TCS: November Ends and December Begins – The Music Plays Itself

   Good Morning!


Welcome to The Coffee Shop, just for you early risers
on Monday mornings. This is an Open Thread forum,
so if you have an off-topic opinion burning a hole in
your brainpan, feel free to add a comment.

When I tell the truth, it is not for the sake
of convincing those who do not know it,
but for the sake of defending those that do.

— William Blake


A Poison Tree

by William Blake

I was angry with my friend:
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.

And I watered it in fears.
Night and morning with my tears:
And I sunned it with smiles.
And with soft deceitful wiles.

And it grew both day and night.
Till it bore an apple bright.
And my foe beheld it shine.
And he knew that it was mine.

And into my garden stole.
When the night had veild the pole;
In the morning glad I see;
My foe outstretchd beneath the tree.

“A Poison Tree” from The Complete Poetry & Prose of William Blake, 1988 Revised Edition – Random House

William Blake (1757-1827) was born on November 28, in London, England. He was an English poet, painter, and printmaker. Largely unrecognised during his lifetime, he is now considered a seminal figure of in the poetry and visual arts of the Romantic Age. Best known for his Songs of Innocence and Experience.

A Red Glow in the Sky

 by Aleksandr Blok

 10 June 1900

 A red glow in the sky, the dead night underground.
The pine trees imprison me in their dark destiny,
but unmistakably there comes the sound
of a far distant, undiscovered city.

You will make out houses in heavy rows,
and towers, and the silhouette of buttresses,
and gardens behind stone walls somber with shadows,
and arrogant ramparts of ancient fortresses.

Unmistakably from submerged centuries
the piercing mind makes ready for dawning,
the long forgotten roar of silted cities,
and the rhythm of life returning.

 “A Red Glow in the Sky” from Aleksandr Blok: Selected Poems, translation © 2000 by Jon Stallworthy and Peter France – Carcanet Press Ltd.

Aleksandr Blok (1880 -1921) was born on November 28, New Style, in St. Petersburg, then in the Russian Empire. He was a lyrical poet, author, publicist, playwright, literary critic, and translator. His poetry cycle dedicated to his wife,  Stikhi o Prekrasnoi Dame (Verses About the Beautiful Lady), made him famous, but after the 1905 Russian Revolution, which he welcomed enthusiastically, his writing began to shift to more political themes. When the Socialist Academy of Social Sciences was established in 1918, Blok became a participant. But by 1921 Blok had become disillusioned with the Russian Revolution. He had not written any poetry for three years. He complained to Maksim Gorky that his “faith in the wisdom of humanity” had ended. Blok explained to another friend just a few days before he became very ill why he could not write poetry any more: “All sounds have stopped. Can’t you hear that there are no longer any sounds?” His doctors requested that he be sent abroad for medical treatment, but he was not allowed to leave the country. In May 1921, Gorky pleaded for a visa, calling Blok “Russia’s finest poet,” but by the time the visa was approved by the Political Bureau of the Central Committee and delivered in August, Blok had died three days earlier.


Poem for Pearl’s Dancers

by Owen Dodson

On my back they’ve written history, Lord,
On my back they’ve lashed out hell.
My eyes run blood,
The faces I see are blood,
My toes can’t dig no deeper in the dirt.

When my children get to reading, Lord,
On my back they’ll read my tale.
My lips taste blood,
And in the soul’s they’re blood.
My tongue can’t joy no future in this blood.

When my children get to shouting, Lord,
When my children get to standing straight,
Lord, Lord, Lord,
When that time come rolling down!!!!

“Poem for Pearl’s Dancers” from Powerful Long Ladder, © 1946 by Owen Dodson –  Farrar, Straus and Girouz

Owen Dodson (1914-1983) was born on November 28, in Brooklyn New York. He was a leading poet among the African-American poets who came after the Harlem Renaissance generation of poets. Dodson was also a novelist, playwright, and chair of the Howard University Drama Department (1940-1970). He died of cardiovascular disease at the age of 68. One of his short stories won a Paris Review Prize. Dodson published three poetry collections: Powerful Long Ladder; The Confession Stone: Song Cycles; and The Harlem Book of the Dead.

Instruments (I)

by Madeleine L’Engle

The sky is strung with glory.
Light threads from star to star
from sun to sun
a liv­ing harp.
I rejoice, I sing, I leap upwards to play.
The music is in light.
My fin­gers pluck the vibrant strings;
the notes pulse, throb, in exul­tant harmony;
I beat my wings against the strands
that reach across the galaxies
I play


It is not I who play
it is the music
the music plays itself
is played
plays me
small part of an innumerable
I am flung from note to note
impaled on melody
my wings are caught on throb­bing fil­a­ments of light
the wild cords cut my pinions
my arms are outstretched
are bound by ropes of counterpoint
I am cross-eagled on the singing that is strung
from puls­ing star
to flam­ing sun

I burn in a blaze of song.

“Instruments (I)” from The Ordering of Love © 1969 by Madeleine L’Engle and 2005 by Crosswicks Ltd – WaterBooks Press/Random House

Madeleine L’Engle (1918-2007) born November 29, in New York City. American author of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry, best known for her young adult books, A Wrinkle in Time, winner of the 1963 John Newbery Medal, and its sequels: A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, Many Waters, and An Acceptable Time.

Your Revolution

by Sarah Jones

Yeah yeah, yeah this goes out to all the women and men from New York to
London to LA to Tokyo struggling to keep their self-respect in this climate
Of misogyny, money worship and mass production of hip-hop’s illegitimate child,
Hip-Pop. And this especially goes out to Gil Scott-Heron, friend, living legend
And proto-rapper who wrote “The Revolution will not be Televised.” Much Respect.

Your revolution will not happen between these thighs
Your revolution will not happen between these thighs
Your revolution will not happen between these thighs
Not happen between these thighs
Not happen between these thighs
The real revolution ain’t about booty size
The Versaces you buys, or the Lexus you drives
And though we’ve lost Biggie Smalls
Baby your notorious revolution
Will never allow you to lace no lyrical douche, in my bush
Your revolution will not be killing me softly, with Fugees
Your revolution ain’t gonna knock me up without no ring
And produce little future emcees
Because that revolution will not happen between these thighs
Your revolution will not find me in the backseat of a jeep
With LL, hard as hell, you know doin it and doin it and doin it well
Doin it and doin it and doin it well, nah come on now
Your revolution will not be you smacking it up, flipping it, or rubbing it down
Nor will it take you downtown or humpin around
Because that revolution will not happen between these thighs
Your revolution will not have me singing, ain’t no nigga like the one I got
And your revolution will not be sending me for no drip, drip VD shot
And your revolution will not involve me, feelin your nature rise
Or helping you fantasize
Because that revolution will not happen between these thighs
No no, not between these thighs
Oh, my Jamican brother, your revolution will not make you feel bombastic
And really fantastic
And have you groping in the dark for that rubber wrapped in plastic
You will not be touching your lips to my triple dip of french vanilla,
Butter pecan, chocolate delux
Or having Akinyele’s dream, m-hmm a 6-foot blowjob machine m-hmm
You want to subjugate your queen? uh-huh
Think I’m a put it in my mouth, just ’cause you made a few bucks?
Please brother please
Your revolution will not be me tossing my weave
And making me believe I’m some caviar-eating ghetto mafia clown
Or me giving up my behind, just so I can get signed
And maybe having somebody else write my rhymes
I’m Sarah Jones, not Foxy Brown
You know I’m Sarah Jones, not Foxy Brown
Your revolution makes me wonder, where could we go
If we could drop the empty pursuit of props and ego
We’d revolt back to our Roots, use a little Common Sense
On a quest to make love De La Soul, no pretense
But your revolution will not be you flexing your little sex and status
To express what you feel
Your revolution will not happen between these thighs
Will not happen between these thighs
Will not be you shaking and me *yawn* faking
Between these thighs
Because the real revolution, that’s right I said the real revolution
You know I’m talking about the revolution
When it comes, it’s gonna be real
It’s gonna be real
When it finally comes
It’s gonna be real, yeah yeah

“Your Revolution” lyrics by Sarah Jones © Third Side Music Inc.

Sarah Jones (1973 – ) was born on November 29 in Baltimore, Maryland; African American playwright, poet, and actress; noted for her one-woman theatre shows, including Bridge & Tunnel, produced Off-Broadway by Meryl Streep, which went on to Broadway and won a Special Tony Award. She has a multicultural heritage which includes African-American, and Caribbean ancestry, and The New Yorker said of her solo shows that she “lays our mongrel nation before us with gorgeous, pitch-perfect impersonations of the rarely heard or dramatized.” In 2001, she went to court to fight the ban when her song “Your Revolution” was declared “indecent” by the FCC and the radio station that played it was fined. After a two-year wait, joined by the ACLU, she won her case, and the FCC rescinded their initial notice, making the song available for air play.

Sonnet 1

by Sir Philip Sydney

Loving in truth, and fain in verse my love to show,
That she, dear she, might take some pleasure of my pain,
Pleasure might cause her read, reading might make her know,
Knowledge might pity win, and pity grace obtain,—
I sought fit words to paint the blackest face of woe,
Studying inventions fine, her wits to entertain,
Oft turning others’ leaves, to see if thence would flow
Some fresh and fruitful showers upon my sunburned brain.
But words came halting forth, wanting Invention’s stay:
Invention, Nature’s child, fled step-dame Study’s blows,
And others’ feet still seemed but strangers in my way.
Thus great with child to speak, and helpless in my throes,
Biting my truant pen, beating myself for spite:
“Fool,” said my Muse to me, “look in thy heart and write.”

“Sonnet 1” from The Sonnets of Sir Philip Sydney – 2019 edition – Forgotten Books Ltd

Sir Philip Sydney (1554-1586) born on November 30, in Penshurst, Kent, England;  English poet, courtier, scholar, and soldier. He was a notable figure of the Elizabethan Age. Sydney was an advocate for a united Protestant effort against the Catholic Church and Spain. In 1585, he was appointed governor of Flushing in the Netherlands, carried out a successful raid on Spanish forces near Axel in July, 1586, then was mortally wounded at Zutphen fighting with Dutch forces against the Spaniards. He died at age 31.His works include The Defence of Poesy, The Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia, and Astrophel and Stella.

On The Beach

by Grace Andreacchi

On a dark blue shore
I held a child on my lap
tall elk emerged from the water
climbed the beach, walking
stately past us in procession
winter trees
moving in the wind
she clung to me in wonder
we dared not to breathe
they did us no harm
melting fires lost loves souls drowned
in sorrow they came but
not for us
and yet we saw them

“On The Beach” © 2009 by Grace Andreacchi

Grace Andreacchi (1954 – ) born on December 3rd in New York City; American novelist, poet, and playwright.  Her first play, Vegetable Medley,  opened at the Soho Repertory Theater in 1985.  Her novels include Music for Glass Orchestra, Poetry and Fear, and Scarabocchio. Her poetry collections include:  Songs for a Mad Queen, Berlin Elegies, and Ten Poems for the End of Time.

What will you do, God?

by Rainer Maria Rilke

What will you do, God, when I die?
When I, your pitcher, broken, lie?
When I, your drink, go stale or dry?
I am your garb, the trade you ply,
you lose your meaning, losing me.

Homeless without me, you will be
robbed of your welcome, warm and sweet.
I am your sandals: your tired feet
will wander bare for want of me.

Your mighty cloak will fall away.
Your glance that on my cheek was laid
and pillowed warm, will seek, dismayed,
the comforts that I offered once —
to lie, as sunset colors fade
in the cold lap of alien stones.

What will you do, God? I am afraid.

“What Will You Do, God?” from Poems from the Books of Hours, translation © 2016 by Babette Deutsch – Bilingual edition, New Directions

Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926) born on December 4, in Prague, Bohemia; Austrian-Swiss poet and author; recognized as one of the most lyrically intense and greatest of the German-language poets; noted for The Book of Hours; Duino Elegies; and Letters to a Young Poet.



About wordcloud9

Nona Blyth Cloud has lived and worked in the Los Angeles area for over 50 years, spending much of that time commuting on the 405 Freeway. After Hollywood failed to appreciate her genius for acting and directing, she began a second career managing non-profits, from which she has retired. Nona has now resumed writing whatever comes into her head, instead of reports and pleas for funding. She lives in a small house overrun by books with her wonderful husband.
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