24
March

The Tiger by William Blake

cartoontiger

The Tiger

By William Blake (1757-1827)

TIGER, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder and what art
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand and what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? What dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And water’d heaven with their tears,
Did He smile His work to see?
Did He who made the lamb make thee?

Tiger, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

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22
March

“We should never fall in love with our words so much that we can’t bear to cut them out from our work.” – Sannel Larson

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22
March

Vacuum by Rick Stephen

vacuum
a space not filled
an emptiness
a void
shaped like you

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21
March

The Sounds of Yore by Rick Stephen

rotary-phoneResearch suggests that smells and sounds are most effective in evoking our memories. It seems to be the case as far as I am concerned. Smells certainly seem to bring forth the most vivid memories but sounds aren’t far behind. Earlier this week, I heard the sound of an old rotary phone ringing. I have no idea how many years it had been since I’d heard that once pervasive sound but it got me thinking.

So many of the common, everyday sounds with which I grew up have vanished or are rarely heard today. This reality prompted my latest poem, The Sounds of Yore. I hope you take a moment to enjoy it. If you’re near my age or older, it’ll be a trip down memory lane. The very young may not be able to relate but in 20 or 30 years they will, believe me!

The Sounds of Yore

There are fond sounds which I no longer hear
sounds from my youth which have grown so dear

sounds that were simply part of life’s soundtrack
but are now memories that I’d like to have back

so bear with me a moment as I reminisce
and recall a few sounds that I so miss

like the gurgle of coffee as it’s percolated
the sound of the brew for which Dad waited

read more …

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20
March

Richard Burton reads “Under Milkwood” by Dylan Thomas

dylan-thomasThere was a day when listening to the spoken word was a common and popular form of entertainment. Before the advent of television, radio and motion pictures, people gathered to hear writers read aloud their tales and poets recite their verses. But these were more than mere a reading of words, the words were enacted. The words were given life in the tones, inflections and dramatic pauses in the voices of the readers. Pace, volume, hesitation and more were part of the craft. Readings were an event and captured the imagination. It was the original form of acting.

Today, stories are enacted before us in complete and graphic detail in glorious HD on the big screen. Little, if anything, is left to the imagination. This is where today’s entertainment falls short as far as I’m concerned. Stories can be more dramatic, more effective if something is left to the imagination. Graphic depiction is overrated. There is something to be said for fading to black at the appropriate scary moment, for intimating the love making, for titillating the imagination and leaving you hanging. Acting often takes a back seat to stunts and special effects. It seems there is precious little serious dramatic acting seen anymore. I believe that goes directly to the lack of great writing being made into scripts these days.

burtonSomeone recently posted this spoken version of Dylan Thomas’ “Under Milkwood” elsewhere. It’s a truly excellent example of what I described above. The recitation is by none other than the great actor, Richard Burton. Listen to his voice, how he uses it, how he doesn’t. This, my friends, is great acting and great entertainment. Enjoy it! I’d really appreciate your comments after you listen. Agree? Disagree? Couldn’t care less? Let me know. Thanks for reading!

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19
March

March 21st is World Poetry Day!

worldpoetrydayEvery year UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) celebrates March 21st as World Poetry Day. UNESCO adopted March 21st as World Poetry Day during their 30th session in Paris back in 1999. It’s been celebrated each year since.

The goal of World Poetry Day is “to support linguistic diversity through poetic expression and to offer endangered languages the opportunity to be heard within their communities. Moreover, this Day is meant to support poetry, return to the oral tradition of poetry recitals, promote teaching poetry, restore a dialogue between poetry and the other arts such as theatre, dance, music, painting and so on, support small publishers and create an attractive image of poetry in the media so that the art of poetry will no longer be considered an outdated form of art but one.”

Issa Poetry truly is a universal language and art form and goes far beyond any single language and culture. There is such wonderful poetry to be found from around the world be it English, Urdu, Hindi, Japanese or whatever. The rich diversity of language and culture is what makes reading poetry such a profound experience. To celebrate World Poetry Day this year, I’ve decided to step out and read the works of a variety of poets from around the world. Fortunately, I don’t have to be able to read their native tongues as many great works have been translated into English. May I suggest you do likewise? Put down the Frost, Dickinson or Shakespeare and read some Omar Khayyam, Jean Cocteau or Kobayashi Issa. Celebrate the true spirit of World Poetry Day!

You can learn more about World Poetry Day and how you can participate by visiting the UN’s World Poetry Day page. The Hindu Business Line website also published this interesting take on World Poetry Day. It’s definitely worth the read.

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14
March

Bee on a Blossom

Bee on a Blossom

Bee on a Blossom
Click image to enlarge
Photo: Rick Stephen - 13-March-2013

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13
March

Sylvia Plath on “Creativity”

sylviaplathquote

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10
March

After the Storm

After the Storm

After the Storm
Click to enlarge image
Photo: Richard Stephen - 08-Mar-2013

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9
March

Highly Subjective Lists of Favorite SoCal Poetry Venues

poetixI found this list on the Poetix website today. I’ve written about Poetix before on this blog and it’s continues to be a great resource for the poetry community in Southern California where I reside. If you live in SoCal or are a visitor and looking for a poetry venue to visit, G. Murray Thomas and Terry McCarty provide their takes on their favorite SoCal poetry venues. I’m sure you’ll find something you’ll enjoy close to you.

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