Sunday, January 31, 2010

Hilda Hilst

VIA ESPESSA (do Desejo)
From cicadas and stones, words want to be born,
But the poet lives
Alone in a corridor of moons, in a water-house.
From world maps, from shortcuts, voyages want to be born.
But the poet inhabits
The field of inns of insanity.
From the flesh of women, men want to be born
And the poet pre-exists, between the light and the nameless

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Carlos Barbarito

Nothing grows except the grass.
Nothing leaps into sight except some stone
and what the stone contains and protects.
Here, far from the beach,
far from the place where the water
returns every so often
rusted metal, mouldy wood,
the corpse of a dolphin or a turtle.
The wind does not blow with the force
to propel us as far as the promised then
the minutes that pass become hours
but never days they become nights
but never agree to be years.
and centuries in which somebody dies
and someone else, who does not know it, yawns.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Jorge Luis Borges

We are the time, we are the famous
metaphor from Heraclitus the Obscure.
We are the water, not the hard diamond,
the one that is lost, not the one that stands still.
We are the river and we are that Greek
that looks himself into the river. His reflection
changes into the waters of the changing mirror
into the crystal that changes like the fire.
We are the vain predetermined river,
in his travel to the sea.
The shadows have surrounded him.
Everything said goodbye to us, everything goes away.
Memory does not stamp his own coin.
However, there is something that stays
however, something that bemoans.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Leonard Cohen

Calm, alone, the ceder guitar
tuned into a sunlight drone,
I'm here with sandalwood
and Patrica's clove pomander.
Thin snow carpets
on the roofs of Edmonton cars
prophesy the wilderness to come.
Downstairs in Swan's Cafe
the Indian girls are hunting
with their English names.
In Terry's Diner the counter man
plunges his tattoo in soapy water
Don't fall asleep until your plan
includes every angry nomad.
The juke-box sings of service everywhere
while I work to renew the style
which models the apostles
on these friends whom I have known.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Allen Ginsberg

FEB.29, 1958
Last nite I dreamed of T. S. Eliot
welcoming me to the land of dream
Sofas couches fog in England
Tea in his digs Chelsea rainbows
curtains on his windows, fog seeping in
the chimney but a nice warm house
and an incredibly sweet hooked nosed
Eliot he loved me, put me up,
gave me a couch to sleep on,
conversed kindly, took me serious
asked my opinion on Mayakovsky
I read him Corso Creely Kerouac
advised Burroughs Olson Huncke
the bearded lady in the zoo, the
intelligent Puma in Mexico City
6 chorus boys from Zanzibar
who chanted in worn out polyglot
Swahili and the rippling rhythms
of Ma Rainey and Vachel Lindsay
On the isle of the Queen
we had a long evenings conversation
then he tucked me in my long
red underwear under a silken
blanket by the fire on a sofa
gave me English Hottie
and went sadly off to his bed,
saying ah Ginsberg I am glad
to have met a fine young man like you
At last, I woke ashamed of myself.
is he that good and kind? Am I that great?
What's my motive dreaming his
manna? What English Department
would that impress? What failure
to be perfect prophet's made up here?
I dream of my kindness to T. S. Eliot
wanting to be a historical poet
and share his finance of Imagery-
overambitious dream of eccentric boy.
God forbid my evil dreams come true.
Last night I dreamed of Allen Ginsberg.
T. S. Eliot would have been ashamed of me.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Sylvia Plath

The black bull bellowed before the sea.
The sea, till that day orderly,
Hove up against bendylaw.
The Queen in the mulberry arbor stared
Stiff as a queen on a playing card.
The king fingered his beard,
A blue sea, four horny bull-feet,
A bull-snouted sea that wouldn't stay put,
Bucked at the garden gate.
Along box-lined walks in the florid sun
Toward the rowdy bellow and back again
The lords and ladies ran.
The great bronze gate began to crack,
The sea broke in at every crack,
Pellmell, blue back.
The bull surged up, the bull surged down,
Not to be stayed by a daisy chain
Nor by a learned man.
O the king's tidy acre is under the sea,
And the royal rose in the bull's belly,
And the bull on the king's highway.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Lina Zeron

To erase me from the earth is useless pretension
Not the fever rampant at night,
not the screams squeezed, out of my body
or all his poison devouring my womb.
ferocious pain stalking me.
I refuse to be just another worm in the grass
a piece of burning coal,
or sawdust filled skull.
I'm not dust returning to dust
or useless obituary in the newspaper.
I'm stronger than the despicable cells
reproducing daily.
I am the flood that erases the roads,
turbulence of dunes in the desert.
Death will not defeat me.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Jorge Carrera Andrade

COMRADES: the world is built upon our dead
and all our feet have created all the roads.
Also, beneath every sky, there is not an inch of shadow
for those of us who made the cupolas bloom.
Bread, blonde grandchildren of the sower, a roof
- foliage of clay and sun that shelters the family -
the right to love and walk freely are not ours:
we are the slave traders of our own lives.
Happiness, that sea we've never seen,
the cities we'll never visit
we lift up our clenched fists like fruit,
announcing the most serious harvest of all time.
Only the right to die, comrades of the world!
A hundred hands divide the offerings of the earth.
Already the time has come to hurl ourselves into the streets and plazas
to reclaim the Work we ourselves built.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Rainer Maria Rilke

She who did not come, wasn't she determined
nonetheless to organize and decorate my heart?
if we had to exist to become the one we love
what would the heart have to create?
Lovely joy left blank, perhaps you are
the center of all my labors and my loves
if I wept for you so much, it's because
I preferred you among so many outlined joys.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Vicente Gerbasi

The eyes of the owl
closed on the plain
of death
in the solitude
of horses
that die
looking at a star's path.
The eyes of the owl
closed watching the window
with one eye
on a squirrel
and another on the lightning.
The eyes of the owl
saw a horse
come into my house
forced to abandon
the plains,
the horse of an alley
in Paris
with its cart
full of cabbage.
The owl hid
in a chamber
of sadness,
in the poverty of the world
he saw his final shirt.
He put it on his father
who still loves him.
The owl
Juan Sanchez Palaez
deteriorated by skeletons.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Al Purdy

LU YU (AD 1125-1209)
On the day of Lu Yu's last sickness
a thin coffin was ready,
and two quilts to cover him,
and the gravediggers paid
their work done.
Then he started to write another poem
a short time before death,
about drinking wine again in the village -
He was working on the poem when they buried him,
so that half a line protruded from the earth
in wind and weather's hearing -
with sunlight touching the first young syllables,
the last ones flowering from a dark coffin:
"Marketplace the inn/drink more one"
the first three words above ground
the last ones wine in the Red Dust.
In the village of Shanyang
in Chekiang Province...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Juan Sanchez Pelaez

Cesar Moro, beautiful and humbled
playing a harp in the outskirts of Lima
said to me: come into my house, poet
always ask for air, clear sky
because we must die someday, it's understood
we must be born, and you are already dead
the floor will always be here, wide and mute
but dying from the same family is to have been born.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


I will not wait for a firefly's pulse,
like the streets of this map
in which things are packed and scattered in comets,
neither will I look for a sign of repudiation among the tracks
for every image of the pat is tricky.
I will not talk,
I won't say anything,
and my silence will be a protest,
it will wash itself black up to the celestial page,
it will get your ankles-whirlpool wet
it will say about frontiers:
ship's traces
in cartographic plan.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Tu Fu

Oxen and sheep were brought back down
Long ago, and bramble gates closed. Over
Mountains and rivers, far from my old garden,
A windswept moon rises into clear night.
Springs trickle down dark cliffs, and autumn
Dew fills ridge line grasses. My hair seems
Whiter in lamplight. the flame flickers
Good fortune over and over - and for what?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Ruben Dario

Towers of God! Poets!
Lightning rods of heaven
that resist the fierce storms
like ordinary mountains,
like peaks in the wilderness!
breakwaters of evernight!
Magic hope foretells
the day when the traitorous siren
will die on her musical rock.
Hope! Let us still hope!
Still hope. The bestial element
consoles itself with its hatred
of blessed poetry, hurling
insults from race to race.
The rebellion from below
is against excellence
the cannibal waits for his chunk of flesh
with red guns and sharpened teeth.
Towers, fasten a smile to your banner.
Confront this evil and suspicion
with a proud puff of the breeze
and the tranquillity of the sea and sky -

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Wislawa Szymborska

In a greenish sky
a cloud even more grey
with a black outline from the sun.
On the left, that is, on the right,
a white cherry branch with black blossoms.
On your dark face light shadows.
You have sat down at a small table
and laid your greyed hands on it.
You seem like a ghost
trying to summon the living.
(Because I'm still counted among them,
I should appear to him and tap:
good night, that is, good morning,
farewell, that is, hello.
Not begrudging him questions to any answer
if they concern life,
that is, the storm before the calm,)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Ssu-K'ung T'u

Gathering the water-plants
From the wild luxuriance of spring,
Away in the depth of a wild valley
Anon, I see a lovely girl.
With green leaves the peach-trees are loaded,
The breeze blows gently along the stream,
Willows shade the winding path,
Darting orioles collect in groups,
Eagerly I press forward
As the reality grows upon me...
'Tis the eternal theme,
Which, though old, is ever new.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Jose Gorostiza

Sea of no water or sand
Simple sounds water or foam
Water that can't form the shore
And because he rests in spring instead
The water and sand is not the sea
The things discreet, kind, simple
Things come together as the edges
The same lips, if they want to kiss
Sea of no water or sand
The only thing I look for the dead
Alone desolate like a desert
Tears come to me, for I have sorrow
Sea of no water or sand.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Octavio Paz

(Anton Webern 1883-1945)
No center, no above, no below
Ceaselessly devouring and endangering itself
Whirlpool space
And drop into height
Clarities deeply cut
By the night's flank.
Black gardens of rock crystal
Flowering on a rod of smoke
White gardens exploding in the air
One space opening up
And dissolving
Space in space
All is nowhere
Place of impalpable nuptials.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Dylan Thomas

The hand that signed the paper felled a city;
Five sovereign fingers taxed the breath,
Doubled the globe of dead and halved a country;
These five kings did a king to death.
The mighty hand leads to a sloping shoulder,
Five finger joints are cramped with chalk;
A gooses quill has put an end to murder
That put an end to talk.
The hand that signed the treaty bred a fever,
And famine grew and locusts came,
Great is the hand that holds dominion over
Man by a scribbled name.
The five kings count the dead but do not soften
The crusted wound nor pat the brow;
A hand rules pity as a hand rules heaven:
Hands have no tears to flow.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Braulio Arenas

On the wall in the mirror
In the hair that knots the night
In the mirror
In the tortuous passage from bird to oil
On the wall
On the balcony for each light
For every shadow for all company
Made to the measure of the two of us
You walk from cloud to cloud as if you were the rain
From enigma to enigma as if you were the only answer
You walk among glances as if you were a tear
You can't wait to see yourself as soul over the earth
For a nation of birds to appear under the ocean
(the cloud will be left exposed to the elements)
You are still looking for the time you lost to ecstasy
When you rubbed your ring and guessed the time
For love.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Tomas Transtromer

The almighty Cyclops's-eye clouded over
and the grass shook itself in the coal dust.
Beaten black and blue by the night's dreams
we board the train
that stops at every station
and lays eggs.
Almost silent.
The clang of the church bells' buckets
fetching water.
And someone's inexorable cough
scolding everything and everyone.
A stone idle moves his lips:
it's the city.
Ruled by iron-hard misunderstandings
among kiosk attendants butchers
metal-workers naval officers
iron-hard misunderstandings, academics!
How sore my eyes are!
They've been reading by the faint glimmer of the
glow-worm lamps.
November offers caramels of granite.
Like world history
laughing at the wrong place.
But we hear the clang
of the church bells' buckets fetching water
every Wednesday.
-is it Wednesday?-
so much for our Sundays!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Pablo Neruda

Day-coloured wine,
night-coloured wine,
wine with purple feet
or wine with topaz blood,
starry child
of earth,
wine, smooth
as a golden sword,
as lascivious velvet,
wine, spiral-seashell
and full of wonder,
never has one goblet contained you,
one song, one man,
you are choral, gregarious,
at the least, you must be shared.
At times
you feed on mortal
your wave carries us
from tomb to tomb,
stonecutter of icy sepulchers,
and we weep
transitory tears;
your glorious
spring dress
is different,
blood rises through the shoots,
wind incites the day,
nothing is left
of your immutable soul,
stirs the spring, happiness
bursts through the earth like a plant,
walls crumble,
and rocky cliffs,
chasms close,
as song is born.
A jug of wine, and thou beside me
in the wilderness,
sang the ancient poet.
Let the wine pitcher
add to the kiss of love its own.
My darling, suddenly
the line of your hip
becomes the brimming curve
of the wine goblet,
your breast is the grape cluster,
your nipples are the grapes,
the gleam of spirits lights your hair,
and your navel is a chaste seal,
stamped on the vessel of your belly,
your love an inexhaustible
cascade of wine,
light that illuminates my senses,
the earthly splendor of life.
But you are more than love,
the fiery kiss,
the heat of fire,
more than the wine of life;
you are
the community of man,
chorus of discipline,
abundance of flowers.
I like on the table,
when we're speaking,
the light of a bottle
of intelligent wine.
Drink it,
and remember in every
drop of gold,
in every topaz glass,
in every purple ladle,
that autumn labored
to fill the vessel with wine;
in the ritual of his office,
let the simple man remember
to think of the soil and of his duty,
to propagate the canticle of the wine.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Vicente Huidobro

The sun about to die
The car broken down
And the smell of spring
Remains as the air sweeps by
Somewhere a song
One afternoon much like this
I looked for you in vain
In the fog covering the roads
I kept finding myself
And in the smoke of my cigar
A lost bird
Nobody answered
The last pastors drowned
And the stray sheep
Ate flowers and did not give honey
The wind that went by
Piles up their wool
Between the clouds
holding my tears
Why cry once more
About what I've cried already
And since the sheep eat flowers
A sign that you went by

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Juan Ramon Jimenez

What was it like, God of mine, what was it like?
-Oh unfaithful heart, indecisive intelligence!
Was it like the going by of the wind?
Like the disappearance of the spring?
As nimble, as changeable, as weightless
as milkweed seeds in summer...Yes! Indefinite
as a smile which is lost forever in a laugh...
Arrogant in the air, just like a flag!
Flag, smile, milkweed pod, swift
spring in June, clear wind!...
Your celebration was so wild, so sad!
All your changes ended up in nothing -
remembrance, a blind bee of bitter things!--
I don't know what you were like, but you were!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Carilda Oliver Labra

You have no parents it's clear... I know
because of your indecisive look. I can tell
because of your shirt.
You are small but grown up behind the basket
You respect the sparrows. A penny is
enough for you.
The people pass dressed inside with steel.
They don't listen to you...You have shouted
two or three times: "Greens!"
They pass indifferently carrying packages
and umbrellas;
In new pants and new blouses;
They walk in a hurry toward the bank
and the tedium.
or toward the sunset through Main Street...
And you're not selling: you do the game
of selling; and although you never played,
it comes to you without trying...
But don't get close to me; no, child,
don't talk with me.
I don't want to see the sight of your
probable wings.
I found you this morning around the
courthouse, and what a blow your
unhappy innocence has given me!
My heart which was an urn of illusion
is now like wilted greens, like no heart...

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Robert Hunter

Saint Stephen with a rose
In and out of the garden he goes
Country garland in the wind and the rain
Where ever he goes the people all complain.
Stephen prosper in his time
Well he may and he may decline
Did it matter, does it now?
Stephen would answer if he only knew how
Wishing well with a golden bell
Bucket hanging clear to hell
Hell half way twixt now and then
Stephen fill it up and lower down and lower down again
Lady finger, dipped in moonlight
Writing "What for?" across the morning sky
Sunlight splatters dawn with answers
Darkness shrugs and bids the day goodbye
Speeding arrow sharp and narrow
What a lot of fleeting matters you have spurned
Several seasons with their treasons
Wrap the babe in scarlet covers, call it your own
Did he doubt or did he try?
Answers a-plenty in the by and by
Talk about your plenty, talk about your ills
One man gathers what another man spills
Saint Stephen will remain
All he's lost he shall regain
Seashore washed by the suds and the foam
Been here so long he's got to calling it home
Fortune comes a-crawling, calliope woman
Spinning that curious sense of your own
Can you answer? Yes I can
But what would be the answer to the answer man?
-------------William Tell Bridge---------------
High green chilly winds and windy vines in loops
Around the twined shafts of lavender
They're crawling to the sun
Underfoot the ground is patched
With climbing arms of ivy wrapped
Around the manzanita stark and shiny in the breeze
Wonder who will water all the children of the garden
When they sigh about the barren lack
Of rain and droop so hungry 'neath the sky
William tell has stretched his bow
Till it won't stretch no further more
And it will require a change that hasn't come before

Monday, January 4, 2010

Antonio Cisneros

All night the birds travelled from the coast-here
is spring migration:
the tribes and their combat cars on the lawn
the temples and car roofs.
Nobody saw them reach the walls, nobody at the doors.
-Citizens more deeply asleep than young married couples-
no one stuck a head out a window and those that did
only saw a sea blue sky without a crack or fissure in its back
-except the mailman or the last drunk- and nevertheless
the air was a tower of beaks and tangled hides
as when I slept near the sea during Holy Week.
and the air between my bed and those waters was an old buzzard
from the rocks enjoying himself with a dead skimmer
-and the female gulls snapping at the male gulls and a shaggy
cormorant pounding it self against the walls of the house
All night they traveled from the south
I can see my wife with her very clean, neat face while see dreams
of herds of walruses, their flanks pecked and opened by the birds.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Jaime Saenz

-for Silvia Natalia Rivera
These rains,
I don't know why they would make me love a dream I had,
many years back,
containing a dream of yours
-your skull appeared to me.
And it had an exalted presence;
it didn't look at me- it looked at you.
And it drew near my skull, and I looked at you
And when you were looking at me, my skull appeared to you;
it didn't look at you.
It looked at me.
In the exalted night,
someone looked on;
and I dreamed your dream
--beneath a soundless rain,
you hid within your skull,
and I hid within you.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Carlos Barbarito

What is the measure, the table,
the outline? In the shadow, instinct,
in the light, the rust
that migrates from cable to cable.
I think, I don't think: it combs its hair
in the shadow, after desire
and its conclusion;
infinity: the water is confused,
if falls thickly towards a still center,
beauty is made and unmade
while I spy what remains of the world
through your last voice,
harsh and deep.
What is the cabal,
the melody, the bow
now that everything dies away
and in what falls, rolls and overturns:
soon no-one,past, periphery?

Friday, January 1, 2010

Sara de Ibanez

In the north the cold and its broken jasmine,
In the east a nightingale full of thorns.
In the south the rose in its airy mines,
and in the west a road deep in thought.
In the north an angel lies gagged.
In the east the song commands its mists.
In the south my tender bunch of thin palm trees,
and in the west my door and my worry.
A flight of cloud or sigh could
trace this finest of all borders
that amply defends my refuge.
A distant retribution of wave bursts
and bites into your foreign oblivion,
my dry island amidst the battle.