Friday, August 31, 2012

Bob Dylan

Desolation Row

They’re selling postcards of the hanging
They’re painting the passports brown
The beauty parlor is filled with sailors
The circus is in town
Here comes the blind commissioner
They’ve got him in a trance
One hand is tied to the tight-rope walker
The other is in his pants
And the riot squad they’re restless
They need somewhere to go
As Lady and I look out tonight
From Desolation Row

Cinderella, she seems so easy
“It takes one to know one,” she smiles
And puts her hands in her back pockets
Bette Davis style
And in comes Romeo, he’s moaning
“You Belong to Me I Believe”
And someone says, “You’re in the wrong place my friend
You better leave”
And the only sound that’s left
After the ambulances go
Is Cinderella sweeping up
On Desolation Row

Now the moon is almost hidden
The stars are beginning to hide
The fortune-telling lady
Has even taken all her things inside
All except for Cain and Abel
And the hunchback of Notre Dame
Everybody is making love
Or else expecting rain
And the Good Samaritan, he’s dressing
He’s getting ready for the show
He’s going to the carnival tonight
On Desolation Row

Now Ophelia, she’s ’neath the window
For her I feel so afraid
On her twenty-second birthday
She already is an old maid
To her, death is quite romantic
She wears an iron vest
Her profession’s her religion
Her sin is her lifelessness
And though her eyes are fixed upon
Noah’s great rainbow
She spends her time peeking
Into Desolation Row

Einstein, disguised as Robin Hood
With his memories in a trunk
Passed this way an hour ago
With his friend, a jealous monk
He looked so immaculately frightful
As he bummed a cigarette
Then he went off sniffing drainpipes
And reciting the alphabet
Now you would not think to look at him
But he was famous long ago
For playing the electric violin
On Desolation Row

Dr. Filth, he keeps his world
Inside of a leather cup
But all his sexless patients
They’re trying to blow it up
Now his nurse, some local loser
She’s in charge of the cyanide hole
And she also keeps the cards that read
“Have Mercy on His Soul”
They all play on pennywhistles
You can hear them blow
If you lean your head out far enough
From Desolation Row

Across the street they’ve nailed the curtains
They’re getting ready for the feast
The Phantom of the Opera
A perfect image of a priest
They’re spoonfeeding Casanova
To get him to feel more assured
Then they’ll kill him with self-confidence
After poisoning him with words
And the Phantom’s shouting to skinny girls
“Get Outa Here If You Don’t Know
Casanova is just being punished for going
To Desolation Row”

Now at midnight all the agents
And the superhuman crew
Come out and round up everyone
That knows more than they do
Then they bring them to the factory
Where the heart-attack machine
Is strapped across their shoulders
And then the kerosene
Is brought down from the castles
By insurance men who go
Check to see that nobody is escaping
To Desolation Row

Praise be to Nero’s Neptune
The Titanic sails at dawn
And everybody’s shouting
“Which Side Are You On?”
And Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot
Fighting in the captain’s tower
While calypso singers laugh at them
And fishermen hold flowers
Between the windows of the sea
Where lovely mermaids flow
And nobody has to think too much
About Desolation Row

Yes, I received your letter yesterday
(About the time the doorknob broke)
When you asked how I was doing
Was that some kind of joke?
All these people that you mention
Yes, I know them, they’re quite lame
I had to rearrange their faces
And give them all another name
Right now I can’t read too good
Don’t send me no more letters, no
Not unless you mail them
From Desolation Row

Thursday, August 30, 2012

William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

sonnet 11

As fast as thou shalt wane so fast thou grow'st,
In one of thine, from that which thou departest,
And that fresh blood which youngly thou bestow'st,
Thou mayst call thine, when thou from youth convertest,
Herein lives wisdom, beauty, and increase,
Without this folly, age, and cold decay,
If all were minded so, the times should cease,
And threescore year would make the world away:
Let those whom nature hath not made for store,
Harsh, featureless, and rude, barrenly perish:
Look whom she best endowed, she gave thee more;
Which bounteous gift thou shouldst in bounty cherish:
She carved thee for her seal, and meant thereby,
Thou shouldst print more, not let that copy die.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Elizabeth Barrett Browning )(1805-1861)

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints,—I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life!—and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Michael McClure

Mexico Seen from the Moving Car 
By Michael McClure b. 1932 Michael McClure

and clods of mud.
The mind drifts through
in the shape of a museum,
in the guise of a museum
dreaming dead friends:
Jim, Tom, Emmet, Bill.
—Like billboards their huge faces droop
and stretch on the walls,
on the walls of the cliffs out there,
where trees with white trunks
makes plumes on rock ridges.

My mind is fingers holding a pen.

Trees with white trunks
make plumes on rock ridges.
Rivers of sand are memories.
Memories make movies
on the dust of the desert.
Hawks with pale bellies
perch on the cactus,
their bodies are portholes
to other dimensions.

This might go on forever.

I am a snake and a tiptoe feather
at opposite ends of the scales
as they balance themselves
against each other.
This might go on forever.

Monday, August 27, 2012

George Santayana (1863-1952)

0 World,thou choosest not
O World, thou choosest not the better part!
It's not wisdom to be only wise -
And on the inward vision close the eyes,
But it is wisdom to believe the heart.
Columbus found a world, and had no chart,
Save one that faith deciphered in the skies;
To trust the soul's invincible surmise
Was all his science and his only art.
~ Our knowledge is a torch of smoky pine
That lights the pathway but one step ahead
Across a void of mystery and dread.
Bid, then, the tender light of faith to shine
By which alone the mortal heart is led
Unto the thinking of the thought divine.

~George Santayana

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Charles Bukowski (1920-1994)

As The Sparrow

To give life you must take life,
and as our grief falls flat and hollow
upon the billion-blooded sea
I pass upon serious inward-breaking shoals rimmed
with white-legged, white-bellied rotting creatures
lengthily dead and rioting against surrounding scenes.
Dear child, I only did to you what the sparrow
did to you; I am old when it is fashionable to be
young; I cry when it is fashionable to laugh.
I hated you when it would have taken less courage
to love.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Stéphane Mallarmé (1842-1898)


I don’t come to conquer your flesh tonight, O beast
In whom are the sins of the race, nor to stir
In your foul tresses a mournful tempest
Beneath the fatal boredom my kisses pour:

A heavy sleep without those dreams that creep
Under curtains alien to remorse, I ask of your bed,
Sleep you can savour after your dark deceits,
You who know more of Nothingness than the dead.

For Vice, gnawing this inborn nobleness of mine
Marked me, like you, with its sterility,
But shroud-haunted, pale, destroyed, I flee

While that heart no tooth of any crime
Can wound lives in your breast of stone,
Frightened of dying while I sleep alone.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Tomas Transtromer

November in the Former DDR

The almighty cyclop’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 idol moves its 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!

translated by Robin Fulton

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Bob Dylan - Chimes of Freedom

Far between sundown's finish an' midnight's broken toe
We ducked inside the doorway as thunder went crashing
As majestic bells of bolts struck shadows in the sounds
Seeming to be the chimes of freedom flashing
Flashing for the warriors whose strength is not to fight
Flashing for the refugees on the unarmed road of flight
An' for each an' ev'ry underdog soldier in the night
An' we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing.

In the city's melted furnace, unexpectedly we watched
With faces hidden as the walls were tightening
As the echo of the wedding bells before the blowin' rain
Dissolved into the bells of the lightning
Tolling for the rebel, tolling for the rake
Tolling for the luckless, the abandoned an' forsaked
Tolling for the outcast, burnin' constantly at stake
An' we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing.

Through the mad mystic hammering of the wild ripping hail
The sky cracked its poems in naked wonder
That the clinging of the church bells blew far into the breeze
Leaving only bells of lightning and its thunder
Striking for the gentle, striking for the kind
Striking for the guardians and protectors of the mind
An' the poet an’ the painter far behind his rightful time
An' we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing.

In the wild cathedral evening the rain unraveled tales
For the disrobed faceless forms of no position
Tolling for the tongues with no place to bring their thoughts
All down in taken-for granted situations
Tolling for the deaf an' blind, tolling for the mute
For the mistreated, mateless mother, the mistitled prostitute
For the misdemeanor outlaw, chased an' cheated by pursuit
An' we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing.

Even though a cloud’s white curtain in a far-off corner flared
An' the hypnotic splattered mist was slowly lifting
Electric light still struck like arrows, fired but for the ones
Condemned to drift or else be kept from drifting
Tolling for the searching ones on their speechless, seeking trail
For the lonesome-hearted lovers with too personal a tale
An' for each unharmful, gentle soul misplaced inside a jail
An' we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing.

Starry-eyed an' laughing as I recall when we were caught
Trapped by no track of hours for they hang suspended
As we listened one last time an' we watched with one last look
Spellbound an' swallowed 'til the tolling ended
Tolling for the aching whose wounds cannot be nursed
For the countless confused, accused, misused, strung-out ones an' worse
An' for every hung-up person in the whole wide universe
An' we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Li-Young Lee

In His Own Shadow

He is seated in the first darkness
of his body sitting in the lighter dark
of the room,

the greater light of day behind him,
beyond the windows, where
Time is the country.

His body throws two shadows:
One onto the table
and the piece of paper before him,
and one onto his mind.

One makes it difficult for him to see
the words he’s written and crossed out
on the paper. The other
keeps him from recognizing
another master than Death. He squints.
He reads: Does the first light hide
inside the first dark?

He reads: While all bodies share
the same fate, all voices do not.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827)

Blossoms at night

Blossoms at night,
and the faces of people
moved by music.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Paul Celan (1920-1970)

Afternoon Of Circus And Citadel

In Brest, before the Fire-Hoops burning,
In the Tent, where Tigers sprang,
there I heard you, Finite, singing,
there I saw you, Mandelstam.

The Sky hung over the Roadstead,
the Gull, hung over the Crane.
The Finite sang there, the Constant –
you, the Gunboat, Baobab.

I hailed the Tricolor
with a Russian Word –
the Lost was Un-Lost,
the Heart Anchored there.

Paul Celan

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Charles Simic

Private Eye

To find clues where there are none,
That's my job now, I said to the
Dictionary on my desk. The world beyond
My window has grown illegible,
And so has the clock on the wall.
I may strike a match to orient myself

In the meantime, there's the heart
Stopping hush as the building
Empties, the elevators stop running,
The grains of dust stay put.
Hours of quiescent sleuthing
Before the Madonna with the mop

Shuffles down the long corridor
Trying doorknobs, turning mine.
That's just little old me sweating
In the customer's chair, I'll say.
Keep your nose out of it.
I'm not closing up till he breaks.

Charles Simic

Friday, August 17, 2012

Delmira Augustini (1886-1914)

The Miraculous Ship

Provision a ship for me like a great idea...
Some will call her The Shadow; others, The Star.
She need not lie at the mercy of hand or cat's paw;
I want her conscious, untameable and fair!

What will drive her is the rhythm of a bloodstained heart
of superhuman Life; in her I will feel strong
as if in the arms of God. Whatever seas and what-
ever quarter the wind her prow ill temper with a cinder's sparkling.

I will freight her with all of my sadness, and without a fix
will spin like the lotus flower's broken calyx
across the liquid horizon of the sea...

Ship, sister soul: toward what unseen land,
what deep soundings or things unimagined
will we hear?... Already living and dreaming make me die...

—Translated from the Spanish by Karl Kirchwey

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Catherine Barnett

Living Room Altar
by Catherine Barnett

Except for the shirt pulled from the ocean,
except for her hands, which keep folding the shirt,
except for her body, which once held their bodies,

my sister wants everything back now--

If there were a god who could out of empty shells
carried by waves to shore
make amends--

If the ocean saved in a jar
could keep from turning to salt--

She's hearing things:

bird calling to bird,
cat outside the door,
thorn of the blackberry against the trellis.

Les Tate

NativeTech: Native American Technology and Art ~ Poems & Stories

The Shelter


Les Tate

I stand silently beneath the pale sky
Overlooking the widening valley before me.
A footpath anchored in the roots of trees
Leads downward along the gray sandstone hillside.
The path follows the wall a short distance,
Winding gently past tall old trees.
In the rock ahead is a tall vaulted opening
Falling gently away to the back and sides.
Spirits of ages past call to me.
The bluff shelter stands at the head of the valley,
A natural cathedral echoing the sounds of the forest.
I enter in awe,
Wander quietly across the shadowed soil,
Exploring places where my ancestors
Worked and slept, laughed and loved.
Near the center stands a large block of stone,
A silent sentinel guarding the entrance,
Its surface inscribed with symbols
Of the sun, the snake, and the four directions.
Nearby I sit on a rock,
Its surface pitted from the breaking of nuts
And the drip of water from the ceiling's edge.
The firepit shows evidence of recent use.
Perhaps by someone like me,
A wanderer returning home.
I close my eyes and imagine I can hear
The sounds of old ones
Talking about the past and the future,
The men and women working at the day's chores
While they watch their children and grandchildren
Playing and laughing;
Later sitting quietly and listening,
Passing the history of our people
From generation to generation,
The old and the young together as a family, as a people,
Their stories and songs now held in the creviced wall.
I feel that I have been here before, that I belong,
Part of the past, part of the present.
A tear rolls down my cheek
Joining the spring rains which have begun to fall.

Thomas Moore (1779-1852)

The heart that has truly loved never forgets,
But as truly loves on to the close,
As the sunflower turns on her god when he sets
The same look which she turned when he rose!
~Thomas Moore

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Anna Akhmatova (1889-1966)

On the Way

Although this is not my native land
Forever the memory is in me
Of the tenderly icy sea
And the fresh waters.

The sand on the bottom is whiter than chalk,
And the drunken air, like wine,
And the rosy body of the pine
Is naked in the twilight hour.

And the sun itself sets in waves of ether
In such a way that I cannot comprehend
Whether it is the end of the day, the end of the world,
Or the secret of secrets is within me again.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

T W Martindale (Sagwu Usdi '98)

Life is but a vapor that soon fades away.
We are born into this world with nothing at all.
And our departure of this life will be as we came...
Leaving us to wonder, "What IS the point of my existance?"

It must be for other lonely souls we touch each day.
So many hurt just as we hurt AND feel as we feel.
Though oft times we're preoccupied and seem not to have time...
Touch them we must, with kind words and in deeds.

Many are they that wonder if they are worth anything at all.
We leave them feeling as a mere convenience OR inconvenience,
Just depending upon how our moods strike us each day...
This is no way to treat one another... It just should not be!

So reach out to someone and show them you care.
Leave each person you meet with the feelings of self worth.
Be kind to one another while opportunity still waits...
For life is a vapor that soon fades away.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Jun Er

The Shuffler
on my left foot: a shoe
my right foot: bare
yes, you’ll often find me this way
not because I’m a shoe short
but because I can’t be bothered looking for it
sometimes I push it under the bed or a cupboard
with an outstretched leg
so when one foot winds up higher than the other
I’ve only got myself to blame

the shoe on my left foot strolls into the living room
my unshod right foot sneaks off into the bedroom
the two of them co-ordinate to get me to my study
after reading and doing some writing
I put my feet up on a stool or on the desk
and if the elements pay me a visit then
and the whole room gets cold
the bare foot is the first to know it

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Leonard Cohen

Do not forget old friends from "Selected Poems"
Do not forget old friends
you knew long before I met you
the times I know nothing about
being someone
who lives by himself
and only visits you on a raid

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Steely Dan

Deacon Blues

This is the day
Of the expanding man
That shape is my shade
There where I used to stand
It seems like only yesterday
I gazed through the glass
At ramblers
Wild gamblers
That's all in the past

You call me a fool
You say it's a crazy scheme
This one's for real
I already bought the dream
So useless to ask me why
Throw a kiss and say goodbye
I'll make it this time
I'm ready to cross that fine line

I'll learn to work the saxophone
I'll play just what I feel
Drink Scotch whisky all night long
And die behind the wheel
They got a name for the winners in the world
I want a name when I lose
They call Alabama the Crimson Tide
Call me Deacon Blues

My back to the wall
A victim of laughing chance
This is for me
The essence of true romance
Sharing the things we know and love
With those of my kind
That stagger the mind

I crawl like a viper
Through these suburban streets
Make love to these women
Languid and bittersweet
I'll rise when the sun goes down
Cover every game in town
A world of my own
I'll make it my home sweet home


This is the night
Of the expanding the man
I take one last drag
As I approach the stand
I cried when I wrote this song
Sue me if I play too long
This brother is free
I'll be what I want to be


Friday, August 10, 2012

Helen Ivory


Woken by the sharp burn
of moonlight on her face
she moves to the window,
sees searchlights unearthing
the season’s rabbits,
then remembers the child.

The last time she’d gone out
she lost her slippers in the river
so now her bare feet carry her
down the stairs, along the hallway
over the patio and into a night
cut with gunshot.

She digs at the edge of the lawn
with a spade first,
then with her hands
to be closer to her work.
By dawn, there are little mounds of earth,
but still no child.

She tidies herself up in time
to make Bluebeard’s porridge.
She watches him emerge from the fields,
his mossy boots soaked with dew,
a string of rabbit pelts at his waist;
all their open eyes.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Tomas Transtromer

Under Pressure

The blue sky’s engine-drone is deafening.

We’re living here on a shuddering work-site

where the ocean depths can suddenly open up

shells and telephones hiss.

You can see beauty only from the side, hastily.

The dense grain on the field, many colours in a yellow stream.

The restless shadows in my head are drawn there.

They want to creep into the grain and turn to gold.

Darkness falls. At midnight I go to bed.

The smaller boat puts out from the larger boat.

You are alone on the water.

Society’s dark hull drifts further and further away.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Dylan Thomas (1914-1953)

Among Those Killed in the Dawn Raid Was a Man Aged a Hundred

When the morning was waking over the war
He put on his clothes and stepped out and he died,
The locks yawned loose and a blast blew them wide,
He dropped where he loved on the burst pavement stone
And the funeral grains of the slaughtered floor.
Tell his street on its back he stopped a sun
And the craters of his eyes grew springshots and fire
When all the keys shot from the locks, and rang.
Dig no more for the chains of his grey-haired heart.
The heavenly ambulance drawn by a wound
Assembling waits for the spade's ring on the cage.
O keep his bones away from the common cart,
The morning is flying on the wings of his age
And a hundred storks perch on the sun's right hand.

Dylan Thomas

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Pablo Neruda (1904-1973)


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.

Pablo Neruda

Monday, August 6, 2012

Joseph Brodsky (1940-1996)

Dutch Mistress

A hotel in whose ledgers departures are more prominent than arrivals.
With wet Koh-i-noors the October rain
strokes what's left of the naked brain.
In this country laid flat for the sake of rivers,
beer smells of Germany and the seaguls are
in the air like a page's soiled corners.
Morning enters the premises with a coroner's
punctuality, puts its ear
to the ribs of a cold radiator, detects sub-zero:
the afterlife has to start somewhere.
Correspondingly, the angelic curls
grow more blond, the skin gains its distant, lordly
white, while the bedding already coils
desperately in the basement laundry.

Joseph Brodsky

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Krzystof Kamil Baczynski (1921-1944)

Elegy: On Summer

O childish eyes of cornflowers,
ripeness of nasturtiums.
Today is like a ship sailing for India,
sailing for Turkey.
In shade from broad baobabs of lindens, the avenues
are dreaming.
With a Bach fugue, the next-door balcony
leads the landscape to the church
and the wheels of sky can be heard—the planets’ creaking.
What then is left?
This: the grave is the earthen layer of recollection,
a lifeless flower with cheeks like a child,
my last poem which I burned to ashes,
from which a small black rose remained.

—Translated from the Polish by Bill Johnston

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931)

Song Of The Wave
I and the shore are lovers :
The wind unites us and separates us.
I come from beyond the twilight
to merge the silver of my foam with the gold of its sand;
And I cool its burning heart with my moisture.
At dawn's coming I read passion's law to my beloved,
And he draws me to his breast.
At even I chant the prayer of longing,
And he embraces me.
I am fretful and without rest,
But my loved one is the friend of patience.
Comes the ebb and I embrace my love;
It flows, and I am fallen at his feet.

How I danced around the daughters of the sea
When they rose up from the depths
To sit upon the rocks
And behold the stars !
How I hearkened to the lover
Protesting his passion to a comely maid :
I did help him with sighing and moaning.
How I consorted with the rocks when they were
cold and still,
And caressed them, laughing, when they smiled not !

How I delivered bodies from the deep
And brought them to the living !
In what measure did I steal from the depths
Pearls, and gave to the daughters of beauty!

In the still night when all created things embrace
the phantom of sleep, I alone am awake, now
singing, now sighing.
Alas, wakefulness has destroyed me, but I am a
lover and the truth of Love is awakening.
Behold my life;
As I have lived, so shall I die.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Anne Sexton (1928-1974)

A Curse Against Elegies

Oh, love, why do we argue like this?
I am tired of all your pious talk.
Also, I am tired of all the dead.
They refuse to listen,
so leave them alone.
Take your foot out of the graveyard,
they are busy being dead.

Everyone was always to blame:
the last empty fifth of booze,
the rusty nails and chicken feathers
that stuck in the mud on the back doorstep,
the worms that lived under the cat's ear
and the thin-lipped preacher
who refused to call
except once on a flea-ridden day
when he came scuffing in through the yard
looking for a scapegoat.
I hid in the kitchen under the ragbag.

I refuse to remember the dead.
And the dead are bored with the whole thing.
But you - you go ahead,
go on, go on back down
into the graveyard,
lie down where you think their faces are;
talk back to your old bad dreams.

Anne Sexton

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867)


by: Charles Baudelaire

HE ancient cloisters on their lofty walls
Had holy Truth in painted frescoes shown,
And, seeing these, the pious in those halls
Felt their cold, lone austereness less alone.

At that time when Christ's seed flowered all around,
More than one monk, forgotten in his hour,
Taking for studio the burial ground,
Glorified Death with simple faith and power.

And my soul is a sepulchre where I,
Ill cenobite, have spent eternity:
On the vile cloister walls no pictures rise.

O when may I cast off this weariness,
And make the pageant of my old distress
For these hands labour, pleasure for these eyes?

'The Evil Monk' is reprinted from The Poems and Prose Poems of Charles Baudelaire. Ed. James Huneker. New York: Brentano's, 1919.

Wednesday, August 1, 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 :