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The One Page Poetry Circle met on May 9th to discuss Poetry and Theft. We had a great turnout for our last program of the spring season.

Abigail opened our discussion with two poems, “Jenny Kiss’d Me” by Leigh Hunt, which employs the metaphor of time as a thief, and John MilSafe_Open_Emptyton’s “Sonnet 7,” in which Abigail believes she has found the origin of the metaphor. “How soon hath Time, the subtle thief of youth,/Stol’n on his wing my three-and-twentieth year!” We were impressed by Milton’s concern about how little he had accomplished by the age of 23 and how much he would eventually accomplish.

Roger read Wendy Videlock’s poem “Disarmed,” in which a mother views the evidence of her son’s stolen snacks as he sleeps, “how could I be uncharmed by this,/your secret world, your happy mess?”

Phil read “The Thieves” by Robert Graves which describes lovers who thieve, reciprocally, from each other, “After, when they disentwine/You from me and yours from mine,/Neither can be certain who/Was that I whose mine was you.”

Hazel and Terry brought the same poem, something that seldom happens, and examined in different ways Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 99”: “The forward violet thus did I chide:/Sweet thief, whence didst thou steal thy sweet that smells,/If not from my love’s breath?”

Ken read Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower”: “‘There must be some way out of here,’/Said the joker to the thief/‘There’s too much confusion, I can’t get no relief’” and we discussed different interpretations of who the joker and the thief represent and what the song means.

Elizabeth spoke about the theft of a civilization, something experienced by the Hmong people. She brought with her a piece of tapestry that tells (if we knew how to read it) the history of one family and a poem by Mai Der Vang “Cipher Song”: “It’s come to this. We hide the stories/on our sleeves, patchwork of cotton veins.”

Linda read “Ralph Rhodes,” a selection from the Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters: “And you look up, and there’s your Theft,/Who waited until your head was gray,/And your heart skipped beats to say to you:/The game is ended./I’ve called for you.”

Salomé read “Richard Cory” by Edwin Arlington Robinson, a poem describing a man who was rich and respected, “So on we worked, and waited for the light,/And went without the meat, and cursed the bread;/And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,/Went home and put a bullet through his head.”

Gail read Philip Larkin’s “Home Is So Sad,”

Home is so sad. It stays as it was left,
Shaped to the comfort of the last to go
As if to win them back. Instead, bereft
Of anyone to please, it withers so,
Having no heart to put aside the theft
And turn again to what it started as,
A joyous shot at how things ought to be,
Long fallen wide. You can see how it was:
Look at the pictures and the cutlery.
The music in the piano stool. That vase.

Karen read two poems from an anthology used to teach children that describe, as in the Larkin poem above, the emptiness in a home. “There Are Four Chairs Round the Table” by John Foster begins, “There are four chairs round the table,/Where we sit down for our tea./But now we only set places/For Mum, for Terry and me.” One of the authors in this anthology said he writes poetry because: “A. When you didn’t follow teacher’s directions to write a poem, you got the cane. B. Later, I thought that girls would realize what a sensitive and wonderful human being I was. They did not. C. Now, to entertain children.”

Stan read the work of a Cherokee poet, Santee Frazier, “The Robbery” which begins, “Red ambulance flicker, curbstone, wheels, a gurney. Down the breezeway a baby, crying out among the gawk-mouthed heads./Knifed, sliced, the man bleeding through the gauze and onto his belly.”

AnnaLee closed the circle with “The Stealing Poems” by Robert Adamson, which compares the act of theft with sex:

It’s the way you feel
as you do it
it’s not good
or bad or anything
and you lose
the feeling as soon as
it’s over
it’s like sex a lot
that’s why when you steal
when you’re a kid
it’s so strange
because you haven’t got sex
to compare it to

Have a wonderful summer and we will see you in the fall. And remember to blog with us at onepagepoetrycircle.wordpress.com. Don’t be shy.

Fall 2017 Schedule:
September 12: Poetry and Commemoration
October 17: Poetry and Punctuation
November 14: Poetry and Power
December 12: Poetry and Windows

Abigail Burnham Bloom and
AnnaLee Wilson

The One Page Poetry Circle is sponsored by the New York Public Library and is open to all. St. Agnes Branch Library is handicap accessible.

The One Page Poetry Circle met on April 18 to discuss Poetry and Silence. We loved the poems everyone brought and the happy noise made over poetry!

Abigail began by reading Maria Jane Jewsbury’s “A Farewell to the Muse” which involves self-imposed renunciation and silence, “Farewell Song! —thy last notes quiver, —/Muse,—Lute, —Music, —farewell now!”

Roger read “Silence” by Edgar Lee Masters about the great difficulty of communication, “Of what use is language?/A beast of the field moans a few times/When death takes its young./And we are voiceless in the presence of realities.”

It was a relief when Phil read Carl Sandburg’s humorous “Aprons of Silence”: So many times I was asked/To come and say the same things/Everybody was saying, no end/To the yes-yes, yes-yes,/me-too, me-too.”

Hazel read “Ode on a Grecian Urn” a celebration of unheard melodies by John Keats and remarked that T. S. Eliot thought the famous last two lines spoil a good poem, “‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty,’ —that is all/Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”

Gail read from Adrienne Rich’s “Cartographies of Silence,” a work Gail first read as a meditation in a prayer book, “Silence can be a plan/rigorously executed/the blueprint to a life.”

Linda read Michael Shepherd’s “! The Sound of Silence” which celebrates the life in everything: “And I hear in the sound of the chisel on the stone,/as sure as I know my own name,/that the sculptor is listening to all this too.” Note the strange use of punctuation in the title.

Eileen remembered a poem she had read “maybe 50 years ago” and brought Muriel Rukeyser’s “Effort at Speech Between Two People” to share with us: “: Speak to me. Take my hand. What are you now?/I will tell you all. I will conceal nothing.” Here the poet’s creative use of punctuation starts each segment and follows throughout.

Karen read “Patch of Light in Deep Woods” by Maurice Manning describing a magical moment, “I listen silently to the silence,/and then six or seven, a spiral stream of hummingbirds pours through the hole/as silver-green swirled down a funnel.” We couldn’t find this online, but did fine Manning’s “Provincial Thought”: “it struck me as a symbol inside/another symbol, a silence inside/a silence, and another silence fell on me.”

Carol read “The Sound of Silence” by Simon and Garfunkel, a song that resonates in many of our minds when we think of silence, “And the vision that was planted in my brain/Still remains/Within the sound of silence.”

Jaye read “To Those Who Are Alone” by Deafening Silence, “To those who are alone/and live their lives just drifting by,” to which Jaye added… “at my dinner party!” which she plans to have for vulnerable people.

AnnaLee closed the circle with Timothy Yu’s “Chinese Silence No. 22” which uses a series of stereotypes to eventually bring out individuality, “The Italians are making their pasta,/the French are making things French,/and the Chinese cultivate their silence.”

She also pointed out how the great Leonard Cohen’s two beats of silence towards the end of “Hallelujah” are as important as sound.

We look forward to seeing the works you select for Poetry and Theft and to discussing them with you at our next meeting on May 9 at the St. Agnes Branch Library, 444 Amsterdam Avenue in Manhattan. . Bring a poem of a known poet. Bring a friend. Show up! And widen the circle! Without your support the library may find other uses for the spacious room they’ve given us.

Abigail Burnham Bloom and AnnaLee Wilson

The One Page Poetry Circle is sponsored by the New York Public Library and is open to all. St. Agnes Branch Library is handicap accessible.