Thursday, March 28, 2013

RC Mandeville, Master Poet, P.I.F. (Poet in Fact)

 

Horses Will Surely Save Me  

RC Mandeville's Website 

 by RC Mandeville

An infinity of olfactory intoxicants -
sweet grass, hay, and sighs
of sweet mint -
shuddering long breaths,
thick muscles, warm necks:
Horses will surely save me
unto my very depths.

Of men, I've had too many,
but fewer have I known;
I've left my share a-plenty
before the rising dawn,
yet when my sun collapses
from light too great to bear,
it will be horses who surely save me
from the dark that finds me there.

Horses will surely save me,
Yes, this must somehow be.
My horse, how he must save me,
           in his Complex Simplicity.
Fundamentally unbroken,
           Heart-Wild and Spirit-Free,
my horse, unbound by falsehoods
           will guide my soul to me.

I have shown up heavy in heart,
vanquished by life's turns,
unable to find daylight,
all happiness seemingly burned.
Then, meeting his gentle fierceness
and feeling his supple stride,
I am sure my horse can save me
as we head out West to ride.

Horses will surely save me,
Yes, this must somehow be.
My horse, how he must save me,
in his Great Simplicity.
All is not lost in his Presence,
kind and true and strong -
My horse, he's sure to save me
I only pray it won't be long.


 
It takes a Master Poet, or P.I.F. (Poet in Fact), to write and give freely to the world quality works of poetic art. RC Mandeville has those qualities that easily give her that designation. Skilled in the art of poetics, yet publishing openly, without cost, master works to view and appreciate. Her's is fine contemporary poetry given as a gift to the world. For that we thank her.

Bob Atkinson
March, 2013

Monday, March 25, 2013

Robert Hayden, P.I.F., Poet in Fact

Middle Passage
by Robert Hayden
Robert Hayden

Jesús, Estrella, Esperanza, Mercy:

Sails flashing to the wind like weapons,
sharks following the moans the fever and the dying;
horror the corposant and compass rose.

Middle Passage:
voyage through death
to life upon these shores.

"10 April 1800--
Blacks rebellious. Crew uneasy. Our linguist says
their moaning is a prayer for death,
our and their own. Some try to starve themselves.
Lost three this morning leaped with crazy laughter
to the waiting sharks, sang as they went under."

Desire, Adventure, Tartar, Ann:

Standing to America, bringing home
black gold, black ivory, black seed.

Deep in the festering hold thy father lies, of his bones
New England pews are made, those are altar lights that were his eyes.

Jesus Saviour Pilot Me
Over Life's Tempestuous Sea


We pray that Thou wilt grant, O Lord,
safe passage to our vessels bringing
heathen souls unto Thy chastening.

Jesus Saviour

"8 bells. I cannot sleep, for I am sick
with fear, but writing eases fear a little
since still my eyes can see these words take shape
upon the page & so I write, as one
would turn to exorcism. 4 days scudding,
but now the sea is calm again. Misfortune
follows in our wake like sharks (our grinning
tutelary gods). Which one of us
has killed an albatross? A plague among
our blacks--Ophthalmia: blindness--& we
have jettisoned the blind to no avail.
It spreads, the terrifying sickness spreads.
Its claws have scratched sight from the Capt.'s eyes
& there is blindness in the fo'c'sle
& we must sail 3 weeks before we come
to port."

What port awaits us, Davy Jones' or home? I've
heard of slavers drifting, drifting, playthings of wind and storm and
chance, their crews gone blind, the jungle hatred crawling
up on deck.

Thou Who Walked On Galilee

"Deponent further sayeth The Bella J
left the Guinea Coast
with cargo of five hundred blacks and odd
for the barracoons of Florida:

"That there was hardly room 'tween-decks for half
the sweltering cattle stowed spoon-fashion there;
that some went mad of thirst and tore their flesh
and sucked the blood:

"That Crew and Captain lusted with the comeliest
of the savage girls kept naked in the cabins;
that there was one they called The Guinea Rose
and they cast lots and fought to lie with her:

"That when the Bo's'n piped all hands, the flames
spreading from starboard already were beyond
control, the negroes howling and their chains
entangled with the flames:

"That the burning blacks could not be reached,
that the Crew abandoned ship,
leaving their shrieking negresses behind,
that the Captain perished drunken with the wenches:

"Further Deponent sayeth not."

Pilot Oh Pilot Me


II

Aye, lad, and I have seen those factories,
Gambia, Rio Pongo, Calabar;
have watched the artful mongos baiting traps
of war wherein the victor and the vanquished

Were caught as prizes for our barracoons.
Have seen the nigger kings whose vanity
and greed turned wild black hides of Fellatah,
Mandingo, Ibo, Kru to gold for us.

And there was one--King Anthracite we named him--
fetish face beneath French parasols
of brass and orange velvet, impudent mouth
whose cups were carven skulls of enemies:

He'd honor us with drum and feast and conjo
and palm-oil-glistening wenches deft in love,
and for tin crowns that shone with paste,
red calico and German-silver trinkets

Would have the drums talk war and send
his warriors to burn the sleeping villages
and kill the sick and old and lead the young
in coffles to our factories.

Twenty years a trader, twenty years,
for there was wealth aplenty to be harvested
from those black fields, and I'd be trading still
but for the fevers melting down my bones.


III

Shuttles in the rocking loom of history,
the dark ships move, the dark ships move,
their bright ironical names
like jests of kindness on a murderer's mouth;
plough through thrashing glister toward
fata morgana's lucent melting shore,
weave toward New World littorals that are
mirage and myth and actual shore.

Voyage through death,
voyage whose chartings are unlove.

A charnel stench, effluvium of living death
spreads outward from the hold,
where the living and the dead, the horribly dying,
lie interlocked, lie foul with blood and excrement.

Deep in the festering hold thy father lies, the corpse of mercy
rots with him, rats eat love's rotten gelid eyes. But, oh, the
living look at you with human eyes whose suffering accuses you, whose
hatred reaches through the swill of dark to strike you like a leper's
claw. You cannot stare that hatred down or chain the fear that stalks
the watches and breathes on you its fetid scorching breath; cannot
kill the deep immortal human wish, the timeless will.

"But for the storm that flung up barriers
of wind and wave, The Amistad, señores,
would have reached the port of Príncipe in two,
three days at most; but for the storm we should
have been prepared for what befell.
Swift as a puma's leap it came. There was
that interval of moonless calm filled only
with the water's and the rigging's usual sounds,
then sudden movement, blows and snarling cries
and they had fallen on us with machete
and marlinspike. It was as though the very
air, the night itself were striking us.
Exhausted by the rigors of the storm,
we were no match for them. Our men went down
before the murderous Africans. Our loyal
Celestino ran from below with gun
and lantern and I saw, before the cane-
knife's wounding flash, Cinquez,
that surly brute who calls himself a prince,
directing, urging on the ghastly work.
He hacked the poor mulatto down, and then
he turned on me. The decks were slippery
when daylight finally came. It sickens me
to think of what I saw, of how these apes
threw overboard the butchered bodies of
our men, true Christians all, like so much jetsam.
Enough, enough. The rest is quickly told:
Cinquez was forced to spare the two of us
you see to steer the ship to Africa,
and we like phantoms doomed to rove the sea
voyaged east by day and west by night,
deceiving them, hoping for rescue,
prisoners on our own vessel, till
at length we drifted to the shores of this
your land, America, where we were freed
from our unspeakable misery. Now we
demand, good sirs, the extradition of
Cinquez and his accomplices to La
Havana. And it distresses us to know
there are so many here who seem inclined
to justify the mutiny of these blacks.
We find it paradoxical indeed
that you whose wealth, whose tree of liberty
are rooted in the labor of your slaves
should suffer the august John Quincey Adams
to speak with so much passion of the right
of chattel slaves to kill their lawful masters
and with his Roman rhetoric weave a hero's
garland for Cinquez. I tell you that
we are determined to return to Cuba
with our slaves and there see justice done.
Cinquez--
or let us say 'the Prince'--Cinquez shall die."

The deep immortal human wish,
the timeless will:

Cinquez its deathless primaveral image,
life that transfigures many lives.

Voyage through death
to life upon these shores.


Commentary:

Here we have perfection in the Poet's purpose. Much emotion documented, converting this observation of events into Poetry with the ease of the Master Poet. 
Robert Hayden's style of attempting to capture the emotional element of all sides without biased comment can only fall into that category of "amazing talented P.I.F (Poet in Fact)." Readable, imbued with detail, converting history into something one can re-live through emotional ties with those participating in these horrible events. Bravo Mister Hayden, well done Sir.

Bob Atkinson

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wordsworth by Bob Atkinson

Wordsworth by Bob Atkinson
(c)2013 Bob Atkinson
in giving up one's purpose
can objectives of an age
allow themselves good usage
sad words upon white pages

or, taken now with context
of heavy leaden burdens
can we not argue the obvious
of things both vague and certain

did he not forge a new path
did he not guide our way
by telling all we needed
in simple objective phrases

his lessons since forgotten by
all but those seeing through the fog
of egos ever expanding
brought upon us by those charged

with responsibility
that ever lasting honor
of showing those not taught
a canyon left on its own
will fill with flotsam garbage

sad conflict created
in those hearts of learned men
carrying on as if they knew
that right of all events

Rhythm by Bob Atkinson

Rhythm
(c)2013 Bob Atkinson
rhythm has never been defined
in simple terms, no explained lines
how the ebb and flow of life
gets felt from deep inside ourselves

we all know round waves abound
on the seas and upon the ground
earthquakes vibrate buildings down
things shake when exposed to sound

rhythm gives us a coded life
so many vibrations within, without
in such a pattern we can't ignore
to our feet out through our toes

by this we mean that rhythm does
what our language carries on for us
drums of battle told the men
advance, turn left or settle in

at most we only feel the strength
not knowing what this to us means
that fore and back of secrets sighs
a cloudy thought just passing by

they describe our dreams withheld
our needs, wants and purple hell
those secrets we keep from ourselves
sad stories not told by the bells
 
here a message for the heart
not stopping at the smarter part
in our primal world of thunder
push and shove advances wonder

Poet vs Poemwriter by Bob Atkinson

Poet vs Poemwriter
(c)2013 Bob Atkinson

who says a poet has been made
when senseless garbage gets created
that accolade seems not sincere
when similes and metaphors appear

lack of purpose, lack of order
ideas devoid of emotional trauma
"a voice" which adorns threadbare words
appears so sickly, not cherished
aspirations demurred

herein lies a challenge robust
produce emotional outbursts from us
not stoic faces, imagination untouched
as seen with my eyes, as I have watched

those oh so tired words penned
wit, wisdom and excitement barren
essential to such great written form
golden words of expression adorned
not musty, token, absurd, lame in form

allow us to yell and wave our arms
when tickled imaginations charmed
not senseless, trashy words denoted
by those who write with brains folded

fire burns within my heart
my eyes water when twisted hard
my ears ring with saluted tales
soul glows when grand ideas impaled

let these passions evolve complete
let our firm resolve not shrink
to widen scope of poetry's clout
by inclusion of more words profound

Poemwriters write and publish poems
Poets excite and thrill us mostly
don't adopt this mantle lightly
without production of words done rightly

Monday, March 11, 2013

Les Fleurs du Mal or How I Lost My Way by Bob Atkinson

Les Fleurs du Mal
or How I Lost My Way
(c)2013 Bob Atkinson

had it all this man of words
had that world conquered with verbs
had the daring secret of life crime
lost breath because of sad vices

yes, he stands a tall man now
after you're gone does this recall
any use to you as your land lies fallow
no satisfaction allowed to follow

those into their grave of dust
iron fittings on coffins rust
heads sleep long, never to awake
just lie there forever to contemplate

the life one lived out in one's words
the evil and wicked things one curried
vices all, every one examined
try them, try them, think twice
contemplate consequences
then try them again


Aristotle's Poetics by Bob Atkinson

Aristotle's Poetics
(c)2013 Bob Atkinson
oh so willingly drawn into
a thought of depth or attitude
ideas expounded, like or not
security demanded, a bronze pot

arguments appraised by learned men
women give same ideals within
then look all to a wilder side
my humble assortment of diatribes

hardly contained heretofore
answers of which would gather more
questions before rational solution
to this idea of language dilution

a few things open and unarguable
emotion fits within this stable
gather deep this sense of feelings
carry overwhelming teachings

wave your arms to the measure
climb back in that mind you treasure
close your eyes as you become
one with nature, or a heartless thug

 
-->
translation

poetry, for some, draws their mind
toward the deeply characterized
ideas described by learned friends
some fit vision, some absurdity

rules invoked by an establishment
men and women of like minded temperament
see my ideals as wilderness, not great
spoken rants lacking adherence to good taste

sadly missing in these events
questions answered by circumstance
thoughts with the body intertwined
flowing language simplified

obvious escapes their frontal lobes
emotion's character defines poetry
a connection to what could lie evaded
by that sense of direction eliminated

wave your arms to the measure
climb back into that mind you treasure
close your eyes as you become
one with nature, or a heartless thug

Poet's Charter by Bob Atkinson

Poet's Charter
(c)2013 Bob Atkinson
if we solidify our nature
into one big ball of yarn
how could we define forever
what we have become

what purpose do we have here
in the warmth of this bright sun
which tomorrow will shine lighter
and give us more new sons

do we shake the hand of god
and thank him for our lives
or do we repay this kindness
with descriptions of our trials?

what can we do with life
more than wild ones of the forest
who forage for their supper at
the beginning of the darkness

display our insides out
to those who've never breathed
telling them about our loves
and outlook toward our seed

this, the poet's charter
becomes our great beginning
document what we've seen
and to the future give it

The Path of Poetry by Bob Atkinson

The Path of Poetry
(c)2013 Bob Atkinson
why doodle on that white paper
hasn't all been said or prior created?
can those combinations of words
dispel our fear of worldly curses?

first, it's not production of
anything that matters causing effort
study doesn't start with end points
only delves deeply into hard work of research

each shot at success
means not success was made
merely confirms some effort
formed a person's legacy 
 
to leave paper blank in printer
after many hours scanning ideas
says only a process failed its user
produce merely defines a trail

ignore the product, you'll do well
when writing your exciting tales
keep the final out of mind
concentrate only on how to write

tell yourself this way of creation
constructs experiences you'll need later
look to noun and verb order
review some event to start your motor

pick the history of your race
someone you admire or of disgrace
choose a subject you'd like to hear
study that rap sound in your ear
remember, when you understand
another's grand or spoiled plans
helps you conquer your own trials
helps when skills evolve within

then as your ball rolls up toward
that high point on those rocky knolls
you'll let it roll of its own accord
coasting with good words appropriate

The Poet, The Poet by Bob Atkinson

The Poet, The Poet
(c)2013 Bob Atkinson


-->
fly farther without wings
in this atmosphere, so turbulent
of mental distinctions created by
that air of poet's mumblings

words describe my time on earth
with those related or diverse
hollow points, no firm form
muddy shadows establishing norm

give me now that advantage
over rough competition's cackle
so I may have the perfect insight
into what others think of life

that tool father used to teach
what delineated men from beasts
thought from actions primitive
bearing unclear abstracted love

send me now toward that place
where I shall enter knowledge gate
looking around with knowing eye
all those complex reasons why

factors cause disasters quaking
or normal historic events, man made
combined with human emotions
embellished reality, imagination's tokens

shower my tales with garden pails
over and above the season's gale
show minds in their primitive form
elastic statements of true abnormal

carry me off to strange places
do it with that style I crave
give me power to imagine myself
as one of importance to the game

the poet, the poet, the poet
strong where I am weak of mind
smart where I'm deficient in life
where I am crude, so forgiving

show me identity in your words
accept me now into your world
swallow me into that void of dust
where I can build my soul of lust

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Twin Winds by Bob Atkinson

Twin Winds
(c)2013 Bob Atkinson
here in the harshest badlands

-->
once called by some New Spain
cultures clashed as if by thunder
amid pouring windswept rains

bred for gathering all they could
their god had given freely
private ownership of goods
not of their minds clear vision

everything on this Turtle Island
put there for great purpose
those who had the strength to take
could utilize whatever wanted

band's custom didn't dictate
who owned this and that
besides, their cousins were carried off
for hard slavery in mines of Spaniards

so, for three hundred years
these peoples opposed each other
leaving descendent's strong of will
while prudent in using cover

violent death for wives and cousins
that normal tone of life
kept all here strong of muscle
enemies on lookout for their lives

white eyes came in numbers
in that summer of fifty-six
to stake claims of territory
add ideas to the culture mix

two warriors sat there on that hilltop
watched wagons rumble endless
strings of strange beings marching
eyes with such eerie whiteness

didn't feel at the time
was challenge to her kind
only thought of new treasure
brought by those with sticks of fire

two warriors sat on their stallions
best ones of this land
naked to the waste, these maidens
bows and arrows in their hands

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

the Poet as a Politician by Bob Atkinson

Let America Be America Again
by Langston Hughes

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed--
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There's never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this "homeland of the free.")

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery's scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek--
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one's own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean--
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today--O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I'm the one who dreamed our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamed so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That's made America the land it has become.
O, I'm the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home--
For I'm the one who left dark Ireland's shore,
And Poland's plain, and England's grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa's strand I came
To build a "homeland of the free."

The free?

Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we've dreamed
And all the songs we've sung
And all the hopes we've held
And all the flags we've hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay--
Except the dream that's almost dead today.

O, let America be America again--
The land that never has been yet--
And yet must be--the land where every man is free.
The land that's mine--the poor man's, Indian's, Negro's, ME--
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose--
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people's lives,
We must take back our land again,
America!

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath--
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain--
All, all the stretch of these great green states--
And make America again!


commentary:

the Poet as a Politician

(c)2013 Bob Atkinson

let me say it here and now
I like this writing, so wonderful
how this one of many talents
lays out his desire for excellence

yet, here, in thoughts of man
stated purpose, devoid of plan
the poet jumps into politics
that murky water quagmire pit

all he says, the truths he told
this sordid history yet unfolded
points to the demon in all of us
that which drives us onward

nature keeps us not benevolent
nature forces us to best the rest
all compete within this realm
for breath, honor, power, fame

Irish fought among themselves
killed many innocents
burned their blood's dwellings
much suffering in history there

in spite of our way, better here

the Indian by another bested
with numbers they could not imagine
diseases primed by lack of soap
carnage upon them oh so loathsome

they before this hurt themselves
a child of ten had not beheld
that death force because of age
violence alone, how most died

in spite of our way, better here


whose blood has not been a slave
to tyrant, brother or mixed up raven
can that dark continent show us better
don't think so, they have problems

Hutu slashing Tutsi chlidren
that primitive demon in us clearly
contrasts with forces controlled by intellect
we move toward our better ways
    

if you now look at us
us consists of many loves
white, black, brown and cream
we took our truths, devised our dream

together now we love each other
enjoy our differences not begrudge them
fold ourselves within a blanket
woven of many threads  

show me trodden who in other places
would not have the other subjugated
nature forces her rules on us
condemn me not for that force of life

show me one who has been conquered
who has not before done the same
New Spain conquered some
then got itself overrun

Comanche killed and pushed out Apache
some to others sold their brothers

tell me not I have sinned
unless you've not been washed with same

else, build with me a better purpose
don't remake us like your history's land
sure, we're wrong in what we've done
but, wrong evolves with each new sun