The petals on the water drifted off with the message you tried to reveal in the depths of your madness, a missing presence ruined by entitled indifference.
This continues the series of columns that highlights a much-loved poem and other poems that speak to, or resonate with, that poem. This week features “The Weary Blues,” crafted by Langston Hughes. The two related poems are “The Blues Don’t Change” by Al Young and “Slow Drag Blues” by Kevin Young. (While they share the same surname and were both Stegner Fellows, Al and Kevin are unrelated). The Poetry Foundation
Under the nervous street light The cat crosses stealthily Pausing at the edge Of the darker side. One eye flashes And it’s gone Into the margins. Black impregnates black The seed of a dream Behind the slumbering houses. I flutter through empty space A little man with little wings And a mouse’s tail. Suddenly I feel a knife In the back of my neck. I reel, collapse, plummet Drowning within
We make things. We do things. And we’re smarter than you think. Our language is basic, but we mean what we say. We judge others based less on words and more on actions. You learned how to make a living from words, but you don’t follow the rules you try to impose on others. You discourage free speech and shout down those you don’t like while calling us xenophobes and
This is part of a series of columns that feature a most-loved poem. Each of these poems is coupled with and a poem or two that speak to, or resonate with, the first poem. This week’s poem is “Nostalgia” by Billy Collins, written in 1991. The two other poems are “To His Coy Mistress” by Andrew Marvell and my own “Invitation to the Opera.” Collins’ poem is my personal favorite. The complete Poetry Foundation
The universe was born in our absence. Once a baseball-sized cluster of concentrated energy, it grew into a sprawling neighborhood inhabited by mass and the four great forces. In an endless battle, matter and antimatter collided like mortal enemies to create presence, annihilating each other on contact. Matter won for no clear reason, and stranger still, we have yet to learn why anything exists.