A Little Tragedy

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The alarm went this morning, early, and the light was gently creeping under the curtains. You were warm beside me and I didn’t want to leave. It made me think of this scene from ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and had I been able to remember the exact words, I would have spoken them to you…

JULIET
Wilt thou be gone? it is not yet near day:
It was the nightingale, and not the lark,
That pierced the fearful hollow of thine ear;
Nightly she sings on yon pomegranate-tree:
Believe me, love, it was the nightingale.

ROMEO
It was the lark, the herald of the morn,
No nightingale: look, love, what envious streaks
Do lace the severing clouds in yonder east:
Night’s candles are burnt out, and jocund day
Stands tiptoe on the misty mountain tops.
I must be gone and live, or stay and die.

JULIET
Yon light is not day-light, I know it, I:
It is some meteor that the sun exhales,
To be to thee this night a torch-bearer,
And light thee on thy way to Mantua:
Therefore stay yet; thou need’st not to be gone.

ROMEO
Let me be ta’en, let me be put to death;
I am content, so thou wilt have it so.
I’ll say yon grey is not the morning’s eye,
‘Tis but the pale reflex of Cynthia’s brow;
Nor that is not the lark, whose notes do beat
The vaulty heaven so high above our heads:
I have more care to stay than will to go:
Come, death, and welcome! Juliet wills it so.
How is’t, my soul? let’s talk; it is not day.F39EDEC7-A7F7-4ACC-A2E0-CCAEDA7DF003.jpeg

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Phenomenal Woman BY MAYA ANGELOU

Because let’s face it, there have been a lot of poems about you and I am also a very beautiful, clever, kind, loving person who, even if they are not told so much, should learn to love themselves…

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.

Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need for my care.
’Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

‘Let’ by Danielle Shorr

This poem is heartbreak on steroids. ‘Let’ by Danielle Shorr  is nothing short of excruciating to read because, well, the truth often hurts, and love often hurts too.

Whilst some of the sentiments may seem extreme; I don’t, for example, believe you can blame someone you love so completely for ruining your life (because it’s totally possible to do that all by yourself,) I do, however, like the uncomfortable juxtaposition the poet creates between the dreamer, who will ‘wait’ patiently hoping that their love isn’t ‘foresaken’ and the realist who knows they are stuck in this vicious cycle of loving ‘without permanence’ and all the things it does to you.

This is a poem to love and loathe. Love it for its honesty, it’s raw and gritty view on love and heartbreak; loathe it for what it reveals about ourselves and the way we can love one another.

 

I knew
From the moment we met
That you were going to ruin my life
And I was going to let you

I knew
When you picked me up
Your arms wrapped around my body
With the intention of holding
That you were going to drop me
More than once
And I was going to let it happen

See the thing is
You could break both of my legs
Shatter my bones
Into a million pieces
And I would still find a way
To come crawling back to you

Knees bloodied,
Hands torn from the pulling
I’ve never been one
For giving up easily

You could effortlessly
Take my heart and crack it open
Drink its contents
Throw the rest away
And I would still somehow attempt
To give you the remains

Call me selfless
But I am used to giving parts of myself
And receiving nothing in return

You could tie my tongue
My lips, my teeth
Split them into surrender
Into a foreign language
And I would still manage
To cough up your name

I have never learned release
Or let go
I only know stay
You could leave
One hundred times
And I would still wait for your return
With patience

Because kissing without permanence
Is like loving without memory
There is no purpose
If there is nothing to come back to
No reason in attempt
If it is bound to be forsaken

You had no intention
Of staying
This was something I knew
From the moment we met

That you were going to leave
And I was going to let you.

Francesca Says More by Olena Kalytiak Davis

When you have time to kill, like when you are doing a Francesca and just casually hanging out in the second circle of hell, it’s amazing what great poems you can happen upon, take this fragmented sonnet by Olena Kalytiak Davis for example. According to Dan Chiasson in his article for thNew Yorker, “her poems feel like quickies, rough liaisons where ‘sex meets books.’” I kind of agree with this poem, and I like it. 

that maiden thump was book on floor, but
does it really matter who kissed who
first or then who decided to go further?
lower? faster? naturally, we took
turns on top. now here, now there, and up
and down…once it started no one even thought to think to stop.
so, we have holes inside our souls,
but mustn’t we begin by filling others’?
god gave us lips and hands and parts
that cannot possibly be saved for prayer. nor by.
i will not name name, claim fame by how well
or who i fucked or why, it happens all the time.
and it’s you, white pilgrim, whom next galehot seeks.
fuck. we didn’t read again for weeks.

Mad Girl’s Love Song by Sylvia Plath

It’s been a Sylvia Plath kind of day and so I move from one female poetic genius to another, but I shan’t try to change this one.

 

“I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead;
I lift my lids and all is born again.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

The stars go waltzing out in blue and red,
And arbitrary blackness gallops in:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I dreamed that you bewitched me into bed
And sung me moon-struck, kissed me quite insane.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

God topples from the sky, hell’s fires fade:
Exit seraphim and Satan’s men:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I fancied you’d return the way you said,
But I grow old and I forget your name.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

I should have loved a thunderbird instead;
At least when spring comes they roar back again.
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)”

I’m Sorry Elizabeth

Sometimes you need a bit of help with the words…particularly when it’s hard to put just how you feel into words! So thank you EBB. I can only apologise for the butchery of this beautiful poem.

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How do I love you? I couldn’t count the ways.
There is no depth or breadth or height
To my love for you when out of sight,
Only being. Only grace.
I try, and fail, to love you to the level of your everyday’s
Most quiet need, from sun rise to sun spent.
I love you, not freely but, with abandonment,
Not purely, but wickedly, as I wait for your praise.
I love you with the passionate grief,
Of my childhood’s broken faith,
The more than love, I seemed to lose like belief
With my lost saints – I love you,
Not only with the breath, smiles, tears, of all my strife–
But in every silent space and, if you choose,
I shall but love you forever, beyond death, beyond life

Petals

 

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Morning;
The heavy lightness of sunshine
Opens dark eyes that cannot see. You
Are not here
And my heart is caught up in the gauzy ghost of a summer breeze,
Then scattered like petals
To fall where you might tread.

‘The Present’ by Michael Donaghy

For the present there is just one moon,
though every level pond gives back another.

But the bright disc shining in the black lagoon,
perceived by astrophysicist and lover,

is milliseconds old. And even that light’s
seven minutes older than its source.

And the stars we think we see on moonless nights
are long extinguished. And, of course,

this very moment, as you read this line,
is literally gone before you know it.

Forget the here-and-now. We have no time
but this device of wantonness and wit.

Make me this present then: your hand in mine,
and we’ll live out our lives in it.