What They Did Yesterday

What They Did Yesterday Afternoon
Warsan Shire

they set my aunts house on fire
i cried the way women on tv do
folding at the middle
like a five pound note.
i called the boy who use to love me
tried to ‘okay’ my voice
i said hello
he said warsan, what’s wrong, what’s happened?

i’ve been praying,
and these are what my prayers look like;
dear god
i come from two countries
one is thirsty
the other is on fire
both need water.

later that night
i held an atlas in my lap
ran my fingers across the whole world
and whispered
where does it hurt?

it answered

[F.E. Clark]

Chidiock Tichborne

My prime of youth is but a frost of cares;
My feast of joy is but a dish of pain,
My crop of corn is but a field of tares,
And all my good is but vain hope of gain:
The day is past, and yet I saw no sun,
And now I live, and now my life is done.

My tale was heard, and yet it was not told,
My fruit is fallen, and yet my leaves are green,
My youth is spent, and yet I am not old,
I saw the world, and yet I was not seen:
My thread is cut, and yet it is not spun,
And now I live, and now my life is done.

I sought my death, and found it in my womb,
I looked for life, and saw it was a shade,
I trod the earth, and knew it was my tomb,
And now I die, and now I was but made;
The glass is full, and now the glass is run,
And now I live, and now my life is done.

[Stephanie Ellis]

The Tempest, Act 4, Scene 1
William Shakespeare

Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp’d towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Ye all which it inherit, shall dissolve
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.

[Mary Frances]

Shadow Girl Reconciled
Sean Fraser
This work is a Cento Poem. It contains the six poems (including titles) submitted to the March-16 Jigsaw Cut-up episode which were written by Stephanie Ellis, Voima Oy, Pleasant Street, F.E. Clark, CR Smith, and Mary Frances.

All of the blue Summer air
and light of the sun leaf-dappled through

Sleeps beyond the tides of time

Ebbing flowing ebbing flowing

Yesterday I was sitting alone
in the purple splendor of that valley

The Dancing Shade

Earth-bound child alone woven in shadow Spun from my heart

My blood My breath

O there goes Sister Sunlight

my secret saltblood lover-bride

Flushing the cheek round rosy ghosts of the red curtained Splendour

She passed me by where nothing wild remained

Supple limb with breast flushing in thy primal breath give me one song

While a deeper music threads through my breast
I hear how the music swells kisses of salt
It swells in harmony with lonely grief

and rose because of the Spring

And in the silent valley dark I merged the song of life and death

Light and darkness sun and star

Grey breakers on a primal reef

Wild-rose kisses everywhere

There goes
Sister Sunlight

Sunset eyes of lightflash darkness

wildchild spinning deeper spells making wine of chill blue air

of her laughter cheek so leopard-sleek her dancing blue anklets

Spinning humming bees catch rhythm beyond the tides of Time

to make one old beyond his Time whisper

O Ghost My wandering maid

Humming -bees
flickering glistening green-veined gray

so near so clear she rose she ran red curtained in the silken sky

Take my heaven wisdom past knowing a dream of grief

Nothing remained of my dream

and who shall quarrel with her not I earthbound in shadowcloud

here in the dark alone again

being too reconciled to earth grief and the wine

[Sean Fraser]

The Prairie-Grass Dividing
Walt Whitman

The prairie-grass dividing, its special odor breathing,
I demand of it the spiritual corresponding,
Demand the most copious and close companionship of men,
Demand the blades to rise of words, acts, beings,
Those of the open atmosphere, coarse, sunlit, fresh, nutritious,
Those that go their own gait, erect, stepping with freedom and
command, leading not following,
Those with a never-quell’d audacity, those with sweet and lusty
flesh clear of taint,
Those that look carelessly in the faces of Presidents and governors,
as to say Who are you? Those of earth-born passion, simple, never constrain’d, never
Those of inland America.

[Voima Oy]

Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard
Thomas Gray

The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
The lowing herd wind slowly o’er the lea,
The plowman homeward plods his weary way,
And leaves the world to darkness and to me.

Now fades the glimm’ring landscape on the sight,
And all the air a solemn stillness holds,
Save where the beetle wheels his droning flight,
And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds;

Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tow’r
The moping owl does to the moon complain
Of such, as wand’ring near her secret bow’r,
Molest her ancient solitary reign.

Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree’s shade,
Where heaves the turf in many a mould’ring heap,
Each in his narrow cell for ever laid,
The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep.

The breezy call of incense-breathing Morn,
The swallow twitt’ring from the straw-built shed,
The cock’s shrill clarion, or the echoing horn,
No more shall rouse them from their lowly bed.

For them no more the blazing hearth shall burn,
Or busy housewife ply her evening care:
No children run to lisp their sire’s return,
Or climb his knees the envied kiss to share.

Oft did the harvest to their sickle yield,
Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke;
How jocund did they drive their team afield!
How bow’d the woods beneath their sturdy stroke!

Let not Ambition mock their useful toil,
Their homely joys, and destiny obscure;
Nor Grandeur hear with a disdainful smile
The short and simple annals of the poor.

The boast of heraldry, the pomp of pow’r,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e’er gave,
Awaits alike th’ inevitable hour.
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.

Nor you, ye proud, impute to these the fault,
If Mem’ry o’er their tomb no trophies raise,
Where thro’ the long-drawn aisle and fretted vault
The pealing anthem swells the note of praise.

Can storied urn or animated bust
Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath?
Can Honour’s voice provoke the silent dust,
Or Flatt’ry soothe the dull cold ear of Death?

Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid
Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire;
Hands, that the rod of empire might have sway’d,
Or wak’d to ecstasy the living lyre.

But Knowledge to their eyes her ample page
Rich with the spoils of time did ne’er unroll;
Chill Penury repress’d their noble rage,
And froze the genial current of the soul.

Full many a gem of purest ray serene,
The dark unfathom’d caves of ocean bear:
Full many a flow’r is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.

Some village-Hampden, that with dauntless breast
The little tyrant of his fields withstood;
Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest,
Some Cromwell guiltless of his country’s blood.

Th’ applause of list’ning senates to command,
The threats of pain and ruin to despise,
To scatter plenty o’er a smiling land,
And read their hist’ry in a nation’s eyes,

Their lot forbade: nor circumscrib’d alone
Their growing virtues, but their crimes confin’d;
Forbade to wade through slaughter to a throne,
And shut the gates of mercy on mankind,

The struggling pangs of conscious truth to hide,
To quench the blushes of ingenuous shame,
Or heap the shrine of Luxury and Pride
With incense kindled at the Muse’s flame.

Far from the madding crowd’s ignoble strife,
Their sober wishes never learn’d to stray;
Along the cool sequester’d vale of life
They kept the noiseless tenor of their way.

Yet ev’n these bones from insult to protect,
Some frail memorial still erected nigh,
With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture deck’d,
Implores the passing tribute of a sigh.

Their name, their years, spelt by th’ unletter’d muse,
The place of fame and elegy supply:
And many a holy text around she strews,
That teach the rustic moralist to die.

For who to dumb Forgetfulness a prey,
This pleasing anxious being e’er resign’d,
Left the warm precincts of the cheerful day,
Nor cast one longing, ling’ring look behind?

On some fond breast the parting soul relies,
Some pious drops the closing eye requires;
Ev’n from the tomb the voice of Nature cries,
Ev’n in our ashes live their wonted fires.

For thee, who mindful of th’ unhonour’d Dead
Dost in these lines their artless tale relate;
If chance, by lonely contemplation led,
Some kindred spirit shall inquire thy fate,

Haply some hoary-headed swain may say,
“Oft have we seen him at the peep of dawn
Brushing with hasty steps the dews away
To meet the sun upon the upland lawn.

“There at the foot of yonder nodding beech
That wreathes its old fantastic roots so high,
His listless length at noontide would he stretch,
And pore upon the brook that babbles by.

“Hard by yon wood, now smiling as in scorn,
Mutt’ring his wayward fancies he would rove,
Now drooping, woeful wan, like one forlorn,
Or craz’d with care, or cross’d in hopeless love.

“One morn I miss’d him on the custom’d hill,
Along the heath and near his fav’rite tree;
Another came; nor yet beside the rill,
Nor up the lawn, nor at the wood was he;

“The next with dirges due in sad array
Slow thro’ the church-way path we saw him borne.
Approach and read (for thou canst read) the lay,
Grav’d on the stone beneath yon aged thorn.”

Here rests his head upon the lap of Earth
A youth to Fortune and to Fame unknown.
Fair Science frown’d not on his humble birth,
And Melancholy mark’d him for her own.

Large was his bounty, and his soul sincere,
Heav’n did a recompense as largely send:
He gave to Mis’ry all he had, a tear,
He gain’d from Heav’n (’twas all he wish’d) a friend.

No farther seek his merits to disclose,
Or draw his frailties from their dread abode,
(There they alike in trembling hope repose)
The bosom of his Father and his God.

[CR Smith]

Little Boy Blue
Eugene Field

THE little toy dog is covered with dust,
But sturdy and staunch he stands;
The little toy soldier is red with rust,
And his musket moulds in his hands.
Time was when the little toy dog was new,
And the soldier was passing fair;
And that was the time when our Little Boy Blue
Kissed them and put them there.

“Now don’t you go till I come,” he said,
“And don’t you make any noise!” 10
So, toddling off to his trundle bed,
He dreamt of the pretty toys;
And, as he was dreaming, an angel song
Awakened our Little Boy Blue—
Oh! the years are many, the years are long,
But the little toy friends are true!

Ay, faithful to Little Boy Blue they stand,
Each in the same old place,
Awaiting the touch of a little hand,
The smile of a little face;
And they wonder, as waiting the long years through
In the dust of that little chair,
What has become of our Little Boy Blue,
Since he kissed them and put them there.

[Pleasant Street]

Golgi Outposts
John Trefry
Adapted from Golgi Outposts Shape Dendrite Morphology by Functioning as Sites of Acentrosomal Microtubule Nucleation in Neurons by Kassandra M. Ori-McKenney and Tent Life in Siberia by George Kennan

Northtubulesf Lesnoi the great central organized of into the dynamicchatka arrays mountains broke offs abruptly into theirectedkhotskvesicular transport and are essential for the proper establishmentongaline of maintenanceprecipiceseuronalerposeditecture rugged wall between us and the steppes of the Wandering Koraks. Nucleating mountain rangeplexes, as very difficulticular, pass necessaryorsesauseespontaneoussummertion of waswoftubulininfinitely worse nowticallythe mountain streams were vivowollen bynd the falln rains vitro foaming torrents, and the storms whichma (λ)eraldulin the ispproach a of wintermponentt be of at anycrotubulement expected. Centers and has a well-established role in Flags nucleating a codeinofle signalsandas agreed uponmasmic heavy baggage was transferredtubules whale-boat and a large sealskin canoe, a Indeed, earlyection onf antibodies against λ-tubulin 4thr I severingMajoroteinsoddnhibited at a the beachtgrowthey inpushedurons Wecultured upfor ourne trainy of vitros (DIV1) he boats disappeared around a projecting bluffsophila cantered away dsas-4 mutantsss thehatvalley lackward acentriolesin theorganization ofthroughdiscwhichronse anderedontheoutgrouthness normal in third-instar larvae I tried, by climbing a low mountain back of Dendritic to get a sightorization sea; but we were neurons fifteenovidets from theexcellent and system was limitedstigating an thinterveninguestion ofeyggedreeaks, manytypewhich reachltipolartudeuronspetualthenowNS ofas Drosophilaly melanogasterat which produce complexingendritic Dodd’ss and doeerful facetain the fireside, and I missed moretrosomes thought I should the lively sallies, comical storeis Whengood-humoured pleasantry which hadfragmentedghtened treatment with nocodazole, long dispersed campGolgi life minitstacks canld still promotethoughtscrotubuleveningucleationsat inndicating thatsty byesee firesideidual wouldinistackseen satisfied thate hisnecessary wasmachineryppreciateducleations absence unfelt. Viushin took Drosophila pains with class preparationurons, ofhe Golgiyoutpostspperear throughout did dendritic arbort includinghewithin thecouldminal branches fellow, to enliven the solitary meal The storieslgiand funnypostsminiscencesy of Kamchatkambrane; but fore venison cutletswingd lostdendrite branchtheiras usuale savourmicsnd ofhe smallern Golgi outpostsies I could note understandighly supper I layorrelatedon mythearsskinsdritehe tentnchingll asleep watchingsion round moon rise over a ragged volcanic unknown eastether of Drosophila valleygi outposts contain nucleation machinery similar Justto mammalianforeGolgi stacksark such machinerychedould a conceivably support microtubule innucleationirectionthineemede to complex absolutely dynamic dendritic by arbora range of high mountains which ran inectlydercross understand itowwashe theicrotubule ridgeytoskeletone is Samankaizedountains branches lookedss IV dendritic arborization (da) neuronse we ofnalyzediringe dynamics ofatEB1-GFP guide, who throughoutdirectlyntireerdendriticangeborand vivo. that there lay we observed that roadlgi outposts correlated birch extended comett formation up thendritentainranchpoints, wasdistalceededps, by and withineenthe terminal branchailingthere, organelles, such as Rab11-positive blackdosomes rising mitochondria did where correlate thethardy1 reindeer-mossmation innd vivo. Enough to bury its roots. Whole, live, third-instar larvae Viushin mounted me inearly 90% theglyceroling under theverslipsouncement with grease and snowingaged us.

[John Trefry]

6 thoughts on “What They Did Yesterday

  1. voices in thin air

    ‘gray owl breathing a sigh and an echo’ said little boy blue ‘stillness of stone and thorn my noiseless breath in the fallen rain – owl are you ghost spirit? am I?’

    ‘earthborn’ said sister sunlight ‘spinning deeper spells I learned to stray carelessly never look behind never look back – is freedom the way of a wildwood rose?’

    ‘in the forgetfulness of science’ said the bone-man ‘code signals melt into air thin air we observed skeletons as a holy text – has nothing remained of my dream?’

    ‘fallen branches of ragged birch’ said little boy blue ‘eyes of straw and incense a solitary reindeer stands in stillness and shadow – is this what solemn prayer looks like?’

    ‘following the bones of the earth’ said sister sunlight ‘I spun thread across the world I faded into the glimmering landscape and disappeared – am I seen now?’

    ‘I saw no hope in the maintenance of the proper way’ said the bone-man ‘I ran my fingers over the atlas this history of ruin – was the unknown tale not told?’

    ‘I miss her weary face the lack of her’ said little boy blue ‘we quarrel in the dull of shadowcloud the cold tides whisper it is a little life – I sleep in sealskin could I be a seal?’

    ‘red-curtained dancing and one song ’ said sister sunlight ‘a rhythm anthem to catch their name their special odor I demand kisses that burn – where does it hurt? where does it not?’

    ‘this was the necessary machinery’ said the bone-man ‘severing antibodies cultured in the third star while baseless treatment and limited neurons aged us – is the glass full or is it run?’

    ‘no voice but the voice of the frost’ said little boy blue ‘my ear to the cool snowmoss to read for you clouds parting the comet fallen – are you watching the moonrise?’

    ‘now I live in desert air’ said sister sunlight ‘my house on fire it is a way of life blazing far from their insult these are my stubborn joys – are they smiling still?’

    ‘ashes live their fires’ said the bone man ‘we are such stuff as ghostbreath insubstantial – if knowledge is destiny what has become of the intervening question?’

    ‘I shut the gates’ said little boy blue ‘I bury the pretty toys in old rustgrass shade of dark ivy fades to silent dust closing my eye – is this winter now in my bones?

    ‘here in my secret saltblood I am not old’ said sister sunlight ‘I spin now close to my fantastic roots a gorgeous leopard dreams in my lap – and you say that passion is ended?’

    ‘I saw no sun’ said the bone man ‘only a sculpture and the contemplation of a cut thread it was absence unfelt dividing – the years are long and between us nothing is ended’

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Spirits of Earth and Air

    We in our youth, wandering bone-thin, breathing
    neurons dividing, wild as grass and roses
    volcanic streams and mountains folding, flowing
    larvae of destiny
    Freedom rising everywhere
    My voice said hello who are you?
    You said audacity, You said love.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. What I Did Yesterday Afternoon

    Wecultured upfor disappeared around a projecting bluffsophila cantered away whengood-humoured pleasantry which hadfragmentedghtened treatment with long dispersed absence unfelt I could note understandighly asleep we observed watchingsion round moon rise over a ragged volcanic unknown range of high mountains which there lay


    I held an atlas in my lap ran my fingers across the whole world were all spirits and shade are melted into Mem’ry
    And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, are such stuff
    as dreams are made of o’er their tomb
    Where thro’ the long-drawn aisle and fretted vault
    The pealing anthem tolls the knell of this vision parting

    [My tale was heard, and yet not told]

    All of the blue Summer air and light of the sun leaf-dappled through
    the solemn temples

    [The Dancing Shade]

    She sleeps beyond the tides of time
    She passed me by where nothing wild remained
    Her gorgeous sunset eyes of lightflash darkness
    Those with a never-quell’d audacity, those with sweet and lusty Joy
    flesh clear of taint, with uncouth rhymes deck’d,
    disclose a heart pregnant with celestial fire;
    Supple limb with breast flushing in thy primal breath give me one song
    On some fond breast the parting soul relies,
    Soothed by the closing of her smiling eyes;
    While a deeper music threads through my breast
    I hear how the music swells kisses of salt
    Implores the passing tribute of a sigh
    It swells in harmony
    and rose because of the Spring
    of earth-born passion
    That wreathes its old fantastic Recompense echoing so high,
    Now fades the glimm’ring landscape on the sight,
    And all the air a solemn stillness holds,
    Some frail memorial still erected nigh, kindled at the Muse’s flame
    dreaming dreamt in hopeless love
    Full many a gem of purest ray serene,
    The dark unfathom’d caves of ocean bear:
    Hope and Love
    She kissed them with her sweetness and put them there
    And leaves the world to darkness and to me
    Her ancient solitary reign foretold is rounded with a sleep
    All that beauty, all that blushes e’er gave
    Her destiny obscure is Past
    But Knowledge to my eyes her ample Joy
    of conscious truth can provoke the silent joys,
    Far from the madding wishes never confin’d nor sway’d
    That glimm’ring pageant may have faded by the cloud-capp’d hist’ry of Past
    but never by disdainful Forgetfulness
    for our revels are yet not unseen

    Liked by 3 people

  4. To the busy housewife

    that set the house on fire
    that sought life
    and found it was a tomb
    the full glass spent
    and saw no sun
    the revels of youth
    melted into air

    Feast on thy dish of pain
    how women on tv do
    this insubstantial
    pageant of cares
    sleep beyond the grief
    old before thy time

    demand of it
    sunlit,nutritious words
    drowsy tinklings
    rise! rise!
    laughter humming
    with flatt’ry’s tides
    the owl with his honour
    homeward. solemn.

    be stubborn o’er thy
    homely joys
    an anthem swells
    rise! rise!
    craz’d with love
    don’t wander, dreaming
    the longing years

    you understand
    arrays of complex friends
    heavy baggage agreed upon
    in the same old place
    who shall quarrel
    in the dark again
    thy sunlight outposts
    the humming-bees rhythm
    the song of life and death

    now to live now to run
    the fabric of thy towers
    leave not thy vision

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Outposts of Time

    My whispered love
    shall dissolve
    into the atmosphere.

    My soul parting
    — spent — a shapeless

    The ghost
    of my earth-born passion
    drowsy in the darkness


    covered by distant
    glistening dust woven
    through the breath of time.

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.