Monthly Archives: February 2014

Fear No Poetry

Don’t be afraid of how I sound, the ancient chants are here inside the poems.

–Yeats on reading his poems aloud

A Catskill Eagle in the Soul

There is a wisdom that is woe; but there is a woe that is madness. And there is a Catskill eagle in some souls that can alike dive down into the blackest gorges, and soar out of them again and become invisible in the sunny spaces.

–Herman Melville, Moby Dick

A Writer’s Job

“Each word has an interior life. Your job is to caretake the interior life of words and language through your selection and arrangement of them in stories.”

–a Japanese storyteller

We Are Free People

“We are free people and free people feel no fear.”

–a member of the punk band Pussy Riot detained in Sochi today for criticizing Putin

Today’s Poem by Pushkin, Translated by Nabokov

A lone sower of liberty, I came out too early, before the morning star.


My time, my labors, my best thoughts were merely lost.

Keep to your pastures, peaceful nations, what is the gift of liberty to sheep. To be slaughtered or shorn, that is what they are for, their inheritance throughout the ages is a yoke with bells and a goad.

-Aleksandr Pushkin


Planxty Edward Snowden

Hand assembling a stadium-sized puzzle
of interlocking data boulders:
these malware bot modules
go over there in the zettabyte
server farm racks.

Looking up from the pens
beneath the Coliseum,
lions and cheetahs
with sharpened fangs
and jeweled collars
lick us affectionately.

Look, a new David,
has thrown open
the outer gates!
Caesar’s grin freezes.

Today’s Guest Poet — Dan Brook

Dan Brook sent over this gentle poem– his fine tribute to labor and liberation. I am happy to publish it on the Little Planet Daily.

Yours in art and labor,


Kibbutz Sa’ar

hot, remote
yet welcoming
a shared bubble
proud of itself
deservedly so
working in the mornings
out in the fields
or washing dishes,
doing laundry,
in the factory
resting in the afternoons
after lunch together
reading books
taking naps
writing poems
reveling in the evenings
playing games
playing music
dancing around
we shared everything
with communal kindness
one day
only one day
I worked with the chickens
stealing their eggs
(I’m sorry)
that day
I became vegetarian
I preferred
the oregano fields
I can still smell
the loveliness
of collective labor
and cooperative living
of alternative space
and utopian visions
within the confines
of this little commune
I sensed my freedom
I tasted our liberation

Planxty Wallace Stevens

Dense, viscous,
thicker than reason
(or “libry paste”
as my father used to say.)

Try to dive in
and he’s elusive
going all mystic disputation
in the tumult of integrations on you

until the insurance executive
who won a Pulitzer for poetry
decides to leave you an alleyway
to duck into.

Winding through
his staccato streets
narrowed by lime shuttered houses,

past his glass aswarm with things
backlit just enough
to glimpse his
green fan printed with red willow,

leading to the poolroom
where he sits playing cards
waiting for you to show up
and take him precisely at his word.

After the Motorcycle Accident

back aches
in a torn blue line
of furnaces

Today’s Apocopated Rhyme Poem

The Lone Pilgrim
(adapted from a traditional shapenote hymn)

I came to the place
Where they laid the lone pilgrim
In the shade by a tree on the hill

When in a low voice
I heard something murmur
How sweetly life passed in a blur

It was a great pride
And a passion consuming
Compelled me far from my home

On Jerusalem’s road
I did meet the contagion
And so I fell from life’s stage

Go and tell my companions
In sorrow most grievous
Be grateful, do not to weep for me

The same hand that lead me
Through seas wild and foaming
Has kindly assisted me home