Sunday, June 26, 2011

For Whom the Bell Tolls


No man is an island,

Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend's were.
Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Clean Slate

The funny thing about
starting clean
is: sometimes you have to
erase
some things.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

California Dreamin'


I recently returned home from southern California. I went down there to assist in my friend's wedding reception as a surprise to her. I had only been to California once before, in Anaheim, with my jazz choir and concert band (we played at Disney Land). I fell in love with California the first time I went, and this love was rekindled almost immediately when I returned for my second visit. Though I visited a much different-looking part of Cali, the love remained, and I remembered this poem scene-sketch I wrote on my first visit.

Palms and Graffiti

the paLm trees sway amongst

the grAffittied barriers of California highways as

the buSinessman sits next to

the pAinted pierced girl of the streets.

the maN sips iced coffee whilst scanning the tourists excitement; the other slurps

the manGo Jamba she bought at the shop cross the Block.

the sweEt smells of citrus mingle with the stench of

the milLion exhaust pipes, peoples, palms;

the enErgy of diversity embodied throughout this city of

palmS and graffiti


I love palm trees. And California. I am very excited to go back (hopefully this next time, I'll actually get to a beach!).

Ride a Purple Pelican


No blog mini series involving both Sabina and poetry would be complete without a tribute to my favorite poetry book of all time, Ride a Purple Pelican.

I first began “reading” using this book. I would memorize the poems and the associated picture, then recite the poems in rhythm to my little sister. She would soon get bored (or scared of me—that was frequent) and scoot away quickly, and I was left to myself with the book. I had a few favorites, and a few that made me cry (and I still don’t know the one about the gander and the geese and the sea, or whatever). I think my love of words and rhythm, rhyme, and poetry were—if not born from, then fed by—this book.

Late One Night in Kalamazoo

Note: Young Sabina had a hard time saying her “l”s, and they usually came out as “y”s. This title sounded much more like “Yate—One—Night—In—Kayimazoo!”

Late one night in Kalamazoo, the baboons had a barbeque

The kudus flew a green balloon, the poodles yodeled to the moon.

The monkey strummed a blue guitar, the donkey caught a falling star

The camel danced with the kangaroo, late one night in Kalamazoo.

At least, that’s what I remember it being.

Poor Potatoes

Note: This one always made me cry, and I could rarely finish it. Not sobbing, just teary-eyed and a little choked up. My mom read it to me a lot (maybe she thought I was cute when I cried?) so I hear it in her voice. We grew potatoes, and I was happy to dig them up out of the ground.

Poor potatoes underground, never get to look around

Never get a chance to see butterfly or bumblebee

Never see the blue, blue sky

What a waste of all those eyes!

Like I said, these are what I remember, what, 17 years later? Perhaps it has been longer than that since I memorized them. The other one I liked the best was “Bunington Bunny.” I can only remember one stanza:

“Rumpity tumpity rumpity tum, Bunington Bunny is beating the drum.

He doesn’t look up and he doesn’t look down, all through the rumpity tumpity town”

The rhyme continues, but that’s the part that stuck—the rhythm of the poem, and the proper way to focus when you march. My mother also took the opportunity to explain how to properly wear a traditional marching band hat, called a shako (yes, I was no older than 5. Probably younger). This poem was my gateway drug into the world of drumcorps and later marching band. Go, Mom! Start ‘em when they’re young.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Long Curly Hair

As most of you know, I have very, very curly hair. Generally unruly, certainly frizzy, and certainly easier to take care of when short.

However, I like wearing my hair long.

I have cut it short only twice since I got permission to grow it out(Hereafter referred to as the Traumatic Haircuts of Despair). THD Number One occurred when my roommate Tara Hill tricked me into getting it cut--long story, but there was a bet that should not have ever come to fruition, and then it did, and my word is my bond. Therefore, I technically chose to get it cut of my own free will, but I still blame Tara.
The second time was less under my control. I had an unfortunate physical ailment the last two Fall semesters, and the first bout of it forced me to get a fairly traumatic A-line haircut. It was cute. Many people did not understand quite why I was so upset about it. I realized there was an underlying reason (aside from the fact that I look fabulous in cascading curls). This poem was written between Traumatic Haircut of Despair: Numbers 1 and 2, and provides a bit of explanation. It is on a more serious note then the above, rather trite, introduction.

My Mama’s Curls

“Why don’t you cut your hair short again? It’d look so cute that way!”

I looked back at you closely, not sure of what to say.

My mind’s eye sees a mem’ry, so long ago, so clear

Of my mama on the telephone, and I was standing near.

She tossed her head back and she laughed— A truly joyful sound

And on her finger, auburn-red, she twirled her hair around.

It wrapped around that finger, always just the same

A pretty fan of brown, gold, red; and never truly tame.

She rubbed the curl across, stroking gently with her thumb

Then let go and toss it back, then take another one

I snuck around behind her to try to do the same

Watching oh so closely, then went to grab my mane

Of hair. I then remembered, with a sudden sorrowful sigh

That I’d gone to get a haircut, now my hair would not comply

As I tried to wrap my finger. I then began to cry

I told myself right then and there, that someday I would be

Exactly like my mama, the woman of my dreams.

That mem’ry of the phone call, and the twisted lock of hair

Stayed with me then and always, but never had I shared

The reason that I always felt a love for curled long hair.

“Hello?” you said, and waved at me, “Sabina, are you there?”

“Oh,” said I, now with a smile,

“I guess I just like it better long.”

--Sabina Säfsten, 3/23/09 (1:30am)

More poem!

Looking back through old computer files, I found quite a few poems. Some of them I wrote, some of them I memorized for a class or kept simply because I liked them. Perhaps I will share more of them here. Feel free to comment or give me new topics to write about. Actually, that would be great! More topics to write about!

I think it would be easier to update if I took more pictures. At least, more interesting.

This blog has no focus at all, which makes some sense as I feel like my life has very little focus right now either.

So, I guess for now I will post a poem I wrote, after reading in Isaiah. I really love that book. I wish I understood it better; I need to be more diligent in my study. When I don't have as many things pressing my schedule, I get a little lax in my intensity. I believe the phrase is "growing slothful because of the easiness of the way."

Here it is.

Isaiah’s Christ: Shepherd, Warrior, Judge, and King

A Sestina

Jehovah comes from Edom in his might

One by one, with outstretched arms, He gathers

Those who, with humble hearts, would call him LORD.

He, who earth and hearts hath mulled and weighted,

Assessed the earth’s great waters in his Hand

And tells the cov’nant people to behold--


To lift their eyes on high, and first behold

Then follow Him with heart and mind and might.

Oh, Israel, hath God yet shortened his hand?

Hath He grown tired? Nay, but still He gathers

Sinners’ hearts. The hills Jehovah weighted

With a scale; “The winepress,” saith Christ your LORD,


“I hath trodden alone. I am the LORD;

My crimson robes a victory to behold,

For I looked and, being alone, I weighted

Down the winepress in my fury and might.

Now with tender mercy will I gather

And cover thee in shadow of my hand.”


Yahweh shall hold thee up in His right hand,

That all the nations know I AM your LORD.

The dumb idols burn, Jehovah gathers

Those who would His covenanted be. Hold

fast to Him by whose power and might

is thy salvation, thy judgment weighted.


Your Jeshua with patience hath waited, and

borne all thy sins with the nails in His hands,

That in his latter coming, all earth might

Know that salvation cometh through the LORD.

For when the mighty angel cries “Behold,

A white horse, and He who rides shall gather


His people,” the heaven’s armies gather

Behind Him who with rightness hath weighted

And made war. Look up, oh Israel! Behold

His vesture dipped in blood, His outstretched hands.

He is called King of Kings, and LORD of Lords,

Who comes to thee in power and in might.


Raise your eyes, lift your voice, behold His might,

And blessed be those who wait on the LORD.

The shepherd gathers Israel in His hand.



Sorry the formatting is odd. The last line should be formatted the same as the rest.
A sestina is a pretty strict poetic form. I'd only written one before, back my freshman year, while in a poetry war with one Andon Carling. It was fun, and it turned out to be quite useful.

I love words.