Thursday, March 31, 2011

Robert Frost

"The sun was warm but the wind was chill.
You know how it is with an April day.
When the sun is out and the wind is still,
You're one month on in the middle of May.
But if you so much as dare to speak,
a cloud come over the sunlit arch,
And wind comes off a frozen peak,
And you're two months back in the middle of March."

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

San Juan de la Cruz

Song of the Soul that Delights in Reaching the Supreme State

of perfection, that is, the union with God,
by the path of spiritual negation.

On a darkened night
on fire with all love’s longing
– O joyful flight! –
I left, none noticing,
my house in silence resting.

Secure, devoid of light,
by secret stairway, stealing
– O joyful flight! –
in darkness self-concealing,
my house in silence resting.

In the joy of night,
in secret so none saw me,
no object in my sight
no other light to guide me,
but what burned here inside me.

Which solely was my guide,
more surely than noon-glow,
to where he does abide,
one whom I deeply know,
a place where none did show.

O night, my guide!
O night, far kinder than the dawn!
O night that tied
the lover to the loved,
the loved in the lover there transformed!

On my flowering breast,
that breast I kept for him alone,
there he took his rest
while I regaled my own,
in lulling breezes from the cedars blown.

The breeze, from off the tower,
as I sieved through its windings
with calm hands that hour,
my neck in wounding
left all my senses hanging.

Self abandoned, self forgot,
my face inclined to the beloved one:
all ceased, and I was not,
my cares now left behind, and gone:
there among the lilies all forgotten

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Tomas Transtromer

Breathing Space July
The man who lies on his back under huge trees
is also up in them. He branches out into thousands of tiny branches.
He sways back and forth,
he sits in a catapult chair that hurtles forward in slow motion.

The man who stands down at the dock screws up his eyes against the water.
Docks get older faster than men.
They have silver-gray posts and boulders in their gut.
The dazzling light drives straight in.

The man who spends the whole day in an open boat
moving over the luminous bays
will fall asleep at last inside the shade of his blue lamp
as the islands crawl like huge moths over the globe.

Translation by Robert Bly

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Hsu Yun


This is an exquisite truth:
Saints and ordinary folks are the same from the start.

Eventually there's a difference between them.
You don't borrow string when you've got a good strong rope.

Every Dharma is known in the heart.
After the rain, the mountain color intensifies.

Once you become familiar with the design of fate's illusions
Your ink slab will contain all of life and death.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Sylvia Plath

Dirge for a Joker
Always in the middle of a kiss
Came the profane stimulus to cough;
Always from teh pulpit during service
Leaned the devil prompting you to laugh.

Behind mock-ceremony of your grief
Lurked the burlesque instinct of the ham;
You never altered your amused belief
That life was a mere monumental sham.

From the comic accident of birth
To the final grotesque joke of death
Your malady of sacrilegious mirth
Spread gay contagion with each clever breath.

Now you must play the straight man for a term
And tolerate the humor of the worm.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Charles Baudelaire


by: Charles Baudelaire

HEN Juan sought the subterranean flood,
And paid his obolus on the Stygian shore,
Charon, the proud and sombre beggar, stood
With one strong, vengeful hand on either oar.

With open robes and bodies agonised,
Lost women writhed beneath that darkling sky;
There were sounds as of victims sacrificed:
Behind him all the dark was one long cry.

And Sganarelle, with laughter, claimed his pledge;
Don Luis, with trembling finger in the air,
Showed to the souls who wandered in the sedge
The evil son who scorned his hoary hair.

Shivering with woe, chaste Elvira the while,
Near him untrue to all but her till now,
Seemed to beseech him for one farewell smile
Lit with the sweetness of the first soft vow.

And clad in armour, a tall man of stone
Held firm the helm, and clove the gloomy flood;
But, staring at the vessel's track alone,
Bent on his sword the unmoved hero stood.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Eunice Odio

Lin Lan, Sang the Lark
Lark, dark-grey colored bird, of delicate
flesh: the lark doesn’t climb to the trees.
—Little Larousse Ilustrado

Lin lan,
sang the lark,

Lin lan
in towers of sweet basil,

The lark doesn’t climb to the tree—
the tree dreams the dream
of larks upon its branches.

Lin lan,
sang the lark,

Lin lan in towers
of sweet basil,

Swallow leaves on the air
her maiden’s heart
pinned to dawn,

Lin lan
sighs the swallow
her tenderness with the water

And the tree dreams the dream
of larks upon its branches.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Carlos Obregon

As the rose contains its stillness
and the sea time,
fire, more than fire, contains in certainty
a liturgy of itself, silence in silence,
from inside out overturning in stunning language
towards what atmosphere free from creatures,
towards what saintly prayer.
Ardent instant: its fervor is begot
in the tutelary pupil of the angel
and its substance is the night itself.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Robert Priest

Robert Priest
From: The Visible Man. Toronto: Unfinished Monument Press, 1980.

(for Galileo)

i am a tall white thing that birds fly out of
that is why you see me in the morning so open-mouthed and foolish
the doctor said
"you are upside down
you have a large wounded thing in your mouth
i would advise you to cry"
but i said "no doctor
you are wrong
i am tremulous and exultant—a green strand
drawn from the throat of a flower
i am the magnet the wind arrives at finally
those are songs you see lodged in me
if i cry there will be no passion in it
i have tried again and again to throw off these robes of water
but wherever i have whirled them—
there the drunken—the inexhaustible flowers
have followed and come groping up to me
with praises
why should i cry?"
"you're upside down" he said
"no" i replied, and i began to revolve in the air
in front of him
"you think it must be somewhere near here
that the ground is
the suicides have told you
the rain and snow have told you
it's down below
somewhere under the houses
but they are wrong
and you are wrong
i am that dancing man
who kicks over the jug of the stars
those are my tracks across the moon

wherever i put my feet
that is where
the ground is

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Mokichi Saito

The faintly glowing
color of the maples,
when it fades away
before the falling of snow,
serenity in mountains.
This living creature,
each breath that I am taking,
is befag observed
by one climbing up a window,
a praying mantis, alone. Awakened
from winter sleep a frog
climbs up onto
the top of leftover snow
and stretches himself out flat.
The red-throated
chimney swallows, two of them,
upon the rafters—
and underneath, my mother
who is going to die now. Those wild geese
do not pass over any more
within the sky
without limitation
the scattered snow is falling.
Very close to death
the mother I watch beside—
from far rice ponds, frogs crying
to heaven are being heard. The clouds of springtime
come together at one side
around midday
by the far-off water reeds
the wild geese have settled down.
Being awakened
I was imagining that
the wild grasses
might be dropping down their seeds
at about this time of night. The hush-hush
inside the falling of snow—-
standing motionless,
a horse, his eyes.
Now he has blinked !
Crawling on the grass,
you firefly of the morning,
transient must be
this existence of mine.
Do not let me die, ever. Into spring mountains
I have come and am staying
one person alone
trying to hear the sound o
leaves fallen, dried, bent over.
(Mourning for Akutagawa)
Coming to a wall,
a lacewing May fly
is clinging to it —
the sheer transparency
of the wings, their mournfulness.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Marge Tindal

I Am Wolf
I call your name out in the night.
The moon is howling too.
I scream at things that cause you fright...
And I come to protect you.

I am the spirit
of the Cherokee...
Sent to light your way.
I am wolf.
I protect you on this day.

Into the evening shadows
I make my way with stealth..
I am Wolf...
I am yourself.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Han Shan, 750

You find a flower half-buried in leaves,
And in your eye its very fate resides.
Loving beauty, you caress the bloom;
Soon enough, you'll sweep petals from the floor.

Terrible to love the lovely so,
To count your own years, to say "I'm old,"
To see a flower half-buried in leaves
And come face to face with what you are.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Armando Orozco Tovar

for Isabel

A roll of the dice
will never abolish chance.
All chance is an appointment.

Chance is a remembrance
of the finding.

An instant
in the street.

in the tepid fire of your flesh.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Rainer Maria Rilke

Archaic Torso of Apollo
by Rainer Maria Rilke
translated by Stephen Mitchell
We cannot know his legendary head
with eyes like ripening fruit. And yet his torso
is still suffused with brilliance from inside,
like a lamp, in which his gaze, now turned to low,

gleams in all its power. Otherwise
the curved breast could not dazzle you so, nor could
a smile run through the placid hips and thighs
to that dark center where procreation flared.

Otherwise this stone would seem defaced
beneath the translucent cascade of the shoulders
and would not glisten like a wild beast's fur:

would not, from all the borders of itself,
burst like a star: for here there is no place
that does not see you. You must change your life.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Rabindranath Tagore

Peace my heart...

Peace, my heart, let the time for the parting be sweet.
Let it not be a death but completeness.
Let love melt into memory and pain into songs.
Let the flight through the sky end in the folding of the wings over the nest.
Let the last touch of your hands be gentle like the flower of the night.
Stand still, O Beautiful End, for a moment, and say your last words in silence.
I bow to you and hold up my lamp to light you on your way.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Grateful Dead

Cosmic Charley
Lyrics By: Robert Hunter
Music By: Jerry Garcia
Cosmic Charley, how do you do? (note 1)
Truckin' in style along the avenue
Dum dee dum dee doodley doo
Go on home, your mother's calling you

Kalico Kahlia, come tell me the news
Calamity's waiting for a way to get to her
Rosy red and electric blue
I bought you a paddle for your paper canoe

Say you'll come back when you can
Whenever your airplane happens to land
Maybe I'll be back here too
It all depends on what's with you

Hung up waiting for a windy day
Kite on ice since the first of February
Mama keeps saying that the wind might blow
But standing here, I say I just don't know

New ones coming as the old ones go
Everything's moving here, but much too slow now
A little bit quicker and we might have time
To say "How do you do?" before we're left behind

Calliope wail like a seaside zoo
The very last lately enquired about you
It's really very one or two
The first you wanted, the last I knew

I just wonder if you shouldn't feel
Less concern about the deep unreal
The very first word is "How do you do?"
The last "Go home, your mama's calling you"

Calling you
Calling you
Calling you
Calling you

Go on home your mama's calling you
Go on home your mama's calling you
Go on home your mama's calling you

Monday, March 7, 2011

Captain Beefheart

I know of a Brown Star
That only certain people have found
For years they been lookin' around
A lot of people lookin' up
But very few of them looking down
Well they searched high and low for that little glow
That'll make them happy
Some searched fast and they went on past
Some went slow but couldn't let it go
I know of a Brown Star
That only very certain people have found
You can ask a dog why he's so happy
Just waggin' his tail around
Or a frog that makes him jump around
Follow a sailin' cloud until it dumps
The rain right down
But ask a man and woman if they've seen
A Brown Star around
Some will say yes and some will say no
Some will just laugh and some will just glow
Some will say why do you ask
Some will say well don't you know
Then there'll be the one that says
It's already been found
But you ask a child and they'll just jump up and down
Sayin' we found a Brown Star
Right on the ground.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Nikolay Gumilev

At the Feast
There's Prince Diego, falling in a love,
He dozed and he laid his head midst table's stuff,
He lost his goblet, cast from silver's milk,
And freed his jacket of a crimson silk.

And he is seeing the transparent stream,
And on the stream - the boat white as steam,
In which the trip, a lot of time ago,
His bride and he had had to undergo.

Space after space immediately springs
And, like two looks, burn two amazing rings;
But now sacred isles are seen in haze,
Where will resound the mysterious phrase,
And where, in wreaths of roses, at last,
They will be married by the Jesus Christ.

But at that time, the king has laid on him
The heavy look, where evil mixed with whim,
And jokers are adjusting to his heart,
The reddish pieces - flowers of blood,
And sexy bride with moderated rage,
Is kissing the impudent, lustful page.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Joseph Brodsky

A Polar Explorer
All the huskies are eaten. There is no space
left in the diary, And the beads of quick
words scatter over his spouse's sepia-shaded face
adding the date in question like a mole to her lovely cheek.
Next, the snapshot of his sister. He doesn't spare his kin:
what's been reached is the highest possible latitude!
And, like the silk stocking of a burlesque half-nude
queen, it climbs up his thigh: gangrene.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Yevgeny Yevtushenko

Memento by Yevgeny Yevtushenko
Like a reminder of this life
of trams, sun, sparrows,
and the flighty uncontrolledness
of streams leaping like thermometers,
and because ducks are quacking somewhere
above the crackling of the last, paper-thin ice,
and because children are crying bitterly
(remember children's lives are so sweet!)
and because in the drunken, shimmering starlight
the new moon whoops it up,
and a stocking crackles a bit at the knee,
gold in itself and tinged by the sun,
like a reminder of life,
and because there is resin on tree trunks,
and because I was madly mistaken
in thinking that my life was over,
like a reminder of my life -
you entered into me on stockinged feet.
You entered - neither too late nor too early -
at exactly the right time, as my very own,
and with a smile, uprooted me
from memories, as from a grave.
And I, once again whirling among
the painted horses, gladly exchange,
for one reminder of life,
all its memories.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Octavio Paz

Between going and staying
Between going and staying the day wavers,
in love with its own transparency.
The circular afternoon is now a bay
where the world in stillness rocks.

All is visible and all elusive,
all is near and can't be touched.

Paper, book, pencil, glass,
rest in the shade of their names.

Time throbbing in my temples repeats
the same unchanging syllable of blood.

The light turns the indifferent wall
into a ghostly theater of reflections.

I find myself in the middle of an eye,
watching myself in its blank stare.

The moment scatters. Motionless,
I stay and go: I am a pause

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Armando Romero

This was a man whose right hand had been buried
who would spend his days in an empty room
resting his feet against the upper corner of the window
while holding a ship's porthole in his left hand;
rhinoceroses would pierce it with their horns
and allow their metallic hides to shine through

He had taken up the notion of being a poet
and spent so much of his time talking about the war
that he had neglected his right hand.

It had grown slowly and furiously
and, without his being aware of it,
had crossed through the very center of the earth and surfaced at the other end.

When the children of northern Sumatra
suddenly saw a tree without leaves and without fruit,
they rushed off to summon their parents,
When they came, they brought heavy swords
and felled the tree at its roots.
A white liquid seeped from its ravaged bark.

From that moment on,
this man as a poet, feels a sharp, cutting pain,
but he cannot tell exactly where in his body
it is contained.