Thursday, July 31, 2008

Love is Not All by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Tennis Couple Kissing, Valentine's Day, Harido
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Love is not all: it is not meat nor drink
Nor slumber nor a roof against the rain;
Nor yet a floating spar to men that sink
And rise and sink and rise and sink again;
Love can not fill the thickened lung with breath,
Nor clean the blood, nor set the fractured bone;
Yet many a man is making friends with death
Even as I speak, for lack of love alone.
It well may be that in a difficult hour,
Pinned down by pain and moaning for release,
Or nagged by want past resolution's power,
I might be driven to sell your love for peace,
Or trade the memory of this night for food.
It well may be. I do not think I would.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Earl's love for Mrs Dorothy May

State Railroad Museum, Old Sacramento, CA
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People ask me how I learned to love my wife so much,
Is it because Earl is my grandfather or maybe just luck?
I watched this illiterate railroad man compose sonnets
and soliloquies so tender that they could rest on the petal of a rose
He spoke his love letters on Fridays after working
on the Kansas City Southern line all day
Promising to never leave and to treat her right
in his garage talking about her til day slowly became night
Words like love, honey, baby, please, seemed out of place
with his back bent and hands calloused from loading cross ties
a coil of rope at his feet, a claw hammer looped at his side
My grandfather could not even write his name, but he could
tell you the exact measurements of a section of track
This man who took the time to gesture so lovingly to
my grandmother, Mrs. Dorothy May, was teaching
a young boy how to love his wife.

-by Kelvin Cook

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

If by Rudyard Kipling

Rudyard Kipling English Writer
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If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on";

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Sonar Techs @ Work or Death From Below

Submarine Seahawk

Submarine Seahawk


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The other submarine's screw blade noise
called to us, like the hum of a queen bee
We had calculated her speed and only
needed to compute the lady's range

Listening for the slightest sound
range rate calculator in hand
Oscilloscopes and spectrum analysers
recreated the sound scape of the ocean

While searching for the enemy
sweat rolled down our faces
as we examined every reverberation
every sound was a clue

And just as quick we whispered "we've got the bitch"
"Bridge, this is Sonar, firing solution to follow
On our mark fire tubes two and three at will"
And now we listen for the impending implosion

- Kelvin Cook

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Forgetfulness by Billy Collins

The name of the author is the first to go followed obediently by the title, the plot, the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel which suddenly becomes one you have never read, never even heard of, as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain, to a little fishing village where there are no phones. Long ago you kissed the names of the nine Muses goodbye and watched the quadratic equation pack its bag, and even now as you memorize the order of the planets, something else is slipping away, a state flower perhaps, the address of an uncle, the capital of Paraguay. Whatever it is you are struggling to remember, it is not poised on the tip of your tongue, not even lurking in some obscure corner of your spleen. It has floated away down a dark mythological river whose name begins with an L as far as you can recall, well on your own way to oblivion where you will join those who have even forgotten how to swim and how to ride a bicycle. No wonder you rise in the middle of the night to look up the date of a famous battle in a book on war. No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted out of a love poem that you used to know by heart.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Muta Baruka Reading "Dis Poem" on Def Poetry Jam

dis poem
by Muta Baruka

dis poem
shall speak of the wretched sea
that washed ships to these shores
of mothers crying for their young
swallowed up by the sea
dis poem shall say nothin new
dis poem shall speak of time
time unlimited
time undefined
dis poem shall call names
names like
haile selassie
dis poem is vex
about apartheid
the klu klux klan
riots in brixton
jim jones
dis poem is revoltin against
first world
second world
third world
manmade decision
dis poem is like all the rest
dis poem will not be amongst great literary works
will not be recited by poetry enthusiasts
will not be quoted by politicians
nor men of religion
dis poem is knives...bombs...guns...
blazing for freedom
yes dis poem is a drum
mau mau
niahbingi warriors
namibia uhuru
dis poem will not change things
dis poem needs to be changed
dis poem is the rebirth of a people arising...awaking...overstanding
...dis poem speak
is speakin...has spoken
dis poem shall continue
even when poets have stoped writing
dis poem shall
it shall linger in history
in your mind
in time....
dis poem is time
only time will tell
dis poem is still not written
dis poem has no poet
dis poem is just a part of the story his-story...her-story...our-story
the story still untold
dis poem is now ringing... talking
making u want to stop it
but dis poem will not stop
dis poem is long
cannot be short
dis poem cannot be tamed
cannot be blamed
the story is still not told about dis poem
dis poem is old
dis poem is copied from
the bible
your prayer book
the new york times
readers digest
the c.i.a. files
the k.g.b. files
dis poem is no secret
dis poem shall be called
dis poem is watchin u
tryin' to make sense from dis poem
dis poem is messin up your brains
makin u want to stop listenin to dis poem
but you shall not stop listenin to dis poem
u need to know what will be said next in dis poem
dis poem shall disappoint u because...
dis poem is to be continue

in your mind...
in your mind...
in your mind...

Friday, July 25, 2008

John Milton - Paradise Lost, Book 1, Lines 221-270

Paradise Lost, Book 1,
Lines 221- 270
by John Milton

Is this the Region, this the Soil, the Clime,
Said then the lost Arch-Angel, this the seat
That we must change for Heav'n, this mournful gloom
For that celestial light? Be it so, since he
Who now is Sovran can dispose and bid
What shall be right: fardest from him is best
Whom reason hath equald, force hath made supream
Above his equals. Farewel happy Fields
Where Joy for ever dwells: Hail horrours, hail
Infernal world, and thou profoundest Hell
Receive thy new Possessor: One who brings
A mind not to be chang'd by Place or Time.
The mind is its own place, and in it self
Can make a Heav'n of Hell, a Hell of Heav'n.
What matter where, if I be still the same,
And what I should be, all but less then he
Whom Thunder hath made greater? Here at least
We shall be free; th' Almighty hath not built
Here for his envy, will not drive us hence:
Here we may reign secure, and in my choyce
To reign is worth ambition though in Hell:
Better to reign in Hell, then serve in Heav'n.
But wherefore let we then our faithful friends,
Th' associates and copartners of our loss
Lye thus astonisht on th' oblivious Pool,
And call them not to share with us their part
In this unhappy Mansion, or once more
With rallied Arms to try what may be yet
Regaind in Heav'n, or what more lost in Hell?

From Wikipedia;
John Milton (December 9, 1608 – November 8, 1674) was an English poet, prose polemicist and civil servant for the Commonwealth of England. Best known for his epic poem Paradise Lost, Milton is also known for his treatise condemning
censorship, Areopagitica.

Very soon after his death (and continuing to the present day) Milton became the subject of partisan biographies, confirming T. S. Eliot's belief that "of no other poet is it so difficult to consider the poetry simply as poetry, without our theological and political dispositions... making unlawful entry".[1] Milton's radical, republican politics and heretical religious views, coupled with the perceived artificiality of his complicated Latinate verse, alienated Eliot and other readers; Samuel Johnson disparaged him as "an acrimonious and surly republican." (It is important to remember that for English people living shortly after the English Revolution, the term "republican" indicated anyone who had opposed the Crown during the Revolution.)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Hey Central

Long Distance Telephone Exchange in London
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Hey Central
Give me ext. 189
Please get
Mrs. F. on that line.

Tell that woman
she better come on
Tell her, her sweet
loving man is on the phone

This is true
It aint no lie
I'm going to love
that woman till she cry

I'ma love her till she
break down and cry
And if I don't, call me
a ball face lie

This is the last thing
I'm going to say
I got to get back to
my angel some day

- Words by Kelvin Cook

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Pablo Neruda Photographic Print

Pablo Neruda Chilean Poet and Diplomat

Digitally Printed on Archival Photographic Paper resulting in vivid, pure color and exceptional detail that is suitable for museum or gallery display.

Pablo Neruda Chilean Poet and Diplomat

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A Couple of Poems by Charles Simic

Here are a couple of poems by Charles Simic from YouTube. I like these because of their simple presentation.


Classic Ball Room Dancing

From Wikipedia;
Charles Simic (IPA: [ˈtʃ​͡ɑːɻls ˈʂimitɕ​͡], born Dušan Simić, May 9, 1938 in Belgrade, Serbia) is a Serbian-American poet and the 15th Poet Laureate of the United States. He is co-Poetry Editor of the Paris Review. Simic is the 2007 recipient of the Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets.

Charles Simic @ Amazon.Com

Monday, July 21, 2008

The day Miss Kimberly Was Born

Miss Kimberly was born on a day the bees ran out of honey,
they needed something beautiful and sweet and just as sunny.

So they buzzed and they buzzed and wondered what could they do,
then they got an idea and off to the flower gardens they flew.

From flower to flower collecting nectar and dew they went,
buzzing right along they prayed that she'd be heaven sent.

And when they had enough they fashioned her into a baby girl,
And that is how Miss Kimberly was born into this world.

* I wrote this poem for my daughter when she was a little girl.

By Kelvin Cook

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Poetry: A Definition

From Wikipedia;
Poetry (from the Greek "ποίησις", poiesis, a "making" or "creating") is a form of literary art in which language is used for its aesthetic and evocative qualities in addition to, or in lieu of, its ostensible meaning. Poetry may be written independently, as discrete poems, or may occur in conjunction with other arts, as in poetic drama, hymns or lyrics.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Kay Ryan Is Appointed U.S. Poet Laureate

The Library of Congress announced Thursday the appointment of Kay Ryan as the 16th Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry for 2008-2009.

The native Californian will take up her duties Oct. 16 by reading her work at the opening of the Library's annual literary series. She also will be a featured guest at the Library of Congress National Book Festival in the Poetry pavilion Sept. 27 on the National Mall.

Read the full store here at

Kay Ryan @

Recent Kay Ryan post @ FitzPoetryBlog

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Pablo Neruda - If You Forget Me - Poem Video

Pablo Neruda (July 12, 1904–September 23, 1973) was the pen name and, later, legal name of the Chilean writer and politician Neftalí Ricardo Reyes Basoalto.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Lord Byron - She Walks In Beauty Video

She Walks In Beauty - Lord Byron

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellow'd to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impair'd the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o'er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling place.

And on that cheek, and o'er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

In the summer of 1814 Lord Byron attended a party and was captured by the beauty of his cousin, Mrs. Wilmot. Mrs Wilmot was in mourning and wearing a black mourning dress. According to his friend, Mr James Webster, "I did take him to Lady Sitwell's party in Seymour Road. He there for the first time saw his cousin, the beautiful Mrs. Wilmot. When we returned to his rooms in Albany, he said little, but desired Fletcher to give him a tumbler of brandy, which he drank at one to Mrs. Wilmot's health, then retired to rest, and was, I heard afterwards, in a sad state all night. The next day he wrote those charming lines upon her—She walks in Beauty like the Night..."

Lord Byron: The Major Works (Oxford World's Classics)
George Gordon Lord Byron English Poet Depicted Here in His Costume as a Greek Patriot
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Monday, July 14, 2008

Dylan Thomas Reading His Poetry

I realy enjoy these two YouTube clips of Dylan Thomas reading his poems. I love his voice.

In My Craft or Sullen Art recited by Dylan Thomas

Dylan Thomas - Do Not Go Gentle

Dylan Thomas@

Friday, July 11, 2008

100 Best-Loved Poems edited by Philip Smith

I love cheap (don't cost a lot of money) books that are packed full of good poetry. 100 Best-Loved Poems (Dover Thrift Editions) edited by Philip Smith is just such a book. There is a sampling for just about every taste. He includes Shakespeare, Byron, Shelley, Keats, Marlowe, Donne, Jonson, Herrick, Milton, Gray, Blake, Burns, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Mr and Mrs Browning, Longfellow, Poe, Whitman, Dickinson, Hardy, Housman, Yeats, Frost, Pound, Millay, Cummings, Auden, Dylan Thomas, and many others.

All told I would say this book is an excellant buy.

It is just the kind of book that a teacher might want to use in an introduction to English literature class. You pretty much get what you would expect. Poems that you probably have heard or read before, poems that speak to the modern reader and that have some connection to the times we live in.

Other similar books;

100 Poems by 100 Poets , compiled by Harold Pinter, Geoffrey Godbert, and Anthony Astbury.

One Hundred and One Famous Poems, compiled by Roy J. Cook in 1927

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Video: Chickens and the Funnies by Kay Ryan

Transcript of this video

I wrote this—well, I'm sure that I was thinking that I had made a lot of very stupid decisions in my life and that I was now suffering the consequences of them having all piled up and come home. This was a very personal poem, I'm sure, when I wrote it, although I like to write personal poems in such a way that nobody has to know that.

"The chickens are circling and blotting out the day." Now that's a really funny thing to say. You know, somebody has written me a letter and told me: "I love your poem 'Home to Roost' but you should know we raise chickens, and you need to know chickens don't really fly."

Home to Roost

The chickens
are circling and
blotting out the
day. The sun is
bright, but the
chickens are in
the way. Yes,
the sky is dark
with chickens,
dense with them.
They turn and
then they turn
again. These
are the chickens
you let loose
one at a time
and small—
various breeds.
Now they have
come home
to roost—all
the same kind
at the same speed.

Carol and I were reading the paper on Sunday morning in bed, and Carol is reading the funnies, and she says in this stricken or awed or something tone, she says: "Kay, read this out loud" and she passes me the funnies. I start reading this cartoon and it is Boondocks and in it, the little brother, who wants to get his bit of the action now and is complaining is smacked down by his big brother, Huey, who uses my poem "Patience" in this cartoon. It was just astonishing. He says: "You know, a poet named Kay Ryan once said, 'Who would have guessed it possible that waiting is sustainable—a place with its own harvests. Or that in time's fullness the diamonds of patience couldn't be distinguished from the genuine in brilliance or hardness.' What do you think that means?" Huey asks Riley. Riley answers: "It means you're a nerd and poetry is stupid."