Archive for July, 2015

Friday, 31 July 2015

Reothairt by Sorley MacLean

Again and again when I am broken
my thought comes on you when you were young,
and the incomprehensible ocean fills
with floodtide and a thousand sails.

The shore of trouble is hidden
with its reefs and the wrack of grief,
and the unbreaking wave strikes
about my feet with a silken rubbing.

How did the springtide not last,
the springtide more golden to me than to the birds,
and how did I lose its succour,
ebbing drop by drop of grief?


Date:1977 (Scots Gaelic and English)

By: Sorley MacLean (1911-1996)

Translated by: Sorley MacLean (1911-1996)

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Invective Against the Bumblebee by Diane Lockward

Escapee from a tight cell, yellow-streaked,
sex-deprived sycophant to a queen,
you have dug divots in my yard
and like a squatter trespassed in my garage.

I despise you for you have swooped down
on my baby boy, harmless on a blanket of lawn,
his belly plumping through his orange stretch suit,
yellow hat over the fuzz of his head.
Though you mistook him for a sunflower,
I do not exonerate you,
for he weeps in my arms, trembles, and drools,
finger swollen like a breakfast sausage.
Now my son knows pain.
Now he fears the grass.

Fat-assed insect! Perverse pedagogue!
Henceforth, may flowers refuse to open for you.
May cats chase you in the garden.
I want you shellacked by rain, pecked by shrikes,
mauled by skunks, paralyzed by early frost.
May farmers douse your wings with pesticide.
May you never again taste the nectar
of purple clover or honeysuckle.
May you pass by an oak tree just in time
to be pissed on by a dog.

And tomorrow may you rest on my table
as I peruse the paper. May you shake
beneath the scarred face of a serial killer.
May you be crushed by the morning news.


Date: 2006

By: Diane Lockward (19??- )

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Night Walk in a Garden by Hannah Parkhouse Cowley

Ye jessamines that beneath the lunar ray
Unfold your virgin robes, your modest grace,
Imparting odours you denied the day
Though day’s own light condensed adorns your race!
Ye stars, that quivering midst yon azure sky,
From forth your circles softened lustre stream,
And raise towards you calm devotion’s eye,
And seed to lonely love a soothing beam,
Why cease you now to charm as erst ye did?
Why free from rapture move I now along?
Ye scents, ye blooms, ye stars, in vain ye bid
Your soft enchantments round my senses throng–
For she is lost who greeted all your powers;
She breathes no more who loved your pensive hours!


Date: 1789

By: Hannah Parkhouse Cowley (1743-1809)

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

To His Mistress by George Villiers

What a dull fool was I,
To think so gross a lie,
As that I ever was in love before!
I have, perhaps, known one or two
With whom I was content to be
At that, which they call ‘keeping company.’
But, after all that they could do,
I still could be with more.
Their absence never made me shed a tear;
And I can truly swear,
That, till my eyes first gazed on you,
I ne’er beheld that thing I could adore.

A world of things must curiously be sought,
A world of things must be together brought,
To make up charms which have the power to move,
Through a discerning eye, true love.
That is a masterpiece, above
What only looks and shape can do;
There must be wit, and judgment too;
Greatness of thought, and worth, which draw
From the whole world, respect and awe.

She that would raise a noble love, must find
Ways to beget a passion for her mind,
She must be that, which she, to be would seem;
For all true love is grounded on esteem.
Plainness and truth gain more a generous heart
Than all the crooked subtleties of art.
She must be (what said I?), She must be you.
None but yourself that miracle can do;
At least, I’m sure, thus much I plainly see,
None but yourself e’er did it upon me.
’Tis you alone, that can my heart subdue—
To you alone, it always shall be true!


Date: c1667

By: George Villiers (1628-1687)

Monday, 27 July 2015

Daisy by Chris McCabe

“Maybe Dadda needs these for his poems”
the Boy says & picks three flecked pink.
The insides are SM58 microphones, yellow,
the one-two sound-check explodes in white
word-fronds. If this was the EVENT we’d be
waiting for the visuals. If this was the EVENT
I’d want the answer. If this was the EVENT
I would ask you to marry me. If this was
the EVENT I’d be just about half-crazy.

In this EVENT there is a boy
with three daisies, here for the love of you.


Date: 2013

By: Chris McCabe (1977- )

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Scotland by Christopher Murray Grieve (Hugh MacDiarmid)

It requires great love of it deeply to read
The configuration of a land,
Gradually grow conscious of fine shadings,
Of great meanings in slight symbols,
Hear at last the great voice that speaks softly,
See the swell and fall upon the flank
Of a statue carved out in a whole country’s marble,
Be like Spring, like a hand in a window
Moving New and Old things carefully to and fro,
Moving a fraction of flower here,
Placing an inch of air there,
And without breaking anything.
So I have gathered unto myself
All the loose ends of Scotland,
And by naming them and accepting them,
Loving them and identifying myself with them,
Attempt to express the whole.


Date: 1943

By: Christopher Murray Grieve (Hugh MacDiarmid) (1892-1978)

Saturday, 25 July 2015

The Wheels by Frederick William Faber

There are strange solemn times when serious men
Sink out of depth in their own spirit, caught
All unawares, and held by some strong thought
That comes to them, they know not how or when,
And bears them down through many a winding cell.
Where the soul’s busy agents darkly dwell;
Each watching by his wheel that, bright and bare,
Revolveth day and night to do its part
In building up for Heaven one single heart.
And moulds of curious form are scattered there,
As yet unused, — the shapes of after deeds;
And veiled growths and thickly sprouting seeds
Are strewn, in which our future life doth lie
Sketched out in dim and wondrous prophecy.

From: Faber, Frederick William, The Cherwell Water-Lily, and Other Poems, 1840, J. G. F. & J. Rivington: London, p. 76.

Date: 1840

By: Frederick William Faber (1814-1863)

Friday, 24 July 2015

Evening Landscape by Friedrich von Matthisson

Golden light
Bedecks the grove.
An enchanting twilight gently illuminates
The castle’s o’ergrown ruins.

Still and sublime,
The ocean gleams;
Homeward there glide, gentle as swans,
Fisher-boats near the far-off isle.

Silvery sand
Glitters on shore;
Redder here, paler there,
Cloud-images float upon the waves.

Fluttering, rustling,
Crown’d with gold,
The reeds encircle the foreland-hillock,
Wildly swarming with sea-fowl.

From the thicket,
There beckons, with garden, foliage, spring,
The hermit’s moss-grown shanty.

On the water
The glow dies out;
Already, the evening glimmer grows pale
Across the lofty castle’s ruins.

Light of the full moon
Bedecks the grove;
In the valley float lisping spirit-voices
‘Round fallen heroes’ crumbled monuments.


Date: 1787 (original in German); 2005 (translation in English)

By: Friedrich von Matthisson (1761-1831)

Translated by: John Sigerson (19??- )

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Cleonell’s Last Melancholy Song by William Kelligrew

Cloris we see the offended Gods,
At first do shew, and shake their Rodds,
That they may rather threat, then strike,
So we forgoe, what they dislike:
These faulty streams, shall flow no more
Above their banks as heretofore;
Nor swelling tempest from my breast,
Hence forth thy Virgin cares molest;
All shall be fashion’d to thy will,
So thou wilt let me Love thee still;
My Lips shall not a word let go,
That may offend to tell thee so;
But to dissemble, or deny
That I do Love thee were a lye
Would stain my soul, ’twill prove a spot,
To look as if I Lov’d thee not.

From: Kelligrew, Sir William, Three Playes Written by Sir William Kelligrew, Vice-Chamberlain to Her Majesty the Queen Consort, 1664, vis. [brace] Selindra, Pandora, Ormasdes, 2003, University of Michigan: Ann Arbor, Michigan, pp. 24-25.

Date: 1664

By: William Kelligrew (1609-1695)

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Bonfire by Angel Zapata

Ashes are
ascending prayers;
dead skin impressionists.
Choose one black flake
at random, snatch it
from the air—
it becomes a fly wing,
an aerial assault,
a prediction of worms.


Date: 2014

By: Angel Zapata (1970- )