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Archive for the ‘grief’ Category

It is important to realise in this era of political spin that some of the greatest speeches ever given had impact because they expressed the profound truth and raw beauty of poetry. This is especially true of the speech given by Robert Kennedy delivered 4 April 1968 in Indianapolis, IN, following the assassination earlier that day of Martin Luther King (pictured left).

 #mce_temp_url# martin luther king

Race riots broke out in cities across America but not in Indianapolis. Robert Kennedy stood quietly before the distressed audience and spoke about someone close to him (His brother JFK) also being killed by a white man. But it was this poem by the Ancient Greek playwright, Aeschylus (525 – 456 BC)

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that expressed the raw grief and crushing despair of that moment. Maybe, just maybe, finding the words to express such pain disarmed those who could only express their feelings through anger and violence. While this poem sites God it could have evoked Life. It is a universal poem about the human condition written over 2,500 years ago made tragically poignant by the assassination of Robert Kennedy two months later by a white man. 

My favorite poem, my — my favorite poet was Aeschylus.  And he once wrote:Robert_F_Kennedy_crop


Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget


falls drop by drop upon the heart,

until, in our own despair,


against our will,


comes wisdom


through the awful grace of God.

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The following is an extract of  Dorothy Porter’s poem, Thin Ice which you can download to view her reading the poem @   Sunday Arts Extras (Poetry Segment 30/09/07. Second Reading) or you can hear her read the full poem on the  Dorothy Porter Website.  Dorothy Porter has such a strong poetic voice you feel as if she is walking around in your head organising your thoughts.This can be frightening.  Nevertheless in a few lines she can capture like a fossil insect in resin convoluted emotions we often find difficult to express. The following extract about our mortality is made even more poignant by her recent death.

…we all have so much to bear 
the slip 
the slide 
the sense of the dark 
frigid nothing 
under our warm blooded mortal feet ice skating 2
but when the ice takes our young 
we know we’ll never have happiness 
or find our deluded footing 
again

Dorothy Porter

1954 – 2008

Dorothy Porter Tribute site  Dorothy Porter was a celebrated Australian Poet who, among other achievements, authored six collections of poetry, two novels for young adults and three previous TheBeeHut_0verse novels, AkhenatenThe Monkey’s Mask and What a Piece of Work. Her verse novel Wild Surmise published in 2002 was awarded the Adelaide Festival Award’s 2004 John Bray Memorial Prize for Poetry as well as the overall Premier’s Award, the first book of poetry ever awarded the prize.  The Monkey’s Mask won the Age Poetry Book of the Year Award and the National Book Council’s Poetry Award, was reprinted eight times and made into a film in 2000 starring Susie Porter and Kelly McGillis. Her posthumous book of poetry, The Bee Hut, was recently published by Black Inc and can be purchased for $24.95 through the publisher’s website: #mce_temp_url#

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when I lost you
my father-in-law planted a shrub.
yellow-flower
viburnum, he said.
it’ll flower this time every year.

when I lost you
my friend sent me a shawl.
pashmina, she said.
let it hug you sometimes.

when I lost you
the doctor gave me a tissue.
failed pregnancy, he said.
come back when you finish bleeding.

when I lost you
you gave me a strange farewell.
eleven weeks of food and love, you said.
it was all I needed.

by Melinda Smith


More of Melinda Smith’s Poems  #mce_temp_url#Photo of Melinda Smith

published in Quadrant November 2006 – Volume L Number 11

clipart: Haiku Heidi  #mce_temp_url#

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The First World War produced poetry made especially poignant by having been written by those at the war front. Yetfew poems of any length match the power of Rudyard Kipling’s couplet written as a response ot the loss of his son in that war:wwi

 “If any question why we died

Tell them, because our fathers lied.”

 

Rudyard Kipling

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