Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Xavier Villaurrutia (1903-1950)

Rose Nocturne                            To José Gorostiza
I, too, speak of the rose.
But my rose is not the cold rose
nor the rose of a child’s skin,
nor the rose that winds
so slowly that its motion
is a mysterious stillness.
It is not the thirsty rose,
nor the gory wound,
nor the rose crowned with thorns,
nor the rose of resurrection.
It is not the nose of naked petals,
not the waxen rose,
nor the flame of silk
not the blazing rose.
Nor is it the weathervane rose,
the secret ulcer,
nor the punctual rose that gives the hour
not the marine compass rose.
No, it is not the rose rose,
but the uncreated rose,
the sunken rose,
the night rose
the immaterial rose,
the empty rose
It is the rose of touch in the dark,
it is the rose that comes on inflamed,
the rose of rosy finger-nails,
the rosebud of eager fingers,
the digital rose,
the blind rose.
It is the rose molding of the ear,
the rose ear,
the spiral of sound,
the rose shell ever abandoned
on the highest froth of the pillow.
It is the flesh rose of the mouth,
the rose that speaks awake
as if it were asleep.
It is the half-opened rose
from which shadow rises,
the intimate rose
that folds up and expands
evoked, invoked, seized in the mouth,
it is the labial rose,
the wounded rose.
It is the rose that opens the eyelids,
the vigilant, sleepless rose,
the strained-eyed rose of insomnia.
It is the rose of smoke,
the rose of ash,
the black rose of diamond coal
that silently pierces the dark
and occupies no place in space.

Februrary 24, 1937

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997)

The Blue Angel - Poem by Allen Ginsberg

Marlene Dietrich is singing a lament
for mechanical love.
She leans against a mortarboard tree
on a plateau by the seashore.

She's a life-sized toy,
the doll of eternity;
her hair is shaped like an abstract hat
made out of white steel.

Her face is powdered, whitewashed and
immobile like a robot.
Jutting out of her temple, by an eye,
is a little white key.

She gazes through dull blue pupils
set in the whites of her eyes.
She closes them, and the key
turns by itself.

She opens her eyes, and they're blank
like a statue's in a museum.
Her machine begins to move, the key turns
again, her eyes change, she sings.

—you'd think I would have thought a plan
to end the inner grind,
but not till I have found a man
to occupy my mind.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Kacper Bartczak (b.1972)

Beyond the Helplessness Principle
Something will occur and at once it will be found
among other occurrences I know
that the heaviest dreams are only an illusion
I know it from experience I see my own
experience now that it is over
Of course it is still alive statistical
and divine
Later on the poem
does not ask me any questions
about my wife kids work and photography
I just let it drink
from the well Your water
is hard clear with a note of iron
it says and it drinks greedily
like some kind of refugee
Translated by the author and Marit MacArthur

Marie Ponsot (b.1921)


Marie Ponsot, 1921

In a skiff on a sunrisen lake we are watchers.

Swimming aimlessly is luxury just as walking 
loudly up a shallow stream is.

As we lean over the deep well, we whisper.

Friends at hearths are drawn to the one warm air; 
strangers meet on beaches drawn to the one wet sea.

What wd it be to be water, one body of water 
(what water is is another mystery) (We are 
water divided.) It wd be a self without walls, 
with surface tension, specific gravity a local
exchange between bedrock and cloud of falling and rising, 
rising to fall, falling to rise.


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986)


It opens, the gate to the garden
with the docility of a page
that frequent devotion questions
and inside, my gaze
has no need to fix on objects
that already exist, exact, in memory.
I know the customs and souls
and that dialect of allusions
that every human gathering goes weaving.
I've no need to speak
nor claim false privilege;
they know me well who surround me here,
know well my afflictions and weakness.
This is to reach the highest thing,
that Heaven perhaps will grant us:
not admiration or victory
but simply to be accepted
as part of an undeniable Reality,
like stones and trees.
Jorge Luis Borges :

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

William Carlos Williams (1883-1963)


William Carlos Williams, 1883 - 1963

The little sparrows
Hop ingenuously
About the pavement
With sharp voices
Over those things
That interest them.
But we who are wiser
Shut ourselves in
On either hand
And no one knows
Whether we think good
Or evil.
                  Then again,
The old man who goes about
Gathering dog lime
Walks in the gutter
Without looking up
And his tread
Is more majestic than
That of the Episcopal minister
Approaching the pulpit
Of a Sunday.
These things
Astonish me beyond words.
This poem is in the public domain. 
This poem is in the public

Monday, April 11, 2016

Chris Andrews

Strange Perfecter
Who was that strange perfecter occasionally
stepping in to give my life a sideways nudge?
Or was it just a series of accidents?
Despite the multiplying data there’s not
necessarily anyone on your case
in a world where biometric differences
can cover up the gulf that is fixed between
darlings of Morpheus and insomniacs
strapped into the home theatre of their thought,
or between people who feel that the real life
is intimated by bare, windswept uplands
and those who want to live where rhinoplasty
is already as normal as filling teeth.

I was the perfect stranger continually
stumbling by chance back into my life to find
it was getting on pretty well without me
in a world where what people wear correlates
poorly with what they’re capable of doing
to someone who’ll never be useful to them,
where some can sing an ache to sleep and others
are quite sure they know what intelligence is.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)

"And Spring arose on the garden fair,
Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;
And each flower and herb on Earth's dark breast
rose from the dreams of its wintry rest."

Percy Bysshe Shelley, The Sensitive Plant 

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Raewyn Alexander (b.1955)

‘aged famous rockers tour the world’

I explain to the homeless man outside our supermarket
by a tree which serves to hold shopping trolleys back
(some wander in high winds as steel renegades across traffic)
he wanted to know any news
so I spoke and pretended I didn’t remember him
stood downwind to avoid the stench of ancient unwashed denims
we loaded my groceries into the car boot together
while I talked and he listened as if we’d married
stayed in the same house for reasons of children and accounting
stopped any demands for obedience to each other’s rules
but I knew his name and how he liked ice cream
a little melted and yet some still firm
my feelings also thawed enough to take time
desserts and good conversation require a lull
but he tried to tell me we were fated to be together
as if we’d unwittingly signed up for a soppy romance movie
and soon his buddy whispered to him ‘he’d told him so’
they shambled away in late afternoon gold with leaves falling
I wondered for a few minutes what could’ve been if I’d chosen him
instead of the vampire with good map reading skills
who knew how to sneak into my room at night
to sit with his smile for a brain and wait
for my eyes to open then conditioning to polish my reaction
over and over again the same secret
known observer a fright – media man in leather without a pen
but he drew fantasies with perfect recall in black and white
so clean these bare stories in the wind and rain

Friday, April 8, 2016

Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1891)

The Famous Victory Of Saarbrucken

At centre, the Emperor, blue-yellow, in apotheosis,
Gallops off, ramrod straight, on his fine gee-gee,
Very happy – since everything he sees is rosy,
Fierce as Zeus, and as gentle as a Daddy is:

The brave Infantrymen taking a nap, in vain,
Under the gilded drums and scarlet cannon,
Rise politely. One puts his tunic back on,
And, turns to the Chief, stunned by the big name!

On the right, another, leaning on his rifle butt,
Feeling the hair rise at the back of his neck,
Shouts: ‘Vive L’Empereur!!” – his neighbour’s mute…

A shako rises, like a black sun…– In the midst
The last, a simpleton in red and blue, lying on his gut
Gets up, and, – showing his arse – asks: “On what?”
Arthur Rimbaud :

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Anne Sexton (1928-1974)

The Fury Of Overshoes

They sit in a row
outside the kindergarten,
black, red, brown, all
with those brass buckles.
Remember when you couldn't
buckle your own
or tie your own
or tie your own shoe
or cut your own meat
and the tears
running down like mud
because you fell off your
Remember, big fish,
when you couldn't swim
and simply slipped under
like a stone frog?
The world wasn't
It belonged to
the big people.
Under your bed
sat the wolf
and he made a shadow
when cars passed by
at night.
They made you give up
your nightlight
and your teddy
and your thumb.
Oh overshoes,
don't you
remember me,
pushing you up and down
in the winter snow?
Oh thumb,
I want a drink,
it is dark,
where are the big people,
when will I get there,
taking giant steps
all day,
each day
and thinking
nothing of it?
Anne Sexton :

Monday, April 4, 2016

Alfonsina Stomi (1892-1938)

Sleep Peacefully

You said the word that enamors
My hearing. You already forgot. Good.
Sleep peacefully. Your face should
Be serene and beautiful at all hours.

When the seductive mouth enchants
It should be fresh, your speech pleasant;
For your office as lover it's not good
That many tears come from your face.

More glorious destinies reclaim you
That were brought, between the black wells
Of the dark circles beneath your eyes,
the seer in pain.

The bottom, summit of the beautiful victims!
The foolish spade of some barbarous king
Did more harm to the world and your statue.
Alfonsina Storni :

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Elizabeth Allen

After seven long years underground

the crust of mascara starts to crack and flake.
She claws her way up into your kitchen to stand
wiping the cigarette smoke from her eyes.

You have been preparing a lentil salad and
perhaps this has brought her: steam rising with
the scent of nutmeg, cinnamon, cumin and

mustard powder; the bite and tang of salt and sugar.
She is like the neighbour’s cat which sometimes
steals into your kitchen, demanding to be fed.

Two cuts on your finger wince and sting. The
impossible knot of family: tightening and unpicking
it in your chest. Rinsing the metal bowl, you place

it on the draining board decisively, making it
count. The buzzing radio of thoughts: cicadas
screaming in crescendo. A tired muscle twitching

just above your knee. Wanting to be more
than, less than. Still, the constant tug of things
forgotten: a kite string wrapped around your finger.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Bernadette Mayer (b.1945)


To range in the war was corruption, an error, a snow.
            A snow over Rome. Near the garage to sew and to
            sing — a crystal, inherent, and a wink to the
To range in the Roman manner was to manage it raw.
The seagoer pressed by the woman in arson. The manager,
            waiting, and in the distance, at least, was wrong.
            He had played it too near and announced in answers.
            A changing is shown.
A personal letter is addressed to the seagoer. Now the
            rangers warn to swear. A reminder grows. The
            manner of the answer is warmer.
The ram, the swarm and the wren, Ramon and Sergei, all
Is the seagoer Negro? Arms is the song when the women
            are meaner. And the mason is worse. As the snow
             nears, the green grocer is warned. The owner of
            the organ remains behind. As in Rome, we wear
            sweaters to visit the gorge.
But the woman rose to her wager. Now swear in the arms.
The groan means saner, the arrow warm.

Friday, April 1, 2016

William Wendell Riley

A California Desert

William Wendell Riley

The golden sun has climbed his golden stair.
From vantage his, he holds our summer land
In sweltering heat, and awful fiery glare;
He holds high carnival o'er these desert sands.
The valleys, hills and plains are brown and bare,
Where spring had decked them with unnumbered bloom
That poured unstinted fragrance on the air,
And died beneath the fiery suns of June.
Hot whirls of air encircle every hill,
Like demon's fiery breath, from lands ablaze,
That shrivel, wither, burn, blight, smite and kill,
And make a boundless desert of the plain.
Thou heated orb, our world's relentless sun,
Look on these burning wastes. What thou hast done!