Poetry is the journal of the sea animal living on land, wanting to fly in the air. Poetry is a search for syllables to shoot at the barriers of the unknown and the unknowable. Poetry is a phantom script telling how rainbows are made and why they go away. Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance - Carl Sandburg..........Poetry should be great and unobtrusive, a thing which enters into one's soul, and does not startle it or amaze it with itself, but with its subject - John Keats .........Poetry is the breath and finer spirit of all knowledge - William Wordsworth ..........Poets utter great and wise things which they do not themselves understand - Plato .........No man was ever yet a great poet, without being at the same time a profound philosopher. For poetry is the blossom and the fragrance of all human knowledge, human thoughts, human passions, emotions, language - Samuel Taylor Coleridge .........One demands two things of a poem. Firstly, it must be a well-made verbal object that does honor to the language in which it is written. Secondly, it must say something significant about a reality common to us all, but perceived from a unique perspective. What the poet says has never been said before, but, once he has said it, his readers recognize its validity for themselves - W. H. Auden ...........Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash - Leonard Cohen .........There is a pleasure in poetic pains which only poets know - William Cowper .........Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood -T. S. Eliot ..........Poetry heals the wounds inflicted by reason - Novalis...........He who draws noble delights from sentiments of poetry is a true poet, though he has never written a line in all his life - George Sand .........A poem is never finished, only abandoned - Paul Valery ........A poet is a bird of unearthly excellence, who escapes from his celestial realm arrives in this world warbling. If we do not cherish him, he spreads his wings and flies back into his homeland - Kahlil Gibran.............Poetry should strike the reader as a wording of his own highest thoughts, and appear almost a remembrance - John Keats..........To be a poet is a condition, not a profession - Robert Frost........A poem is true if it hangs together. Information points to something else. A poem points to nothing but itself - E. M. Forster.........Publishing a volume of verse is like dropping a rose petal down the Grand Canyon and waiting for the echo - Don Marquis...........Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality. But, of course, only those who have personality and emotions know what it means to want to escape from these things - T. S. Eliot ..........You can tear a poem apart to see what makes it tick. You're back with the mystery of having been moved by words. The best craftsmanship always leaves holes and gaps so that something that is not in the poem can creep, crawl, flash or thunder in - Dylan Thomas .........Poetry is boned with ideas, nerved and blooded with emotions, all held together by the delicate, tough skin of words - Paul Engle......... There is not a joy the world can give like that it takes away! Lord Byron

curtains

Akinsola Jeje - Canada

Darkness has fallen, an angry orange gleam, a slashing sash of fire, smouldering at the fringes of the heavy onyx curtains that blank the horizon.

Some welcome the shade, scorning the scorch of desert storms, fever pitches, Montezuma’s revenge, or simply light upon the bulbous blister of brown oxide scales spreading on iron frames. 

Others feel their drawstrings tighten around their throats, their wrists, their limbs, trussed for the slaughter they’ve always remembered. No more trust for the ides of November.

Theatre is a game played in the shadows, by the shadows, for the shadows. Indonesia calls it wayangkulit, a silhouetted procession of clowns and monsters, fallen heroes and brazen impostors.Shows play in real time, to the tinkling percussion of the gamelan. The nayaga, who play this progression of mallets, metallophones and xylophones know as acutely as the high notes reaching towards the intended climax who pays for the performance.

We are taxed, but don’t write checks or balances. Here, the shows have been pre-scripted and pre-recorded. There’s always the fear of something live jumping out of the narrative. Sorry, Bernie.

You didn’t buy a ticket? Fine, watch outside the fence that is not yet a wall. Roast some corn. Pour something cold and frothy into a plastic glass more transparent than the content of tonight’s act. Wait for the curtains to rise once more.

Applaud, cheer, boo, hiss, jeer to the loudest of your abilities. Your silence is not golden. Your voices add to the chorus.

Your reviews may just help this revue become great again. Or cancel its run. Don’t blame this pantomime- you’re the ones who wanted to watch.

This poem, written in the aftermath of the 2016 US presidential election, critiques the administration of Donald Trump, but also the apathy of the voters. “Bernie” is reference to the 2016 Democratic Primary candidate and Senator Bernard “Bernie” Sanders. The Indonesian wayangkulit is an Indonesian shadow-puppet play, the gamelan is a traditional instrumental ensemble in Indonesia that includes many bronze percussion instrument, and the nayagaare the musicians who play the gamelan.

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