Poems of the Week

Megxit Hexit

by Julia Griffin

Harry and Meghan are flying the nest!
Now they are free for the work they do best:
Diffusing their love and their fabulousness,
Without all the duties, the damp, and the Press.

Meghan and Harry are flying the coop,
Leaving the List, heading out of the loop;
And all they will ask is a homestead or ten,
For Archie, and all their security men.

The Course of Empire

By Dan Campion

“The Pentagon sent a letter saying it was withdrawing from Iraq, only to disavow it as a mistake.”
The New York Times

Hello, we must be going, friends.
No, wait, the cycle never ends.
We come, we go, we yes, we no,
We steer our course now to, now fro,
We whip our cars around your walls,
We leave gift horses in your halls,
We disappear, we reappear,
We always shed a parting tear
To salt a memoir to our taste
Before we leave again in haste.
Or not. That letter? Sent in error.
Janus is our standard-bearer.

Possum Pouch

by Ruth S. Baker

“Young marsupials including possums, koalas and wombats require pouches to grow. Without their mothers they rely on hand-stitched products from donors. Other animals such as flying foxes also require pouches to help their recovery [from Australia’s bushfires], and rescuers say koalas need mittens for their burnt paws.”
—The Guardian

I’m planning to cosset a possum,
Or knit a lost wombat a womb;
Make mittens with blossoms across ’em,
And save some koalas from doom.
Observe: from Detroit to the Netherlands,
They’re all being stitched for by turns,
As humans in grieving-together-lands
Sew wraps for marsupials’ burns.
I like to imagine a flying fox
Enjoying a hand-fashioned snood,
While Kanga’s relieved we’re supplying socks
For her and her blistery brood.
Let’s labor until there’s an over-plus
For wombat, koala, and roo:
To give them some future in spite of us,
It’s the least (and the most) we can do.

Trump and Pence

by Orel Protopopescu

(with apologies to Robert Frost)

“Pence hits the campaign trail for Trump—and himself”
Politico.com

Some say the world will end with Trump.
Some say with Pence.
From studies of the vacuum pump,
I hold with those who favor Trump.
But if more voters lose all sense
and waste their precious votes again
(from bigotry or ignorance)
on Trump, then Pence,
what’s our defense?

Regarding the Envelope*

by Eddie Aderne

“A newly published letter, written by TS Eliot in 1960, has shed fresh light on the writer’s relationship with a woman he corresponded with for 26 years. …
Eliot wrote hundreds of letters to Hale while he was married to his first wife, Vivienne Haigh-Wood.
The letters were unsealed this week at Princeton University in New Jersey.
Their unsealing prompted the publication of Eliot’s letter, which he had said should only be released when his letters to Hale were made public.”
—BBC News

It has come to my ears that Miss Emily Hale
Is glossing my letters. Bad taste on this scale
Compels me to issue a record, although
I shudder to put what is private on show.
In Harvard at Graduate School, I declared
The love that Miss Hale has now vulgarly aired;
From Oxford in 1914, I addressed
Some letters where friendship alone was expressed.
The years wed to Vivienne Haigh-Wood I found
Sheer agony, but for the praises of Pound;
And yet, though the nightmare we jointly endured
Drove me to “The Waste Land,” and her to a ward,
She did let the poet inside me prevail,
And saved me from marrying Emily Hale.
I saw, with poor Vivienne sadly deceased,
I was not in love with Miss Hale in the least:
That what I had taken for love was, in truth,
A memory only of love in my youth;
And it was impossible not to divine
Her deafness to verse, in particular mine.
Though maybe she loved, my opinions meant less
To her than her uncle’s, whose mind was a mess;
Although Unitarian, still she’d prefer
The Anglican rites, quite improper for her;
And lastly (insensitive, surely, and coarse)
She did not respect my beliefs on divorce.
When Vivienne died, I observed that, at most,
My love was the love of a ghost for a ghost;
I hereby record this, before my decease.
We never had sex. May we all rest in peace.

* Italicized phrases verbatim from the letter.

Mydentity Crisis

by Ruth S. Baker

“We say: ‘I am not myself today,’ but we never say: ‘Myself is not my I today.’”
—Chris Evans in The Times

“Myself is not my I today”
Is something I would never say.
How could myself be otherwise?
It’s hard to think of alibis.
Though “I am not myself” may be
Conceivably expressed by me,
The coda’s easy to supply:
“Which nonetheless is still my I.”

Cut Away

by Julia Griffin

“A child stowaway has been found dead in the undercarriage of a plane at a Paris airport, officials said, having probably frozen to death or asphyxiated on the flight …
The child, aged about 10, had clambered into the underbelly of the Air France Boeing 777 in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. …
Temperatures drop to about minus 50C at altitudes of between 9,000 and 10,000 metres at which passenger planes generally fly.”
—The Guardian

“According to oral tradition … the name “Abidjan” results from a misunderstanding. When the first colonists asked a native man the name of the place, the man misunderstood and replied ‘M’bi min djan’: ‘I’ve just been cutting leaves.’”
—Wikipedia

So clearing out the landing gear, they found
(After the jet had safely reached the ground,
And temperatures had reached a safe degree—
No longer minus 50 degrees C—
With atmosphere and pressure back to suit
The needs of earthly life) a furled-up shoot,
Withered with cold, or choked for lack of air:
A rootless child, who no one knew was there.
What should we tell his mother in her grief?
M’bi min djan. Here is your precious leaf.

Iraqn

by James Hamby

If you’ve got lots of money to spend
And would like a new war without end,
Just look back to see
The plan from ’03
And then change the “q” to an “n.”

Escape

by Erika Fine

The news about a murder done by drone
Is ominous and chilling to the bone.

When news becomes too hard for me to face,
I read a book about another place.
I watch a film about another time.
I write a poem that doesn’t have to rhyme.

I reach a state that guarantees escape.
I take a winter beach trip to the Cape.
I buy a finer quality of wine.
I browse for things I’ll never need online.

I act as if I haven’t got a care.
Reality’s too harrowing to bear.
But sometime when I’m fully back on board,
You’ll fill me in on all that I’ve ignored.

Mandalullaby

by Ruth S. Baker

for Baby Yoda (properly known as The Child)

When the Clones rise, the cradle rock will:
With Jedi lore your downy head fill;
When the Sith strike, the cradle fall see.
Child, may great Disney’s Force with you be.