Alfred Lord Tennyson, Dylan Thomas, Emily Dickinson, global peace, Gwendolyn Brooks, human rights, Louis MacNeice, Margaret Walker, Martin Luther King Jr., nikki giovanni, social justice, telestich, Thomas Hardy, tribute poems
Welcome to Tuesday Poetics with your host, Amaya. In the prophetic spirit of Martin Luther King Jr., tonight we are going to be bold in our truth-telling by illuminating powerful quotes that inspire social justice, global peace, or human rights. Use one of the following quotes, or feel free to find another, and break it up and embed it into your poem of the same or similar theme.
“Let a beauty full of healing and a strength of final clenching be the pulsing in our spirits and our blood.”
⁃ Margaret Walker
from, ‘For My People’
“Assent, and you are sane;
Demur, — you’re straightway dangerous,
And handled with a chain.”
⁃ Emily Dickinson
from, ‘Much Madness Is Divinest Sense’
“Yes; quaint and curious war is!
You shoot a fellow down
You’d treat if met where any bar is,
Or help to half-a-crown.”
⁃ Thomas Hardy
from, ‘The Man He Killed’
“Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die.”
⁃ Alfred, Lord Tennyson
from, ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’
“The five kings count the dead but do not soften
The crusted wound nor pat the brow;”
⁃ Dylan Thomas
from, ‘The Hand That Signed the Paper Felled a City’
“Let them not make me a stone and let them not spill me.
Otherwise kill me.”
⁃ Louis MacNeice
from, ‘Prayer before Birth’
“You must never allow the transitory evanescent demands of man-made institutions to take precedence over the eternal demands of the Almighty God.”
⁃ Martin Luther King Jr.
from, ‘Paul’s Letter to American Christians’
You may choose to be more formal in your approach and start each line with a word from your chosen quotation (an acrostic), or place the quote words at the end of each line (a telestich), or have no set form and break up the quote randomly. Just be sure that the quote can be read chronologically and is bold-faced. Have a look at an example of a telestich, or “golden shovel,” in which Nikki Giovanni pays tribute to Gwendolyn Brooks:
‘The Golden Shovel Poem’
At the Evening of Life
I wonder if they
See the evening of life as a treat to eat
Or as a staple like beans
With corn bread mostly
A good warming meal this
Daily day old
Bread pudding love capped sunshine yellow
By an honest upstanding pair
Looking forward to seeing where you draw your inspiration, and how you expand on it.
Here’s how to link up your work:
• Write a poem based on the prompt.
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• Leave a comment here.
• Read and comment on other poets’ work. Be sure to check back later for more.