’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
   Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
   And the mome raths outgrabe.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son
   The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
   The frumious Bandersnatch!”

He took his vorpal sword in hand;
   Long time the manxome foe he sought—
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
   And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
   The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
   And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
   The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
   He went galumphing back.

“And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
   Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
   He chortled in his joy.

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
   Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
   And the mome raths outgrabe.

This poem is in the public domain.

I know who I am because I believe it

The breath in my chest
Insistent in its choice

The skin that I’m in
The bones and blood and veins
It carries like a promise

          Have you witnessed the ocean

Moving with so much gust and life
Have you witnessed the river
Still waters bubbling the rebirth of school

           Have you witnessed your body

Its own country of water
Moving against the tide of a world
So heartbreaking      it’s forgotten its own voice

Be still friend
Be still
Be kind to yourself in the gift of stillness

I know who I am because I believe it
I know
I know
Who I
Who I
Believe
Believe
Believe
In three’s we will come
A drip of water moving against a boulder
Water slow and steady can turn rock
Into a pebble
Like anxiety
Like self-doubt
Smaller
Smaller
Until gone
Let your love for yourself be the water
Be the rise
Be the mist
Let you be

I know who I am because I believe it
I believe I am my mother’s daughter
I believe I am my grandmother’s prayers
I believe I am my great-grandmother’s backbone revealed

I am I am because I believe so
I am because a woman believed in me
What a continent I became
What a country of water I be
I flow and fluid and rise and ebb and I believe in me

           I am not wrong
I am wronged

In this skin I’ve reclaimed
From this trap of this country’s tourniquet
Only to find the sweet solace is a river bed
Its mud beckons me closer to its silt
Small fish and forgotten glass unearth themselves
Like baby teeth
Only one can cut into flesh purposely
Only one does not know what it is capable of

I believe in the air as much as I believe in the fire
I believe in the fire as much as the water consumes
I believe in a higher source
Energetic and wise
I believe in my ability to thrive

This body
        This body is a good thing

Turning two miles walked over a bridge into a family’s meal
Creating poems that become cashier’s checks
Dentist bills and rent
I’ve three holes in my teeth
And a nation that pretends I didn’t almost die for it to survive

I am I am still here still here
I am still here and like the ocean, full of salt and shells
Full of ship remnants and noble ones
I bleed and the sand grieves
I be because someone survived for me to be here
Today

Breathing this almost air
Marching for cleaner belongings
My front seat beneath the deadening stars
Is still a seat
Is still a ground
Is still a home that I can pronounce my given name
To write amongst the forgotten names
The taken and the ignored
But today

            There are no tombstones

Today
There is no true death

Only life
Only life
Only a song of the living
Maybe even a belief system
With water as its minister

            I am water

I dive into my own currents
I dress my dreams in the satin breath
Of my ancestors

I know
I know
I know who I am
I know who I am because I believe it

Copyright © Mahogany Browne. Used with permission of the author.

              10

maggie and milly and molly and may
went down to the beach(to play one day)

and maggie discovered a shell that sang
so sweetly she couldn't remember her troubles,and

milly befriended a stranded star
whose rays five languid fingers were;

and molly was chased by a horrible thing
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles:and

may came home with a smooth round stone
as small as a world and as large as alone.

For whatever we lose(like a you or a me)
it's always ourselves we find in the sea

Copyright © 1956, 1984, 1991 by the Trustees for the E. E. Cummings Trust from The Complete Poems: 1904-1962 by E. E. Cummings, Edited by George J. Firmage. Reprinted by permission of Liveright Publishing Corporation. All rights reserved.

The saddest day will have an eve,
     The darkest night, a morn;
Think not, when clouds are thick and dark,
     Thy way is too forlorn.

For ev’ry cloud that e’er did rise,
     To shade thy life’s bright way,
And ev’ry restless night of pain,
     And ev’ry weary day,

Will bring thee gifts, thou’lt value more,
     Because they cost so dear;
The soul that faints not in the storm,
     Emerges bright and clear.

The credit line is as follows: Songs from the Wayside (Self published, 1908) by Clara Ann Thompson. Copyright © 1908 by Clara Ann Thompson. This poem is in the public domain. 

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
    And wild and sweet
    The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
    Had rolled along
    The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
    A voice, a chime,
    A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
    And with the sound
    The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
    And made forlorn
    The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said;
    "For hate is strong,
    And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
    The Wrong shall fail,
    The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men."

This poem is in the public domain.

First I saw the white bear, then I saw the black;
Then I saw the camel with a hump upon his back;
Then I saw the grey wolf, with mutton in his maw;
Then I saw the wombat waddle in the straw;
Then I saw the elephant a-waving of his trunk;
Then I saw the monkeys—mercy, how unpleasantly they smelt!

This poem is in the public domain.

A boat, beneath a sunny sky
Lingering onward dreamily
In an evening of July—

Children three that nestle near,
Eager eye and willing ear,
Pleased a simple tale to hear—

Long has paled that sunny sky:
Echoes fade and memories die:
Autumn frosts have slain July.

Still she haunts me, phantomwise,
Alice moving under skies
Never seen by waking eyes.

Children yet, the tale to hear,
Eager eye and willing ear,
Lovingly shall nestle near.

In a Wonderland they lie,
Dreaming as the days go by,
Dreaming as the summers die:

Ever drifting down the stream—
Lingering in the golden gleam—
Life, what is it but a dream?

This poem is in the public domain.

An ancient pond!
With a sound from the water
Of the frog as it plunges in.

 

 

                                              —Translation by William George Aston

This poem is in the public domain.