I started Friday Fives back when I started up the blog again and wanted to make sure I kept at least one regular post a week. This was, of course, before I knew there were others out there. But I decided to keep it, especially since I have the whole year planned out. In December, I decided to change it to Friday Fives instead to have more room for topics.
I don’t know what it was about September that it got away from me, but I’m hoping to post more in the coming months. I’m going to blame that the school year started and it was a bit crazy.
For today’s topic of poetry, I’m going to share five poems that I enjoy. Of course, this is by no means an exhaustive list of my favorite poems.
Partition by Fatimah Asghar
you’re kashmiri until they burn your home. take your orchards. stake a different flag. until no one remembers the road that brings you back. you’re indian until they draw a border through punjab. until the british captains spit paki as they sip your chai, add so much foam you can’t taste home. you’re seraiki until your mouth fills with english. you’re pakistani until your classmates ask what that is. then you’re indian again. or some kind of spanish. you speak a language until you don’t. until you only recognize it between your auntie’s lips. your father was fluent in four languages. you’re illiterate in the tongues of your father. your grandfather wrote persian poetry on glasses. maybe. you can’t remember. you made it up. someone lied. you’re a daughter until they bury your mother. until you’re not invited to your father’s funeral. you’re a virgin until you get too drunk. you’re muslim until you’re not a virgin. you’re pakistani until they start throwing acid. you’re muslim until it’s too dangerous. you’re safe until you’re alone. you’re american until the towers fall. until there’s a border on your back.
236 by Emily Dickinson
Some keep the Sabbath going to Church –
I keep it, staying at Home –
With a Bobolink for a Chorister –
And an Orchard, for a Dome –
Some keep the Sabbath in Surplice –
I, just wear my Wings –
And instead of tolling the Bell, for Church,
Our little Sexton – sings.
God preaches, a noted Clergyman –
And the sermon is never long,
So instead of getting to Heaven, at last –
I’m going, all along.
Atlantis—A Lost Sonnet by Eavan Boland
How on earth did it happen, I used to wonder
that a whole city—arches, pillars, colonnades,
not to mention vehicles and animals—had all
one find day gone under?
I mean, I said to myself, the world was small then.
Surely a great city must have been missed?
I miss our old city —
white pepper, white pudding, you and I meeting
under fanlights and low skies to go home in it. Maybe
what really happened is
this: the old fable-makers searched hard for a word
to convey that what is gone is gone forever and
never found it. And so, in the best traditions of
where we come from, they gave their sorrow a name
and drowned it.
When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d by Walt Whitman
Coffin that passes through lanes and streets,
Through day and night with the great cloud darkening the land,
With the pomp of the inloop’d flags with the cities draped in black,
With the show of the States themselves as of crape-veil’d women standing,
With processions long and winding and the flambeaus of the night,
With the countless torches lit, with the silent sea of faces and the unbared heads,
With the waiting depot, the arriving coffin, and the sombre faces,
With dirges through the night, with the thousand voices rising strong and solemn,
With all the mournful voices of the dirges pour’d around the coffin,
The dim-lit churches and the shuddering organs—where amid these you journey,
With the tolling tolling bells’ perpetual clang,
Here, coffin that slowly passes,
I give you my sprig of lilac.
All the News That’s Fit to Print by Seema Yasmin
Brown deaths matter more if they speak
English. If our nurses are sent to help
return with trinkets, tans, and meningitis
editorial judgment dictates at least sixteen
Black people must die to equal one white
man’s death—forty-three if the outbreak
is old news does not involve profuse
hemorrhage a former colony or biblical
references. Subtract one dozen if our boys
are deployed to clean up their mess add nine
if babies are disintegrating in shallow graves
but restrict to twelve newspaper inches
maximum. Even maple syrup tastes bitter
licked off fingers inked with destitution
buttercream pancakes stick in the throat
and it’s all happening so far far away.
Follow the story with one reporter who
knows nothing of PPE, shrouds, and
ritual mourning. Send four photogs over
-use two underpaid local fixers if dead
-lines (for awards) are approaching. Win
a Pulitzer for photos of brown faces eating
expired medicines smeared in peanut butter
aid. Say, it is a gift From the American
People. Say, it was worth the ink.
Happy Reading Darlings!