Saturday, 28 May 2016

Sympathy of Peoples by Robert Stuart Fitzgerald

No but come closer. Come a little
Closer. Let the wall-eyed hornyhanded
Panhandler hit you for a dime
Sir and shiver. Snow like this
Drives its pelting shadows over Bremen,
Over sad Louvain and the eastern
Marshes, the black wold. It sighs
Into the cold sea of the north,
That vast contemptuous revery between
Antiquity and you. Turn up your collar,
Pull your hatbrim down. Commune
Briefly with your ignorant heart
For those bewildered raging children
Europe surrenders her old gentry to.

All their eyes turn in the night from
Your fretfulness and forgetfulness,
Your talk; they turn away, friend.
Their eyes dilated with dreams of power
Fix on the image of the mob wet
With blood scaling the gates of order.
Anarchist and incendiary
Caesar bind that brotherhood
To use and crush the civil guard,
Debauch the debauché, level
Tenement and court with soaring
Sideslipping squadrons and hard regiments,
Stripped for the smoking levée of the
Howitzer, thunderstruck under the net.

The great mouth of hunger closes
On swineherd and princess, on the air
Of jongleur and forest bell; Grendel
Swims from the foul deep again.
Deputy, cartelist, academician
Question in haste any plumeless captain
Before the peremptory descent
Of mankind, flattered and proud.
With whitening morning on the waste
You may discern through binoculars
A long line of the shawled and frozen,
Moving yet motionless, as if those
Were populations whom the sun failed
And the malicious moon enchanted
To wander and be still forever
The prey of wolves and bestial mazes.

From: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/48650

Date: 1969

By: Robert Stuart Fitzgerald (1910-1985)

Friday, 27 May 2016

Lines 80-106 from “The Iliad, Book I” [A Friend Consigned to Death] by Homer

“Sleeping so? Thou hast forgotten me,
Akhilleus. Never was I uncared for
in life but am in death. Accord me burial
in all haste: let me pass the gates of Death.
Shades that are images of used-up men
motion me away, will not receive me
among their hosts beyond the river. I wander
about the wide gates and the hall of Death.
Give me your hand. I sorrow.
When thou shalt have allotted me my fire
I will not fare here from the dark again.
As living men we’ll no more sit apart
from our companions, making plans. The day
of wrath appointed for me at my birth
engulfed and took me down. Thou too, Akhilleus,
face iron destiny, godlike as thou art,
to die under the wall of highborn Trojans.
One more message, one behest, I leave thee:
not to inter my bones apart from thine
but close together, as we grew together,
in thy family’s hall. Menoitios
from Opoeis had brought me, under a cloud,
a boy still, on the day I killed the son
of Lord Amphídamas–though I wished it not–
in childish anger over a game of dice.
Pêleus, master of horse, adopted me
and reared me kindly, naming me your squire.
So may the same urn hide our bones, the one
of gold your gracious mother gave.”

From: https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/iliad-book-i-friend-consigned-death

Date: 8th century BC (first written original); 1974 (translation)

By: Homer (?12th century BC or 9th century BC)

Translated by: Robert Stuart Fitzgerald (1910-1985)

Thursday, 26 May 2016

A Question of Belief by Rika Lesser

The first time wasn’t real, I mean
for real, a real attempt. No one
believed me when I said the medicine
was at fault, kept me from sleeping,
thinking, set my limbs tingling. Taking
those pills, staying in that house–
pigeons roosting on the roof, their
insistent coos and cries–in one of my
old bedrooms, made me an invalid.
What they believed was what I said
in scorn, in response to threats. That I’d
like to jump out of a window. All I wanted
was sleep.

And in the hospital that first time,
after the countless pills, the ipecac,
the papers signed, the break
with my first shrink, once I had slept
my fill and felt like a child in some
giant’s grip, they handed me nearly
the same damned drugs. Again I flipped,
stopped sleeping, believed they would kill me
on Walpurgis Night, not one swift scalpel,
ritual sacrifice–not just the staff,
the other patients too…

We were so frail. No one
believed what we said.
And we learned to get out
by saying: We won’t try it
again. Grateful to be alive,
we will pay our dues. Just
show us the way out of Hell,
dear Doctors, release us. Please.

From: Lesser, Rika, All We Need of Hell: Poems, 1995, University of North Texas Press: Denton, Texas, p. 5.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=WXNVKNssPYQC)

Date: 1995

By: Rika Lesser (1953- )

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Untitled by Vasiliki (Kiki) Radou Dimoula

It rains with absolute candor.
So the sky is not a rumor
it does exist
and therefore earth is not
the sole solution
as each lazy dead person pretends.

From: http://www.worldliteraturetoday.org/2012/november/three-poems-kiki-dimoula

Date: 2007 (original); 2012 (translation)

By: Vasiliki (Kiki) Radou Dimoula (1931- )

Translated by: Cecile Inglessis Margellos (1953- ) and Rika Lesser (1953- )

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

My Mother Would Be a Falconress by Robert Duncan

My mother would be a falconress,
And I, her gay falcon treading her wrist,
would fly to bring back
from the blue of the sky to her, bleeding, a prize,
where I dream in my little hood with many bells
jangling when I’d turn my head.

My mother would be a falconress,
and she sends me as far as her will goes.
She lets me ride to the end of her curb
where I fall back in anguish.
I dread that she will cast me away,
for I fall, I mis-take, I fail in her mission.

She would bring down the little birds.
And I would bring down the little birds.
When will she let me bring down the little birds,
pierced from their flight with their necks broken,
their heads like flowers limp from the stem?

I tread my mother’s wrist and would draw blood.
Behind the little hood my eyes are hooded.
I have gone back into my hooded silence,
talking to myself and dropping off to sleep.

For she has muffled my dreams in the hood she has made me,
sewn round with bells, jangling when I move.
She rides with her little falcon upon her wrist.
She uses a barb that brings me to cower.
She sends me abroad to try my wings
and I come back to her. I would bring down
the little birds to her
I may not tear into, I must bring back perfectly.

I tear at her wrist with my beak to draw blood,
and her eye holds me, anguisht, terrifying.
She draws a limit to my flight.
Never beyond my sight, she says.
She trains me to fetch and to limit myself in fetching.
She rewards me with meat for my dinner.
But I must never eat what she sends me to bring her.

Yet it would have been beautiful, if she would have carried me,
always, in a little hood with the bells ringing,
at her wrist, and her riding
to the great falcon hunt, and me
flying up to the curb of my heart from her heart
to bring down the skylark from the blue to her feet,
straining, and then released for the flight.

My mother would be a falconress,
and I her gerfalcon raised at her will,
from her wrist sent flying, as if I were her own
pride, as if her pride
knew no limits, as if her mind
sought in me flight beyond the horizon.

Ah, but high, high in the air I flew.
And far, far beyond the curb of her will,
were the blue hills where the falcons nest.
And then I saw west to the dying sun–
it seemd my human soul went down in flames.

I tore at her wrist, at the hold she had for me,
until the blood ran hot and I heard her cry out,
far, far beyond the curb of her will

to horizons of stars beyond the ringing hills of the world where
the falcons nest
I saw, and I tore at her wrist with my savage beak.
I flew, as if sight flew from the anguish in her eye beyond her sight,
sent from my striking loose, from the cruel strike at her wrist,
striking out from the blood to be free of her.

My mother would be a falconress,
and even now, years after this,
when the wounds I left her had surely heald,
and the woman is dead,
her fierce eyes closed, and if her heart
were broken, it is stilld

I would be a falcon and go free.
I tread her wrist and wear the hood,
talking to myself, and would draw blood.

From: http://famouspoetsandpoems.com/poets/robert_duncan/poems/22445.html

Date: 1968

By: Robert Duncan (1919-1988)

Monday, 23 May 2016

The Tramp’s Soliloquy by Albery Allson Whitman

Had I an envied name and purse of gold,
My friends were more than all my wants twice told;
Reduced to rags and born of title small,
Vast tho’ my wants I have no friends at all.
Anxiety consumes away my years
And failure melts my manhood down in tears.
My down-cast eyes some guilt seem to disclose
And I’m shut in a lazar house of woes.
I am not what I was, my drooping form
Partakes of what is loathsome in the worm.
Pittied but not respected I may be,
I shun myself, and e’en the dogs shun me.
The rich to chide the poor may adulate
The few torn pleasures of a scanty state;
But cold experience tells her story plain,
Want breeds with bitterness and brings forth pain.

From: Whitman, Albery Allson, Not A Man, and Yet A Man, 1999, University of Michigan Humanities Text Initiative: Ann Arbor, Michigan, p. 254.
(http://name.umdl.umich.edu/BAQ6224.0001.001)

Date: 1877

By: Albery Allson Whitman (1851-1901)

Sunday, 22 May 2016

On the Invention of Letters by Joseph Stennett

Tell me what Genius did the art invent,
The lively image of the voice to paint;
Who first the secret how to colour sound,
And to give shape to reason, wisely found;
With bodies how to cloath ideas, taught;
And how to draw the picture of a thought:
Who taught the hand to speak, the eye to hear
A silent language roving far and near;
Whose softest noise outstrips loud thunder’s sound,
And spreads her accents thro’ the world’s vast round:
A voice heard by the deaf, spoke by the dumb,
Whose echo reaches long, long time to come;
Which dead men speak as well as those alive —
Tell me what Genius did this art contrive.

From: http://www.eighteenthcenturypoetry.org/works/o5157-w0750.shtml

Date: 1725 (published)

By: Joseph Stennett (1663-1713)

Alternative Title: On the Invention of Writing; Ænigma on Writing

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Invitation to Dalliance by John Mennes

Be not thou so foolish nice,
As to be intreated twice;
What should Women more incite,
Then their own sweet appetite?

Shall savage things more freedom have
Than nature unto Women gave?
The Swan, the Turtle, and the Sparrow
Bill a while, then take the marrow.
They Bill, they Kisse, what else they doe
Come Bill, and Kisse, and I’le shew you.

From: Mennes, John, Musarum deliciæ: or, The Muses recreation. Conteining severall select pieces of sportive wit, 2008, Text Creation Partnership: Ann Arbor, Michigan and Oxford, p. 58.
(http://name.umdl.umich.edu/A89049.0001.001)

Date: 1655

By: John Mennes (1599-1671)

Friday, 20 May 2016

To You That Lyfe Possess Grete Troubles Do Befall by Emma Foxe

To you that lyfe possess grete troubles do befall,
When we that slepe by Dethe do feel no harm at all.
An honeste lyfe dothe bringe a joyfull deathe at last,
And lyfe agayne begins when dethe is once past.
My lovinge ffoxe ffarewell, God guyde thee with his grace,
Prepare thyselfe to come and I will geve the place.
My children all adewe, and be ryghte sure of this,
You shal be brought to Duste as emma ffoxe your Mother is.

From: Stevenson, Jane and Davidson, Peter (eds.), Early Modern Women Poets (1520-1700): An Anthology, 2001, Oxford University Press: Oxford, p. 25.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=EynvtQmeW-kC)

Date: 1570

By: Emma Foxe (????-1570)

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Pearl: Section I by Pearl Poet/Gawain Poet

Pearl, to delight a prince’s day,
Flawlessly set in gold so fair
In all the East, I dare to say,
I have not found one to compare.
So round, so radiant in array,
So small, so smooth her contours were,
Wherever I judged jewels gay
I set her worth as truly rare.
I lost her in a garden where
Through grass she fell to earthen plot;
Wounded by love beyond repair
I mourn that pearl without a spot.

Since from that spot it fled that day
I waited oft, in hope to see
What once could drive my gloom away
And charge my very soul with glee;
But heavy on my heart it lay
And filled my breast with misery.
Yet no song ever seemed so gay
As that quiet hour let steal to me
Though in my heart one thought ran free,
Her fresh face wrapped in earthly clot;
Earth, you have marred her purity,
My secret pearl without a spot.

That spot of spices needs must spread
Where such rich bounty doth decay,
With yellow flowers and blue and red
That shine so bright in sun’s clear ray.
Flower and fruit can ne’er be dead
Where that pearl slipped into the clay,
For grass will grow from seed once shed
Or grain could not be stored away,
And good will always good repay.
This comely seed shall perish not,
And spices will their fruit display
From that dear pearl without a spot.

From that spot I in speech expound
I entered in that garden green,
As August’s season came around
When corn is cut with sickles keen,
There that pearl rolled into the ground,
Shadowed with plants both bright and clean,
Wallflower, ginger, gromwell abound
Bright paeonies scattered in between;
Though they were seemly to be seen
No less in their scent my sense caught;
And there that jewel long has been,
My precious pearl without a spot.

Before that spot I clasped my hand,
In chilling care my heart was caught;
A bitter grief my soul unmanned
Though reason wiser comfort sought.
I mourned my pearl from freedom banned
With arguments that fiercely fought;
Though Christ’s grace bade me understand
My wretched will fresh sorrow brought.
On flowery sward I fell, distraught;
Such fragrance to my senses shot
In deepest sleep I dreamt, methought,
On that dear pearl without a spot.

From: http://www.billstanton.co.uk/pearl/pearl0203.htm
http://www.billstanton.co.uk/pearl/pearl0405.htm
http://www.billstanton.co.uk/pearl/pearl0607.htm

Date: 14th century (original); 1995 (translation)

By: Pearl Poet/Gawain Poet (14th century)

Translated by: William Graham Stanton (1917-1999)

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