poetry

Poetry stuff

Here are the poems I loved as an adolescent. Up until now, I have the third one memorized. I’m not sure why exactly, but the poignance of demanding a meaningful relationship from a romantically inept INTJ strikes a chord with me. Happy World Poetry Day!

Reverse Creation

by Bernard Backman

In the end, we destroyed the heaven that was called Earth. The Earth had been beautiful until our spirit moved over it and destroyed all things.

And we said…

Let there be darkness… and there was darkness. And we liked the darkness; so we called the darkness, Security. And we divided ourselves into races and religions and classes of society. And there was no morning and no evening on the seventh day before the end.

And we said…

Let there be a strong government to control us in our darkness. Let there be armies to control our bodies so that we may learn to kill one another neatly and efficiently in our darkness. And there was no evening and no morning on the sixth day before the end.

And we said…

Let there be rockets and bombs to kill faster and easier; let there be gas chambers and furnaces to be more thorough. And there was no evening and no morning on the fifth day before the end.

And we said…

Let there be drugs and other forms of escape, for there is this constant annoyance – Reality – which is disturbing our comfort. And there was no evening and no morning on the fourth day before the end.

And we said…

Let there be divisions among the nations, so that we may know who is our common enemy. And there was no evening and no morning on the third day before the end.

And finally we said…

Let us create God in our image. Let some other God compete with us. Let us say that God thinks as we think, hates as we hate, and kills as we kill. And there was no morning and no evening on the second day before the end.

On the last day, there was a great noise on the face of the Earth. Fire consumed the beautiful globe, and there was silence. The blackened Earth now rested to worship the one true God; and God saw all that we had done, and in the silence over the smoldering ruins… God wept.

 

———–

Love at First Sight

by Wislawa Szymborska

Both are convinced
that a sudden surge of emotion bound them together.
Beautiful is such a certainty,
but uncertainty is more beautiful still.

Since they’d never met before, they’re sure
that nothing was happening between them.
What of streets, stairways and corridors
where they could have passed each other long ago?

I’d like to ask them
whether they remember–
Perhaps in a revolving door
ever being face to face?
An “excuse me” in a crowd?
A curt “wrong number” in the receiver?
But I know the answer:
No, they don’t remember.

They’d be greatly astonished to learn
that for a long time
Chance had been playing with them.

Not yet wholly ready
to transform into fate for them
it approached them, then backed off,
stood in their way,
and, suppressing a giggle,
jumped to the side.

There were signs and signals,
even if they couldn’t read them yet.
Perhaps three years ago
or just last Tuesday
a certain leaf fluttered
from one shoulder to another?
Something was dropped and then picked up.
Who knows, maybe the ball that vanished
into childhood’s thicket?

There were doorknobs and doorbells
where one touch had covered another
beforehand.
Suitcases checked and standing side by side.
One night, perhaps, the same dream,
forgotten in waking.

Every beginning
is only a sequel, after all,
and the book of events
is always open halfway through.

———–

The Robot

by Michael Mack

Upon the stairway of despair,
Complete with broken love affairs
And promises that never came,
But faded with a touch of shame,
A pretty girl with golden hair
And innocence so sadly rare,
Strove to keep her head above
A way of life devoid of love.

Feeling pinned against Life’s wall,
She chanced upon a robot tall
And said, “Please come and share with me
Whatever Fate has deemed to be.
I’m through with love, done with chances
Spirit crushed by past romances,
Just be a friend in word and deed.
That’s all that I shall ever need.”

“There’s not too much from me to learn,”
Remarked the robot, in return.
“Emotions do not form a part
of my cold, solid-steel heart.
Whatever maker fashioned me
Did not permit my circuitry
Responsiveness to love or pain –
Your thoughts for me would be in vain.”

“No matter”, spoke the maid. “No more
Do I wish passion to explore.
Be someone I can come home to
When my exhausting day is through.
Count yourself a well-worn shoe –
A friend that I can slip into . . .
Protection from a stone cold floor . . .
For this I ask and nothing more.”

Agreement made, he took her hand
And lived the life that she had planned,
Always willing, not demanding,
Aiding her with understanding
He made her smile with humorous wit
(As his restrictions would permit)
And, bit by bit, she came to feel
That he was more than iron and steel.

“I love you, robot”, she at last
Replied when several months had passed.
“You’re strength and quiet dignity
Have brought a wondrous change in me.
No more do I feel all alone,
And pray you must be flesh and bone.
Deep-set emotions you MUST feel
Within that outer coat of steel!”

“If I were able, I would say
I’m sorry I was made this way
But my design and programmation
Does not provide for that creation
Of feelings normal men may feel
That were not born of iron and steel.
I told you all this once before.
You have no right expecting more.”

“Go, then!” cried she. “I will not live
Beside a fiend who cannot give!
Though I be battered by misuse,
Misguided trust and strong abuse,
At least the men I chose were real
And had the power to love and feel.
Of all the lovers I recall,
You are the cruelest one of all!”

The robot, indestructible,
Continues freely and at will.
Emotionless, apparently,
But, bearing closer scrutiny,
One can see a small tear streak
Down that cold, metallic cheek
As I reflect upon my life . . .
That lovely lady was my wife.

The robot, of course, was me.

———–

 

Tonight I Can Write

by Pablo Neruda (Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair)

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.

Write, for example, ‘The night is starry
and the stars are blue and shiver in the distance.’

The night wind revolves in the sky and sings.

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.

Through nights like this one I held her in my arms.
I kissed her again and again under the endless sky.

She loved me, sometimes I loved her too.
How could one not have loved her great still eyes.

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
To think that I do not have her. To feel that I have lost her.

To hear the immense night, still more immense without her.
And the verse falls to the soul like dew to the pasture.

What does it matter that my love could not keep her.
The night is starry and she is not with me.

This is all. In the distance someone is singing. In the distance.
My soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.

My sight tries to find her as though to bring her closer.
My heart looks for her, and she is not with me.

The same night whitening the same trees.
We, of that time, are no longer the same.

I no longer love her, that’s certain, but how I loved her.
My voice tried to find the wind to touch her hearing.

Another’s. She will be another’s. As she was before my kisses.
Her voice, her bright body. Her infinite eyes.

I no longer love her, that’s certain, but maybe I love her.
Love is so short, forgetting is so long.

Because through nights like this one I held her in my arms
my soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.

Though this be the last pain that she makes me suffer
and these the last verses that I write for her.