Inspiration: Poems

Poem: “Incendiary Art,” by Patricia Smith

Poem: “Incendiary Art,” by Patricia Smith

The city’s streets are densely shelved with rows of salt and packaged hair. Intent on air, the funk of crave and function comes to blows with any smell that isn’t oil—the blare of storefront chicken settles on the skin and mango spritzing drips from razored hair. The...

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Poem: “Quarantine,” by Eavan Boland

Poem: “Quarantine,” by Eavan Boland

In the worst hour of the worst season of the worst year of a whole people a man set out from the workhouse with his wife. He was walking—they were both walking—north. She was sick with famine fever and could not keep up. He lifted her and put her on his back. He...

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Poem: “Submerged,” by Lola Ridge

Poem: “Submerged,” by Lola Ridge

I have known only my own shallows— Safe, plumbed places, Where I was wont to preen myself. But for the abyss I wanted a plank beneath And horizons... I was afraid of the silence And the slipping toe-hold... Oh, could I now dive Into the unexplored deeps of me— Delve...

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Poem: “Fear,” by Kahlil Gibran

Poem: “Fear,” by Kahlil Gibran

It is said that before entering the sea a river trembles with fear. She looks back at the path she has traveled, from the peaks of the mountains, the long winding road crossing forests and villages. And in front of her, she sees an ocean so vast, that to enter there...

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Poem: “Television,” by Roald Dahl

Poem: “Television,” by Roald Dahl

The most important thing we've learned, So far as children are concerned, Is never, NEVER, NEVER let Them near your television set -- Or better still, just don't install The idiotic thing at all. In almost every house we've been, We've watched them gaping at the...

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Poem: “Passover,” by Primo Levi

Poem: “Passover,” by Primo Levi

Tell me: how is this night different From all other nights? How, tell me, is this Passover Different from other Passovers? Light the lamp, open the door wide So the pilgrim can come in, Gentile or Jew; Under the rags perhaps the prophet is concealed. Let him enter and...

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POEM: “Small Kindnesses,” by Danusha Laméris

POEM: “Small Kindnesses,” by Danusha Laméris

I’ve been thinking about the way, when you walk down a crowded aisle, people pull in their legs to let you by. Or how strangers still say “bless you” when someone sneezes, a leftover from the Bubonic plague. “Don’t die,” we are saying. And sometimes, when you spill...

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