TCS: Time to Be Dazzled

Good Morning!

Spring Flowers - Mid Green shaped Coffee Mug


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.


The poet is on the side of undeceiving the world.
Seamus Heaney

I was trying to tell myself
what I must have known
in a form
I wouldn’t recognize at first.”
Rae Armantrout, from Next Life


12 poets have birthdays this week,
as National Poetry Month continues


April 9


1821 Charles-Pierre Baudelaire born in Paris; French poet, art critic, essayist, and translator. He coined the term modernity (modernité) for the fleeting experience of life in an urban metropolis, and the artistic expression of that experience. Baudelaire  ran up debts, frequented prostitutes, and often wheedled money from his mother to stay afloat after he squandered a sizable inheritance. His family obtained a decree to place his property in trust, which he resented bitterly. By the 1850s, Baudelaire was in poor health, with pressing debts, an irregular literary output, and often changed lodgings to escape creditors. His first and most famous poetry collection, Les Fleurs du mal, appeared in 1857. A small audience appreciated his work, but the general public was scandalized by his themes of sex, death, corruption, and drinking. Baudelaire, his publisher, and the printer were successfully prosecuted for creating “an offense against public morals.” They were fined, and six of his poems were suppressed, but Baudelaire was not imprisoned. In 1859, his illnesses, laudanum addiction, and debts forced him to live with his mother at Honfleur, a seaside town. But his publisher went bankrupt in 1861, and Baudelaire, plunged deeper into debt, fled to Belgium. He took opium, and drank heavily. After a massive stroke in 1866, he was semi-paralyzed, and spent his last months in sanitariums, dying at age 46 in August 1867 in Paris. Much of his work was published posthumously.


by Charles-Pierre Baudelaire

 I am like the king of a rainy country
Rich, and yet powerless, young and yet most old
Who, distrustful of the bows his tutors make
Sits bored among his dogs as with his other beasts
Nothing can lift his spirits, neither hawk nor game
The dying subjects gathered to his balcony.
The grotesque ballad of his best-loved fool
No more distracts him in this sickness cruel.
His lilied bed is changed into a tomb;
The ladies of his court all lords might love
And yet they can no longer find shameless attire
To draw a smile from their young, wasted sire.
The alchemist who made him gold could not
Purge from his soul this corrupt element
And in a blood bath, as in ancient Rome,
Remembered by the mighty in their latter days
Knew not to warm this dazzled corpse
Where flows not blood but Lethe’s waters green.


1955Joolz Denby born as Julianne Mumford in Colchester, England; British spoken-word artist, poet, novelist and tattoo artist; former punk scene bouncer; she organized Poetry in Motion, a local poetry out loud group, and originally gained attention as a touring punk performance poet. Among her published collections are Emotional Terrorism, The Pride of Lions, and Errors of the Spirit.


by Joolz Denby

The herd of mares broke their hobbles
And bolted through the open field gate
Of the common ground, frayed manes
Whipping the cold and their colts stilting
Leggy on the ice iron turf, the steam of
Their racing blood as they wheeled onto
The main road a frost spume, and the
White bolus of the wild winter moon
Shone in their round, black, rolling eyes
As they wove through the braking slew of
Cars and ran for freedom and the distant moorland;
City horses shaggy as Christmas tinsel
Crazy with the thin, cold air and hope.

© 2020 by Joolz Denby


April 10


1867George William Russell born in Northern Ireland near Belfast; Irish author, poet, editor, and painter who used the pen name Æ.  He was part of the Irish Literary Revival, and an Irish nationalist, but also a pacifist and a believer in theosophy. He worked for many years as an organizer and spokesman for the Irish Agricultural Organisation Society (IAOS), a cooperative that laid the foundations for the Irish diary industry. He was editor the IAOS journal, Irish Homestead (1905-1923), and then editor of The Irish Statesman (1923-1930).  Among his many collections of poetry are  Homeward: Songs by the Way; By Still Waters; Voices of the Stones; and Verses for Friends.


by George William Russell

Like winds or waters were her ways:
The flowing tides, the airy streams,
Are troubled not by any dreams;
They know the circle of their days.

Like winds or waters were her ways:
They heed not immemorial cries;
They move to their high destinies
Beyond the little voice that prays.

She passed into her secret goal,
And left behind a soul that trod
In darkness, knowing not of God,
But craving for its sister soul.

“Destiny” from Collected Poems of George William Russell –Dickens Press 2007 reprint edition


1937 – Bella Akhmadulina born in Moscow, USSR; Russian New Wave poet, author, short story writer, and translator. She was called the “voice of the epoch. In 1977, she became an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. The Russian Academy of Sciences honored her with the 1994 Pushkin Prize. She is known for Samya Moi Stikhi (My Own Verses), Izbrannoye (Selected Verse), and Larets i Kliutch  (Casket and Key). She died at age 73 in November 2010 in Peredelkino near Moscow.

Don’t give me all of your time…

by Bella Akhmadulina

Don’t give me all of your time,
don’t question me so often.
With eyes so true and faithful
don’t try and catch my hands.

Don’t follow in the Spring
my steps through pools of rain.
I know that of our meeting
nothing will come again.

You think it’s pride that makes
me turn my back on you?
It’s grief, not pride that holds
my head so very straight.

– translated by George Reavey at


April 11


1857John Davidson born in Barrhead, Renfrewshire, Scotland; Scottish poet, playwright, novelist, and essayist. After a year at Edinburgh University, he worked as a school master but was not a successful teacher. His first novel and several dramas were published to little fanfare while he was still teaching in Scotland, but it was enough for him to move to London in 1889. His poetry collections include In a Music-Hall; Fleet Street Eclogues; and Ballads and Songs. As his small success dwindled, his health also faltered, and he moved to Penzance in Cornwall.  In 1909, burdened with financial worries and depression, at age 51, he sent his final book, Fleet Street and other Poems, to his publisher on the same day he disappeared. His body was found floating in the sea off Penzance nine months after his disappearance.

To the Generation Knocking at the Door

by John Davidson

Break — break it open; let the knocker rust:
Consider no ‘Shalt not,’ nor no man’s ‘must’;
And, being entered, promptly take the lead,
Setting aside tradition, custom, creed;
Nor watch the balance of the huckster’s beam;
Declare your hardiest thought, your proudest dream;
Await no summons; laugh at all rebuff;
High hearts and youth are destiny enough.
The mystery and the power enshrined in you
Are old as time and as the moment new:
And none but you can tell what part you play,
Nor can you tell until you make assay,
For this alone, this always, will succeed,
The miracle and magic of the deed.

“To the Generation Knocking at the Door” by John Davison was first published in the Glasgow Evening News, March 1905


1903Misuzu Kaneko born as Teru in Nagato on the western coast of Honshu island; Japanese children’s poet and songwriter; her widowed mother ran a bookstore and insisted on her daughter continuing her education even though most girls at that time left school after sixth grade. Five of Mizusu’s poems were published in a children’s magazine in 1923, and the magazine continued to publish her poems over the next five years. Her marriage to a clerk in her mother’s store was a disaster. He was unfaithful, contracted venereal disease which he passed on to her, and he forced her to stop writing. When she finally divorced him, Japanese law automatically gave indisputable custody of their daughter to the father. Misuzu sank into despair. After writing a letter to her former husband begging him to let her mother raise the daughter, she committed suicide just before her 27th birthday in 1930. Ultimately, Misuzu’s mother did raise her daughter. Her work fell into obscurity. In 1966, Setsuo Yazaki, an aspiring poet, found her poem ‘Big Catch’ in an out-of-print book, and spent the next 16 years trying to track down the poet. In 1982, he finally got in touch with Misuzu’s younger brother, who still had the diaries in which she had written her poems. The entire collection was published in a six volume anthology. In 2016, an English-language translation of selected poems, Are You an Echo? The Lost Poetry of Misuzu Kaneko, was published.

Bird, Bell, and I

by Misuzu Kaneko

Even if I spread my arms wide,
I can’t fly through the sky,
but still the little bird who flies
can’t run on the ground as fast as I.

Even if I shake my body about
no pretty sound comes out,
but still, the tinkling bell
doesn’t know as many songs as I.

Bird, bell, and I,
We’re all different, and that’s just fine.

– translated by David Jacobson, Sally Ito, and Tsuboi Michiko

“Bird, Bell and I” from Are You an Echo? The Lost Poetry of Misuzu Kaneko – Chin Music Press, 2016 edition


April 12


1907Zawgyi born, leading Burmese poet, author, playwright and literary historian. With Theippan Maung Wa, Nwe Soe and Min Thu Wun, he was a leader of the Hkit san (Testing the Times) literary movement in Burma, which searched for new style and content in the years before the WWII. Best remembered for his play Maha hsan gyinthu, an adaptation of Molière’s Le bourgeois gentilhomme, and the poem Beida lan (The Hyacinth’s Way)

from Beida Ian (Hyacinth’s Way)

by Zawgyi

The waters of the creek are fully abundant,
And the south winds gently enter,
With sails so magnificent,
To reach the goal, dear flower
Make an effort and endeavor.

– translator not credited


April 13


1906 Samuel Beckett born in a Dublin suburb; influential Irish avant-garde novelist, ‘Theatre of the Absurd’ playwright and director, short story writer, poet, and literary translator. He studied French, Italian, and English at Trinity College Dublin (1923-1927). In 1931, he travelled extensively in Europe before going to London, where he wrote essays and reviews.  He published his first poetry collection, Echo’s Bones and Other Precipitates, in 1935. By 1938, he was living in Paris, where he was stabbed in the chest and nearly killed when he refused the solicitations of a notorious pimp.  In 1940, he became a member of the Resistance. After narrowly escaping capture by the Gestapo, he went into hiding in unoccupied France. After 1946, Beckett wrote most of his work in French first, then translated it to English. He was awarded the 1969 Nobel Prize for Literature. He died in 1989  at age 83 in Paris. Now best known for Waiting for Godot, Endgame, and Krapp’s Last Tape.


by Samuel Beckett

My way is in the sand flowing
between the shingle and the dune
the summer rain rains on my life,
on me my life harrying fleeing
to its beginning to its end

My peace is there in the receding mist
when I may cease from treading these long shifting thresholds
and live the space of a door
that opens and shuts

“Untitled” from The Collected Poems of Samuel Becket – Grove Press, 2012 edition


1939 Seamus Heaney born in Northern Ireland, but lived much of his life in Dublin; prolific and influential major Irish poet, playwright, and translator, notably of Beowolf.  Heany won the 1995 Nobel Prize for Literature. He published over 20 poetry collections which include Wintering Out, Seeing Things, Human Chain, and Opened Ground.


      ‘That heavy greenness fostered by water’ (John Montague)

by Seamus Heaney

At school I loved one picture’s heavy greenness –
Horizons rigged with windmills’ arms and sails.
The millhouses’ still outlines. Their in-placeness
Still more in place when mirrored in canals.
I can’t remember never having known
The immanent hydraulics of a land
Of glar and glit and floods at dailigone.
My silting hope. My lowlands of the mind.

Heaviness of being. And poetry
Sluggish in the doldrums of what happens.
Me waiting until I was nearly fifty
To credit marvels. Like the tree-clock of tin cans
The tinkers made. So long for air to brighten,
Time to be dazzled and the heart to lighten.

“Fosterling” from Selected Poems 1988-2013 by Seamus Heaney – Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014 edition


1947Rae Armantrout born in Vallejo, California; American poet; winner of the 2009 National Book Critics Circle Award and the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for her collection Versed.  She is a founding member of the West Coast Language Poets, and author of over ten poetry collections, which include Conjure, Finalists, Itself, and Entanglements.


by Rae Armantrout

We are learning to control our thoughts,
to set obtrusive thoughts aside.

It takes an American
to do really big things.

Often I have no thoughts to push against.

It’s lonely in a song
about outer space.

When I don’t have any thoughts,
I want one!

A close-up reveals
that she has chosen

a plastic soap dish
in the shape of a giant sea turtle.

Can a thought truly be mine
if I am not currently thinking it?

There are two sides
to any argument;

one arm
in each sleeve.

Maybe I am always meditating,
if by that you mean

searching for a perfect

“Control” from Itself, © 2015 by Rae Armantrout – Wesleyan University Press


April 15


1861Bliss Carman born William Bliss Carman in New Brunswick, Canada;, Canadian poet, essayist, and critic who lived much of his life in the U.S., recognized as a ‘Person of National Historic Significance’ by the Canadian government in 1945 and later acclaimed as Canada’s ‘Poet Laureate.’ Carman died of a brain hemorrhage at age 68 in 1929. He was awarded the Robert Frost Medal posthumously in 1930.

The Heart of Night

by Bliss Carman

When all the stars are sown
Across the night-blue space,
With the immense unknown,
In silence face to face.
We stand in speechless awe
While Beauty marches by,
And wonder at the Law
Which wears such majesty.
How small a thing is man
In all that world-sown vast,
That he should hope or plan
Or dream his dream could last!

O doubter of the light,
Confused by fear and wrong,
Lean on the heart of night
And let love make thee strong!

The Good that is the True
Is clothed with Beauty still.
Lo, in their tent of blue,
The stars above the hill!

“The Heart of Night” from The Poems of Bliss Carman – Portable Poetry 2017 edition


1931Tomas Tranströmer born in Stockholm; acclaimed and influential Swedish poet, psychologist, novelist, and translator. He was honored with the 1990 Neustadt International Prize for Literature, and the 2011 Nobel Prize in Literature. He suffered a stroke in 1990 that left him partially paralyzed and unable to speak, but continued to write and publish poetry. One of his last volumes of original poems, Den stora gåtan, was published in 2004, translated into English in 2006 as The Great Enigma. Tranströmer died at age 83 in March 2015.  Among his 13 collections of poetry are The Half-Finished Heaven, Seeing in the Dark, The Truthbarrier, and The Sorrow Gondola.


by Tomas Tranströmer

After a black day, I play Haydn,
and feel a little warmth in my hands.
The keys are ready. Kind hammers fall.
The sound is spirited, green, and full of silence.
The sound says that freedom exists
and someone pays no tax to Caesar.
I shove my hands in my haydnpockets
and act like a man who is calm about it all.
I raise my haydnflag. The signal is:
“We do not surrender. But want peace.”
The music is a house of glass standing on a slope;
rocks are flying, rocks are rolling.
The rocks roll straight through the house
but every pane of glass is still whole.

“Allegro” from New Collected Poems, © 2011 by Tomas Tranströmer – Bloodaxe Books



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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