April Poetry Dare, 2014 wrap-up

This April, in honor of National Poetry Month, I accepted a poetry dare from TweetSpeakPoetry: to read a poem every day of the month and share it with my friends. I opted for the challenge of reading a single poet per week, mingling historical and contemporary poets.

Here’s a day-by-day list of what I read.

Day 1 – “No More and No Less” by Mahmoud Darwish (1941-2008), Tran. Fady Joudah

“and I write tomorrow
on yesterday’s sheets:…”

Day 2 – “To a Young Poet” by Mahmoud Darwish, Tran. Fady Joudah

“Don’t believe our outlines, forget them
and begin from your own words.”

Day 3 – “Who Am I, Without Exile?” by Mahmoud Darwish, Tran. Fady Joudah

carries me or makes me carry an idea: not longing
and not promise. What will I do?…”

Day 4 – “To Our Land” by Mahmoud Darwish, Tran. Fady Joudah

“To our land,
and it is the one far from the adjectives of nouns,
the map of absence”

Day 5 – “A Noun Sentence” by Mahmoud Darwish, Tran. Fady Joudah

“…A noun sentence: my wounded joy
like the sunset at your strange windows.”

Day 6 – “I Belong There” by Mahmoud Darwish, Tran. Carolyn Forché and Munir Akash

“I have learned and dismantled all the words in order to draw from them a
single word: Home.”

Day 7 – “Motion directs, while Atomes dance” by Margaret Cavendish (1623-1673)

“Atomes will dance, and measures keep just time;
And one by one will hold round circle line,”

Day 8 – “Similizing Thoughts” by Margaret Cavendish

“Thoughts as a Pen do write upon the Braine;
The Letters which wise Thoughts do write, are plaine.”

Day 9 – “An Elegy on my Brother, kill’d in these unhappy Warres” by Margaret Cavendish

“My thoughts do watch while thy sweet spirit sleeps….”

Day 10 – “The Circle of the Brain cannot be Squared” by Margaret Cavendish

“For such is Man’s curiosity and mind,
To seek for that, which is hardest to find.”

Day 11 – “A World in an Eare-Ring” by Margaret Cavendish

“And Lightnings, Thunder, and great Winds may blow
Within this Eare-ring, yet the Eare not know.”

Day 12 – “Man’s Short Life and Foolish Ambition” by Margaret Cavendish

“This care is but a word, an empty sound,
Wherein there is no soul nor substance found;

Yet as his heir he makes it to inherit,
And all he has he leaves unto this spirit.”

Day 13 – “An Epilogue to the Above” by Margaret Cavendish

“Thus by imagination I have been
In Fairy court and seen the Fairy Queen.”

Day 14 – “Back from Vacation” by John Updike (1932-2009)

“Gray days clicked shut around them; the yoke still fit,
warm as if never shucked. The world is so small,
the evidence says, though their hearts cry, ‘Not so!'”

Day 15 – “In Extremis” by John Updike

“And yet they were my best friends once.”

Day 16 – “Hoeing” by John Updike

“there is no knowing
how many souls have been formed by this simple exercise.”

Day 17 – “Penumbrae” by John Updike

“The shadows have their seasons, too.”

Day 18 – “Planting Trees” by John Updike

“our small deed, that hurried day,
so amplified, like a story through layers of air
told over and over, spreading.”

Day 19 – “Evening Concert, Sainte-Chapelle” by John Updike

“…so that the listening eye
saw suddenly the thick black lines, in shapes
of shield and cross and strut and brace, that held
the holy glowing fantasy together.”

Day 20 – “Fine Point” by John Updike

“The tongue reposes in papyrus pleas,
saying, Surely – magnificent, that ‘surely’-“

Day 21 – “Morning (Love Sonnet XXVII)” by Pablo Neruda (1904-1973)

 “As if down a long tunnel of clothing and of chores;
Your clear light dims, gets dressed, drops its leaves,”

Day 22 – “Ode to Salt” by Pablo Neruda

 “Dust of the sea, in you
the tongue receives a kiss
from ocean night:”

Day 23 – “Discoverers” by Pablo Neruda, Tran. Angel Flores

 “Night, snow and sand make the form
of my slim fatherland,
all silence is in its long line,”

Day 24 – “Tonight I Can Write” by Pablo Neruda

 “And the verse falls to the soul like dew to the pasture.”

Day 25 – “The Dictators” by Pablo Neruda

 “The weeping cannot be seen, like a plant
whose seeds fall endlessly on the earth,”

Day 26 – “Enigmas” by Pablo Neruda

 “You’ve asked me what the lobster is weaving there with
his golden feet?
I reply, the ocean knows this.”

Day 27 – “The Light Wraps You” by Pablo Neruda

 “The great roots of night
grow suddenly from your soul,
and the things that hide in you come out again “

Day 28 – “On the Great Atlantic Rainway” by Kenneth Koch (1925-2002)

Their voicing ceased, then started again, to complain
That we are offered nothing when it starts to rain
In the same way, though we are dying for the truth.

Day 29 – “Permanently” by Kenneth Koch

“An Adjective walked by, with her dark beauty.
The Nouns were struck, moved, changed.”

Day 30 – “Paradiso” by Kenneth Koch

“Yet often, looking toward the horizon
There—inimical to you?—is that something you have never found”


Published by Jen

The author of Snark on the Side is not your average run-of-the-millennial generation. Jen is a contradiction in terms: a graceful klutz, a smart blond, a math-savvy English degree-holder, a southern liberal, and an adult amateur equestrian who doesn’t match her saddle pads. Snark on the Side is a work in progress, born out of years of rambling email newsletters and anthropomorphized Christmas letters, small town observations, and the ever-present irony of pursuing a career with a degree in English literature. Thanks for visiting!

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