A few weeks ago, after featuring actor Bill Murray’s passion for poetry, we asked you to send us your favorite poems. Kurt calls up a few listeners -– including a surprise celebrity listener -- to tell us theirs.
My favorite poem comes directly of off my fridge:
The robe that I bought youwas new six years ago,the terry thick like a shag carpet coatfor Bay Area mornings.
Now your brown thigh is revealedwith every other step, as you cross to the beg,as I watch you walk near,as you catch my eye with a smile,and pull free the loose know
To cover us both with the frayed, thread-bare clothof the robe that I bought you.
I was recently introduced to Stanley Kunitz' poem "The Layers". My 100 yr old grandfather was dying when I learned of the poem, but I wasn't aware that he was in hospice. Hours before he died, I asked my aunt to read him this very special poem about transformation.
One of my favorite poems I read in the 2nd grade. I think of it every fall and plan to share it wil my sons when they are old enough.It is "When the frost is on the punkin'" by James Whitcomb Riley.
Thanks for a great show every week. I podcast in via iTunes and listen while at work. I love the range of topics and the interesting people you have on the show.
I remember almost all the lyrics to Guantanamera. I think it is the only Spanish song I know by heart.It is that rarest of songs - a true marriage of lyric and beautiful lingering melody.
The caller was right. I have never seen or heard an English version (not a translation but an English "lyric") that even comes close to really capturing the original essence of the song,
Lynn in Fargo (who loves Pete Seeger too)
Here is a favorite poem of mine -- the one that immediately came to my mind when I heard your show tonight. I first found it in a midwifery manual, a particularly apt setting. I realized that I became a conscientious objector to war when my daughter was born. She is now pregnant for the first time -- with twins.
Conscientious Objectorby Edna St Vincent Millay
I shall die, but that is all that I shall do for Death.I hear him leading his horse out of the stall; I hear the clatter on the barn-floor.He is in haste; he has business in Cuba,business in the Balkans, many calls to make this morning.But I will not hold the bridlewhile he clinches the girth.And he may mount by himself: I will not give him a leg up.
Though he flick my shoulders with his whip,I will not tell him which way the fox ran.With his hoof on my breast, I will not tell him where the black boy hides in the swamp.I shall die, but that is all that I shall do for Death;I am not on his pay-roll.
I will not tell him the whereabout of my friends nor of my enemies either.Though he promise me much, I will not map him the route to any man's door.Am I a spy in the land of the living,that I should deliver men to Death?Brother, the password and the plans of our city are safe with me; never through me Shall you be overcome.
I am an avid poetry reader and for that reason I can not simply pick a favorite poem but I have one poem which I find myself thinking hard about often. The poem is found in Willis Barnstone's anthology of European Poetry titled Modern European Poetry. It is one of my favorite books of poetry. The poem to which I refer is called The Bad Merchants by Demetrius Antoniou. Below is the text.
The Bad MerchantsLord, we were simple men,we sold merchandise(and our souls were materialno one bought).We did not fix prices according to the selvagemeasurements were exact by yard and inchwe never sold remnants at half-price.This was our sin.
We dealt only in merchandise of qualitya small corner in life was all we wantedthe precious things in life take little room.Now with the same rule by which we measured,measure Thou us. We have not enlarged our premises.Lord, we were bad merchants.
I also enjoy the Latin American poets especially Jorge Guillen. Thank you, George
In this week's "Poetry from the People" a caller cited revolutionary Jose Marti's poem beginning "Yo soy un hombre sincero", from his "Versos Sencillos". I was surprised there was no mention that this poem became the Cuban folk song "Guantanamera", adapted and immortalized by another revolutionary, Pete Seeger, during the Cuban missile crisis in the 60's. It continues to be popular worldwide. Pete will be 90 next May and is still going strong. Viva Pete!
There is something about poetry that quietly , but unerringly, captures our hearts and minds as somehow expressive of a divine truth...
It isn't merely the lyrical quality of the words...although "the music is sweet, the words are true " .... There is the affirmation of a hope eternal that we are, or can be at peace...and one with the Universe...and its Creator...."a promised kiss of springtime that lingers on the brink of a lovely song"
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