- Music Video: Celebration by Kool & The Gang
- Poem: won’t you celebrate with me By Lucille Clifton
won’t you celebrate with mewhat i have shaped intoa kind of life? i had no model.born in babylonboth nonwhite and womanwhat did i see to be except myself?i made it uphere on this bridge betweenstarshine and clay,my one hand holding tightmy other hand; come celebratewith me that everydaysomething has tried to kill meand has failed.
- Music Video: As We Enter by Nas & Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley
- Poem: Enter the Void By Juan Felipe Herrera
I enter the void,it has the shape of a viola:Israel, Jenin, West Bank, Nablus—a rubble boyshifts his scapula as if it was his continent, undergroundGazaground, I want to say—his only bone,the rubble boy is a girl, I think,her hair tossed, knotted and torn underthe green shank of fibers, tubes and shells.She digs for her rubble father, I say rubblebecause it is indistinguishable from ice, fire, dust,clay, flesh, tears, concrete, bread, lungs, pubis, god,say rubble, say water—the rubble girl digs for her rubble mother,occupation—disinheritance—once again,I had written this somewhere, in a workshop, I think,yes, it was an afternoon of dark poets with leaves, coffeeand music in the liquor light room.A rock, perhaps it’s a rock, juts out, two rocksembrace each other, the shapes come to me easily,an old poetic reflex—memoria, a nation underground,that is it, the nation under-ground,that is why the rocks cover it.I forget to mention the blasts, so many things flying,light, existence, the house in tins, a mother in rags.It is too cold to expose her tiny legs,the fish-shaped back—you must take these notes for me.Before you go. See thisundulateextendbeyondthe pools of blood.I ride the night, past the Yukon, pastSouth Laredo, past Odessa, past the Ukraine,old Jaffa, Haifa and Istanbul, across clouds,hesitant and porous, listen—they are porous so we can glideinto them, this underbelly, this underground:wound-mothers and sobbing fathers, theyleave, in their ribboned flesh, shores lispagainst nothingness, open—toward you,they dissolve again into my shoes—Hear the dust gong:gendarme passports,cloned maize men in C-130’s, with tearsbubbling on their hands, pebblesen route—we are all en routeto the rubblelands.I want to chant a bliss mantra—Prajnaparamitacan you hear me?I want to call for the dragon-slayer omchild.I am on my knees again.On the West Bank countthe waves of skull debris—a Hebrew letterfor “love” refuses me,an Arabic letter for “boundary”acknowledges me.Sit on an embankment,a dust fleece, there is a tidal wave ahead of me.It will never reach me. I live underground, under the Dead Sea,under the benevolent rocks and forearms andmortar shells and slender naked red greentorsos, black,so much black.En route:this could be a train, listen:it derails into a cloud.
- News Blog: Pakistani Pashtun Poets Restore Their Craft Amidst Massive Migration
- Poem: Consolation By Robert Louis Stevenson
Though he, that ever kind and true,Kept stoutly step by step with you,Your whole long, gusty lifetime through,Be gone a while before,Be now a moment gone before,Yet, doubt not, soon the seasons shall restoreYour friend to you.He has but turned the corner — stillHe pushes on with right good will,Through mire and marsh, by heugh and hill,That self-same arduous way —That self-same upland, hopeful way,That you and he through many a doubtful dayAttempted still.He is not dead, this friend — not dead,But in the path we mortals treadGot some few, trifling steps aheadAnd nearer to the end;So that you too, once past the bend,Shall meet again, as face to face, this friendYou fancy dead.Push gaily on, strong heart! The whileYou travel forward mile by mile,He loiters with a backward smileTill you can overtake,And strains his eyes to search his wake,Or whistling, as he sees you through the brake,Waits on a stile.
- Music Video: Revive’s Blink
We have cried often when we have given them the little victualling we
had to give them; we had to shake them, and they have fallen to sleep
with the victuals in their mouths many a time.
(parent of children working at a textile mill, to an
1832 Parliamentary inquiry into child employment)1.They cry for children too tired to cry for themselves,daughters twelve, eleven, eight—eyesshutting down as a grate’s banked coals shut downat midnight, in the rising damp called ‘home.’Too tired to eat after eighteen hours feedinglooms whose steel teeth grind insatiably,the girls will be offered up again at dawn.Yet they are the lucky ones, to work where skylightshold swatches of the unaffordable blue.Imagine these girls’ mine-trapped cousins, haulingblack rocks on sledges up tunnels of black air:half-undressed, belted, harnessed, saturatedwith the oil-blackened water they crawl throughpumping ‘the lifeblood of British industry.’Flogged for talking, Margaret Comeley, agednine, can sometimes close her mouth arounda piece of muffin—if she managesto keep it from the rats, ‘so ravenousthey eat the corks out of our oil-flasks.’Sarah Gooder fills her mouth with song‘when I’ve light, but not in the dark; I dare not then.’2.Here is a working girl so filled with lightshe is pure song: her sun-bright bodice shinesin counterpoint with her blue overskirt,and, from her forehead’s crescent of white linen,tapering light blazes a white pathdown arms and wrists to folds of spread blue cloth,like moonlight piloting the tide’s refrains.A Dutch milkmaid, Tanneke Everpoel,lucky enough to live in the Delft housewhere Vermeer’s eye and brush could catch the spillof morning light as her brief peacefulnessbrimmed over, serves here as a celebrant—bread heaped up on the altar-like table,wine transubstantiated into milkwhose brilliance seems the source of the room’s lightshe pours forever from the earthenware’sblack core. His pose; yet—all hers—underneath it(and signalled in her fixed eyes’ unconcernfor the beholder) such complete immersionin what she does, that she is all she doesand it is she, this offering-up of day.And he? When he was forty, the Sun Kinginvaded Holland. No one wanted art.In debt to his baker for three years’ worth of bread,Vermeer, according to his widow, falling‘into a frenzy,’ passed ‘from being healthy’in ‘a day or a day and a half … to being dead,’‘the very great burden of his children … so taken to heart.’3.Knowing the earth is closer to the sunin winter won’t revive the street personsleeping towards cold death in a bus shelter.Bread in a painting won’t cure stomach ache.So Margaret dragged her great burden of coalwhile Sarah sat terrified in the dark,and neither knew Vermeer’s poised working girl,broke bread with her, shared her breaking light.The painting stood by, helpless to save themor him, and looking at it now cannothelp anyone. Yet, it can cry for them,as parents take their children’s grief to heart:the beads of salt, shimmering on the breadlike diamonds, can be tears the two girls sheddown where no light sang their preciousness.The cradled pitcher’s brim can be their hearth,since it (and not the sky’s cold mine of stars)pours out what cannot shelter us, but feedsa hunger no daily bread can fill: for light—light that, like coal, comes from our earth; hungerthat, unlike grief, is inexhaustible.
- Music Video: Skillet – The Resistance // Suicide Squad // Music Video
- Poem: Comings and Goings By Glenna Luschei
In Tucsonwhen a university studentgoes homeshe might leave her deskand a chair, a bookcase outside her cavewith a sign, “Take me.”And who could resistheat radiating over furniturelike a mirage? You hoistan old Victrola into your pickupand ratchet up a new song.You start that life in the West,invent a past, and when that tunewinds down, it’s okay to put out,“Take me.”What do we have in lifebut comings and goings?
- Music Video: Be A Witness by All State Choir TN
- Poem: ICC Kenya Trials: Witness By Shailja Patel
was it so I could
across a courtroom
that man, the one
was it so you could
walk among us again
as if you had shed
the body that did
was it because you could
my pupils so huge
they would have swallowed you
my whites like flayed kneecaps
when you pressed down
to singe them back
into my skull they were softer
than you expected
you had thought them
weapons turned on you
was it so you could
imagine a time
when you would be human
again among humans
that you had to leave
some of us
- Video: 93-yo Man Sings to Wife
- Poem: Grief By Barbara Crooker
is a river you wade in until you get to the other side.But I am here, stuck in the middle, water partingaround my ankles, moving downstreamover the flat rocks. I’m not able to lift a foot,move on. Instead, I’m going to stay herein the shallows with my sorrow, nurture itlike a cranky baby, rock it in my arms.I don’t want it to grow up, go to school, get married.It’s mine. Yes, the October sunlight wraps mein its yellow shawl, and the air is sweetas a golden Tokay. On the other side,there are apples, grapes, walnuts,and the rocks are warm from the sun.But I’m going to stand here,growing colder, until every inchof my skin is numb. I can’t cross over.Then you really will be gone.
- Video: Bereaved Man Mourns Wife of 65 Years and Finds Purpose in Faith
- Poem: The Old Weep Gently by Yvor WintersThese old trees
Sigh in every leaf
Look down their trunks
As if back down the years.
Old knots stay
Where limbs were torn away—
Little fist-rubbed faces
Of gargoyle grief;
Slip down the trunks
- Video: Remove labels this Ramadan
- Poem: 1 January 1965 By Joseph Brodsky
The Wise Men will unlearn your name.Above your head no star will flame.One weary sound will be the same—the hoarse roar of the gale.The shadows fall from your tired eyesas your lone bedside candle dies,for here the calendar breeds nightstill stores of candles fail.What prompts this melancholy key?A long familiar melody.It sounds again. So let it be.Let it sound from this night.Let it sound in my hour of death—as gratefulness of eyes and lipsfor that which sometimes makes us liftour gaze to the far sky.You glare in silence at the wall.Your stocking gapes: no gifts at all.It’s clear that you are now too oldto trust in good Saint Nick;that it’s too late for miracles.—But suddenly, lifting your eyesto heaven’s light, you realize:your life is a sheer gift.
Ere frost-flower and snow-blossom faded and fell, and the splendour of winter had passed out of sight,
The ways of the woodlands were fairer and stranger than dreams that fulfil us in sleep with delight;
The breath of the mouths of the winds had hardened on tree-tops and branches that glittered and swayed
Such wonders and glories of blossomlike snow or of frost that outlightens all flowers till it fade
That the sea was not lovelier than here was the land, nor the night than the day, nor the day than the night,
Nor the winter sublimer with storm than the spring: such mirth had the madness and might in thee made,
March, master of winds, bright minstrel and marshal of storms that enkindle the season they smite.
And now that the rage of thy rapture is satiate with revel and ravin and spoil of the snow,
And the branches it brightened are broken, and shattered the tree-tops that only thy wrath could lay low,
How should not thy lovers rejoice in thee, leader and lord of the year that exults to be born
So strong in thy strength and so glad of thy gladness whose laughter puts winter and sorrow to scorn?
Thou hast shaken the snows from thy wings, and the frost on thy forehead is molten: thy lips are aglow
As a lover’s that kindle with kissing, and earth, with her raiment and tresses yet wasted and torn,
Takes breath as she smiles in the grasp of thy passion to feel through her spirit the sense of thee flow.
Fain, fain would we see but again for an hour what the wind and the sun have dispelled and consumed,
Those full deep swan-soft feathers of snow with whose luminous burden the branches implumed
Hung heavily, curved as a half-bent bow, and fledged not as birds are, but petalled as flowers,
Each tree-top and branchlet a pinnacle jewelled and carved, or a fountain that shines as it showers,
But fixed as a fountain is fixed not, and wrought not to last till by time or by tempest entombed,
As a pinnacle carven and gilded of men: for the date of its doom is no more than an hour’s,
One hour of the sun’s when the warm wind wakes him to wither the snow-flowers that froze as they bloomed.
As the sunshine quenches the snowshine; as April subdues thee, and yields up his kingdom to May;
So time overcomes the regret that is born of delight as it passes in passion away,
And leaves but a dream for desire to rejoice in or mourn for with tears or thanksgivings; but thou,
Bright god that art gone from us, maddest and gladdest of months, to what goal hast thou gone from us now?
For somewhere surely the storm of thy laughter that lightens, the beat of thy wings that play,
Must flame as a fire through the world, and the heavens that we know not rejoice in thee: surely thy brow
Hath lost not its radiance of empire, thy spirit the joy that impelled it on quest as for prey.
Are thy feet on the ways of the limitless waters, thy wings on the winds of the waste north sea?
Are the fires of the false north dawn over heavens where summer is stormful and strong like thee
Now bright in the sight of thine eyes? are the bastions of icebergs assailed by the blast of thy breath?
Is it March with the wild north world when April is waning? the word that the changed year saith,
Is it echoed to northward with rapture of passion reiterate from spirits triumphant as we
Whose hearts were uplift at the blast of thy clarions as men’s rearisen from a sleep that was death
And kindled to life that was one with the world’s and with thine? hast thou set not the whole world free?
For the breath of thy lips is freedom, and freedom’s the sense of thy spirit, the sound of thy song,
Glad god of the north-east wind, whose heart is as high as the hands of thy kingdom are strong,
Thy kingdom whose empire is terror and joy, twin-featured and fruitful of births divine,
Days lit with the flame of the lamps of the flowers, and nights that are drunken with dew for wine,
And sleep not for joy of the stars that deepen and quicken, a denser and fierier throng,
And the world that thy breath bade whiten and tremble rejoices at heart as they strengthen and shine,
And earth gives thanks for the glory bequeathed her, and knows of thy reign that it wrought not wrong.
Thy spirit is quenched not, albeit we behold not thy face in the crown of the steep sky’s arch,
And the bold first buds of the whin wax golden, and witness arise of the thorn and the larch:
Wild April, enkindled to laughter and storm by the kiss of the wildest of winds that blow,
Calls loud on his brother for witness; his hands that were laden with blossom are sprinkled with snow,
And his lips breathe winter, and laugh, and relent; and the live woods feel not the frost’s flame parch;
For the flame of the spring that consumes not but quickens is felt at the heart of the forest aglow,
And the sparks that enkindled and fed it were strewn from the hands of the gods of the winds of March.