way of conflict,
The only solution is truth, justice and accountability,
Minus that, civil wars and militia business is here to stay.
Let poetry not be accused of being silent when corruption stages it’s false drama.

© 2020, Nancy Ndeke

Nancy’s Amazon Page is HERE.


the country is plundered
well said
and where were we
when they robbed it
it was like a whirlwind
the pickpockets are even slower
billions stolen and exported
invested in silicone and boats

and now where
we are talking
We’re just talking
We’re just talking

© 2020, Miroslava Pananyotova

You can catch up with Miroslava on Facebook


~ The Last Horseman Is The One Who Counts ~

There is no profit in peace, you know.
White Horse or Red, the blood must flow.
Human constructs, like Conquest or War,
Benefit the rich and bury the poor.
I think the Draft should be reinstated;
So that ALL might witness the horror created.

Send the war-mongers’ sons first,
To hold the Front Line’s Hell.
Watch them die, or even worse,
Return home, as a shell.
If politician’s kids are killed or maimed,
Will war then taste as good as they claimed?

Tell me:

What’s the magic, almighty dollar amount?
To make endless war worth the body count?
If Corporations are people, now, too,
Let’s send them to war, and see if it’s true.
Will those corporations scream in pain as they bleed?
Will they writhe in agony for a rich man’s greed?
Will they lose their limbs, and maybe their minds?
Does the Machine care about the bones, the bodies it grinds?

In the end:

There is no prophet of peace, you know.
The love of money is Greed:  War’s C.E.O.
The wars will continue,  the innocents will still fall.
And the Pale Horse’s rider will someday claim all.

~ C.L.R. ~ ©2013

~ Price Check ~

They convinced us we needed more heroes,
our innocence stolen by enemy acts.
Hypothetical lives multiplied
by infinite zeroes,
politicians crafted their blood-bathed pacts.

They claimed that it was American pride,
that demanded our instant retaliation.
Eleven years in, with one win for our side,
the incessant meat-grinder churns
for our nation.

No lessons from history considered or needed,
the bodies of young soldiers
not their own.
The “War on Terror” will never be ceded,
the truth to the public will never be shown.

War-mongering, insidious
tails wagging dogs,
main-stream media feeding sheep pablum;
Celebrity red herrings, athletic, sexed fogs,
forget the grist issues,
or those who have them.

They sold us out for a long-dead dream,
used our men and womens’ blood for oil
to grease the wheels of the war machine,
killed our youth, spilled the truth,
on enemy soil.

Our lions being led by greedy, hate-spewing lambs:
Puppet-masters, desiccated and dead inside.
Keep mangling brave children of Uncle Sam’s,
all in vain, in the name of American pride…

~ C.L.R. ~ © 2012

Corina Ravenscraft’s site is Dragon’s Dreams


Jamie Dedes:

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

Thousands and Millions, a poem by John Anstie

This is our (The BeZine) new poster for 100TPC 2018. It was designed by Corina Ravenscraft (Dragon’s Dreams)

One hundred thousand
Poets for change,
so many voices and
carefully chosen words,
at times decay into a void
of the anechoic chamber.

Earthly Fathers praying
for the Establishment,
that sets our stage,
and casts our values
in concrete, steel,
plastic … and carbon.

Leaders of the World,
whose balance sheets and
logical, numerate intellect
measure only a notion
of success. What is that?
Temper your ambition.

For aren’t we just that,
a wealth of rich and
creative intelligence,
maybe the only hope
for our universe
to understand itself?

Heavenly Mothers ask us
why digitise and monetise
and worship at the alter
of the great god, Thworg,
when we are in the face of
richness beyond measure.

Escape to the stars, if you will,
but answers will be found not
in the vanity of space-time travel,
but here, with this unaided vision
they lie in the green and blue,
right before your disbelieving eyes.

Permit your heart to rule
even if only one day a week, when
the visceral, and the common sense
will sit above logic and intellect, and
that subliminal noise in our head
will slowly rise to the conscious.

Maybe, one day we’ll be
Seven Thousand Million
Poets for Change!
Our time will come. Atonement beckons.
It’s in the wind, this beating heart,
a movement beyond the gaze of mortals …

© 2017 John Anstie, All rights reserved; posted here with John’s permission.  You can visit John at My Poetry Library.

This is John’s tribute to the 100,000 Poets for Change – 100TPC 2017 – movement, which had its annual celebration on 30th September.

POET, WRITER, ARTIST and COLLEGE LIBRARIAN: Corina Ravenscraft on “The Poetic Evolution”

Corina Ravenscraft
Corina Ravenscraft

Poetry moves us. It makes us think, feel, inspires us to do more, be more. It has been here as long as people could speak and sing, and its energy and intention will probably outlast the end of humanity. Like everything in life, it has had to evolve and adapt. One of the main purposes of poetry, to communicate something with someone else, has necessitated new ways of reaching an audience. This is especially true now, in this digital age of instant gratification and social media.

Poetry has learned to deliver its message via video, recorded poetry slams, Skype, flash mob poetry in action…blink and you might miss it. But even if you DO miss it, you can probably find a recording of it somewhere. No longer is it simply written words on an immortal page in some heavy, dusty collection of poetry, or an oral history sung through the ages and generations. There are still formal forms, still meters (or even free form, as even it has a “beat”), still rhymes (or not), still those who will read it and listen to it. Some things about it do not change.

There have been many famous poets who have attempted to define what poetry “is”; the well-known, poetic “greats”, and they all have valid definitions. I tend to agree with one of my favorites, Robert Frost, who said:

“Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.”

To me, poetry is a type of communication that touches the heart and soul.

In honor of (inter)National Poetry Month celebrations, I share a couple of poetic videos with all of you. Both of these “spoke” to me. I hope that you find them as powerful as I did, and maybe that you will look at poetry as more than dry, printed words on a page. It is very much a living thing. And it continues to evolve, just like people do. 🙂

First, is a poem by actor Woody Harrelson.

Next, is a piece by rapper Prince Ea

– Corina Ravenscraft

© 2016, essay and portrait, Corina Ravenscraft, All rights reserved; View The BeZine contributing writer Corina Ravenscraft’s bio HERE; view a comprehensive interview with Corina HERE. Corina’s blog is Dragon’s Dream.