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Friday, January 30, 2015

A Tribute to Rod McKuen


Le Moribond - English Translation

- Poemwriter: Jacques Brel



Goodbye Emilio I like you very much
Goodbye Emilio I like you very much you know
We have sung about the same wine
We have sung of the same women
We have sung about the same miseries

Goodbye Emile I am going to die
It is hard to die in the springtime you know
But I leave the flowers and peace in my soul
And because I know you are as good as white bread
I know that you will take care of my wife

I want them to laugh, I want them to dance
I want them to have fun like crazy people
I want them to laugh I want them to dance
To amuse themselves like crazy when they put me in the hole

Goodbye priest I like you very much
Goodbye priest I like you very well you know
We did not always agree about views and we were not on the same path
But we were searching for the same port

Goodbye priest I am going to die
It is hard to die in the spring you know
I leave the flowers and the beauty, peace in my soul
And knowing that you are her confidant
I know that you will take care of my wife

Goodbye Antoine I did not like you very much
Goodbye Antoine I do not like you very much you know
And it’s killing me to die today knowing that you are still so alive
And yet still as solid as boredom
Goodbye Antoine I’m going to die
It’s hard to die in the spring you know
I leave the flowers and the beautiful peace in my soul
And because I know that you were her lover
I know that you will take care of my wife


Goodbye my wife I love you very much
Goodbye my wife I love you very much you know
I must take the train for the good God
I’m taking the train that leaves before yours

But we all must take the trains that we can
Goodbye my wife I’m going to die
It is hard to die in the springtime you know
But I’m leaving flowers and my eyes are shut, my wife
And because I realize that they were shut often
I know that you will take care of my soul

*************************************

Seasons in the Sun

- Rod McKuen/Jacques Brel
Goodbye, Emile, my trusted friend, we've known each other since we were nine or ten.
Together we climbed hills and trees, learned of love and A B Cs, skinned our hearts and skinned our knees.

Adieu, Emile, it's hard to die when all the birds are singing in the sky. Now that the Spring is in the air
Pretty girls are ev'rywhere. wish for me and I'll be there.

We had joy. We had fun. We had seasons in the sun, but the wine and the song like the seasons are all gone

Adieu, Papa, please pray for me. I was the black sheep of the family.
You tried to teach me right from wrong. Too much wine and too much song, wonder how I got along.

Adieu, Papa, it's hard to die when all the birds are singing in the sky. Now that the Spring is in the air
Little children ev'rywhere. Think of me, I'll be there.

We had joy. We had fun. We had seasons in the sun, but the the song and the rime were just seasons out of time.

Adieu, Francoise, my faithfull wife, without you I'd have had a lonely life.
You cheated lots of times but then, I forgave you in the end, though your lover was my friend.
Adieu, Francoise, it's hard to die when all the birds are singing in the sky. Now that the spring is in the air
With your lovers ev'rywhere; just be careful, I'll be there.

we had joy we had fun. We had seasons in the sun, but the stars we could reach were just starfish on the beach.

Adieu, Emile. Adieu, Papa. Goodby, Francoise.

All our lives, we had fun. We had seasons in the sun, the wine and the song like the seasons are all gone
All our lives, we had fun. We had seasons in the sun, but the stars we could reach were just starfish on the beach.

******************************************************************

Commentary:

Yes, there are those in life who flavor what we normally ignore. These people leave behind their feelings when they die, and are remembered for a long, long time.

Goodbye to All
(a goodbye poem to Rod McKuen)

(c)2015 Bob Atkinson
goodbye to all who now remain
I've done a race which gave me pain
also, with some pure delight
it gave me gladness to die tonight

goodbye to those who could not come
will meet you someday on the run
from things you did there in the past
yes, you forever grabbed my ass

goodbye those who took the wine
and kissed all goodness there aside
bringing into focus all your vibes
of correctness in your stride
you kicked the can aside

goodbye to lovers of the past
I gave you what I could of gas
didn't mean I'm not so cruel
just acted always like a fool

goodbye to relatives of which was many
didn't ever ask a penny
you didn't give me much of time
didn't mix your lives with mine

goodbye to dreams of future grace
wasn't in my mournful race
I tried to do things that would last
but fell face flat there on the track

goodbye to those I never knew
perhaps they'll read my death review
yes, treat me kind in words of praise
though never read good words on page

goodbye to you who read my lips
they're not moving in love's quips
they never said much anyway
so you'll not notice I'm deranged

Saturday, January 24, 2015

How to Get Your Poem Trashed by Bob Atkinson

-->
How to Get Your 
Poem Trashed

At the risk of a bruised ego, e-mail your poem to: bob_saltzer@yahoo.com

You may, or may not get it analyzed.
Either way, there is no cost to you, or the public. 
  Be ready for some critical advice. Advice you may or may not feel is valid. Either way....your works are worked upon. Your energies elevated.....your taste berated.......try it and we'll do it to it.
Remember:  In Poetry "the" sounds like "duh?"

and reads like "huh?"
Bob Atkinson

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Black Zodiac - by Charles Wright - Critique

Black Zodiac

 Charles Wright


Darkened by time, the masters, like our memories, mix
And mismatch,
and settle about our lawn furniture, like air
Without a meaning, like air in its clear nothingness.
What can we say to either of them?
How can they be so dark and so clear at the same time?
They ruffle our hair,
they ruffle the leaves of the August trees.
Then stop, abruptly as wind.
The flies come back, and the heat—
what can we say to them?
Nothing is endless but the sky.
The flies come back, and the afternoon
Teeters a bit on its green edges,
then settles like dead weight
Next to our memories, and the pale hems of the masters’ gowns.
________
Those who look for the Lord will cry out in praise of him.
Perhaps. And perhaps not—
dust and ashes though we are,
Some will go wordlessly, some
Will listen their way in with their mouths
Where pain puts them, an inch-and-a-half above the floor.
And some will revile him out of love
and deep disdain.
The gates of mercy, like an eclipse, darken our undersides.
Rows of gravestones stay our steps,
August humidity
Bright as auras around our bodies.
And some will utter the words,
speaking in fear and tongues,
Hating their garments splotched by the flesh.
These are the lucky ones, the shelved ones, the twice-erased.
________
Dante and John Chrysostom
Might find this afternoon a sidereal roadmap,
A pilgrim’s way ...
You might too
Under the prejaundiced outline of the quarter moon,
Clouds sculling downsky like a narrative for whatever comes,
What hasn’t happened to happen yet
Still lurking behind the stars,
31 August 1995 ...
The afterlife of insects, space graffiti, white holeswaters above the earth:
Why do the great stories always exist in the past?
________
The unexamined life’s no different from
the examined life—
Unanswerable questions, small talk,
Unprovable theorems, long-abandoned arguments—
You’ve got to write it all down.
Landscape or waterscape, light-length on evergreen, dark sidebar
Of evening,
you’ve got to write it down.
Memory’s handkerchief, death’s dream and automobile,
God’s sleep,
you’ve still got to write it down,
Moon half-empty, moon half-full,
Night starless and egoless, night blood-black and prayer-black,
Spider at work between the hedges,
Last bird call,
toad in a damp place, tree frog in a dry ...
________
We go to our graves with secondary affections,
Second-hand satisfaction, half-souled,
star charts demagnetized.
We go in our best suits. The birds are flying. Clouds pass.
Sure we’re cold and untouchable,
but we harbor no ill will.
No tooth tuned to resentment’s fork,
we’re out of here, and sweet meat.
Calligraphers of the disembodied, God’s word-wards,
What letters will we illuminate?
Above us, the atmosphere,
The nothing that’s nowhere, signs on, and waits for our beck and call.
Above us, the great constellations sidle and wince,
The letters undarken and come forth,
Your X and my X.
The letters undarken and they come forth.
________
Eluders of memory, nocturnal sleep of the greenhouse,
Spirit of slides and silences,
Invisible Hand,
Witness and walk on.
Lords of the discontinuous, lords of the little gestures,
Succor my shift and save me ...
All afternoon the rain has rained down in the mind,
And in the gardens and dwarf orchard.
All afternoon
The lexicon of late summer has turned its pages
Under the rain,
abstracting the necessary word.
Autumn’s upon us.
The rain fills our narrow beds.
Description’s an element, like air or water.
That’s the word.


Black Zodiac


Darkened by time, the masters, like our memories, mix..............the#1
And mismatch, ....................................................................................?
and settle about our lawn furniture, like air .......................................so?
Without a meaning, like air in its clear nothingness. .......................it#1
What can we say to either of them? .......................................................
How can they be so dark and so clear at the same time? ......verb "to be#1"
They ruffle our hair, ..............................................................................
they ruffle the leaves of the August trees. ......................................the#2
Then stop, abruptly as wind. ..................................................................
The flies come back, and the heat— .................................the#3 & the#4
what can we say to them?........................................................................
Nothing is endless but the sky. ..........................verb "to be#2"
The flies come back, and the afternoon ....................................the#5
Teeters a bit on its green edges, ...........................it#2
then settles like dead weight ....................................................................
Next to our memories, and the pale hems of the masters’ gowns. the#6 & the#7
________
Those who look for the Lord will cry out in praise of him. ..................................
Perhaps. And perhaps not— .................................................................................
dust and ashes though we are, ..............................verb "to be#3..........................
Some will go wordlessly, some ...........................................................................
Will listen their way in with their mouths ...........................................................
Where pain puts them, an inch-and-a-half above the floor......................the#8
And some will revile him out of love ..............................................................
and deep disdain. .............................................................................................
The gates of mercy, like an eclipse, darken our undersides...............the#9
Rows of gravestones stay our steps, .....................................................................
August humidity ...................................................................................................
Bright as auras around our bodies. .......................................................................
And some will utter the words, .......................................................the#10
speaking in fear and tongues, ...............................................................................
Hating their garments splotched by the flesh. ...........................the#11
These are the lucky ones, the shelved ones, the twice-erased. verb "to be#4"
....................the#12 & the#13 & the#14
________
Dante and John Chrysostom
Might find this afternoon a sidereal roadmap, .....................................................
A pilgrim’s way ... .......................................................define pilgrim
You might too ................................................................................................
Under the prejaundiced outline of the quarter moon, ....the#15 ..the#16
Clouds sculling downsky like a narrative for whatever comes, ....................
What hasn’t happened to happen yet ............................................................
Still lurking behind the stars, .........................................the#17
31 August 1995 ...
The afterlife of insects, space graffiti, white holeswaters above the earth:
..............the#18 ...the#19
Why do the great stories always exist in the past? the#20 ...the#21
________
The unexamined life’s no different from .........the#22 verb "to be#5
the examined life— ..........................................the#23
Unanswerable questions, small talk, ........................................................
Unprovable theorems, long-abandoned arguments— ..............................
You’ve got to write it all down. ....................it#2
Landscape or waterscape, light-length on evergreen, dark sidebar
Of evening, .................................................
you’ve got to write it down. ..........................it#3
Memory’s handkerchief, death’s dream and automobile, ...................
God’s sleep, .................................................
you’ve still got to write it down, ......................it#4
Moon half-empty, moon half-full, .......................................................
Night starless and egoless, night blood-black and prayer-black, ........
Spider at work between the hedges, ...........................the#24
Last bird call, ......................................................................................
toad in a damp place, tree frog in a dry .................................................
________
We go to our graves with secondary affections, ....................................
Second-hand satisfaction, half-souled, ..................................................
star charts demagnetized. ................demagnetized .... Huh? Explain
We go in our best suits. The birds are flying. Clouds pass. ....the#25
Sure we’re cold and untouchable, ........................................................
but we harbor no ill will. ......................................................................
No tooth tuned to resentment’s fork, ....................................................
we’re out of here, and sweet meat. .......................................................
Calligraphers of the disembodied, God’s word-wards, .........the#26
What letters will we illuminate? ..........................................................
Above us, the atmosphere, .................................................the#27
The nothing that’s nowhere, signs on, and waits for our beck and call.
the#28 ..........beck and call - trite
Above us, the great constellations sidle and wince, ......the#29
The letters undarken and come forth, ..............................the#30
Your X and my X. .....................................................................
The letters undarken and they come forth.............the#31
________
Eluders of memory, nocturnal sleep of the greenhouse, ......the#32
Spirit of slides and silences, ...........................................................
Invisible Hand, ..........................out of nowhere comes this idea
Witness and walk on.
Lords of the discontinuous, lords of the little gestures, .....the#33
Succor my shift and save me ... ...................................................
All afternoon the rain has rained down in the mind, ..the#34 & 35
And in the gardens and dwarf orchard. ...........................the#36
All afternoon
The lexicon of late summer has turned its pages .........the#37 it#5
Under the rain, ..........................................................the#38
abstracting the necessary word. .............................the#39
Autumn’s upon us. .........................verb "to be#6
The rain fills our narrow beds. ...........the#40
Description’s an element, like air or water. ....................
That’s the word. ........................................the#41

Commentary:
"the" sounds like Duh? 
and reads like Huh?
the word "the" in poetry denotes laziness
sometimes you gotta use it, (grudgingly)
but 41 times LAZY?
ugh

verb "to be" ...is, are, was, were
shouldn't ever be used in poetry

dumb statements, hanging in the air unsubstantiated?
a BIG NO NO

you get my drift

gotta flow
gotta interest the reader
gotta be in conversational language
(Wordsworth)
gotta contain memorable phrases,
even if you gotta invent new words
(Atkinson)

Bob Atkinson
January, 2015

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Busker with Harp - By David Orr - Critique


Busker with Harp

For a birth
The fact of the harp swells into the air,
Alien and familiar and entirely too large,
An elephant lost in the suburbs,
And opens with its cry a strange passage

Between the harp itself, the fragile harp,For a birth
And the almost guilty knowledge
Of   the stroke of   luck that brought it here
And the care with which it must depart.
****************************************

Busker with Harp

For a birth
The fact of the harp swells into the air,...............the.........the........the.....(3 the's on one line, 0 preferable)
Alien and familiar and entirely too large,..........and.......and?..................
An elephant lost in the suburbs,............................the?.........................
And opens with its cry a strange passage...............its?

Between the harp itself, the fragile harp,For a birth..............the........the..........? (2 the's)
And the almost guilty knowledge......................there's "the" again....................
Of   the stroke of   luck that brought it here..............the.............it......................oh my
And the care with which it must depart................the.............it.......................oh my - again !


Commentary:
"the" sounds like "duh?"
and reads like "huh?"
poorly written, incomplete, purpose obscure
can't get past the 9 "the's" to even be concerned about content
no rhythm, but "the-drums"
re-write it and try again to produce something of value
REWRITE BY BOB:
harp notes swell into still air
alien, unfamiliar, largely bizarre
an elephant lost in suburbs, no forest
opens with a cry, some ancient chorus

sweet harp itself, a fragile harp,
For birth of child in autumn darkness

almost guilty in quiet knowledge
by stroke of luck which brought this process
a cause for tunes, a joyful time
when life begins one's start of time

duty accomplished, departure's certain
baby's soothed with softest music
next time life will call for drums
at the other end of this soul's run

Sunday, January 18, 2015

A Gift - poemwriter - Leonora Speyer - Critique



A Gift

Leonora Speyer

I Woke: —
Night, lingering, poured upon the world
Of drowsy hill and wood and lake
Her moon-song,
And the breeze accompanied with hushed fingers
On the birches.
Gently the dawn held out to me
A golden handful of bird’s-notes.
Commentary:
to call this a poem is a broad stretch
'tis a collection of unsubstantiated garbage
dedicated to making people gag
when thinking of poetry
not good for the genre'

Re-written:

Awake Before Dawn
(c)2015 Bob Atkinson

Awake before dawn I find
a world of simple charm
semi-darkness, still, with foggy looks
a hustle here, then gone

as birds begin their conversation
with each and every pair
of robins discussing what to do
in this world of little care

meadow larks respond bravely
shouldn't be forgotten
as with all animals of forest
they present their wishful longings

birch fingers raise up skyward
to present a birdful perch
waiting for their seed to grow
white branches tall and certain

a pleasant countryside of love
here in the morning dew
a lovely presentation of
plants, animals, me and you

Monday, January 12, 2015

Poem of the Month - February 2014 - Get Together - poemwriter: Chet Powers




Get Together
- poemwriter: Chet Powers

love is but a song we sing
fear's the way we die
you can make the mountains ring
or make the angels cry

though the bird is on the wing
and you may not know why

come on people now
smile on your brother
everybody get together
and try to love one another right now

some may come and some may go
he will surely pass
when the one that left us here
returns for us at last

we are but a moment's sunlight
fading in the grass

come on people now
smile on your brother
everybody get together
try to love one another right now

if you hear the song I sing
you will understand
...listen
you hold the key to love and fear
all in your trembling hand

just one key unlocks them both
it's there at your command

come on people now
smile on your brother
everybody get together
try to love one another right now

Commentary:
Now here's raw emotion in words
to do this well would only be a dream for us
For Chet it was accomplishment

From the Devil's Lair

(c)2015 Bob Atkinson

how can those who view
themselves as absolute
continue in their dastardly
narrow minded attitude

why can hearts believe in such
wickedness and hate
for another, of any stripe
to the point of rage

'tis just a fine line
brought on by thirst for power
mind control without remorse
conversation not empowered

if love be not our theme
then our theme lacks real worth
for love drives conscience here
kindness a principle, not a circus

no sense do they have
of thanks for all his work
no real understanding
of right, wrong and purpose

here in these times of trouble
we see pirates going wild
a simple form of subjugation
under a smoky cloud

what defense do we
have for this affair?
we can call manipulation
control from the Devil's lair

Monday, January 5, 2015

Scriptoria - by Bob Atkinson

Scriptoria
(c)2014 Bob Atkinson

sometimes, when duty calls
I sit on this machine
to expand my understanding
of this world and all its schemes

not for glory or for fame
but for that feeling good
of understanding more of life
and those sometimes angry moods

so at this table in this room
here, when morning comes
I write my fables without skill
sometimes smart or dumb

as Kris had said so eloquently
"nobody needs to listen"
only have a need to tell
my stories of the season

stories formed from my times
from things I've said and heard
maybe, in some distant time
they'll have need for these words

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Sensation of Books - by Bob Atkinson

Sensation of Books
(c)2014 Bob Atkinson

emotional displays
within and under skin
from words read or heard
here a world begins

begins to feel great passion
for tales brought to one's head
by those of different experience
while I lie here in my bed

alternating surfaces
those turn black to white
as seas begin to roar when they
shimmer in fierce night

that sky of dots which brightly twinkle
remains no mystery to me
when another spends a lifetime
making good sense of what I see

suffering extended toward
a wonderment of doubt
follows trails of adventure
some successful, some without

frail I may be in my body
but, can climb that mountain tall
for someone in the know
has written down it all

here my tribute falls so short
of thanking them for what
extends my mind and body
toward what remains no longer doubt

doubt that this world survives
when my days of enjoyment gone
when another takes my place here with
complete knowledge of the farm

so that those cities fill with food
and people do not starve
because of ideas written down
by great men, no arms

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Greenfields - Poem of the Month - January 2015


Greenfields

- poemwriters: Gilkyson, Terry - Miller, Frank - Dehr, Richard.

Once there were green fields kissed by the sun
Once there were valleys where rivers used to run
Once there were blue skies with white clouds high above
Once they were part of an everlasting love
We were the lovers who strolled through green fields
Green fields are gone now, parched by the sun
Gone from the valleys where rivers used to run
Gone with the cold wind that swept into my heart
Gone with the lovers who let their dreams depart
Where are the green fields that we used to roam
I'll never know what made you run away
How can I keep searching when dark clouds hide the day
I only know there's nothing here for me
Nothing in this wide world, left for me to see
Still I'll keep on waiting until you return
I'll keep on waiting until the day you learn
You can't be happy while your heart's on the roam
You can't be happy until you bring it home
Home to the green fields and me once again
Commentary
a flow, a thought, a motion toward the unknown
this poem illustrates how poetry can affect the heart
much more than the established poetry of so called "masters"
poetry peaked in value in the last half of the 20th Century
and continues today to excel in the art of song lyrics


Brownfields of Today,
Greenfields of Tomorrow
(c)2014 Bob Atkinson
forever wandering over trails
left by others, stoic, wailing
travel up and over lands
first polished by wild, roving bands


here we think we're civilized
but time grew longer, circumscribed
by those efforts heretofore
produced by men who wanted more


then came an era of satiation
a pause, a stop, in goal creation
people standing on their porch
thinking not of worthy goals


how can we in our resolve
transition toward that future calm
a day when green fields cover over
graves of ancient warrior soldiers


peace, that elusive calm of man
which punctuates those wars of sin
that undulating fierceness of
greed for power causing fault


fault in our being, that of nature
compelled by want of procreation
something we can't do without
which ever creates in our hearts doubt


doubt we can be civilized
doubt we can well organize
doubt we can survive for long
with open hostility toward right and wrong

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Poe vs Reality or Revitalization of Poetry in the 21st Century - by Bob Atkinson

Poe vs Reality
or
Revitalization of Poetry
in the 21st Century
(c)2014 Bob Atkinson

Poe's vision of poetry
demeaned a genre' shameful
arguing poetry functions merely
as a form of art time wasteful

well, here in my comfy chair
beg to differ with that man
couldn't be so far from truth
if he said he'd had three hands

one to write with laziness
one to scratch his head
one to turn large pages
of my poems about the man

poetry's not so simple
where in one breath you can compound
all past and future sentences
with something said profound

we must explore our history
what we thought of these events
we must describe our feelings
not only dates and times presented

we have so deep in our hearts
potential to explore
producing great good nations
where sea laps up to shore

have to, in these times of trouble
understand where trouble originates
does it come from circumstance
or does hurtful agitate

how can man hurt ones he loves
how can he not love mankind
how can he give his soul to devil
total uselessness of mind

how can we not learn from past events
how can we document our fears
how can we open up to treasures
produced throughout many years

tell you firmly I believe
we can start here in our time
to fully document our souls
with rhythm and with rhyme