Saturday, April 18, 2015

See it Through, poetry by Edgar Albert Guest

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Edgar Albert Guest (August 20, 1881 – August 5, 1959, Detroit, Michigan) (aka Eddie Guest) was a prolific English-born American poet who was popular and became known as the People's Poet, in the first half of the 20th century. After he began at the Detroit Free Press as a copy boy and then a reporter, his first poem appeared December 11, 1898. He became a naturalized citizen in 1902.

Guest penned some 11,000 poems which were syndicated in some 300 newspapers and collected in more than 20 books, including A Heap o' Livin' (1916) and Just Folks (1917). For 40 years, Guest was widely read throughout North America, and his sentimental, optimistic poems were in the same vein as the light verse of Nick Kenny, who wrote syndicated columns during the same decades. His popularity led to a weekly Detroit radio show which he hosted from 1931 until 1942, followed by a 1951 NBC television series, A Guest in Your Home. Join us as we celebrate National Poetry Month with the poem, See it Through, by Edgar Albert Guest.

See it Through
By Edgar Albert Guest

When you're up against a trouble, 
Meet it squarely, face to face; 
Lift your chin and set your shoulders,
Plant your feet and take a brace.
When it's vain to try to dodge it,
Do the best that you can do;
You may fail, but you may conquer,
See it through! 
Black may be the clouds about you
And your future may seem grim,
But don't let your nerve desert you;
Keep yourself in fighting trim.
If the worst is bound to happen,
Spite of all that you can do,
Running from it will not save you,
See it through! 

Even hope may seem but futile,
When with troubles you're beset,
But remember you are facing
Just what other men have met.
You may fail, but fall still fighting;
Don't give up, whate'er you do;
Eyes front, head high to the finish.
See it through! 

Friday, April 17, 2015

Woman Work, poetry by Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou (April 4, 1928 – May 28, 2014) was a renowned American poet, writer, civil rights activist, singer, dancer and actress. Born Marguerite Annie Johnson in St. Louis, Missouri, Angelou had one older brother Bailey, Jr. She and Bailey were raised in Stamps, Arkansas by their paternal grandmother, Annie Henderson. For almost five years, young Marguerite became mute because she believed that her voice killed the man who sexually abused and raped her when he was released from prison. Although it was not publicized who murdered him, it was thought that Maya's uncles probably did. During her silence she developed extraordinary memory and a great love for books and literature.

Although she received international recognition and acclaim for her 1969 book, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, she was cited for publishing several books of poetry, three books of essays, seven autobiographies and received dozens of awards and more than 50 honorary degrees. In 1971, Angelou published the Pulitzer Prize nominated volume of poetry, Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water 'Fore I Diiie: The Poetry of Maya Angelou.

To this date, she is one of only 5 poets to read at a presidential inauguration. In January 1993, she recited her poem, On the Pulse of Morning for the inauguration ceremony for President William "Bill" Clinton. Recently, Maya Angelou was honored with a Forever Stamp issued by the U.S. Postal Service. Her voice was an amazing contribution to the literary arts. Angelou died on May 28, 2014. As we celebrate National Poetry Month, please enjoy this poem Woman Work, by Maya Angelou.

Woman Work
By Maya Angelou

I've got the children to tend
The clothes to mend
The floor to mop
The food to shop
Then the chicken to fry
The baby to dry
I got company to feed
The garden to weed
I've got shirts to press
The tots to dress
The can to be cut
I gotta clean up this hut
Then see about the sick
And the cotton to pick.

Shine on me, sunshine
Rain on me, rain
Fall softly, dewdrops
And cool my brow again.

Storm, blow me from here
With your fiercest wind
Let me float across the sky
'Til I can rest again.

Fall gently, snowflakes
Cover me with white
Cold icy kisses and
Let me rest tonight.

Sun, rain, curving sky
Mountain, oceans, leaf and stone
Star shine, moon glow
You're all that I can call my own. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Great Lament Of My Obscurity Three, poetry by Tristan Tzara

Tristan Tzara, Dada Movement, National Poetry Month
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Tristan Tzara (April 16, 1896 – December 25, 1963) was a French avant-garde poet, essayist and performance artist of Romanian Jewish descent. He was born Samuel (Samy) Rosenstock and was best known for being one of the founders and central figures of the anti-establishment Dada movement. Under the influence of Adrian Maniu, the adolescent Tzara became interested in Symbolism and co-founded the magazine Simbolul with Ion Vinea (with whom he also wrote experimental poetry) and painter Marcel Janco.

Tzara is one of the writers of the twentieth century who was most profoundly influenced by symbolism—and utilized many of its methods and ideas in the pursuit of his own artistic and social ends. Literary historian Paul Cernat, however, believed the young poet was by then already breaking with the syntax of conventional poetry, and that, in subsequent experimental pieces, he progressively stripped his style of its Symbolist elements. Among some of his notable works were Vingt-cinq-et-un po√®mes. Dessins de Hans Arp and Seven Dada Manifestos and Lampisteries. In 1961, as recognition for his work as a poet, Tzara was awarded the prestigious Taormina Prize

As we continue to celebrate National Poetry Month and the birthday of this famous poet, please enjoy this poem, The Great Lament Of My Obscurity Three by Tristan Tzara.

The Great Lament Of My Obscurity Three
By Tristan Tzara

where we live the flowers of the clocks catch fire and the plumes encircle the brightness in the distant sulphur morning the cows lick the salt lilies 
my son
my son
let us always shuffle through the colour of the world
which looks bluer than the subway and astronomy
we are too thin
we have no mouth
our legs are stiff and knock together
our faces are formeless like the stars
crystal points without strength burned basilica
mad : the zigzags crack
bite the rigging liquefy
the arc
towards the north through its double fruit
like raw flesh
hunger fire blood 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Oh Love, a poem by Thomas Muriuki

National Poetry Month, Thomas Muriuki, The Pinnacle of Pleasure
Thomas Muriuki, a self-trained web programmer and a literature enthusiast is the author of The Pinnacle of Pleasure. As a student pursuing his BA Degree in English Literature, at Kenyatta University in Nairobi, Kenya, Thomas writes because he is possessed by infinite inspiration. He is an avid reader and his love of continued learning and having the courage to beat the odds of life, is the type of energy that keeps him striving for greatness in his literary and lifelong pursuits.

Muriuki's classic collection of romantic and erotic poetry delivers the emotional aspect of love, then marries it with our sensual appeals in a vivid and provocative style. His erotic poems capture the fantasy to love, to dream of passion and to desire intimacy. The Pinnacle of Pleasure awakens the emotions of endless love in a sizzling twist that leaves readers with mind-blowing imagery of suspense and amusement.

Learn more about Thomas Muriuki by visiting His book can be publised on, CreateSpace and Smashwords. His collection of poetry is also available in the Kindle Edition. In celebration of National Poetry Month, we invite you to read the following poem, Oh Love, by Thomas Muriuki.

Oh Love
By Thomas Muriuki

Love, love
Oh love!
Your love is like the genesis of the mightiest of fresh waters
It flows continuously with vigor and an unmatched rhythm
Its unwavering stamina keeps on up and down its course
Undeterred, strong like the blacksmith’s hammer
I am burning within by its flames

The attraction I feel towards you is heavenly
This, my confession is bound to happen
You are the rainbow of all my admiration
Bestowed with glamour like brightest of all stars
Beauty barely describes your dexterity
Your light illuminates me not even magic compares
You are my home

My affection I promise you
My devotion you have
Sobriety is my altitude
Perfection is my skill

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

On Virtue, poetry by Phillis Wheatley

Phillis Wheatley, National Poetry Month, First published African-American poet
Image Credit: Schomburg Center

Phillis Wheatley (c. 1753 – December 5, 1784), born in West Africa, was the first published professional African-American female and first published African-American poet. She was sold into slavery at the age of seven, and then transported to North America. Purchased by the Wheatley family of Boston, they taught her to read, write and encouraged her poetry. Wheatley was one of the best-known poets in pre-nineteenth-century America. 

Her fame in England and American colonies came through the publication of her Poems on Various Subjects and Religious and Moral (1773). George Washington praised Wheatley's work as well as her master's son, African-American poet Jupiter Hammon sang her praises in his own poem. She was emancipated after the death of her master John Wheatley. she married John Peters and had three children, two of whom proceeded her in death.

As we continue to celebrate National Poetry Month, please enjoy this poem, On Virtue, by Phillis Wheatley.

On Virtue
By Phillis Wheatley  

O Thou bright jewel in my aim I strive
To comprehend thee. Thine own words declare
Wisdom is higher than a fool can reach.
I cease to wonder, and no more attempt
Thine height t’explore, or fathom thy profound.
But, O my soul, sink not into despair,
Virtue is near thee, and with gentle hand
Would now embrace thee, hovers o’er thine head.
Fain would the heav’n-born soul with her converse,
Then seek, then court her for her promis’d bliss.

Auspicious queen, thine heav’nly pinions spread,
And lead celestial Chastity along;
Lo! now her sacred retinue descends,
Array’d in glory from the orbs above.
Attend me, Virtue, thro’ my youthful years!
O leave me not to the false joys of time!
But guide my steps to endless life and bliss.
Greatness, or Goodness, say what I shall call thee,
To give an higher appellation still,
Teach me a better strain, a nobler lay,
O thou, enthron’d with Cherubs in the realms of day!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Lady Lazarus, poetry by Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath, National Poetry Month, Lady Lazarus
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Sylvia Plath (October 27, 1932 – February 11, 1963) was an American poet, novelist, and short-story writer. Before receiving acclaim as a poet and writer, she studied at Smith College and Newnham College at the University of Cambridge. After marrying fellow poet Ted Hughes in 1956, they lived in the United States and then in England. They had two children, Frieda and Nicholas.

Plath is best known for her two published collections of poetry, The Colossus and Other Poems and Ariel. In 1982, she won a posthumous Pulitzer Prize for The Collected Poems. Plath also wrote The Bell Jar, a semi-autobiographical novel published shortly before her death. It is reported that Plath suffered much of her adult life from depression and committed suicide in 1963. She was one of the most dynamic and admired poets of the twentieth century.

"Lady Lazarus" is a poem written by Sylvia Plath, originally collected in the posthumously published volume Ariel and commonly used as an example of her writing style. As we continue this thirteenth day of National Poetry Month, enjoy this poem, from Sylvia Plath.

Lady Lazarus
By Sylvia Plath

I have done it again. 
One year in every ten 
I manage it----- 

A sort of walking miracle, my skin 
Bright as a Nazi lampshade, 
My right foot 

A paperweight, 
My featureless, fine 
Jew linen. 

Peel off the napkin 
O my enemy. 
Do I terrify?------- 

The nose, the eye pits, the full set of teeth? 
The sour breath 
Will vanish in a day. 

Soon, soon the flesh 
The grave cave ate will be 
At home on me 

And I a smiling woman. 
I am only thirty. 
And like the cat I have nine times to die. 

This is Number Three. 
What a trash 
To annihilate each decade. 

What a million filaments. 
The Peanut-crunching crowd 
Shoves in to see 

Them unwrap me hand and foot ------ 
The big strip tease. 
Gentleman , ladies 

These are my hands 
My knees. 
I may be skin and bone, 

Nevertheless, I am the same, identical woman. 
The first time it happened I was ten. 
It was an accident. 

The second time I meant 
To last it out and not come back at all. 
I rocked shut 

As a seashell. 
They had to call and call 
And pick the worms off me like sticky pearls. 

Is an art, like everything else. 
I do it exceptionally well. 

I do it so it feels like hell. 
I do it so it feels real. 
I guess you could say I've a call. 

It's easy enough to do it in a cell. 
It's easy enough to do it and stay put. 
It's the theatrical 

Comeback in broad day 
To the same place, the same face, the same brute 
Amused shout: 

'A miracle!' 
That knocks me out. 
There is a charge 

For the eyeing my scars, there is a charge 
For the hearing of my heart--- 
It really goes. 

And there is a charge, a very large charge 
For a word or a touch 
Or a bit of blood 

Or a piece of my hair on my clothes. 
So, so, Herr Doktor. 
So, Herr Enemy. 

I am your opus, 
I am your valuable, 
The pure gold baby 

That melts to a shriek. 
I turn and burn. 
Do not think I underestimate your great concern. 

Ash, ash--- 
You poke and stir. 
Flesh, bone, there is nothing there---- 

A cake of soap, 
A wedding ring, 
A gold filling. 

Herr God, Herr Lucifer 

Out of the ash 
I rise with my red hair 
And I eat men like air.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

The Floods, poetry by Rudyard Kipling

Rudyard Kipling, The Floods, National Poetry Month
Joseph Rudyard Kipling (December 30, 1865 – January 18, 1936) was an English poet, short-story writer and novelist. He was born in the Bombay Presidency of British India. He wrote tales and poems of British soldiers in India and stories for children.

Kipling's poems include "Mandalay" (1890), "Gunga Din" (1890), "The Gods of the Copybook Headings" (1919), and "If—" (1910). He is regarded as a major innovator in the art of the short story. The death of Kipling's son John has been linked to Kipling's 1916 poem, "My Boy Jack." In 1907, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Kipling travelled throughout South Africa and told stories of these places through his poetry, such as the well known poem "Lichtenberg," which relates the story of a combatant and his journey towards death in a foreign land. His works of fiction include The Jungle Book (1894), Kim (1901), and many short stories, including "The Man Who Would Be King" (1888). As we celebrate National Poetry Month, enjoy this poem, The Floods, by Rudyard Kipling.

The Floods
By Rudyard Kipling

The rain it rains without a stay
In the hills above us, in the hills;
And presently the floods break way
Whose strength is in the hills.
The trees they suck from every cloud,
The valley brooks they roar aloud,
Bank-high for the lowlands, lowlands,
Lowlands under the hills!

The first wood down is sere and small,
From the hills--the brishings off the hills;
And then come by the bats and all
We cut last year in the hills;
And then the roots we tried to cleave
But found too tough and had to leave,
Polting down the lowlands, lowlands,
Lowlands under the hills!

The eye shall look, the ear shall hark
To the hills, the doings in the hills!
And rivers mating in the dark
With tokens from the hills.
Now what is weak will surely go,
And what is strong must prove it so,
Stand Fast in the lowlands, lowlands,
Lowlands under the hills!

The floods they shall not be afraid,
Nor the hills above 'em, nor the hills,
Of any fence which man has made
Betwixt him and the hills.
The waters shall not reckon twice
For any work of man's device,
But bid it down to the lowlands, lowlands,
Lowlands under the hills!

The floods shall sweep corruption clean,
By the hills, the blessing of the hills,
That more the meadows may be green
New-mended from the hills.
The crops and cattle shall increase,
Nor little children shall not cease.
Go plough the lowlands, lowlands,
Lowlands under the hills!