Friday, July 31, 2009

Constantine P. Cavafy

The Windows
In these dark rooms where I live out empty days,
I wander round and round
trying to find the windows.
It will be a great relief when a window opens.
But the windows aren't there to be found -
or at least I can't find them. And perhaps
it's better if I don't find them.
Perhaps the light will prove another tyranny.
Who knows what new things it will expose?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Rainer Maria Rilke

As once the winged energy of delight
carried you over childhood's dark abysses,
now beyond your own life build the great
arch of unimagined bridges.
Wonders happen if we can succeed
in passing through the harshest danger;
but only in a bright and purely granted
achievement can we realize the wonder.
To work with Things in the indescribable
relationship is not too hard for us;
the pattern grows more intricate and subtle,
and being swept along is not enough.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Jimmy Santiago Baca

Pancho, the barrio idiot.
Rumor is that una bruja from Bernalillo
le embrujo. Unshaven, chattering
and nodding to airy friends
that follow him,
he roams the barrio all day.
I see him at least twice a day—
walking on the ditch behind my house,
hours later walking across the bridge.
Harmless, la gente leave him alone
in his own fantasies,
to share his bread with invisible companions,
to speak back to voices
that brim over from his childhood memories.
I have seen him
on all fours in Raul’s field
with the sheep. Or last Christmas
in the tree meowing like a cat.
You always fill my heart Pancho
with delight.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Souix Prayer, Chief Yellow Lark

Oh, Great Spirit, whose voice I hear in the winds
Whose breath gives life to the world, hear me
I come to you as one of your many children
I am small and weakI need your strength and wisdom
May I walk in beauty
Make my eyes ever behold the red and purple sunset.
Make my hands respect the things you have made
And my ears sharp to your voice.
Make me wise so that I may know the things
you have taught your children.
The lessons you have written in every leaf and rock
Make me strong--------!
Not to be superior to my brothers,
but to fight my greatest enemy....myself
Make me ever ready to come to you with straight eyes,
So that when life fades as the fading sunset,
May my spirit come to you without shame

Monday, July 27, 2009

Maria Del Carmen Paiva

It is sufficient.
It's already fainted
--that accidental word
that usually sketches itself out in farewells,
and that you bring since who knows when;
or perhaps
it came close
one day
and started the bad habit of nurturing it.
Time wears out things,
and although you keep on under those separate stars
and the sun, with its overflowing wings of sulphur,
you keep on living in spite of all this
and what has already happened.
You deserve the name that life gives you
with its unforeseen and unknown impulse.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Homero Aridjis


Sometimes we touch a body and we wake it

and it is a way through the night which opens

to our senses the pulsing of its arms like the sea's

and we love it like the sea

like a naked song

like the only Summer

We say it is light as one says now

we say it is yesterday and other places


we fill it with bodies and bodies

with gulls our own gulls

We go climbing it peak after peak

with ears and roofs and door latches

with hotels and ditches and memories

and landscapes and time and asteroids

We fill it to the brim with ourselves and with soul

with collars of islands and with soul

We feel ourselves living and everyday

we feel ourselves beautiful but shadow

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Wu Cailun

Favor and disgrace are meaningless --
What's the use of contending?
Drifting clouds do not obstruct the shining moonlight.
Let the ox and the horse be called,
To both I can respond --
But how could I let a speck of dust
Into the city of the mind?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Miguel Hernandez

You threw me a lemon, so bitter,
with a hand warm and so pure,
that its shape was not spoiled,
and I tasted its bitterness regardless.

With that yellow blow, from a sweet lethargy,
my blood passed to an anxious fever,
feeling the bite of the tip
of a breast that was firm and full.

But on gazing at you and seeing the smile
that broke from you, at this acid act,
so different from my voracious malice,

my blood stood still, inside my shirt,
and became that porous and golden breast
a pointed and dazzling pain.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Richard Wilbur

The delectable names of harsh places:
Cilicia Aspera, Estremadura.
In that smooth wave of cello-sound, Mojave,
We hear no ill of brittle parch and glare.
So late October's pasture-fringe,
With aster-blur and ferns of toasted gold,
Invites to barrens where the crop to come
Is stone prized upward by the deepening freeze.
Speechless and cold the stars arise
On the small garden where we have dominion.
Yet in three tongues we speak of Taurus' name
And of Aldebaran and the Hyades,
Recalling what at best we know,
That there is beauty bleak and far from ours,
Great reaches where the Lord's delighting mind,
Though not inhuman, ponders other things.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Sun Buer

Cut brambles long enough,
Sprout after sprout,
And the lotus will bloom
Of its own accord:
Already waiting in the clearing,
The single image of light.
The day you see this,
That day you will become it.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Marianne Bluger


Hard rain on my seared root
you are - and lightning bolt
you're wind come wild
thrashing one black tree
against the light-cracked sky
you are what breaks
apocalypse - the day
and you thick night
you are the changeless
peaks and you deep valley
torrent carving stone
you're stone that holds
all raging in - you are
the raging
you the din
and you the Holy
silence when it ends.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Pablo Neruda

It was passed from one bird to another,
the whole gift of the day.
The day went from flute to flute,
went dressed in vegetation,
in flights which opened a tunnel
through the wind would pass
to where birds were breaking open
the dense blue air
-and there, night came in.
When I returned from so many journeys,
I stayed suspended and green
between sun and geography -
I saw how wings worked,
how perfumes are transmitted
by feathery telegraph,
and from above I saw the path,
the springs and the roof tiles,
the fishermen at their trades,
the trousers of the foam;
I saw it all from my green sky.
I had no more alphabet
than the swallows in their courses,
the tiny, shining water
of the small bird on fire
which dances out of the pollen.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Octavio Paz

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.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Pablo Neruda

Because of you, in gardens of blossoming
Flowers I ache from the perfumes of spring.
I have forgotten your face, I no longer
Remember your hands; how did your lips
Feel on mine?
Because of you, I love the white statues
Drowsing in the parks, the white statues that
Have neither voice nor sight.
I have forgotten your voice, your happy voice;
I have forgotten your eyes.
Like a flower to its perfume, I am bound to
My vague memory of you. I live with pain
That is like a wound; if you touch me, you will
Make to me an irreperable harm.
Your caresses enfold me, like climbing
Vines on melancholy walls.
I have forgotten your love, yet I seem to
Glimpse you in every window.
Because of you, the heady perfumes of
Summer pain me; because of you,
I again Seek out the signs that precipitate desires:
Shooting stars, falling objects.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Gabriela Mistral

_"She speaks with the accent of her wild seas
Of I know not what seaweeds, of I know not what sands;
She worships a god without bulk or weight,
Old as if she would die.
This garden of ours which she estranged from us
She sowed with cactus and thorn.
She exhales the breath of the desert.
And she loved with a piercing passion
She never tells us of, and which, if she told,
Would be the map of another star.
She will live among us for eighty years
But always seem newly come,
With that language of hers which moans and pants
And only creatures of the field understand.
And she is going to die in our midst
Some night of her worst affliction,
With only her fate for a pillow,
Of a death unspoken and strange."

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Robert Hunter

Driving that train, high on cocaine
Casey Jones you'd better watch your speed
Trouble ahead, trouble behind
And you know that notion just crossed my mind
This old engine makes it on time
Leaves Central Station 'bout a quarter to nine
Hits River Junction at seventeen to
At a quarter to ten you know it's travelling again
Trouble ahead, the lady in red
Take my advice you'd be better off dead
Switchman's sleeping, train Hundred and Two
Is on the wrong track and headed for you

Trouble with you is the trouble with me
Got two good eyes but we still don't see
Come round the bend, you know it's the end
The fireman screams and the engine just gleams

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Gerald Fisher

Father Sky is grayAs the new light appears
And the laughter of the birds is still
the clouds shed their tears
and the land drinks of this heavenly dew
puddles replace the dustirresistible temptations for little feet
Turning my face to the sky
and feeling the gentleness of the mist
washing away my caresfilling my heart with happiness
Lifting my spirits like the quenching of the crops
Raising my armsI turn to the four winds
and give thanks for this
gentle…Summer Rain.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Eunice Odio

On the border of joyous harvesters water trembles,
and offers for the order of the contented lip
a sweet course born of pregnant mornings,
and agrarian transparency, sweetly lit.
The crowned wheat of tightened density
retains the overflowing color on which they order
—neighbor to the flesh—to satiate itself in spring.
The cattle decrease tenderly in the dark
where the ground expands its shadowy current,
and the bee completes its snow journey,
and hides its manure among timid jaspers.
And you, Beloved,
who set the plow on a fixed course
to encircle the afternoon and hasten the rose,
Where is your chest abounding with roots,
where is the naked temple without rest or end?
Over the gentle pastures, innocent shepherds
prepare the grape which houses the wine,
and gather the climate in which its smell grows
and imparts handfuls of joy to the tongue.
Thus summer attends to its nascent beauty
and releases its birds onto the solitary wind.
Thus the mother-of-pearl scatters its stillness
and delight and its wild color renews and provides.
Oh offerings,
Oh earthly gifts,
Oh soft nourishment;
Only to exhaust the seed-time with your chest,
Only to flow into joy and to stay
Oh skin, Oh overflowing stammering ashes!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Eunice Odio

Your hand in which nightingales
unfold their palid nakedness,
their broad moss-crowned chest
is the hand that opens to the leaning wind
clear jasmine amid the dark temple.
Yes, the water beads down the forehead,
and plows the small placidness of iris
and clusters of violins between fingers.
Lend me your ear and listen to my song
that is like the seed of seasons.
That is like the house of summer
where a boy emerges from my hand,
and the soul pushes to the edge,
and the soul—like the skin—can’t be felt.
We will enter the summer suddenly like trees
vernally open by rustlings and dust,
Because all flows back toward the arrival,
the womb ascends to the capital of fruit
and the air forms an equation of swallows.
Sacramental buds of grass,
oh offerings surging from the entrails,
sum of traveled nourishment!
And there at the level of the chest and the plowed field
is the seed of silence and desert light.
Everything returns to its exact form.
Life reclaims its small ambition
of being, entirely, profound greenness,
hidden edifice and open light.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Eunice Odio

I Listen to the song of your name in me
flesh for the necessary fruit.
When the solitude
beneath your name could be heard and tightened,
When I was like a buried boy
to whom they call by his former name,
and he responds, but there is no voice within himself;
And my hand was at the depth,
it had a glimpse, the key, my own form,
And I felt you beyond my chest in our embrace
like a joyous and consummated crown.
You called me to your name,
and I came,
with clear identity of origin,
with the true habitual grace
with which cathedrals dream of their honor.
By day you are beside the night.
With you I am day,
and by virtue of the absence in which I evoke myself
I see how my form divides me,
how I breathe in your hair without risk,
inside my voice and not throughout it.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Eunice Odio

Someone brushes past my veins
and the furrow opens between flower and lip.
Night arrives
in a column of love and nightingales;
its blue helmet, lacustrine, wipes the dawn,
fog descends through its skin
and brushes of wounded feather and dawn flee.
And before being,
inaugural darkness
for the coming arrival of a planet,
fleeting crystal,
calm of submerged brilliance,
the night is made of air and a darkened stalk.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Eunice Odio


Introduction I
Oh gift,
oh gift of self, your hair,
white speech,blue design,
hyacinth future.
I could sing a song
so I am suspected of smoke,
in air, and of an animal
carved amid foam
in long, light, bursts of
a harp’s laughter.
I could bring memories to the heart
like fingernails falling off the soul.
But I am almost at the border of your body,
But your nakedness has come to the foot of the furrow
dressed in its suit of profundity;
The sea ponders your age
and blind dolphins in branches turn pale in the sky above,
the sky weighs more with less air
a waterless sea with only its waves.
And on the landscape’s edge you tremble
ah, deepsea fisherman of foam
whose hips grow amid coral beads,
Violin-stained twilight,
fleeting companion of my side.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Seamus Heaney

A rowan like a lipsticked girl.
Between the by-road and the main road
Alder trees at a wet and dripping distance
Stand off among the rushes.
There are the mud-flowers of dialect
And the immortelles of perfect pitch
And that moment when the bird sings very close
To the music of what happens

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Anna Akhmatova

When, in the night, I wait for her, impatient,
Life seems to me, as hanging by a thread.
What just means liberty, or youth, or approbation,
When compared with the gentle piper's tread?

And she came in, threw out the mantle's edges,
Declined to me with a sincere heed.
I say to her, "Did you dictate the Pages
Of Hell to Dante?" She answers, "Yes, I did."

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Carsilaso de la Vega

Surrounded by the gentle sound
of clear water in motion,
near the Danube, no island could exist
that might be a spot chosen where
anyone as I am now, could rest;
where eternally spring
appears in its verdure
strewn with flowers;
where nightingales
renew either pleasure or sadness
with their suave plaints,
and never, day or night, desist from them.
Here was I placed,
or, to speak more truly,
imprisoned, forced and alone in a foreign land;
they can well do this
to one who can suffer it
and to one, to himself, condemns himself.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Tao Chien


The ways of heaven are mysterious,
the spirits pose a problem.
Since childhood, I struggled to do right—
forty-four years of struggle.
Things went bad when I was twenty.
At thirty, I lost my wife.
Fires burned my houses down
and weevils ate my grain.
Winds and rain ruined everything:
I couldn’t fill a mouth.
In summer, we went hungry;
in winter we all slept cold.
Evenings, we longed for the cock crow;
at dawn, we chased away the crows.
It’s my own poor karma, not heaven,
that leaves me troubled and bitter.
A name unearned, left for all the ages,
means no more to me than mist.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Robert Hunter

In the timbers of Fennario the wolves are running round
The winter was so hard and cold, froze ten feet 'neath the ground
Don't murder me, I beg of you don't murder me
Please don't murder me
I sat down to supper, 'twas a bottle of red whiskey
I said my prayers and went to bed, that's the last they saw of me
When I awoke, the dire wolf, six hundred pounds of sin
Was grinning at my window, all I said was "Come on in"
The wolf came in, I got my cards, we sat down for a game
I cut my deck to the queen of spades but the cards were all the same
In the back-wash of Fennario, the black and bloody mire
The dire wolf collects his due while the boys sing round the fire

Friday, July 3, 2009

Ruben Dario

Silence of the night , a sad, nocturnal silence--
Why does my soul tremble so?
I hear the humming of my blood,and
a soft storm passes through my brain.
Insomnia! Not to be able to sleep, and
yet to dream. I am the autospecimen
of spiritual dissection, the auto-Hamlet
!To dilute my sadnessin the wine of the
night in the marvelous crystal of the dark--
And I ask myself: When will the dawn come?
Someone has closed a door--
Someone has walked past--
The clock has rung three--If only it were She!--