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Poem of the Week: Allowables, by Nikki Giovanni

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ALLOWABLES

 

I killed a spider

Not a murderous brown recluse

Nor even a black widow

And if the truth were told this

Was only a small

Sort of papery spider

Who should have run

When I picked up the book

But she didn’t

And she scared me

And I smashed her

 

I don’t think

I’m allowed

 

To kill something

 

Because I am

 

Frightened

 

 

by Nikki Giovanni, from “Chasing Utopia: A Hybrid,” 2013, William Morrow 

 

 

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Poem of the Week: The Only Portrait of Emily Dickinson by Irene McKinney

fullsizerender-16The Only Portrait of Emily Dickinson by Irene McKinney
The straight neck held up out of the lace
is bound with a black velvet band.
She holds her mouth the way she chooses,
the full underlip constrained by a small muscle.
She doesn’t blink or look aside,
although her left eye is considering
a slant. She would smile
if she had time, but right now
there is composure to be invented.
She stares at the photographer.
The black crepe settles. Emerging
from the sleeve, a shapely hand
holds out a white, translucent blossom.
“They always say things which embarrass
my dog,” she tells the photographer.
She is amused, but not as much as he’d like.
Irene McKinney, “The Only Portrait of Emily Dickinson” from Unthinkable: Selected Poems 1976-2004, Red Hen Press. Copyright © 2009 by Irene McKinney.
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Poem of the week: Discoverers of Chile by Pablo Neruda

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Off the coast of Coronado Island near San Diego, CA.

Discoverers of Chile by Pablo Neruda, translated by Angel Flores

 

From the north Almagro brought his wrinkled lightning,

and over the territory, amid explosion and twilight

he bent day and night as over a chart.

Shadow of thorns, shadow of thistle and wax

the Spaniard united with his dry figure,

watching the wounded strategies of earth.

Night, snow and sand make the form

of my slim fatherland,

all silence is in its long line,

all foam emerges from its marine beard,

all coal fills it with mysterious kisses.

Like an ember, gold burns in its fingers

and silver illumines, like a green moon,

its hardened shadow of grave planet.

The Spaniard seated near the rose, one day,

near the oil, near the wine, near the old sky,

could not conceive this spot of angry stone

rising from the dung of the marine eagle.

 

“Discoverers of Chile” by Pablo Neruda. As published in Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, Volume LXIX, No. 1 (Chicago, October 1946).

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Poem of the Week: Green Pear Tree in September by Freya Manfred

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Green Pear Tree in September
On a hill overlooking the Rock River
my father’s pear tree shimmers,
in perfect peace,
covered with hundreds of ripe pears
with pert tops, plump bottoms,
and long curved leaves.
Until the green-haloed tree
rose up and sang hello,
I had forgotten. . .
He planted it twelve years ago,
when he was seventy-three,
so that in September
he could stroll down
with the sound of the crickets
rising and falling around him,
and stand, naked to the waist,
slightly bent, sucking juice
from a ripe pear.
Poem copyright ©2003 by Freya Manfred.