Monday, July 13, 2015

by Pablo Neruda

Now we will count to twelve
and we will all keep still.

For once on the face of the earth,
let’s not speak in any language;
let’s stop for one second,
and not move our arms so much.

It would be an exotic moment
without rush, without engines;
we would all be together
in a sudden strangeness.

Fisherman in the cold sea
would not harm whales
and the man gathering salt
would look at his hurt hands.

Those who prepare green wars,
wars with gas, wars with fire,
victories with no survivors,
would put on clean clothes
and walk about with their brothers
in the shade, doing nothing.

What I want should not be confused
with total inactivity.
Life is what it is about;
I want no truck with death.

If we were not so single-minded
about keeping our lives moving,
and for once could do nothing,
perhaps a huge silence
might interrupt this sadness
of never understanding ourselves
and of threatening ourselves with death.
Perhaps the earth can teach us
as when everything seems dead
and later proves to be alive.

Now I’ll count up to twelve
and you keep quiet and I will go.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

by Nissim Ezekiel

I met a man once
who had wasted half his life,

partly in exile from himself,
partly in a prison of his own making.

An energetic man, an active man.
I liked his spirit
and saw no hope for him.

Yet, he had the common touch;
he could, for instance, work with his hands.

To others, all attentive.
To his own needs, indifferent.

A tireless social human being,
destined always
to know defeat
like a twin-brother.

I saw him cheerful
in the universal darkness
as I stood grimly
in my little light.
by R. Meenakshi (translated by Martha Ann Selby)

Red cassia flowers
are a forest fire,
or so they say.
It's an April event
called a summer fire.
Anarchy in green.
An explosion of buds.
Fire in the snow.

On the head of Lord Shiva
of the snow mountains
there are red matted locks,
          gleaming cassia flowers,
          and the Ganga.

In his red hand,
          a small drum,
          a deer.

And the snake at his throat.
That snake
won't strike the deer.
The fire in his hand
won't burn the Ganga.

But in our street
even flies
will swarm to hot flowers.