Thursday, May 31, 2012

T. S. Eliot (1888-1965)

Not the intense moment
Isolated, with no before and after,
But a lifetime burning in every moment
And not the lifetime of one man only
But of old stones that cannot be deciphered.
There is a time for the evening under starlight,
A time for the evening under lamplight
(The evening with the photograph album).
Love is most nearly itself
When here and now cease to matter.
Old men ought to be explorers
Here or there does not matter
We must be still and still moving
Into another intensity
For a further union, a deeper communion
Through the dark cold and the empty desolation,
The wave cry, the wind cry, the vast waters
Of the petrel and the porpoise. In my end is my beginning.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Gloria Posada


In dust that is light
is the age of the stars
In the sea that is depth
the history of life
In the fire, that which illuminates
and vanishes
In the air, breath
In the earth, seed
and path
In the sky
gaze and dream

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Robert Bly

The Cat in the Kitchen
(For Donald Hall)

Have you heard about the boy who walked by
The black water? I won't say much more.
Let's wait a few years. It wanted to be entered.
Sometimes a man walks by a pond, and a hand
Reaches out and pulls him in.

There was no
Intention, exactly. The pond was lonely, or needed
Calcium, bones would do. What happened then?

It was a little like the night wind, which is soft,
And moves slowly, sighing like an old woman
In her kitchen late at night, moving pans
About, lighting a fire, making some food for the cat.

© Robert Bly. Online Source

Monday, May 28, 2012

Oswald de Andrade (1890-1954)

Good Luck

Four hundred years ago
you landed in the Tropic of Capricorn
on the carbuncular plank
of ships
steered by dark stars
the pale beetle
of the seas
Every exile was a king
skinny, insomniac, colorless
as clay

You will create a world
from coarse laughter
from sterile glues
from coarse laughter
You will plant insurgent hatreds side by side
frustrated hatreds
You will invoke humanity, mist and frost
Among the lianas you will build a palace of termites
and from a tower circled by hills
bleating with sincere cincerre-bells
you will rise toward the moon
like hope

Space is a prison.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Ilya Kaminksky

Marina Tsvetaeva

In each line's strange syllable: she awakes
as a gull, torn
between heaven and earth.

I accept her, stand with her face to face.
-- in this dream: she wears her dress
like a sail, runs behind me, stopping

when I stop. She laughs
as a child speaking to herself:
"soul = pain + everything else."

I bend clumsily at the knees
and I quarrel no more,
all I want is a human window

in a house whose roof is my life.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Li-Young Lee

Early In The Morning

While the long grain is softening
in the water, gurgling
over a low stove flame, before
the salted Winter Vegetable is sliced
for breakfast, before the birds,
my mother glides an ivory comb
through her hair, heavy
and black as calligrapher's ink.

She sits at the foot of the bed.
My father watches, listens for
the music of comb
against hair.

My mother combs,
pulls her hair back
tight, rolls it
around two fingers, pins it
in a bun to the back of her head.
For half a hundred years she has done this.
My father likes to see it like this.
He says it is kempt.

But I know
it is because of the way
my mother's hair falls
when he pulls the pins out.
Easily, like the curtains
when they untie them in the evening.

Li-Young Lee :

Friday, May 25, 2012

Dylan Thomas (1914-1953)

All That I Owe the Fellows of the Grave

All that I owe the fellows of the grave
And all the dead bequeathed from pale estates
Lies in the fortuned bone, the flask of blood,
Like senna stirs along the ravaged roots.
O all I owe is all the flesh inherits,
My fathers' loves that pull upon my nerves,
My sisters tears that sing upon my head
My brothers' blood that salts my open wounds

Heir to the scalding veins that hold love's drop,
My fallen filled, that had the hint of death,
Heir to the telling senses that alone
Acquaint the flesh with a remembered itch,
I round this heritage as rounds the sun
His winy sky, and , as the candles moon,
Cast light upon my weather. I am heir
To women who have twisted their last smile,
To children who were suckled on a plague,
To young adorers dying on a kiss.
All such disease I doctor in my blood,
And all such love's a shrub sown in the breath.

Then look, my eyes, upon this bonehead fortune
And browse upon the postures of the dead;
All night and day I eye the ragged globe
Through periscopes rightsighted from the grave;
All night and day I wander in these same
Wax clothes that wax upon the ageing ribs;
All night my fortune slumbers in its sheet.
Then look, my heart, upon the scarlet trove,
And look, my grain, upon the falling wheat;
All night my fortune slumbers in its sheet.

Dylan Thomas

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Nadia Anjuman (1980-2005)

Light Blue Memories

O exiles of the mountain of oblivion!
O the jewels of your names, slumbering in the mire of silence
O your obliterated memories, your light blue memories
In the silty mind of a wave in the sea of forgetting
Where is the clear, flowing stream of your thoughts?
Which thieving hand plundered the pure golden statue of your dreams?
In this storm which gives birth to oppression
Where has your ship, your serene silver mooncraft gone?
After this bitter cold which gives birth to death –
If the sea should fall calm
If the cloud should release the heart's knotted sorrows
If the maiden of moonlight should bring love, offer a smile
If the mountain should soften its heart, adorn itself with green,
become fruitful –
Will one of your names, above the peaks,
become bright as the sun?
Will the rise of your memories
Your light blue memories
In the eyes of fishes weary of floodwaters and
fearful of the rain of oppression
become a reflection of hope?
O, exiles of the mountain of oblivion!

November/December 2001


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Tomas Transtromer


A blue light
radiates from my clothing.
Clattering tambourines of ice.
I close my eyes.
There is a silent world
there is a crack
where the dead
are smuggled across the border.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Charles Bukowski (1920-1994)

Another Day

having the low down blues and going
into a restraunt to eat.
you sit at a table.
the waitress smiles at you.
she's dumpy. her ass is too big.
she radiates kindess and symphaty.
live with her 3 months and a man would no real agony.
o.k., you'll tip her 15 percent.
you order a turkey sandwich and a
the man at the table across from you
has watery blue eyes and
a head like an elephant.
at a table further down are 3 men
with very tiny heads
and long necks
like ostiches.
they talk loudly of land development.
why, you think, did I ever come
in here when I have the low-down
then the the waitress comes back eith the sandwich
and she asks you if there will be anything
snd you tell her, no no, this will be
then somebody behind you laughs.
it's a cork laugh filled with sand and
broken glass.

you begin eating the sandwhich.

it's something.
it's a minor, difficult,
sensible action
like composing a popular song
to make a 14-year old
you order another beer.
jesus,look at that guy
his hands hang down almost to his knees and he's
well, time to get out.
pivk up the bill.
go to the register.
pick up a toothpick.
go out the door.
your car is still there.
and there are 3 men with heads
and necks
like ostriches all getting into one
they each have a toothpick and now
they are talking about women.
they drive away first
they drive away fast.
they're best i guess.
it's an unberably hot day.
there's a first-stage smog alert.
all the birds and plants are dead
or dying.

you start the engine.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Paul Verlaine (1844-1896)

Clair De Lune

Your soul is as a moonlit landscape fair,
Peopled with maskers delicate and dim,
That play on lutes and dance and have an air
Of being sad in their fantastic trim.

The while they celebrate in minor strain
Triumphant love, effective enterprise,
They have an air of knowing all is vain,-
And through the quiet moonlight their songs rise,

The melancholy moonlight, sweet and lone,
That makes to dream the birds upon the tree,
And in their polished basins of white stone
The fountains tall to sob with ecstasy.

Paul Verlaine

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)

A Dirge

Rough wind, that moanest loud
Grief too sad for song;
Wild wind, when sullen cloud
Knells all the night long;
Sad storm whose tears are vain,
Bare woods, whose branches strain,
Deep caves and dreary main,--
Wail, for the world’s wrong!

Percy Bysshe Shelley

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Pablo Neruda (1904-1973)

A Song Of Despair

The memory of you emerges from the night around me.
The river mingles its stubborn lament with the sea.

Deserted like the wharves at dawn.
It is the hour of departure, oh deserted one!

Cold flower heads are raining over my heart.
Oh pit of debris, fierce cave of the shipwrecked.

In you the wars and the flights accumulated.
From you the wings of the song birds rose.

You swallowed everything, like distance.
Like the sea, like time. In you everything sank!

It was the happy hour of assault and the kiss.
The hour of the spell that blazed like a lighthouse.

Pilot's dread, fury of blind driver,
turbulent drunkenness of love, in you everything sank!

In the childhood of mist my soul, winged and wounded.
Lost discoverer, in you everything sank!

You girdled sorrow, you clung to desire,
sadness stunned you, in you everything sank!

I made the wall of shadow draw back,
beyond desire and act, I walked on.

Oh flesh, my own flesh, woman whom I loved and lost,
I summon you in the moist hour, I raise my song to you.

Like a jar you housed infinite tenderness.
and the infinite oblivion shattered you like a jar.

There was the black solitude of the islands,
and there, woman of love, your arms took me in.

There was thirst and hunger, and you were the fruit.
There were grief and ruins, and you were the miracle.

Ah woman, I do not know how you could contain me
in the earth of your soul, in the cross of your arms!

How terrible and brief my desire was to you!
How difficult and drunken, how tensed and avid.

Cemetery of kisses, there is still fire in your tombs,
still the fruited boughs burn, pecked at by birds.

Oh the bitten mouth, oh the kissed limbs,
oh the hungering teeth, oh the entwined bodies.

Oh the mad coupling of hope and force
in which we merged and despaired.

And the tenderness, light as water and as flour.
And the word scarcely begun on the lips.

This was my destiny and in it was my voyage of my longing,
and in it my longing fell, in you everything sank!

Oh pit of debris, everything fell into you,
what sorrow did you not express, in what sorrow are you not drowned!

From billow to billow you still called and sang.
Standing like a sailor in the prow of a vessel.

You still flowered in songs, you still brike the currents.
Oh pit of debris, open and bitter well.

Pale blind diver, luckless slinger,
lost discoverer, in you everything sank!

It is the hour of departure, the hard cold hour
which the night fastens to all the timetables.

The rustling belt of the sea girdles the shore.
Cold stars heave up, black birds migrate.

Deserted like the wharves at dawn.
Only tremulous shadow twists in my hands.

Oh farther than everything. Oh farther than everything.

It is the hour of departure. Oh abandoned one!

Pablo Neruda

Friday, May 18, 2012

Chen Li

An Open Cage——for John Cage

You are a born cage,
so are we——
writing our faunas in the destined space.

But your bird is not the nightingale that eats ice cream and cotton candy;
yours is a magical bird that eats screws, rubber, wood,
spitting out piles of fantastic notes,
hitting the fence around it,
shattering the glass that blocks it,
and like excavators, digging out every throat that has been
buried by habits.

It also eats the wind, drinks dews, and hangs the cage
upside down like a basket,
filling it with sounds of wind and water,
sounds of vehicles and people,
with mushrooms,
with silence——

with silence, like an empty
conch shell
receiving all the sounds of existence.

Your clock is twelve radios telling different stories.
Your calendar is musical scores arranged at random.
To your bird nothing is discordant. It can’t tell
which is more musical——the noise of a truck passing by a factory or
the noise of a truck passing by a music school.
It enjoys the biting of gears as much as it welcomes
the kisses of trees with wind or the dialogue between hammers.

A mechanical bird flying with a cage,
a wound-up bomb of notions,
you respond to the posture of falling leaves, the speed of running water
with lonely but clear heartbeats,
and on an afternoon when all strings contend to be heard,
blow open the world with
deafening silence——

blow open the cage of the world,
and make us hear the open music.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Leonard Cohen


I've worked at my work
I've slept at my sleep
I've died at my death
And now I can leave
Leave what is needed
And leave what is full
Need in the Spirit
And need in the Hole
Beloved, I'm yours
As I've always been
From marrow to pore
From longing to skin
Now that my mission
Has come to its end:
Pray I'm forgiven
The life that I've led
The Body I chased
It chased me as well
My longing's a place
My dying a sail

The lovesick monk

I shaved my head
I put on robes
I sleep in the corner of a cabin
sixty-five hundred feet up a mountain
It's dismal here
The only thing I don't need
is a comb
- Mt. Baldy, 1997

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Chen Li

My Mistress


My mistress is a slack-stringed guitar.
Hidden in the case, her smooth body
is kept away from moonbeams.

Occasionally I'll take her out,
holding her in my arms, gently
touching the back of her cold neck.
Winding with the left hand, touching the strings with the right,
I tune her in various ways.
Then she tenses herself into a real
six-string instrument, spreading intensely
her easily-ignited beauty.

But when I start playing, the strings


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926)

Anticipating the Passion (from The Life of the Virgin Mary)

If you had really wanted to be strong,
you would not have come from a woman's womb.
For messiahs are quarried from mountains
where the sturdy and strong comes from stone.

Are you not sorry to have despoiled your land
by such limitations? I am weak, don't you see;
I only had streams of milk or tears to offer,
and you were ever so much more than me.

So much ado when your birth to me was announced.
You could have been born fierce and wild from the start.
If you only needed tigers to tear you to pieces,
why did I learn gentleness as an art

by which I wove for you a soft, pure gown
without even the slightest seam
for comfort--: that's how my life has been,
which you now have turned upside down.


Monday, May 14, 2012

Oswald de Andrade (1890-1954)


Crones sails cicadas
Mists on the Vesuvian sea
Geckoed gardens and golden women
Between walls of garden-path grapes
Of lush orchards
Piedigrotta insects
Gnawing matchboxes in the trouses pocket
White trigonometries
In the blue crepe of Neapolitan waters
Distant city siestas quiet
Amidst scarves thrown over the shoulder
Dotting indigo grays of hillocks

An old Englishman slept with his mouth open
like the blackened mouth of a tunnel beneath civilized
Vesuvius awaits eruptive orders from Thomas Cook & Son.
And a woman in yellow informed a sport-shirted individual
that marriage was un unbreakable contract.

Sal o May

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Charlesb Bukowski (1820-1994)

A Radio With Guts

it was on the 2nd floor on Coronado Street
I used to get drunk
and throw the radio through the window
while it was playing, and, of course,
it would break the glass in the window
and the radio would sit there on the roof
still playing
and I'd tell my woman,
"Ah, what a marvelous radio!"
the next morning I'd take the window
off the hinges
and carry it down the street
to the glass man
who would put in another pane.
I kept throwing that radio through the window
each time I got drunk
and it would sit there on the roof
still playing-
a magic radio
a radio with guts,
and each morning I'd take the window
back to the glass man.
I don't remember how it ended exactly
though I do remember
we finally moved out.
there was a woman downstairs who worked in
the garden in her bathing suit,
she really dug with that trowel
and she put her behind up in the air
and I used to sit in the window
and watch the sun shine all over that thing
while the music played.

Charles Bukowski :

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Marina Tsvetaeva

Marina Tsvetaeva (1892-1941)

To Mother

In the old Strauss waltz for the first time
We had listened to your quiet call,
Since then all the living things are alien
And the knocking of the clock consoles.

We, like you, are gladly greeting sunsets,
And are drunk on nearness of the end.
All, with which on better nights we're wealthy
Is put in the hearts by your own hand.

Bowing to a child's dreams with no tire.
(Only crescent looked in them indeed
Without you)! You have led your kids past
Bitter lifetime of the thoughts and deeds.

From the early age the sad one's close to us,
Laughter bores and home we left behind..
Our ship not in good times left the harbor
And it sails by will of every wind!

Azure isle of childhood is paling,
On the deck of ship we stand alone.
It appears, oh mother, to your daughters
You've left an inheritance of woe.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Li- Young Lee

Early In The Morning

While the long grain is softening
in the water, gurgling
over a low stove flame, before
the salted Winter Vegetable is sliced
for breakfast, before the birds,
my mother glides an ivory comb
through her hair, heavy
and black as calligrapher's ink.

She sits at the foot of the bed.
My father watches, listens for
the music of comb
against hair.

My mother combs,
pulls her hair back
tight, rolls it
around two fingers, pins it
in a bun to the back of her head.
For half a hundred years she has done this.
My father likes to see it like this.
He says it is kempt.

But I know
it is because of the way
my mother's hair falls
when he pulls the pins out.
Easily, like the curtains
when they untie them in the evening.

Li-Young Lee :

Thursday, May 10, 2012

George Albon

I Had

I had a distant youth,
one outside the family.
I had a restless bargaining eye,
an altar to the provider.
I had my father’s dreaminess,
my mother’s soldiers.
I had to cut all the crap
and go straight into the deep end.
I had the mark of the day on me,
condensed to stray events.
I had a desire to be subtle,
but that implies a totality.
I had my eye on his gait,
he left the five and dime.
I had the judges give me a clue,
I encapsulated mystically.
I had a reckless view of the contest,
then an ill-chosen terrain.
I had a fever of computation,
spaces between halting words.
I had a level playing field,
the frenzy of the visible.
I had everything you could want,
roses, a song from the courtyard.
I had a minaret of perceptions
that began to stand in need.
I had a random grace period,
taking instruction from the intermediary.
I had a letter of introduction,
but no knowledge of the watermark.
I had flashes of mundane survival,
exhaling toward the sunlight.
I had one card tucked in,
I could step outside all that.
I had a method of response,
using up the inner self in living.
I had assurances from the victors
to see where the ground lies.
I had a tingle of vocation,
unaware of the subliminal fiat.
I had no money,
and he was such a laugh.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861)


Indeed this very love which is my boast,
And which, when rising up from breast to brow,
Doth crown me with a ruby large enow
To draw men's eyes and prove the inner cost,--
This love even, all my worth, to the uttermost,
I should not love withal, unless that thou
Hadst set me an example, shown me how,
When first thine earnest eyes with mine were crossed,
And love called love. And thus, I cannot speak
Of love even, as a good thing of my own:
Thy soul hath snatched up mine all faint and weak,
And placed it by thee on a golden throne,--
And that I love (O soul, we must be meek!)
Is by thee only, whom I love alone.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi (1207-1273)

I smile like a flower not only with my lips
but with my whole being
for I am alone with the King and
have lost myself in him.

At dawn your flame seized my heart
but left behind my body.
I will shout and raise havoc until
you come back for me tonight.

My Beloved, do not let anger estrange my heart
be generous, invite me to your feast.
Let no one be deprived of the joy
of your company.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

Like trains...
Like trains of cars on tracks of plush
I hear the level bee:
A jar across the flowers goes,
Their velvet masonry

Withstands until the sweet assault
Their chivalry consumes,
While he, victorious, tilts away
To vanquish other blooms.

His feet are shod with gauze,
His helmet is of gold;
His breast, a single onyx
With chrysoprase, inlaid.

His labor is a chant,
His idleness a tune;
Oh, for a bee's experience
Of clovers and of noon!

~Emily Dickinson

Sunday, May 6, 2012

William Blake (1757-1827)

Ah Sunflower

Ah Sunflower, weary of time,
Who countest the steps of the sun;
Seeking after that sweet golden clime
Where the traveller's journey is done;

Where the Youth pined away with desire,
And the pale virgin shrouded in snow,
Arise from their graves, and aspire
Where my Sunflower wishes to go!

William Blake

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Jane Kenyon (1947-1995)

Let Evening Come

Let the light of late afternoon
shine through chinks in the barn, moving
up the bales as the sun moves down.

Let the cricket take up chafing
as a woman takes up her needles
and her yarn. Let evening come.

Let dew collect on the hoe abandoned
in long grass. Let the stars appear
and the moon disclose her silver horn.

Let the fox go back to its sandy den.
Let the wind die down. Let the shed
go black inside. Let evening come.

To the bottle in the ditch, to the scoop
in the oats, to air in the lung
let evening come.

Let it come, as it will, and don't
be afraid. God does not leave us
comfortless, so let evening come.

Jane Kenyon

Friday, May 4, 2012

Spirit Wind (Pat Poland)

Call To The Four Sacred Winds
Back To My Home Page
Back To Native American Poetry
I call to the East, where the Father ascends
to all Mother Earth where life begins.
I fly through the cedars, pines, willows, and birch
as animals below me wander and search.
I call to the South, to the land down below.
Turtle stands silent, as man strings his bow
to hunt food and fur for his kin before snow.
A life will end so others will grow.
I call to the North, that yansa once knew.
I follow their path til it disappears from view.
Once vast in number, there stand but a few.
I hear only ghost thunder of millions of hooves.
I call to the West, to the ends of the lands,
to the Tsalagi, Kiowa, Comanche ... all bands.
Unite for the strength. Teach the young and demand
that you are Native Americans. Learn your tongue and stand.
My name is Freedom... I fly through this land.
I call to the Four Sacred Winds of Turtle Island.

Spirit Wind (Pat Poland)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Thomas Merton (1915-1968)

Follow my ways and I will lead you
To golden-haired suns,
Logos and music, blameless joys,
Innocent of questions
And beyond answers.
For I, Solitude, am thine own Self:
I, Nothingness, am thy All.
I, Silence, am thy Amen.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Wislawa Szymborska (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.

translated from the Polish by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Dick Holmes

Lost in thought
cycling round
Sunview Lake,
I suddenly
to inhale
through my
nose, and the
deep, sweet
of spring
begins to
pedal me
beyond thought
to nature's
fresh heart.