Saturday, May 28, 2011

country fair - charles simic

Country Fair
by Charles Simic

If you didn't see the six-legged dog,
It doesn't matter.
We did and he mostly lay in the corner.
As for the extra legs,

One got used to them quickly
And thought of other things.
Like, what a cold, dark night
To be at the fair.

Then the keeper threw a stick
And the dog went after it
On four legs, the other two flapping behind,
Which made one girl shriek with laughter.

She was drunk and so was the man
Who kept kissing her neck.
The dog got the stick and looked back at us.
And that was the whole show.

Friday, May 27, 2011

flame point - jules supervielle

Flame Point
by Jules Supervielle (tr. Allen Mandelbaum)

All his life
He loved to read
By candlelight
And often passed
His hand across
The flame
In order to
Himself that he
Was alive,
Was alive.

And since the day
He died,
He keeps
A burning candle
At his side,
And yet
His hands --
He hides.

interval of joy - george seferis

Interval Of Joy
by George Seferis

We were happy all that morning
O God how happy.
First the stones the leaves and the flowers shone
and then the sun
a huge sun all thorns but so very high in the heavens.
A nymph was gathering our cares and hanging them on the
a forest of Judas trees.
Cupids and satyrs were singing and playing
and rosy limbs could be glimpsed amid black laurel
the flesh of young children.
We were happy all that morning;
the abyss was a closed well
on which the tender foot of a young fawn stamped
do you remember its laughter:  how happy we were!
And then clouds rain and the damp earth;
you stopped laughing when you reclined in the hut,
and opened your large eyes and gazed
on the archangel wielding a fiery sword

"I cannot explain it," you said, "I cannot explain it,"
I find people impossible to understand
however much they may play with colors
they are all black.

the moonsheep - christian morgenstern

The Moonsheep
by Christian Morgenstern (tr. E.M. Valk)

The Moonsheep stands in the open plain,
waiting, waiting, for the shears' refrain.
          The moonsheep.

The moonsheep pulls a single blade
and then goes home to his alpine glade.
         The moonsheep.

The moonsheep, dreaming, does with himself converse:
"I am the dark space of the universe."
          The moonsheep.

The moonsheep in the morn lies dead.
His body's white, the sun is red.
          the moonsheep.

12 (from a coney island of the mind) - lawrence ferlinghetti

12 (from A Coney Island Of The Mind)
by Lawrence Ferlinghetti
'One of those paintings that would not die'
         its warring image
                                           once conceived
              would not leave
                                              the leaded ground
no matter how many times
                                                        he hounded it
                                                                                    into oblivion
Painting over it did no good
                   It kept on coming through
                                                                         the wood and canvas
    and as it came it cried at him
                                                               a terrible bedtime song
         wherein each bed a grave
                                                              mined with unearthly alarmclocks
                             hollered horribly
                                                                for lovers and sleepers   

the only poem - leonard cohen

The Only Poem
by Leonard Cohen

This is the only poem
I can read
I am the only one
can write it
I didn't kill myself
when things went wrong
I didn't turn
to drugs or teaching
I tried to sleep
but when I couldn't sleep
I learned to write
I learned to write
what might be read
on nights like this
by one like me

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

as one listens to the rain - octavio paz

As One Listens To The Rain
by Octavio Paz

Listen to me as one listens to the rain,

not attentive, not distracted,
light footsteps, thin drizzle,
water that is air, air that is time,
the day is still leaving,
the night has yet to arrive,
figurations of mist
at the turn of the corner,
figurations of time
at the bend in this pause,
listen to me as one listens to the rain,
without listening, hear what I say
with eyes open inward, asleep
with all five senses awake,
it's raining, light footsteps, a murmur of syllables,
air and water, words with no weight:
what we are and are,
the days and years, this moment,
weightless time and heavy sorrow,
listen to me as one listens to the rain,
wet asphalt is shining,
steam rises and walks away,
night unfolds and looks at me,
you are you and your body of steam,
you and your face of night,
you and your hair, unhurried lightning,
you cross the street and enter my forehead,
footsteps of water across my eyes,
listen to me as one listens to the rain,
the asphalt's shining, you cross the street,
it is the mist, wandering in the night,
it is the night, asleep in your bed,
it is the surge of waves in your breath,
your fingers of water dampen my forehead,
your fingers of flame burn my eyes,
your fingers of air open eyelids of time,
a spring of visions and resurrections,
listen to me as one listens to the rain,
the years go by, the moments return,
do you hear the footsteps in the next room?
not here, not there: you hear them
in another time that is now,
listen to the footsteps of time,
inventor of places with no weight, nowhere,
listen to the rain running over the terrace,
the night is now more night in the grove,
lightning has nestled among the leaves,
a restless garden adrift-go in,
your shadow covers this page.