Monday, April 30, 2012

Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926)

Archaic Torso of Apollo

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.

Rainer Maria Rilke :

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Li-Young Lee

Arise, Go Down
Arise, Go Down
By Li-Young Lee b. 1957 Li-Young Lee
It wasn’t the bright hems of the Lord’s skirts
that brushed my face and I opened my eyes
to see from a cleft in rock His backside;

it’s a wasp perched on my left cheek. I keep
my eyes closed and stand perfectly still
in the garden till it leaves me alone,

not to contemplate how this century
ends and the next begins with no one
I know having seen God, but to wonder

why I get through most days unscathed, though I
live in a time when it might be otherwise,
and I grow more fatherless each day.

For years now I have come to conclusions
without my father’s help, discovering
on my own what I know, what I don’t know,

and seeing how one cancels the other.
I've become a scholar of cancellations.
Here, I stand among my father’s roses

and see that what punctures outnumbers what
consoles, the cruel and the tender never
make peace, though one climbs, though one descends

petal by petal to the hidden ground
no one owns. I see that which is taken
away by violence or persuasion.

The rose announces on earth the kingdom
of gravity. A bird cancels it.
My eyelids cancel the bird. Anything

might cancel my eyes: distance, time, war.
My father said, Never take your both eyes
off of the world, before he rocked me.

All night we waited for the knock
that would have signalled, All clear, come now;
it would have meant escape; it never came.

I didn’t make the world I leave you with,
he said, and then, being poor, he left me
only this world, in which there is always

a family waiting in terror
before they’re rended, this world wherein a man
might arise, go down, and walk along a path

and pause and bow to roses, roses
his father raised, and admire them, for one moment
unable, thank God, to see in each and
every flower the world cancelling itself.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Eda Lou Walton



Friday, April 27, 2012

Paul Verlaine (1844-1896)


(Poèmes Saturniens: Mélancholia II)

Memory, memory, what do you want of me? Autumn
Makes the thrush fly through colourless air,
And the sun casts its monotonous glare
On the yellowing woods where the north winds hum.

We were alone, and walking in dream,
She and I, hair and thoughts wind-blown.
Then, turning her troubling gaze on me,
‘Your loveliest day?’ in her voice of fine gold,

Her voice, with its angel’s tone, fresh, vibrant, sweet.
I gave her my answer, a smile so discreet,
And kissed her white hand with devotion.– Ah! The first flowers, what a

fragrance they have!
And how charming the murmured emotion
Of a first ‘yes’ let slip from lips that we love!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931)

The Vast Man
But sweeter still than laughter and greater than longing came to me.
It was the boundless in you;
The vast man in whom you are all but cells and sinews;
He in whose chant all your singing is but a soundless throbbing.
It is in the vast man that you are vast,
And in beholding him that I beheld you and loved you.
For what distances can love reach that are not in that vast sphere?
What visions, what expectations and what presumptions can outsoar that flight?
Like a giant oak tree covered with apple blossoms is the vast man in you.
His might binds you to the earth, his fragrance lifts you into space, and in his durability you are deathless.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1843)

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, April 24, 2012

James Broughton

The Gardener of Eden
by James Broughton
(1913 - 1999) Timeline

Original Language
Secular or Eclectic : Beat

20th Century

I am the old dreamer who never sleeps
I am timekeeper of the timeless dance
I preserve the long rhythms of the earth
and fertilize the rounds of desire

In my evergreen arboretum
I raise flowering hopes for the world
I plant seeds of perennial affection
and wait for their passionate bloom

Would you welcome that sight if you saw it?
Revalue the view you have lost?
Could you wake to the innocent morning
and follow the risks of your heart?

Every day I grow a dream in my garden
where the beds are laid out for love
When will you come to embrace it
and join in the joy of the dance?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Wallace Stevens (1879-1955)

A Postcard From The Volcano

Children picking up our bones
Will never know that these were once
As quick as foxes on the hill;

And that in autumn, when the grapes
Made sharp air sharper by their smell
These had a being, breathing frost;

And least will guess that with our bones
We left much more, left what still is
The look of things, left what we felt

At what we saw. The spring clouds blow
Above the shuttered mansion house,
Beyond our gate and the windy sky

Cries out a literate despair.
We knew for long the mansion's look
And what we said of it became

A part of what it is ... Children,
Still weaving budded aureoles,
Will speak our speech and never know,

Will say of the mansion that it seems
As if he that lived there left behind
A spirit storming in blank walls,

A dirty house in a gutted world,
A tatter of shadows peaked to white,
Smeared with the gold of the opulent sun.

Wallace Stevens :

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Anna Akhmatova (1889-1966)

In my room lives a beautiful
Slow black snake;
It is like me, just as lazy,
Just as cold.

In the evening I compose marvelous tales
On the rug by the fire's red glow,
And with emerald eyes
It gazes at me indifferently.

At night the dead, mute icons hear
Resisting moans...
It's true, I would desire another
Were it not for the serpent eyes.

But in the morning, submissive once more, I
Melt, like a slender candle...
And then from my bare shoulder
A black ribbon slides.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Leonard Cohen


The birds they sang
at the break of day
Start again
I heard them say
Don't dwell on what
has passed away
or what is yet to be.

Leonard Cohen

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Pablo Neruda (1904-1973)

‘Perhaps not to be is to be without your being.’

Perhaps not to be is to be without your being,
without your going, that cuts noon light
like a blue flower, without your passing
later through fog and stones,
without the torch you lift in your hand
that others may not see as golden,
that perhaps no one believed blossomed
the glowing origin of the rose,
without, in the end, your being, your coming
suddenly, inspiringly, to know my life,
blaze of the rose-tree, wheat of the breeze:
and it follows that I am, because you are:
it follows from ‘you are’, that I am, and we:
and, because of love, you will, I will,
We will, come to be.

Pablo Neruda :

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861)


Yet, love, mere love, is beautiful indeed
And worthy of acceptation. Fire is bright,
Let temple burn, or flax; an equal light
Leaps in the flame from cedar-plank or weed:
And love is fire. And when I say at need
I love thee . . . mark! . . . I love thee--in thy sight
I stand transfigured, glorified aright,
With conscience of the new rays that proceed
Out of my face toward thine. There's nothing low
In love, when love the lowest: meanest creatures
Who love God, God accepts while loving so.
And what I feel, across the inferior features
Of what I am, doth flash itself, and show
How that great work of Love enhances Nature's.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Sylvia Plath (1932-1963)

April 18
the slime of all my yesterdays
rots in the hollow of my skull

and if my stomach would contract
because of some explicable phenomenon
such as pregnancy or constipation

I would not remember you

or that because of sleep
infrequent as a moon of greencheese
that because of food
nourishing as violet leaves
that because of these

and in a few fatal yards of grass
in a few spaces of sky and treetops

a future was lost yesterday
as easily and irretrievably
as a tennis ball at twilight

Monday, April 16, 2012

Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926)

O Lacrimosa
(trilogy for future music of Ernst Krenek)

Oh tear-filled figure who, like a sky held back,
grows heavy above the landscape of her sorrow.
And when she weeps, the gentle raindrops fall,
slanting upon the sand-bed of her heart.

O heavy with weeping. Scale to weigh all tears.
Who felt herself not sky, since she was shining
and sky exists only for clouds to form in.

How clear it is, how close, your land of sorrow,
beneath the stearn sky's oneness. Like a face
that lies there, slowly waking up and thinking
horizontally, into endless depths.

It is nothing but a breath, the void.
And that green fulfillment
of blossoming trees: a breath.
We, who are still the breathed-upon,
today still the breathed-upon, count
this slow breathing of earth,
whose hurry we are.

Ah, but the winters! The earth's mysterious
turning-within. Where around the dead
in the pure receding of sap,
boldness is gathered,
the boldness of future springtimes.
Where imagination occurs
beneath what is rigid; where all the green
worn thin by the vast summers
again turns into a new
insight and the mirror of intuition;
where the flowers' color
wholly forgets that lingering of our eyes.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Joseph Brodsky (1940-1996)

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.

Joseph Brodsky

Friday, April 13, 2012

John Donne (1572-1631)


Go and catch a falling star,
Get with child a mandrake root,
Tell me where all past years are,
Or who cleft the devil’s foot,
Teach me to hear mermaids singing,
Or to keep off envy’s stinging,
And find
What wind
Serves to advance an honest mind.

If thou be’st born to strange sights,
Things invisible to see,
Ride ten thousand days and nights,
Till age snow white hairs on thee,
Thou, when thou return’st, wilt tell me,
All strange wonders that befell thee,
And swear,
No where
Lives a woman true and fair.

If thou find’st one, let me know,
Such a pilgrimage were sweet;
Yet do not, I would not go,
Though at next door we might meet,

Though she were true, when you met her,
And last, till you write your letter,
Yet she
Will be
False, ere I come, to two, or three.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Anna Akhmatova (1889-1966)

"Along the Hard Crust..."1917
Along the hard crust of deep snows,
To the secret, white house of yours,
So gentle and quiet – we both
Are walking, in silence half-lost.
And sweeter than all songs, sung ever,
Are this dream, becoming the truth,
Entwined twigs’ a-nodding with favor,
The light ring of your silver spurs...

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Piedad Bonnet


My father was soon afraid of having been born.
But he soon remembered also
the duties of a man
and they taught him
to pray, to save, to work.
So that soon my father was a good man.
(“A real man”, my grandfather would say).
– like a dog whining, muzzled
and tied to a stake – fear persisted
at the core of my father.
Of my father,
who as a boy had sad eyes, and as an old man
hands as solemn and as clean
as silence at dawn.
And always, always, the air of a lonely man.
So that when I was born my father gave me
all that his disoriented heart
knew how to give. And that included
the loving gift of his fear.
As an upright man, my father worked each morning
and got around each night and, when he was able to,
he bought in installments the little death
he always wished to have.
He paid for it strictly,
without any anxiety, year after year,
like an upright man, my good old father.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Vito Apushana


The family cemetery is now one day away on foot.

We have all gathered at the base of the Epitsü hill.

We carry our light belongings:
coffee and corn
laughter and sobs . . .
prepare their forces.

The presence of man — the Jaguar remains among the women —

The younger brothers play the music:
some play the horn
others the seed whistle.

We pass silently by a nest of Ko`oi wasps,

we rest on the bank of a dry stream,
where children invent a bath in its sand
and play at the rabbit jump.

We resume our walking covered
by the burnt red of the sun.

Patsuuatushi, the great uncle, listens to the oldest of the owls
and shows us the refuge where we will live the night.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Wislawa Symborska (1923-2012)

A Few Words On The Soul

We have a soul at times.
No one's got it non-stop,
for keeps.

Day after day,
year after year
may pass without it.

it will settle for awhile
only in childhood's fears and raptures.
Sometimes only in astonishment
that we are old.

It rarely lends a hand
in uphill tasks,
like moving furniture,
or lifting luggage,
or going miles in shoes that pinch.

It usually steps out
whenever meat needs chopping
or forms have to be filled.

For every thousand conversations
it participates in one,
if even that,
since it prefers silence.

Just when our body goes from ache to pain,
it slips off-duty.

It's picky:
it doesn't like seeing us in crowds,
our hustling for a dubious advantage
and creaky machinations make it sick.

Joy and sorrow
aren't two different feelings for it.
It attends us
only when the two are joined.

We can count on it
when we're sure of nothing
and curious about everything.

Among the material objects
it favors clocks with pendulums
and mirrors, which keep on working
even when no one is looking.

It won't say where it comes from
or when it's taking off again,
though it's clearly expecting such questions.

We need it
but apparently
it needs us
for some reason too.

Wislawa Szymborska

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Anna Akhmatova (1889-1966)

In my room lives a beautiful
Slow black snake;
It is like me, just as lazy,
Just as cold.

In the evening I compose marvelous tales
On the rug by the fire's red glow,
And with emerald eyes
It gazes at me indifferently.

At night the dead, mute icons hear
Resisting moans...
It's true, I would desire another
Were it not for the serpent eyes.

But in the morning, submissive once more, I
Melt, like a slender candle...
And then from my bare shoulder
A black ribbon slides.

1910 [uncollected]

—Translated from the Russian by Judith Hemschemeyer

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Arapaho (anonymous - 19th cent.)

Arapaho Ghost Dance Songs
by Arapaho (Anonymous)
(19th Century) Timeline

Primal/Tribal/Shamanic : American Indian

19th Century

How bright the moonlight
how bright the moonlight
as I ride in with my load of buffalo meat.

My father did not recognize me.
Next time he saw me he said,
You are the child of a crow.

I am looking at my father
I am looking at him
he is beginning to turn into a bird
turning into a bird

They say
the spirit army is approaching,
the spirit army is approaching,
the whole world is moving onward,
the whole world is moving onward.
See, everybody is standing, watching.
Everybody is standing, watching.

The whole world is coming,
a nation is coming, a nation is coming.
The Eagle has brought the message to the people.
The father says so, the father says so.
Over the whole earth they are coming.
The buffalo are coming, the buffalo are coming.
The Crow has brought the message to the people,
the father says so, the father says so.

My children, my children,
it is I who wear the morning star on my brow,
it is I who wear the morning star on my brow.
I show it to my children,
I show it to my children.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Charles Bukowski (1920-1994)

16-bit Intel 8088 chip

with an Apple Macintosh
you can't run Radio Shack programs
in its disc drive.
nor can a Commodore 64
drive read a file
you have created on an
IBM Personal Computer.
both Kaypro and Osborne computers use
the CP/M operating system
but can't read each other's
for they format (write
on) discs in different
the Tandy 2000 runs MS-DOS but
can't use most programs produced for
the IBM Personal Computer
unless certain
bits and bytes are
but the wind still blows over
and in the Spring
the turkey buzzard struts and
flounces before his

Charles Bukowski

Monday, April 2, 2012

Adrienne Rich (1929-2012)

By Adrienne Rich
In paradise every
the desert wind is rising
third thought
in hell there are no thoughts
is of earth
sand screams against your government
issued tent hell’s noise
in your nostrils crawl
into your ear-shell
wrap yourself in no-thought
wait no place for the little lyric
wedding-ring glint the reason why
on earth
they never told you

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Aung Cheimt (Myanmar)

Aung Cheimt Goes to the Cinema

I hear
The ballad
Inside the flower.

Heroes are those who dare cling
To life’s ennui.
I’ve picked up a toy from inside a book.

“Only edible crops should grow
On arable lands
On the earth,” they say.

In the garden
A corpse dissolves,
Still munching
A pack of salted peanuts.

People wear designer shirts timidly.
But does he himself have any sense?

A human
On a trishaw.
A human
In a rocket to the moon.
“To paint bovine portraiture
It’s necessary to live an animal life,”
Van Gogh says.

A cup of drinking water
I was privileged with.
How horrifying
“This happened . . .”

“This happened . . .”
5th January, Monday
(Sweet child)
I’ve been through a hundred trials.
Just like that in the life of impermanence
Devils of human existence
Passed by and paused
Glorifying my integrity.

On a rooftop
Under the moon
My soul sits like an aristocrat
While my body rests
In a dimly lit corner.