Poems for Me

A compilation of poems that are about my favorite hobbies: soccer and music.
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A Boy Juggling a Soccer Ball
Christopher Merrill
   after practice: right foot
to left foot, stepping forward and back, 
   to right foot and left foot,
and left foot up to his thigh, holding 
   it on his thigh as he twists
around in a circle, until it rolls 
   down the inside of his leg,
like a tickle of sweat, not catching 
   and tapping on the soft
side of his foot, and juggling
   once, twice, three times,
hopping on one foot like a jump-roper 
   in the gym, now trapping
and holding the ball in midair, 
   balancing it on the instep
of his weak left foot, stepping forward 
   and forward and back, then
lifting it overhead until it hangs there; 
   and squaring off his body,
he keeps the ball aloft with a nudge 
   of his neck, heading it
from side to side, softer and softer, 
   like a dying refrain,
until the ball, slowing, balances 
   itself on his hairline,
the hot sun and sweat filling his eyes 
   as he jiggles this way
and that, then flicking it up gently, 
   hunching his shoulders
and tilting his head back, he traps it 
   in the hollow of his neck,
and bending at the waist, sees his shadow, 
   his dangling T-shirt, the bent
blades of brown grass in summer heat; 
   and relaxing, the ball slipping
down his back. . .and missing his foot.

   He wheels around, he marches 
over the ball, as if it were a rock
   he stumbled into, and pressing
his left foot against it, he pushes it
   against the inside of his right 
until it pops into the air, is heeled
   over his head--the rainbow!-- 
and settles on his extended thigh before
   rolling over his knee and down 
his shin, so he can juggle it again
   from his left foot to his right foot
—and right foot to left foot to thigh—
   as he wanders, on the last day
of summer, around the empty field.
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Flying
Sarah Arvio
One said to me tonight or was it day 
or was it the passage between the two, 
"It's hard to remember, crossing time zones,

the structure of the hours you left behind. 
Are they sleeping or are they eating sweets, 
and are they wanting me to phone them now?"

"In the face of technological fact, 
even the most seasoned traveler feels 
the baffled sense that nowhere else exists."

"It's the moving resistance of the air 
as you hurtle too fast against the hours 
that stuns the cells and tissues of the brain."

"The dry cabin air, the cramped rows of seats, 
the steward passing pillows, pouring drinks, 
and the sudden ridges of turbulence. . ."

"Oh yes, the crossing is always a trial, 
despite precautions: drink water, don't smoke, 
and take measured doses of midday sun,

whether an ordinary business flight 
or a prayer at a pleasure altar. . .
for moments or hours the earth out of sight,

the white cumuli dreaming there below, 
warm fronts and cold fronts streaming through the sky, 
the mesmerizing rose-and-purple glow."

"So did you leave your home à contrecoeur? 
Did you leave a life? Did you leave a love? 
Are you out here looking for another?

Some want so much to cross, to go away, 
somewhere anywhere & begin again, 
others can't endure the separation. . ."

One night, the skyline as I left New York 
was a garden of neon flowerbursts--
the celebration of a history. 
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Warm Summer Sun
Mark Twain
Warm summer sun,
    Shine kindly here,
Warm southern wind,
    Blow softly here.
Green sod above,
    Lie light, lie light.
Good night, dear heart,
    Good night, good night.
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Dreams
Langston Hughes, 1902 - 1967
Hold fast to dreams 
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.
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Water Music
Robert Creeley, 1926 - 2005
The words are a beautiful music.
The words bounce like in water.

Water music,
loud in the clearing

off the boats,
birds, leaves.

They look for a place
to sit and eat—

no meaning,
no point.
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The Mediterranean
Allen Tate, 1899 - 1979

Quen das finem, rex magne, dolorum?

Where we went in the boat was a long bay
a slingshot wide, walled in by towering stone--
Peaked margin of antiquity's delay,
And we went there out of time's monotone:

Where we went in the black hull no light moved
But a gull white-winged along the feckless wave,
The breeze, unseen but fierce as a body loved,
That boat drove onward like a willing slave:

Where we went in the small ship the seaweed
Parted and gave to us the murmuring shore
And we made feast and in our secret need
Devoured the very plates Aeneas bore:

Where derelict you see through the low twilight
The green coast that you, thunder-tossed, would win,
Drop sail, and hastening to drink all night
Eat dish and bowl--to take that sweet land in!

Where we feasted and caroused on the sandless
Pebbles, affecting our day of piracy,
What prophecy of eaten plates could landless
Wanderers fulfil by the ancient sea?

We for that time might taste the famous age
Eternal here yet hidden from our eyes
When lust of power undid its stuffless rage;
They, in a wineskin, bore earth's paradise.

Let us lie down once more by the breathing side
Of Ocean, where our live forefathers sleep
As if the Known Sea still were a month wide--
Atlantis howls but is no longer steep!

What country shall we conquer, what fair land
Unman our conquest and locate our blood?
We've cracked the hemispheres with careless hand!
Now, from the Gates of Hercules we flood

Westward, westward till the barbarous brine
Whelms us to the tired land where tasseling corn,
Fat beans, grapes sweeter than muscadine
Rot on the vine: in that land were we born.
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Odysseus to Telemachus
Joseph Brodsky, 1940 - 1996
My dear Telemachus,
                   The Trojan War 
is over now; I don't recall who won it. 
The Greeks, no doubt, for only they would leave
so many dead so far from their own homeland. 
But still, my homeward way has proved too long. 
While we were wasting time there, old Poseidon, 
it almost seems, stretched and extended space.

I don't know where I am or what this place 
can be. It would appear some filthy island, 
with bushes, buildings, and great grunting pigs. 
A garden choked with weeds; some queen or other. 
Grass and huge stones . . . Telemachus, my son! 
To a wanderer the faces of all islands 
resemble one another. And the mind 
trips, numbering waves; eyes, sore from sea horizons, 
run; and the flesh of water stuffs the ears. 
I can't remember how the war came out; 
even how old you are--I can't remember.

Grow up, then, my Telemachus, grow strong. 
Only the gods know if we'll see each other 
again. You've long since ceased to be that babe 
before whom I reined in the plowing bullocks. 
Had it not been for Palamedes' trick 
we two would still be living in one household. 
But maybe he was right; away from me 
you are quite safe from all Oedipal passions, 
and your dreams, my Telemachus, are blameless.
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Making a Fist
Naomi Shihab Nye, 1952
For the first time, on the road north of Tampico,
I felt the life sliding out of me,
a drum in the desert, harder and harder to hear.
I was seven, I lay in the car
watching palm trees swirl a sickening pattern past the glass.
My stomach was a melon split wide inside my skin.

"How do you know if you are going to die?"
I begged my mother. 
We had been traveling for days.
With strange confidence she answered,
"When you can no longer make a fist."

Years later I smile to think of that journey,
the borders we must cross separately,
stamped with our unanswerable woes.
I who did not die, who am still living,
still lying in the backseat behind all my questions,
clenching and opening one small hand.
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We Real Cool
Gwendolyn Brooks, 1917 - 2000
                   THE POOL PLAYERS. 
                   SEVEN AT THE GOLDEN SHOVEL.



We real cool. We
Left school. We

Lurk late. We
Strike straight. We

Sing sin. We
Thin gin. We

Jazz June. We
Die soon.