Thursday, September 30, 2010

Lao Tzu

"The Valley Spirit

The valley spirit not dying
is called the mysterious female.
The opening of the mysterious female
is called the root of heaven and earth.
Continuous, on the brink of existence,
to put it into practice, don't try to force it."
- Tao Te Ching, #6, Translated by Thomas Cleary

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Lyrics By: Robert Hunter Music By: Jerry Garcia

Black Peter
Lyrics By: Robert Hunter
Music By: Jerry Garcia
All of my friends come to see me last night
I was laying in my bed and dying
Annie Beauneu from Saint Angel (note 1)
Say "the weather down here so fine"

Just then the wind came squalling through the door (note 2)
But who can the weather command
Just want to have a little peace to die
And a friend or two I love at hand

Fever roll up to a hundred and five
Roll on up, gonna roll back down
One more day I find myself alive
Tomorrow maybe go beneath the ground

See here how everything
Lead up to this day
And it's just like any other day
That's ever been
Sun going up and then
The sun going down
Shine through my window
And my friends they come around
Come around, come around

The people might know, but the people don't care
That a man can be as poor as me (note 3)
Take a look at poor Peter, he's lying in pain
Now let's come run and see
Run and see
Run and see
Run, run and see, and see

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Percy Bysshe Shelley

Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
'My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away."

Monday, September 27, 2010

Mo Mo


When I'm gluttonous, I want to taste dinosaur meat and smell the cooker
When I'm hungry, I want to eat iceberg and drink sunlight
I hate girls with big front teeth
hate the college students who study the nutritive value
of Jin Gangshan herbs with Citzen watches around their wrists
I've just managed to learn how to be honest,
only to discover the world has already betrayed me
I'm bursting with anger
It makes me look ugly when I laugh
So I only grimace
To defend the blue sky, I drive away all the clouds
To defend the bonfire, I set the whole grassland on fire
To defend autumn, I turn myself into a fruit
I want to eat everything.
Quick, close your eyes
It's embarrassing to see me so gluttonous and hungry

Sunday, September 26, 2010

James A. Emanuel

For A Depressed Woman by James A. Emanuel
My friends do not know.
But what could my friends not know?
About what? What friends?

She sleeps late each day,
stifling each reason to rise,
choked into the quilt.

"I'll never find work."
She swallows this thought with pills,
finds tears in the glass.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Jorge Luis Borges

The Art Of Poetry
To gaze at a river made of time and water
And remember Time is another river.
To know we stray like a river
and our faces vanish like water.

To feel that waking is another dream
that dreams of not dreaming and that the death
we fear in our bones is the death
that every night we call a dream.

To see in every day and year a symbol
of all the days of man and his years,
and convert the outrage of the years
into a music, a sound, and a symbol.

To see in death a dream, in the sunset
a golden sadness—such is poetry,
humble and immortal, poetry,
returning, like dawn and the sunset.

Sometimes at evening there's a face
that sees us from the deeps of a mirror.
Art must be that sort of mirror,
disclosing to each of us his face.

They say Ulysses, wearied of wonders,
wept with love on seeing Ithaca,
humble and green. Art is that Ithaca,
a green eternity, not wonders.

Art is endless like a river flowing,
passing, yet remaining, a mirror to the same
inconstant Heraclitus, who is the same
and yet another, like the river flowing.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Tomas Transtromer

Tomas Tranströmer
At times my life suddenly opens its eyes in the dark.
A feeling of masses of people pushing blindly
through the streets, excitedly, toward some miracle,
while I remain here and no one sees me.

It is like the child who falls asleep in terror
listening to the heavy thumps of his heart.
For a long, long time till morning puts his light in the locks
and the doors of darkness open.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sylvia Plath

Compelled by calamity's magnet
They loiter and stare as if the house
Burnt-out were theirs, or as if they thought
Some scandal might any minute ooze
From a smoke-choked closet into light;
No deaths, no prodigious injuries
Glut these hunters after an old meat,
Blood-spoor of the austere tragedies.

Mother Medea in a green smock
Moves humbly as any housewife through
Her ruined apartments, taking stock
Of charred shoes, the sodden upholstery:
Cheated of the pyre and the rack,
The crowd sucks her last tear and turns away.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Czeslaw Milosz

A Song On the End of the World
by Czeslaw Milosz
translated by Anthony Milosz

On the day the world ends
A bee circles a clover,
A fisherman mends a glimmering net.
Happy porpoises jump in the sea,
By the rainspout young sparrows are playing
And the snake is gold-skinned as it should always be.

On the day the world ends
Women walk through the fields under their umbrellas,
A drunkard grows sleepy at the edge of a lawn,
Vegetable peddlers shout in the street
And a yellow-sailed boat comes nearer the island,
The voice of a violin lasts in the air
And leads into a starry night.

And those who expected lightning and thunder
Are disappointed.
And those who expected signs and archangels' trumps
Do not believe it is happening now.
As long as the sun and the moon are above,
As long as the bumblebee visits a rose,
As long as rosy infants are born
No one believes it is happening now.

Only a white-haired old man, who would be a prophet
Yet is not a prophet, for he's much too busy,
Repeats while he binds his tomatoes:
No other end of the world will there be,
No other end of the world will there be.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Bart Meuleman

gas music inaudible in the kitchen.
you’re there, more silent even
than the little bell-jar.
as for me, I’m facing a difficult homecoming.
I’d rather be standing beside a pond, eyes fixed on
a mirror so dark,
so happily pongy
that I will now start to laugh, loud and uncontrollable.
everything is so immediately different.
also the void, that so easily lures me to your railing.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

T.S. Eliot

Burnt Norton

Time past and time future
Allow but a little consciousness.
To be conscious is not to be in time
But only in time can the moment in the rose-garden,
The moment in the arbour where the rain beat,
The moment in the draughty church at smokefall
Be remembered; involved with past and future.
Only through time time is conquered.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

William Butler Yeats

The Second Coming by William Butler Yeats
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Aurelio Arturo

Heads of hair and confused dreams
cover the bodies like muffled mosses
in the night, in the embroidering shade
of deep velvets and oblivion.

Gold flickers the sky like beaks
of birds that swoop down in flocks,
black warps inlaid with living gold,
over that great silence of corpses.

And thus, alone, saved from the shade,
next to the library where the murmur
of aged trunks wanders, I hear something like
the limitless clamour of a valley.

Harsh drum amid the night, it sounds
when all are dead, when all
in the dream, in death, fall into
a silence full and deep as a scream.

Let the dream of silky wings haunt me,
haunt me like a laurel of dark leaves
but oh the great hurricane of the deep silences,
of the clamorous silences.

And next to that bivouac of old books,
while the still night that imitates
a grove moves shade and silence,
I look for you in the prodigious depths,
fiery, voracious, chained word.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Gary Snyder

In my first thirty years of life
I roamed hundreds and thousands of miles.
Walked by rivers through deep green grass
Entered cities of boiling red dust.
Tried drugs, but couldn’t make Immortal;
Read books and wrote poems on history.
Today I’m back at Cold Mountain:
I’ll sleep by the creek and purify my ears.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Jorge Carrera Andrade


Fruit seller church
seated at the corner of life:
crystal orange windows,
the sugar cane organ.

Angels: little chicks
of Mother Mary.

The blue-eyed bell
wanders off on bare feet
throughout the countryside.

Sun clock:
angelic burro with its innocent sex;
wind, in Sunday best,
bringing news from the mountains.

Indian women with loads of vegetables
embracing foreheads.

The sky rolls up its eyes
when it sees the church bell
run barefoot from the church.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Jan Gibson


The season is the heart star.
What escapes now will not be remembered.
What escapes now was once thrown
Off like a shirt or saddle.
Ridden into Bethlehem to be borrowed,
Then given; this is it: the one noise,
A rock, cobalt and a book, a cow-child
Is giving us a gift.
It is the gift of an infant mind

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Allama Prabhu

If it rains fire
you have to be as the water;

if it is a deluge of water
you have to be as the wind;

if it is the Great Flood,
you have to be as the sky;

and if it is the Very Last Flood of all the worlds,
you have to give up self

and become the Lord.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Cherokee (Anonymous)

Formula for Obtaining Life
Now, then!
Ha, now thou hast come to listen, thou Long Human Being, thou art staying, thou Helper of human beings.
Thou never lettest go thy grasp from the soul.
Thou hast, as if it were, taken a firmer grasp upon the soul.
I originated at the cataract, not so far away.
I will stretch out my hand to where thou art.
My soul has come to bathe itself in thy body.
The white foam will cling to my head as I walk along the path of life, the white staff will come into my extended hand.
The fire of the hearth will be left burning for me incessantly.
The soul has been lifted up successively to the seventh upper world.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Han Shan (circe 630)

Thirty years ago I was born into the world.
A thousand, ten thousand miles I’ve roamed,
By rivers where the green grass lies thick,
Beyond the border where the red sands fly.
I brewed potions in a vain search for life everlasting,
I read books, I sang songs of history,
And today I’ve come home to Cold Mountain
To pillow my head on the stream and wash my ears.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Arna Bontemps

Reconnaissance by Arna Bontemps
After the cloud embankments,
the lamentation of wind
and the starry descent into time,
we came to the flashing waters and shaded our eyes
from the glare.

Alone with the shore and the harbor,
the stems of the cocoanut trees,
the fronds of silence and hushed music,
we cried for the new revelation
and waited for miracles to rise.

Where elements touch and merge,
where shadows swoon like outcasts on the sand
and the tried moment waits, its courage gone--
there were we

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

To Nature
It may indeed be phantasy, when I
Essay to draw from all created things
Deep, heartfelt, inward joy that closely clings;
And trace in leaves and flowers that round me lie
Lessons of love and earnest piety.
So let it be; and if the wide world rings
In mock of this belief, it brings
Nor fear, nor grief, nor vain perplexity.
So will I build my altar in the fields,
And the blue sky my fretted dome shall be,
And the sweet fragrance that the wild flower yields
Shall be the incense I will yield to Thee,
Thee only God! and thou shalt not despise
Even me, the priest of this poor sacrifice

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Peter Skrzynecki

Migrant Hostel
Parkes, 1949-51
No one kept count
of all the comings and goings—
arrivals of newcomers
in busloads from the station,
sudden departures from adjoining blocks
that left us wondering
who would be coming next.

Nationalities sought
each other out instinctively—
like a homing pigeon
circling to get its bearings;
years and name-places
recognised by accents,
partitioned off at night
by memories of hunger and hate.

For over two years
we loved like birds of passage—
always sensing a change
in the weather:
unaware of the season
whose track we would follow.

A barrier at the main gate
sealed off the highway
from our doorstep—
as it rose and fell like a finger
pointed in reprimand or shame;
and daily we passed
underneath or alongside it—
needing its sanction
to pass in and out of lives
that had only begun
or were dying.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Natasha Trethewey

by Natasha Trethewey

What's left is footage: the hours before
Camille, 1969—hurricane
parties, palm trees leaning
in the wind,
fronds blown back,

a woman's hair. Then after:
the vacant lots,
boats washed ashore, a swamp

where graves had been. I recall

how we huddled all night in our small house,
moving between rooms,
emptying pots filled with rain.

The next day, our house—
on its cinderblocks—seemed to float

in the flooded yard: no foundation

beneath us, nothing I could see
tying us to the land.
In the water, our reflection
when I bent to touch it.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Edgar Allan Poe

Gaily bedight,
A gallant knight,
In sunshine and in shadow,
Had journeyed long,
Singing a song,
In search of Eldorado.

But he grew old--
This knight so bold--
And o'er his heart a shadow
Fell as he found
No spot of ground
That looked like Eldorado.

And, as his strength
Failed him at length,
He met a pilgrim shadow-
"Shadow," said he,
"Where can it be--
This land of Eldorado?"

"Over the Mountains
Of the Moon,
Down the Valley of the Shadow,
Ride, boldly ride,"
The shade replied--
"If you seek for Eldorado!"

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Ernesto Trejo

Tonight This House Speaks
Tonight this house speaks to me
through the creaking in the cupboards
and the refrigerator's humming.
Believe me, when this house shakes
under my feet
it isn't because of the train.
There's something in the basement.
I don't know what, I've never been there,
I'm afraid of the empty room
that leads to it.

Tonight I'm a hearing machine.
Beer bottles are crashing
in the dusty corners.
Even the spiders
are hesitant.
The crack in the ceiling
is a fissure in the brain
for all I know,
this kidney ache might be a sign
of rusty pipes, the cricket's
clicking has been the song
of my ventricles
all these years.

Thank God the water goes on at 2.
Then I sleep
while the plum tree drinks on,
a water full of sounds.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Joseph Brodsky

I threw my arms about those shoulders

I threw my arms about those shoulders, glancing
at what emerged behind that back,
and saw a chair pushed slightly forward,
merging now with the lighted wall.
The lamp glared too bright to show
the shabby furniture to some advantage,
and that is why sofa of brown leather
shone a sort of yellow in a corner.
The table looked bare, the parquet glossy,
the stove quite dark, and in a dusty frame
a landscape did not stir. Only the sideboard
seemed to me to have some animation.
But a moth flitted round the room,
causing my arrested glance to shift;
and if at any time a ghost had lived here,
he now was gone, abandoning this house.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Louis Gluck

The Red Poppy
by Louise Glück

The great thing
is not having
a mind. Feelings:
oh, I have those; they
govern me. I have
a lord in heaven
called the sun, and open
for him, showing him
the fire of my own heart, fire
like his presence.
What could such glory be
if not a heart? Oh my brothers and sisters,
were you like me once, long ago,
before you were human? Did you
permit yourselves
to open once, who would never
open again? Because in truth
I am speaking now
the way you do. I speak
because I am shattered.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Elisabeth Bishop

One Art
by Elizabeth Bishop

The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

--Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.