Welsh History

We were a people taut for war; the hills
Were no harder, the thin grass
Clothed them more warmly than the coarse
Shirts our small bones.
We fought, and were always in retreat,
Like snow thawing upon the slopes
Of Mynydd Mawr; and yet the stranger
Never found our ultimate stand
In the thick woods, declaiming verse
To the sharp prompting of the harp.
Our kings died, or they were slain
By the old treachery at the ford.
Our bards perished, driven from the halls
Of nobles by the thorn and bramble.


We Refugees

I come from a musical place
Where they shoot me for my song
And my brother has been tortured
By my brother in my land.

I come from a beautiful place
Where they hate my shade of skin
They don't like the way I pray
And they ban free poetry.

I come from a beautiful place
Where girls cannot go to school
There you are told what to believe
And even young boys must grow beards.

I come from a great old forest
I think it is now a field
And the people I once knew
Are not there now.


We are Transmitters

As we live, we are transmitters of life.
And when we fail to transmit life, life fails to flow through us.

That is part of the mystery of sex, it is a flow onwards.
Sexless people transmit nothing.

And if, as we work, we can transmit life into our work,
life, still more life, rushes into us to compensate, to be ready
and we ripple with life through the days.

Even if it is a woman making an apple dumpling, or a man a stool,
if life goes into the pudding, good is the pudding
good is the stool,


We Are Many

Of the many men whom I am, whom we are,
I cannot settle on a single one.
They are lost to me under the cover of clothing
They have departed for another city.

When everything seems to be set
to show me off as a man of intelligence,
the fool I keep concealed on my person
takes over my talk and occupies my mouth.

On other occasions, I am dozing in the midst
of people of some distinction,
and when I summon my courageous self,
a coward completely unknown to me
swaddles my poor skeleton


Washington and Lincoln

Come, happy people! Oh come let us tell
The story of Washinton and Lincoln!
History's pages can never excel
The story of Washington and Lincoln.
Down through the ages an anthem shall go,
Bearing the honors we gladly bestow--
Till every nation and language shall know
The story of Washington and Lincoln:

Who gave us independence,
On our continent and sea
Who saved the glorious Union!
And set a people free!
This is the story--
Oh happy are we--
The story of Washington and Lincoln.


Waiting for the Barbarians

What are we waiting for, assembled in the forum?

The barbarians are due here today.
Why isn't anything happening in the senate?
Why do the senators sit there without legislating?

Because the barbarians are coming today.
What laws can the senators make now?
Once the barbarians are here, they'll do the legislating.
Why did our emperor get up so early,
and why is he sitting at the city's main gate
on his throne, in state, wearing the crown?

Because the barbarians are coming today


Wail

Love has gone a-rocketing.
That is not the worst;
I could do without the thing,
And not be the first.

Joy has gone the way it came.
That is nothing new;
I could get along the same, --
Many people do.

Dig for me the narrow bed,
Now I am bereft.
All my pretty hates are dead,
And what have I left?


Virginity

My mother she had children five and four are dead and gone;
While I, least worthy to survive, persist in living on.
She looks at me, I must confess, sometimes with spite and bitterness.

My mother is three-score and ten, while I am forty-three,
You don't know how it hurts me when we go somewhere to tea,
And people tell her on the sly we look like sisters, she and I.

It hurts to see her secret glee; but most, because it's true.
Sometimes I think she thinks that she looks younger of the two.


Vive Anarchy

With the lifting of the curtain,
Distance, dim, but grimly certain,
Breaks my vision of a city, populous and great,
To my senses, sorrow-sated,
Senses sad and satiated, Faintly comes the thunder peal of treasured wrong and hate
Broken down,
Beaten down,
By awakened people and the iron arm of Fate.
Pallid forms, by famine shrunken,
Helots, harlots, ribald, drunken,
Wine and blood-wet, onward thro' the torchlit highways sweep,
Through a city disunited,
Through a city flame ignited,


Villanelle Of Spring Bells

Bells in the town alight with spring
converse, with a concordance of new airs
make clear the fresh and ancient sound they sing.

People emerge from winter to hear them ring,
children glitter with mischief and the blind man hears
bells in the town alight with spring.

Even he on his eyes feels the caressing
finger of Persephone, and her voice escaped from tears
make clear the fresh and ancient sound they sing.

Bird feels the enchantment of his wing
and in ten fine notes dispels twenty cares.


Pages

Subscribe to RSS - people