Thursday, January 24, 2013

by Ezra Pound

If on the tally-board of wasted days
They daily write me for proud idleness,
Let high Hell summons me, and I confess,
No overt act the preferred charge allays.

To-day I thought what boots it what I thought?
Poppies and gold! Why should I blurt it out?
Or hawk the magic of her name about
Deaf doors and dungeons where no truth is bought?

Who calls me idle? I have thought of her.
Who calls me idle? By God’s truth I’ve seen
The arrowy sunlight in her golden snares.

Let him among you all stand summonser
Who hath done better things ! Let whoso hath been
With worthier works concerned, display his wares!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Another Long Night in the Office of Dreams 
by Jeffrey McDaniel

There’s a woman I’m in love with, but I forget
what she looks like, so I take out my paintbrushes
and create my image of her.
Your eyes are blue like the morning of going.
Your ears are tender twists of logic. Your thighs
are impossible avenues my car swerves out of control on.

I want to cut the silence with your shoulder blades,
blow moon-shaped kisses to orbit your skull
as you sleep on the highest ledge of my insomnia,

but I’m a broken promise in a pawn shop,
and this is just a secret that happens to involve you.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

by Meerbaum-Eisinger (tr. Pearl Fichman)
Dec. 23, 1941

This is the hardest: to give yourself
and know that you are unwanted,
to give yourself fully and to think
that you vanish like smoke into the void.

*The niece of Paul Celan, Selma Meerbaum-Eisinger died at the age of eighteen of typhus in the Mikhailovska labor camp. Fifty-seven poems survived in a notebook titled Blütenlese (Harvest of Blossoms).

Friday, January 18, 2013

cicada - hosho mccreesh

You Will Hear Thunder
by Anna Akhmatova

You will hear thunder and remember me,
And think: she wanted storms. The rim
Of the sky will be the colour of hard crimson,
And your heart, as it was then, will be on fire.

That day in Moscow, it will all come true,
when, for the last time, I take my leave,
And hasten to the heights that I have longed for,
Leaving my shadow still to be with you.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Song of Wine
by Émile Nelligan (Translation by Fred Cogswell)

“Fresh in joy, life, light - all things coincide,
This fine May eve ! like living hopes that once
Were in my heart, the choiring birds announce
Their prelude to my window open wide.
O fine May eve! O happy eve of May!
A distant organ beats out frigid chords;
And long shafts of sun, like crimson swords,
Cuts to the heart the scent of dying day.

How gay, how glad am I ! Pour out, pour out
Once more the wine into the chiming glass
That I may lose the pain of days which pass
In scorn for all the wicked human rout.

How glad am I ! My wine and art be blest!
I, too, have dreamt of making poetry
That lives, of poems which sound the exequy
For autumn winds that passing far-off mist.

The bitter laugh of rage is now good form,
And I, a poet, must eat scorn for food.
I have a heart but am not understood
Save by the moonlight and the great nights of storm.

Woman ! I drink to you who mock the path
where the rose-dream calls with arms flung wide;
I drink, too, to you men with brows of pride
Who first refuse my hand then scorn my life!

When the starry sky becomes one glorious roof,
And when a hymn resounds for golden spring,
I do not weep for all the days’ calm going,
Who wary grope within my own black youth.

How glad am I ! May eve all eves above.
Not drunk but desperately glad am I !…
Has living grown at last to be a joy?
Has my heart, too, been healed of my sick love?

The clocks have struck and the wind smells of night
Now the wine gurgles as I pour it out.
So glad am I that I laugh and shout
I fear I shall break down and sob outright.”

Broken Things 
by Sara Teasdale

Broken things are loveliest,
        Broken clouds when dusk is red,
Broken waves where a rainbow rides,
        Broken words left half unsaid.

Broken things, broken things—
        How quietly they comfort me,
Riven cliffs, where I can watch
        The broken beauty of the sea.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Mr. Cogito Meditates on Suffering
by Zbigniew Herbert (tr. John & Bogdana Carpenter)

All attempts to remove
the so-called cup of bitterness--
by reflection 
frenzied actions on behalf of homeless cats
deep breathing

one must consent
gently bend the head
not wring the hands
make use of the suffering gently moderately
like an artificial limb
without false shame
but also without unnecessary pride

do not brandish the stump
over the heads of others
don't knock with the white cane
against the windows of the well-fed

drink the essence of bitter herbs
but not to the dregs
leave carefully
a few sips for the future

but simultaneously
isolate within yourself
and if it is possible
create from the matter of suffering
a thing or a person

with it
of course
entertain it
very cautiously
like a sick child
forcing at last
with silly tricks
a faint 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

And the days are not full enough
by Ezra Pound

And the days are not full enough
And the nights are not full enough
And life slips by like a field mouse
      Not shaking the grass