TCS: Acts of Rebellion and the Language of Bridges

    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.


“My task, which I am trying to achieve is,
by the power of the written word, to make
you hear, to make you feel– it is, before all,

to make you see.”
– Joseph Conrad

“Poetry has never been the language of barriers,
it’s always been the language of bridges.”
                  – Amanda Gorman


All of the Arts are acts of rebellion. They kindle self-awareness and curiosity.  Power-Seekers rightly distrust the Arts. They stop Arts programs in schools, cut government subsidies to the Arts, they forbid music and dancing, they destroy or subvert cultural treasures, but they spend fortunes to own Art, or they steal it outright. If they own it, they believe they control it.

Items high on any successful Power Seeker’s check list: Control of the Media, and of Education. Because Freedom of the Press is not merely an ideal of democracy, it is a primary requirement. Enslaved peoples are always denied education – they are trainednot taught – a most important distinction.

But once a person can read, they have in their hands a great weapon in the struggle to become or remain Free.

Part of the narrative of the Power Seekers is derision of any words not of their making, so they are dismissive of the importance of children’s literature, while at the same time railing against the “corruption of our children” by any book which would lead those children to thinking and asking questions.

Check List for Freedom Seekers and Defenders:

  • Buy or borrow Books. Read Them.
  • Read them to children. Teach children to read books for themselves.
  • Protest when someone tries to ban books, or take them out of schools or libraries, or edit out the “offensive” parts, or burn them.
  • Sing. Make Music. Dance. Act. Make Movies. Draw. Design Buildings. Paint. Sculpt. Write.
  • Be Subversive. But especially – Be Sub-verse-ive.

This week’s subversive poets — and one prophet:


September 24

The Slave Auction

by Frances Watkins Harper

The sale began—young girls were there,
Defenseless in their wretchedness,
Whose stifled sobs of deep despair
Revealed their anguish and distress.
And mothers stood, with streaming eyes,
And saw their dearest children sold;
Unheeded rose their bitter cries,
While tyrants bartered them for gold.
And woman, with her love and truth—
For these in sable forms may dwell—
Gazed on the husband of her youth,
With anguish none may paint or tell.
And men, whose sole crime was their hue,
The impress of their Maker’s hand,
And frail and shrinking children too,
Were gathered in that mournful band.
Ye who have laid your loved to rest,
And wept above their lifeless clay,
Know not the anguish of that breast,
Whose loved are rudely torn away.
Ye may not know how desolate
Are bosoms rudely forced to part,
And how a dull and heavy weight
Will press the life-drops from the heart.

This poem is in the public domain.

Frances Watkins Harper was born in Baltimore, Maryland, as a free woman, o September 24, 1825; African-American abolitionist, lecturer, poet, and author. She published her first book of poetry at age 20, and became the first American black woman to publish a short story, “Two Offers,” in the Anglo-African in 1859. Her novel Iola Leroy, published in 1892, was widely praised. She was part of the Underground Railroad in the 1850s, and was a public speaker for the American Anti-Slavery Society, and an advocate for woman suffrage and for prohibition. In 1894, she was a co-founder of the National Association of Colored Women, and served as its first vice president.


September 25


 by Shel Silverstein

If you are a dreamer, come in,
If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,
A hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer…
If you’re a pretender, come sit by my fire
For we have some flax-golden tales to spin.
Come in!
Come in!

“Invitation” from Where the Sidewalk Ends: Poems and Drawings, written and illustrated by Shel Silverstein, ©1974 by Evil Eye Music, Inc. – HarperCollins Publishers

Shel Silverstein was born in Chicago, Illinois, on September 25, 1930; American writer and poet, known for cartoons, songs and children’s books; among his many notable works are: Now Here’s My Plan, The Giving Tree, Uncle Shelby’s Story of Lafcadio: The Lion Who Shot Back, Where the Sidewalk Ends, A Light in the Attic, and his Grammy-winning albums: Boy Named Sue and Other Country Songs and Where the Sidewalk Ends.


For the Color of My Mother

by Cherrie Moraga

I am a white girl gone brown to the blood color of my mother speaking for her through the unnamed part of the mouth the wide-arched muzzle of brown women

at two
my upper lip split open
clear to the tip of my nose
it spilled forth a cry that would not yield
that travelled down six floors of hospital
where doctors wound me into white bandages
only the screaming mouth exposed

the gash sewn back into a snarl
would last for years

I am a white girl gone brown to the blood color of my mother
speaking for her

at five, her mouth
pressed into a seam
a fine blue child’s line drawn across her face
her mouth, pressed into mouthing english
mouthing yes yes yes
mouthing stoop lift carry
(sweating wet sighs into the field her
red bandana comes loose from under the huge brimmed hat
moving across her upper lip)

at fourteen, her mouth
painted, the ends drawn up
the mole in the corner colored in darker larger mouthing yes
she praying no no no
lips pursed and moving

at forty-five, her mouth
bleeding into her stomach
the hole gaping growing redder
deepening with my father’s pallor
finally stitched shut from hip to breastbone
an inverted V

I am a white girl gone brown to the blood color of my mother
speaking for her

as it should be
dark women come to me
sitting in circles
I pass through their hands
the head of my mother
painted in clay colors

touching each carved feature
swollen eyes and mouth
they understand the explosion the splitting
open       contained within the fixed expression

they cradle her silence
nodding to me

“For the Color of My Mother” from This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color, edited by Cherrie Moraga and Gloria Anzaldúa – Fourth Edition, © 2015 – SUNY Press

Cherrie Moraga born September 25, 1953, in Los Angeles, California, to a white father and a Mexican mother; Chicana writer, poet, lesbian feminist activist, essayist, anthologist, and playwright; founding member of the social justice group La Red Xican Indigena, fighting for education, Indigenous and cultural rights; notable for co-editing the anthology This Bridge Called My Back (originally published in 1981), and for her collection Heroes and Saints & Other Plays.


September 26

The Hollow Men

by T.S. Eliot

Mistah Kurtz-he dead
A penny for the Old Guy


We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats’ feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar

Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;

Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death’s other Kingdom
Remember us-if at all-not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.


Eyes I dare not meet in dreams
In death’s dream kingdom
These do not appear:
There, the eyes are
Sunlight on a broken column
There, is a tree swinging
And voices are
In the wind’s singing
More distant and more solemn
Than a fading star.

Let me be no nearer
In death’s dream kingdom
Let me also wear
Such deliberate disguises
Rat’s coat, crowskin, crossed staves
In a field
Behaving as the wind behaves
No nearer-

Not that final meeting
In the twilight kingdom


This is the dead land
This is cactus land
Here the stone images
Are raised, here they receive
The supplication of a dead man’s hand
Under the twinkle of a fading star.

Is it like this
In death’s other kingdom
Waking alone
At the hour when we are
Trembling with tenderness
Lips that would kiss
Form prayers to broken stone.


The eyes are not here
There are no eyes here
In this valley of dying stars
In this hollow valley
This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms

In this last of meeting places
We grope together
And avoid speech
Gathered on this beach of the tumid river

Sightless, unless
The eyes reappear
As the perpetual star
Multifoliate rose
Of death’s twilight kingdom
The hope only
Of empty men.


Here we go round the prickly pear
Prickly pear prickly pear
Here we go round the prickly pear
At five o’clock in the morning.

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow
Life is very long

Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

For Thine is
Life is
For Thine is the

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

“The Hollow Men” from Collected Poems 1902-1962, © 1963 by T.S. Eliot – Harcourt Brace & Company

T.S. Eliot was born September 26, 1888, in St. Louis, Missouri; American-British poet, essayist, playwright, lierary critic, and publisher. Considered a central figure in English-language Modernist poetry. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1948.


September 27

Path that Leads to Nowhere

by Corinne Roosevelt Robinson

There’s a path that leads to nowhere
In a meadow that I know,
Where an indian river rises
And the stream is still and slow;
There it wanders under willows
And beneath the silvery moon
Of the birches silent shadows
Where the early violets bloom.

Other pathways lead to somewhere,
But the one I love so well
Had no end and no beginning,
Just the beauty of the dell;
There I find my fair oasis,
And with carefree feet I tread,
For the pathway leads to nowhere
And the blue is overhead!

All the ways that lead to somewhere
Echo with the hurrying feet
Of the struggling and the striving,
But the way I find so sweet
Bids me dream and bids me linger,
Joy and Beauty are its goal;
On the path that leads to nowhere
I have sometimes found my soul!

“Path That Leads to Nowhere” from The Poems of Corinne Roosevelt Robinson, originally published before 1923, and now in the public domain.

Corinne Roosevelt Robinson was born in New York City on September 27, 1861; American writer, poet, and public speaker; sister of Theodore and aunt of Eleanor Roosevelt; first woman called on to second a nomination of a Presidential candidate of a major U.S. political party, at the 1920 Republican convention for Leonard Wood, but he lost the nomination to Warren G. Harding; she did not campaign for Hoover in 1932 and voted for FDR.


Noi siamo sardi

da Grazia Deledda

Noi siamo spagnoli, africani, fenici,
cartaginesi, romani, arabi, pisani, bizantini,

Siamo le ginestre d’oro giallo che spiovono
sui sentieri rocciosi come grandi lampade accese.

Siamo la solitudine selvaggia, il silenzio immense
e profondo, lo splendore del cielo, il bianco fiore del cisto.

Siamo il regno ininterrotto del lentisco,
delle onde che ruscellano i graniti antichi,
della rosa canina, del vento, dell’immensità del mare.

Siamo una terra di lunghi silenzi, di orizzonti
ampi e puri, di piante fosche, di montagne bruciate
dal sole e dalla vendetta.

Noi siamo sardi.

We are Sardinians

by Grazia Deledda

We are Spaniards, Africans, Phoenicians, Carthaginians,
Romans, Arabs, Pisani, Byzantines, Piedmontese.

We are the golden-yellow broom that showers onto
rocky trails like huge lamps ablaze.

We are the wild solitude, the immense and profound silence,
the brilliance of the sky, the white flower of the cistus.

We are the uninterrupted reign of the mastic tree,
of the waves that stream over ancient granite, of the dog-rose,
of the wind, of the immensity of the sea.

We are a land of long silences, of horizons vast and pure,
of plants glum, of mountains burnt by the sun and vengeance.

We are Sardinians.

translation © 2019 by Matilda Colarossi

Grazia Deledda born on September 27, 1871; Italian author and poet, won the 1926 Nobel Prize for literature, the first Italian woman to receive the prize; noted for Chiaroscuro, and Canne al vento (Reeds in the Wind). 



by Carol Lynn Pearson

When she learned that she
Didn’t have to plug into
Someone or something
Like a toaster into a wall

When she learned that she
Was a windmill and had only
To raise her arms
To catch the universal whisper
And turn
She moved.

Oh, she moved
And her dance was a marvel.

“Power” from Beginnings & Beyond, © 2005 by Carol Lynn Pearson – Cedar Fort Publishing

Carol Lynn Pearson was born September 27, 1939; American poet, author, screenwriter and playwright. A fourth-generation member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, more commonly known as the Mormon Church, she is best known for her memoir, Goodbye, I Love You, about her marriage to Gerald Neils Pearson, a gay man who died of AIDS. They were both devout Mormons, and he told her while they were engaged that he had engaged in sexual relationships with men, but had left that ‘phase’ of his life behind. Mormon authorities assured the couple that marriage would turn him into a heterosexual, but after 12 years of marriage and four children, they separated and then divorced in 1978. When he was being diagnosed with AIDS in 1984, he returned to live with his ex-wife and children, and she cared for him until his death. Since then, Pearson has been an unofficial spokesperson for acceptance of gay people by their Mormon families, and for a stronger leadership role for women in the Mormon community.


“The winds, the sea, and the moving tides are what they are. If there is wonder and beauty and majesty in them, science will discover these qualities… If there is poetry in my book about the sea, it is not because I deliberately put it there, but because no one could write truthfully about the sea and leave out the poetry.”
― Rachel Carson, about her first book, Under the Sea-Wind, published in 1941

“We stand now where two roads diverge. But unlike the roads in Robert Frost’s familiar poem, they are not equally fair. The road we have long been traveling is deceptively easy, a smooth superhighway on which we progress with great speed, but at its end lies disaster. The other fork of the road — the one less traveled by — offers our last, our only chance to reach a destination that assures the preservation of the earth.”
― Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

September 27, 1962Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring is published; in Sweden, their word for pesticides is changed to mean biocide because Carson argues that ‘insecticide’ is inaccurate as all living things are being poisoned through water and soil contamination.


September 28

Chile Stadium

by Victor Jara

There are five thousand of us here.
In this small part of the city.
Five thousand.
How many of us are there in all
In the cities and in all the country?
Here we are, ten thousand hands
Who plant the seeds and keep the factories running. So much humanity,
hungry, cold, panicked, in pain,
Under moral duress, terrified out of their minds!
Six of ours lost themselves
In the space of the stars.
One man dead, one man beaten worse than I ever thought
It was possible to beat a human being.
The other four wanted to free themselves of all their fear.
One jumped into the void.
Another beat his head against the wall.
But all had the fixed look of death in their eyes.
What fear is provoked by the face of fascism!
They carry out their plans with the utmost precision, not giving a damn about anything.
For them, blood is a medal.
Killing is an act of heroism.
My God, is this the world You created?
Is this the product of Your seven days of wonders and labour?
In these four walls, there is nothing but a number that does not move forward.
That, gradually, will grow to want death.
But my conscience suddenly awakens me
And I see this tide without a pulse
And I see the pulse of the machines
And the soldiers, showing their matronly faces, full of tenderness.
And Mexico, Cuba, and the world?
Let them cry out of this ignominy!
We are ten thousand fewer hands that do not produce.
How many of us are there throughout our homeland?
The blood of our comrade the President pulses with more strength than bombs and machine guns.
And so, too, will our fist again beat.
Song, how hard it is sing you when I have to sing in fear!
Fear like that in which I live, and from which I am dying, fear.
Of seeing myself amidst so much, and so many endless moments
In which silence and outcry are the targets of this song.
What have never seen before, what I have felt and what I feel now
Will make the moment break out…

This was his last song, translated by Joan Jara – from Manifesto

Victor Jara was born in San Ignacio, Chile, on September 28, 1932; Chilean teacher, theatre director, singer-songwriter, poet, and political activist who was arrested in 1973, tortured and killed during the regime of dictator Augusto Pinochet.


September 29

A La Guerra Me Lleva

por Miguel de Cervantes

A la guerra me lleva
mi necesidad;
si tuviera dineros
no fuera en verdad.

War Calls Me

by Miguel de Cervantes

War calls me
And I have to go.
If I had money
It wouldn’t be so.

translation © by Paul Archer

Miguel de Cervantes was born in Alcalá de Henares, Spain, on September 29, 1547; Spanish novelist, poet, and playwright; renowned as the author of Don Quixote (El Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha).


September 30

Raise your words, not your voice.
It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.

– Rumi

We are bees, and our body is a honeycomb.
We made the body, cell by cell we made it.

– Rumi

When someone mentions the gracefulness
of the night sky, climb up on the roof
and dance and say,
Like this.

– Rumi

Rumi was born in Balkh in what is now Afghanistan, on September 30, 1207; Persian poet, Islamic scholar, and Sufi mystic.


Long Afternoon Light

by W.S. Merwin

Small roads written in sleep in the foothills
how long ago and I believed you were lost
as I saw the bronze deepening in the light
and the shy moss turning to itself holding
its own brightness above the badger’s path
while a single crow sailed west without a sound
and yet we trust without giving it a thought
that we will always see it as we see it once
and that what we know is only
a moment of what is ours and will
always be ours we believe it as
the moment flows away out of reach
and lengthening shadows merge in the valley
and one window kindles there like a first star
what we see again will come to us in secret
and without even knowing that we are here

“Long Afternoon Light” from The Moon Before Morning, © 2014 by W.S. Merwin – Copper Canyon Press

W.S. Merwin was born in New York City on September 30, 1927; American poet; U.S. Poet Laureate (2010); two-time Pulitzer Prize for Poetry winner, 1971 and 2009; National Book Award for Poetry 2005.



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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