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Sep 22nd
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The Poems of Robert Sward

ae_RobertSwardEditor’s note:  In this week’s Poetry Corner, we feature the work of Robert Sward who has taught at Cornell University, the Iowa Writers' Workshop and UC Santa Cruz. A Guggenheim Fellow, he was chosen by Lucile Clifton to receive a Villa Montalvo Literary Arts Award. His more than 20 books include: “Four Incarnations” (Coffee House Press), “Rosicrucian in the Basement,” “The Collected Poems,” and “God is in the Cracks” (Black Moss Press, Canada), now in its second printing. His latest, “New & Selected Poems,” 1957-2011, is about to be published by Red Hen Press.

ODE TO SANTA CRUZ —For Sandy Lydon

You want a sunrise? asks the poet,
I’ll give you a sunrise. Eggplant cirrus clouds,
pinky smoky blue and gray,
pink, moss pink, pink nether flower
sunrise, sunrise
yellow white silicon chip
foghorn, windchime, no-color haze.

Sunrise sunrise
O City of Mystical Arts and Live Soup,
Antique bathhouse, casino
Riva Fish House,

A busload of German tourists
applauding (applaudieren!)
the sunrise.
clam chowder, O scrubbed blue light
melon balls and watermelon shooters,
arcade, pink neon, roller coaster heart-shaped mirror.

KA-BOOM! House begins to dance,
land moves in waves three and four feet high,
weight machines swaying, mirrors rattling,
a sidewalk of broken glass,
a street filled with jewels.
Loma Prieta, The Earthquake of the Dark Hill,
place, this place, always coming back from a disaster.
Natural beauty and unnatural events,
jazz, blues, canoes, tattoos,
I bow and give thanks to the muse,

 

IOWA
What a strange happiness.
Sixty poets have gone off drunken, weeping into the hills,
I among them.
There is no one of us who is not a fool.
What is to be found there?
What is the point in this?
Someone scrawls six lines and says them.
What a strange happiness.

 

NIGHTGOWN, WIFE’S GOWN
Where do people go when they go to sleep?
I envy them. I want to go there too.
I am outside of them, married to them.
Nightgown, wife’s gown, women that you look at,
beside them—I knock on their shoulder blades
ask to be let in. It is forbidden.
But you’re my wife, I say. There is no reply.
Arms around her, I caress her wings.

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The Peace Equation

Sunday is the United Nations’ International Day of Peace, a global peace-building day when nations, leaders, governments, communities and individuals are invited to end conflict, cease hostilities, creat 24 hours of non-violence and promote goodwill. Monday is Autumn equinox as the Sun enters Libra (right relations with all of life). The Soul Year now begins. We work in the dark part of the year (Persephone underground) preparing for the new light of winter solstice. Tuesday to Wednesday is the Virgo new moon festival. We know two things about peace. “The absence of war does not signify peace.” And “Peace is an ongoing process.” In its peace-building emphasis, the UNIDP, through education, attempts to create a “culture of peace, understanding and tolerance”. Esoterically we are reminded of the peace equation: “Intentions for goodwill (and acting upon this intention) create right relations with all earth’s kingdoms which create (the ongoing process of) peace on earth.” At noon on Sunday, in all time zones, millions of participating groups will observe a moment of silence for peace on earth. Bells will ring, candles will be lit, and doves released as the New Group of World Servers recite the Great Invocation (humanity’s mantram of direction). To connect with others around the world see www.cultureofpeace.org    Let us join together with the mother (Virgo). Goodwill to all, let peace prevail on earth. The dove is the symbol for the day.
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