Category Archives: Poetry

Tears, Idle Tears

Tears, Idle Tears
Lord Alfred Tennyson, 1809 – 1892

Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean,
Tears from the depth of some divine despair
Rise in the heart, and gather to the eyes,
In looking on the happy autumn-fields,
And thinking of the days that are no more.

Fresh as the first beam glittering on a sail,
That brings our friends up from the underworld,
Sad as the last which reddens over one
That sinks with all we love below the verge;
So sad, so fresh, the days that are no more.

Ah, sad and strange as in dark summer dawns
The earliest pipe of half-awakened birds
To dying ears, when unto dying eyes
The casement slowly grows a glimmering square;
So sad, so strange, the days that are no more.

Dear as remembered kisses after death,
And sweet as those by hopeless fancy feigned
On lips that are for others; deep as love,
Deep as first love, and wild with all regret;
O Death in Life, the days that are no more!


Alabama 

Alabama, Alabama,
We will aye be true to thee,
From thy Southern shore where groweth,
By the sea thine orange tree.
To thy Northern vale where floweth
Deep and blue thy Tennessee.
Alabama, Alabama
We will aye be true to thee!

VERSE 2

Broad the Stream whose name thou bearest;
Grand thy Bigbee rolls along;
Fair thy Coosa – Tallapoosa
Bold thy Warrior, dark and strong.
Goodlier than the land that Moses
Climbed lone Nebo’s Mount to see
Alabama, Alabama,
We will aye be true to thee!

VERSE 3

From thy praries broad and fertile,
Where thy snow – white cotton shines.
To the hills where coal and iron
Hide in thy exhaustless mines.
Strong – armed miners – sturdy farmers:
Loyal hearts what’er we be.
Alabama, Alabama,
We will aye be true to thee!

VERSE 4

From the quarries where the marble
White as that of Paros gleams
Waiting till thy sculptor’s chisel,
Wake to like thy poet’s dream;
For not only wealth of nature,
Wealth of mind hast thou to fee.
Alabama, Alabama,
We will aye be true to thee!

VERSE 5

Where the perfumed south – wind whispers,
Thy magnolia groves among,
Softer than a mother’s kisses
Sweeter than a mother’s song;
Where the golden jasmine trailing,
Woos the treasure – laden bee,
Alabama, Alabama,
We will aye be true to thee!

VERSE 6

Brave and pure thy men and women,
Better this than corn and wine,
Make us worthy, God in Heaven,
Of this goodly land of Thine;
Hearts as open as our doorways,
Liberal hands and spirits free,
Alabama, Alabama,
We will aye be true to thee!

VERSE 7

Little, little, can I give thee,
Alabama, mother mine;
But that little — hand, brain, spirit,
All I have and am are thine.
Take, O take the gift and giver.
Take and serve thyself with me,
Alabama, Alabama,
I will aye be true to thee.

“Alabama,” words by Julia S. Tutwiler and music by Edna Gockel Gussen, was designated the official state song of the state of Alabama in 1931. 

Alabama will always be my home, no matter where I live. I was sadden to see it’s name dragged through the mud yet again yesterday. Governor Robert Bentley, the Luv Guv, resigned as governor over more than just a sexting scandal. It is what he did to try and cover up the scandal that ultimately proved his downfall. In the past year the three highest ranking Republicans in Alabama, Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard was convicted of corruption and removed from office, Chief Justice Roy Moore was removed from office for defying a federal court order over same-sex marriage, and now Governor Robert Bentley has been removed for corruption charges. Only in Alabama would an Acting Chief Justice have to swear in the Lt. Governor as the new Governor. Alabama now has her second female governor, Kay Ivey. If Ivey lives up to the grandness of Lurleen Wallace who turned out to be more than a puppet of her husband, George Wallace, then Alabama may have some redemption. However, Ivey should have never become governor. She does not have the wherewithal to hold the office and rumors of her dementia have been widespread in the state. The saddest part of all is that this should be the downfall of the Alabama Republican Party, yet Alabama will always be a one party state. At one time that was the Democratic Party, but now the Republicans have taken over and I’m afraid that the people in Alabama are not smart enough to see it as the party of corruption that it is. There’s even rumors that the next governor will either be a woman bought and paid for by Alabama Power, the state’s largest electric company, or it might just be Roy Moore. I can’t explain how overwhelmingly sad all this is for me.


My Church

I’ve cussed on a Sunday
I’ve cheated and I’ve lied
I’ve fallen down from grace
A few too many times
But I find holy redemption
When I put this car in drive
Roll the windows down and turn up the dial

Can I get a hallelujah
Can I get an amen
Feels like the Holy Ghost running through ya
When I play the highway FM
I find my soul revival
Singing every single verse
Yeah I guess that’s my church

When Hank brings the sermon
And Cash leads the choir
It gets my cold cold heart burning
Hotter than a ring of fire
When this wonderful world gets heavy
And I need to find my escape
I just keep the wheels rolling, radio scrolling
‘Til my sins wash away

Can I get a hallelujah
Can I get an amen
Feels like the Holy Ghost running through ya
When I play the highway FM
I find my soul revival
Singing every single verse
Yeah I guess that’s my church

Can I get a hallelujah
Can I get an amen
Feels like the Holy Ghost running through ya
When I play the highway FM
I find my soul revival
Singing every single verse

Yeah I guess that’s my church
Can I get a hallelujah
Can I get an amen
Feels like the Holy Ghost running through ya
When I play the highway FM
I find my soul revival
Singing every single verse
Yeah I guess that’s my church
Yeah I guess that’s my church
Yeah I guess that’s my church

“My Church” is a song by American country music singer Maren Morris. It was released in January 2016 as her debut single and serves as the lead single from her debut studio album, Hero (2016). Morris co-wrote and co-produced the song with busbee. The song won the award for Best Country Solo Performance and was nominated for Best Country Song at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards.

The church in the song is used figuratively to describe the sanctuary that she feels is her car when she plays music on the Highway FM radio while driving. The song refers to listening to country icons like Johnny Cash and Hank Williams and is about “the simple joy that comes with turning up the volume, rolling down the windows and singing along to the radio at 65 miles an hour.” She compares the experience to a church revival, saying, “Yeah, I guess that’s my church.” She co-wrote and co-produced the single with busbee.


Dead Leaves

Dead Leaves
By Georgia Douglas Johnson

The breaking dead leaves ’neath my feet
A plaintive melody repeat,
Recalling shattered hopes that lie
As relics of a bygone sky.

Again I thread the mazy past,
Back where the mounds are scattered fast—
Oh! foolish tears, why do you start,
To break of dead leaves in the heart?


Bells in the Rain

Bells in the Rain
By Elinor Wylie

Sleep falls, with limpid drops of rain,
Upon the steep cliffs of the town.
Sleep falls; men are at peace again
While the small drops fall softly down.

The bright drops ring like bells of glass
Thinned by the wind; and lightly blown;
Sleep cannot fall on peaceful grass
So softly as it falls on stone.

Peace falls unheeded on the dead
Asleep; they have had deep peace to drink;
Upon a live man’s bloody head
It falls most tenderly, I think.


Adolescence 

Adolescence
By Claude McKay

There was a time when in late afternoon
The four-o’clocks would fold up at day’s close
Pink-white in prayer, and ’neath the floating moon
I lay with them in calm and sweet repose.

And in the open spaces I could sleep,
Half-naked to the shining worlds above;
Peace came with sleep and sleep was long and deep,
Gained without effort, sweet like early love.

But now no balm—nor drug nor weed nor wine—
Can bring true rest to cool my body’s fever,
Nor sweeten in my mouth the acid brine,
That salts my choicest drink and will forever.

Analysis by Juan Pablo

Adolescence is the story of how the narrator is looking back, reflecting on life and the past. This is noted in line 1, “There was time …”. The narrator is looking back at his adolescent days remembering the things he used to do; such as in lines 5 and 6, “And in open space I could sleep, Half-naked to the shining worlds above”. The narrator then confesses to us that now that they are older and mature, the substances that the narrator once used to cope with the pain or grief (line 9, “no balm–nor drug nor weed nor wine- Can bring true rest to cool my body’s fever,”) thus implying that the narrator realized that substance abuse does not help people with their problem. This poem is about coming of age and realization of past mistakes. The author also used rhyme every other line; for example, afternoon and floating moon. The author used an ABAB rhyme scheme.


Art

Art
Erika Jo Brown

Not many passions take your pants off—
painting with oils, reading in the afternoon,
other people’s bodies. I want to really
say something here. I want to be clear.

But just as no two people see the same
colors, what you hear is not what I’m
saying. Not conversations as much as
serial misunderstandings, proximate
in space. One considers the dictionary
definition of “man.” One considers
the definition of “woman.” One considers
arm hair, soft spaces on a hot body.

The obsessive heat-seeking quality of
attraction. The paint on my pinkie is for
you—a little poison, a little turpentine.
The snaggletooth I want to stick my
tongue into. This is pigment from a rock,
this is pigment from a bug, this is pigment
from a bleeding heart, and this is jeopardy.

Passion brought me here, but passion
cannot save me. To mix linseed and
varnish, to create something is to vanish
what was there before. Chroma for fastness,
chemistry tricks. Such bold strokes in
erasing and framing delicate beginnings.

About This Poem

“During an artist residency in Vermont, I observed the precautions that painters and sculptors took before handling their materials, including switching out of street clothes into studio ensembles. I wrote this about a month before my wedding. Romance was in the air, as were toxic fumes—same thing, no?”
—Erika Jo Brown


To Sleep 

To Sleep
By John Keats

O soft embalmer of the still midnight!
Shutting with careful fingers and benign
Our gloom-pleased eyes, embower’d from the light,
Enshaded in forgetfulness divine;
O soothest Sleep! if so it please thee, close,
In midst of this thine hymn, my willing eyes,
Or wait the amen, ere thy poppy throws
Around my bed its lulling charities;
Then save me, or the passèd day will shine
Upon my pillow, breeding many woes;
Save me from curious conscience, that still lords
Its strength for darkness, burrowing like a mole;
Turn the key deftly in the oilèd wards,
And seal the hushèd casket of my soul.


Protest

Protest
By Ella Wheeler Wilcox

To sin by silence, when we should protest,
Makes cowards out of men. The human race
Has climbed on protest. Had no voice been raised
Against injustice, ignorance, and lust,
The inquisition yet would serve the law,
And guillotines decide our least disputes.
The few who dare, must speak and speak again
To right the wrongs of many. Speech, thank God,
No vested power in this great day and land
Can gag or throttle. Press and voice may cry
Loud disapproval of existing ills;
May criticise oppression and condemn
The lawlessness of wealth-protecting laws
That let the children and childbearers toil
To purchase ease for idle millionaires.

Therefore I do protest against the boast
Of independence in this mighty land.
Call no chain strong, which holds one rusted link.
Call no land free, that holds one fettered slave.
Until the manacled slim wrists of babes
Are loosed to toss in childish sport and glee,
Until the mother bears no burden, save
The precious one beneath her heart, until
God’s soil is rescued from the clutch of greed
And given back to labor, let no man
Call this the land of freedom.


My Funny Valentine 

My funny valentine
Sweet comic valentine
You make me smile with my heart
Your looks are laughable
Unphotographable
Yet you’re my favorite work of art

Is your Figure less than Greek?
Is your mouth a little weak?
When you open it to speak
Are you smart?

But don’t change a hair for me
Not if you care for me
Stay little valentine stay
Each day is Valentines day

Is your figure less than Greek
Is your mouth a little weak
When you open it to Speak
Are you smart?

But don’t change a hair for me
Not if you care for me
Stay little valentine stay
Each day is valentines day.

“My Funny Valentine” is a show tune from the 1937 Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart musical Babes in Arms in which it was introduced by former child star Mitzi Green. The song became a popular jazz standard, appearing on over 1300 albums performed by over 600 artists. In 2015 it was announced that the Gerry Mulligan quartet featuring Chet Baker’s version of the song was inducted into the Library of Congress’s National Recording Registry for the song’s “cultural, artistic and/or historical significance to American society and the nation’s audio legacy”.


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