poetry for new beginnings

Poetry Breakfast ~ at home

 

As we are unable to meet together for our Poetry Breakfasts, I invite you to join us for a virtual session instead.  So, with the help of Tim, Ali and Hilary, I will share ideas for poems, on the theme of each Poetry Breakfast already on our (now redundant) calendar, on a weekly basis.

Today’s theme for the week is ‘Poetry for New Beginnings’ as ever, the theme is a starting off point – go where you will with it …

Sending you all much love!

Anna x

PS The next theme will be ‘Showers and Sunshine’

Thanks to Neil Astley for suggesting this poem.

Anna Dreda

Poetry Breakfast

Brendan Kenneally

Begin again to the summoning birds
to the sight of light at the window,
begin to the roar of morning traffic
all along Pembroke Road.
Every beginning is a promise
born in light and dying in dark
determination and exaltation of springtime
flowering the way to work.
Begin to the pageant of queuing girls
the arrogant loneliness of swans in the canal
bridges linking the past and future
old friends passing though with us still.
Begin to the loneliness that cannot end
since it perhaps is what makes us begin,
begin to wonder at unknown faces
at crying birds in the sudden rain
at branches stark in the willing sunlight
at seagulls foraging for bread
at couples sharing a sunny secret
alone together while making good.
Though we live in a world that dreams of ending
that always seems about to give in
something that will not acknowledge conclusion
insists that we forever begin.

i thank You God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and love and wings; and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)
how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any – lifted from the no
of all nothing – human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?
(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

by E E Commings  (and read by him in this YouTube clip)

Instructions on Not Giving Up by Ada Limón

More than the fuchsia funnels breaking out

of the crabapple tree, more than the neighbor’s

almost obscene display of cherry limbs shoving

their cotton candy-colored blossoms to the slate

sky of Spring rains, it’s the greening of the trees

that really gets to me. When all the shock of white

and taffy, the world’s baubles and trinkets, leave

the pavement strewn with the confetti of aftermath,

the leaves come. Patient, plodding, a green skin

growing over whatever winter did to us, a return

to the strange idea of continuous living despite

the mess of us, the hurt, the empty. Fine then,

I’ll take it, the tree seems to say, a new slick leaf

unfurling like a fist to an open palm, I’ll take it all.

“It was a hard winter. My whole body raged against it. But right as the world feels uninhabitable, something miraculous happens: the trees come back. I wanted to praise that ordinary thing as a way of bringing myself back too.”
—Ada Limón

Morning In A New Land by Mary Oliver

In trees still dripping night some nameless birds

Woke, shook out their arrowy wings, and sang,

Slowly, like finches sifting through a dream.

The pink sun fell, like glass, into the fields.

Two chestnuts, and a dapple gray,

Their shoulders wet with light, their dark hair streaming,

Climbed the hill. The last mist fell away,

 

And under the trees, beyond time’s brittle drift,

I stood like Adam in his lonely garden

On that first morning, shaken out of sleep,

Rubbing his eyes, listening, parting the leaves,

Like tissue on some vast, incredible gift.

 

from New and Selected Poems Volume One by Mary Oliver, published by Beacon Press, Boston, 1992

Thank you Hilary for choosing these two poems for us.

Anna Dreda

Poetry Breakfast

New Every Morning

Every day is a fresh beginning,
Listen my soul to the glad refrain.
And, spite of old sorrows
And older sinning,
Troubles forecasted
And possible pain,
Take heart with the day and begin again.

Susan Coolidge

 

Simple and sweet, but ‘Take heart with the day and begin again’ says it all, don’t you think?

The Door by Miroslav Holub

Go and open the door.
Maybe outside there’s
a tree, or a wood,
a garden,
or a magic city.

Go and open the door.
Maybe a dog’s rummaging.
Maybe you’ll see a face,
or an eye,
or the picture
of a picture.

Go and open the door.
If there’s a fog
it will clear.

Go and open the door.
Even if there’s only
the darkness ticking,
even if there’s only
the hollow wind,
even if
nothing
is there,
go and open the door.

At least
there’ll be
a draught.

from Poems Before & After: Collected English translations (Bloodaxe Books, 2006)

4 Comments

  1. Steve Harrison

    Also in Emergency Poet

    Love after Love by Derek Walcott

    Reply
    • Anna Dreda

      I Love this poem – you can find it here: , or, as you say, Steve, in the Emergency Poet’s Anti-Stress Anthology, published by Michael O’Mara books and available from lots of places, including the Poetry Pharmacy in Bishops Castle.

      Reply
  2. tim cook

    A couple of slightly oblique takes on “New Beginnings”. First, the second of Eliot’s Four Quartets, East Coker – the one that starts: “In my beginning is my end” (so apparently the reverse idea!) – the first section ends:

    “Dawn points, and another day
    Prepares for heat and silence. Out at sea the dawn wind
    Wrinkles and slides. I am here
    Or there, or elsewhere. In my beginning.”

    And second: A Black Birch in Winter by Richard Wilbur (find it online or e.g. in the Lautus Press anthology Treelines) – which is not about tearing up the past and starting afresh, but adding “annual rebirth” to what’s already in place.

    Reply

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