On Poetry

“Words are the Model, Words are the Tools, Words are the Boards, Words are the Nails.” – Richard Rhodes

“Poetry isn’t a profession, it’s a way of life. It’s an empty basket; you put your life into it and make something out of that.” –Mary Oliver

Enjoy these poems…read them quietly, read them aloud, share them, use them for teaching/motivation:

This is one of my favorite poems by Langston Hughes:

Mother to Son

Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor—
Bare.
But all the time
I’se been a-climbin’ on,
And reachin’ landin’s,
And turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’t been no light.
So, boy, don’t you turn back.
Don’t you set down on the steps.
‘Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now—
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

Ducks At Peace

By Hal Sirowitz

I’d like to take my family to the lake,

Father said, so they could see how well

the animal & fish kingdoms get along.

You hardly ever see ducks fighting.

If they do, it’s done in private.

We should follow their example,

& not air our dirty laundry in public.

That was what I told your mother

at the restaurant, that she should

save her complaints for when we

get home. She said she had already

complained there. She was hoping

she’d get better results if she changed locations.

AGAINST BORDERS

by Yevgeny Yevtushenko

All these borders—
they
bug me! Nothing
do I know
of Buenos Aires , or
New York
–and I should
know! I should be able to go
to London
and walk around,
and talk to the people,
even if I can’t talk so good,
just walking
around. Like a little kid
I want to ride a bus
through Paris
some morning,
and I want an art
that is something
else, is an exciting sound—
like myself!

Those Winter Sundays

by Robert Hayden

Sundays too my father got up early

and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,

then with cracked hands that ached

from labor in the weekday weather made

banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.

 

I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.

When the rooms were warm, he’d call,

and slowly I would rise and dress,

fearing the chronic angers of that house,

Speaking indifferently to him,

who had driven out the cold

and polished my good shoes as well.

What did I know, what did I know

of love’s austere and lonely offices?

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