Archive for February, 2016

Monday, 29 February 2016

Queen-Anne’s-Lace by William Carlos Williams

Her body is not so white as
anemone petals nor so smooth—nor
so remote a thing. It is a field
of the wild carrot taking
the field by force; the grass
does not raise above it.
Here is no question of whiteness,
white as can be, with a purple mole
at the center of each flower.
Each flower is a hand’s span
of her whiteness. Wherever
his hand has lain there is
a tiny purple blemish. Each part
is a blossom under his touch
to which the fibres of her being
stem one by one, each to its end,
until the whole field is a
white desire, empty, a single stem,
a cluster, flower by flower,
a pious wish to whiteness gone over—
or nothing.


Date: 1921

By: William Carlos Williams (1883-1963)

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Fragment in Imitation of Wordsworth by Catherine Maria Fanshawe

There is a river clear and fair,
‘Tis neither broad nor narrow;
It winds a little here and there
It winds about like any hare;
And then it holds as straight a course
As, on the turnpike road, a horse,
Or, through the air, an arrow.

The trees that grow upon the shore
Have grown a hundred years or more;
So long there is no knowing:
Old Daniel Dobson does not know
When first those trees began to grow;
But still they grew, and grew, and grew,
As if they’d nothing else to do,
But ever must be growing.

The impulses of air and sky
Have reared their stately heads so high,
And clothed their boughs with green;
Their leaves the dews of evening quaff,
And when the wind blows loud and keen,
I’ve seen the jolly timbers laugh,
And shake their sides with merry glee
Wagging their heads in mockery.

Fixed are their feet in solid earth
Where winds can never blow;
But visitings of deeper birth
Have reached their roots below.
For they have gained the river’s brink
And of the living waters drink.

There’s little Will, a five years’ child
He is my youngest boy;
To look on eyes so fair and wild,
It is a very joy.
He hath conversed with sun and shower,
And dwelt with every idle flower,
As fresh and gay as them.
He loiters with the briar-rose,
The blue-bells are his playfellows,
That dance upon their slender stem.

And I have said, my little Will,
Why should he not continue still
A thing of Nature’s rearing?
A thing beyond the world’s control
A living vegetable soul,
No human sorrow fearing.

It were a blessed sight to see
That child become a willow-tree,
His brother trees among.
He’d be four times as tall as me,
And live three times as long.


Date: 1865 (published)

By: Catherine Maria Fanshawe (1765-1834)

Saturday, 27 February 2016

On The Spectator’s Critique On Milton by Laurence Eusden

Look here, ye Pedants, who deserve that name,
And lewdly ravish the great Critick’s fame.
In cloudless beams of light true judgement plays,
How mild the censure, how refin’d the praise!
Beauties ye pass, and blemishes ye cull,
Profoundly read, and eminently dull.
Though Linnets sing, yet Owls feel no delight;
For they the best can judge, who bestl can write.
O! had great Milton but surviv’d to hear
His numbers try’d, by such a tuneful ear;
How would he all thy just remarks commend!
The more the Critic, own the more the Friend.
But, did he know once your immortal strain,
Th’ exalted pleasure would increase to pain:
He would not blush for faults he rarely knew,
But blush for glories thus excell’d by you.

From: Nichols, John, A Select Collection of Poems: with Notes Biographical and Historical, Volume IV, 1780, J. Nichols: London, p. 157.

Date: 1712

By: Laurence Eusden (1688-1730)

Friday, 26 February 2016

The foure Elements in Newfound-land To the Worshipful Captaine John Mason, who did wisely and worthily governe there divers yeeres by Robert Hayman

The Aire, in Newfound-Land is wholesome, good;
The Fire, as sweet as any made of wood;
The Waters, very rich, both salt and fresh;
The Earth more rich, you know it is not lesse
Where all are good, Fire, Water, Earth, and Aire,
What man made of these foure would not live there?


Date: 1628

By: Robert Hayman (1575-1629)

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Who mindes to bring his shippe to happy shore, Must care to knowe the lawes of wysdomes lore by Jasper Heywood

My freend, yf thou wylt credite me in ought,
To whom the trueth by tryall well appeares;
Nought woorth is wit, till it be dearer bought,
There is no wysedome but in hoarie heares.
Yet yf I may of wysedome oft define,
As well as others have of happinesse;
Then to my woordes, my freende, thy eare encline;
The thinges that make thee wyse, are these, I gesse.

Feare God, and knowe thy selfe in eche degree,
Be freend to all, familier but to fewe;
Too light of credite, see thou never be,
For tryal oft in trust dooth treason shewe.
To others faultes cast not so much thy eye,
Accuse no man of gilt, amend thy owne;
Of medling much dooth mischiefe oft aryse,
And oft debate by tickle tongue is sowne.

What thing thou wilt have bid, to none declare;
In woorde or deede, beware of had I wist:
So spend thy good, that some thou ever spare,
For freendes like Haukes doo soare from emptie fist.
Cut out thy coate, according to thy cloth,
Suspected persons see thou alwayes flee:
Beleeve not him who once hath broke his troth,
Nor yet of gift, without desart, be free.

Time quickly slips; beware how thou it spend,
Of wanton youth repentes a painefull age:
Beginne nothing without an eye to thend,
Nor bowe thyne care from counsell of the sage;
If thou to farre let out thy fancie slip,
And witlesse wyll from reasons rule outstart;
Thy folly shall at length be made thy whippe,
And sore the stripes of shame shall cause thee smart.

To doo too much for olde men is but lost,
Of freendship had to women comes like gaine:
Bestowe not thou on children to much cost,
For what thou dooest for these is all in vayne.
The olde man, or he can requite, he dyes;
Unconstant is the womans waveryng minde:
Full soone the boy thy freendship wyl despise,
And him for love thou shalt ungratefull finde.

The aged man is like the barren ground,
The woman like the Reede that wagges with Winde:
There may no trust in tender yeeres be found,
And of the three, the boy is most unkinde.
If thou have found a faithful freend in deede,
Beware thou lose not love of such a one:
He shall sometime stand thee in better steede,
Then treasure great of golde or precious stone.

From: Stevens, George and Brydges, Egerton, The Paradise of Dainty Devices, Reprinted from a Transcript of the First Edition, 1576, in the hand writing of the late George Stevens, Esq. With an Appendix: Containing Additional Pieces from the Editions of 1580 & 1600. And Introductory Remarks, Biographical and Critical, 1810, Robert Triphook and William Sancho: London, pp. 6-8.

Date: 1576

By: Jasper Heywood (1535-1598)

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Excerpt from “Elegy On Féilim Mac Maghnusa Méig Uidhir” by Anonymous

Sorrow is the worst thing in life.
What life is not misery for us?
A grief which cannot be overcome is upon us;
it is difficult to set sorrow aside.

No one will live forever;
alas that my sorrow
which is akin to death has increased;
it is a great misery that it is only beginning.

From: Ó Cuív, Brian, “Elegy On Féilim Mac Maghnusa Méig Uidhir, Ob. 1487” in Celtica, 23, 1999, 261-268.

Date: 1487 (original); 1999 (translation)

By: Anonymous

Translated by: Brian Ó Cuív (1916-1999)

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

The Time Machine by Nicolás Suescún

The clock has lost its hands
and man marks time with his,
always turning around on his own axle,
noisy voyager of space,
that vast silence
unbroken by his voice or his cries
or his erratic passage through the world,
the ungratefulness of a prodigal son
who never returns,
till the hour of his death,
to the great Mother Earth who gave him life.
The clock has lost its hands
and man marks time with his.


Date: 200? (original); 2008 (translation)

By: Nicolás Suescún (1937- )

Translated by: Nicolás Suescún (1937- )

Monday, 22 February 2016

Ales Stenar by Ángela García

I dreamt of sea water
roaring under the gorge.

Up there on the esplanade,
the same flock of stones
lulls century after century,
its windy entrails
in a consonantless language.

I knew I was in the place lodging
the endless succession
of those who come to assemble
and always depart again.

Stones or bones driven into the ground
survey the night inside.
Constantly alert
aligned in oval shapes like attentive eyes,
they survey the night above.

They breathe remotely,
The springtime moss
has softened the brown hardness.
However, the sun at dusk
gives them a silex sharpness.

Legend wants them funereal
but they are the fruit of durable things.
They do their dervish dance
on the obstinacy of grass.
What seems meek in them
is really a savage war against the ephemeral.


Date: 2005 (original); 2008 (translation)

By: Ángela García (1957- )

Translated by: Nicolás Suescún (1937- )

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Ale’s Stones by Anders Österling

Where the coast falls between the sea and sky,
Ale has raised a giant ship of stone,
Fair in its setting, when bright ears of rye
To union with the block’s dark quiet have grown,
A saga put ashore
Beside the Baltic’s roar,
A mark with sense known to the sea alone.

In tight formation, these grey masses rise
On guard since ancient times: a haunted hill,
The story goes – where clash of arms and cries
(As from a camp) the autumn darkness fill.
In midst of farmer’s land,
Here Ale took command
On board death’s ship, the last to mind his will.

Great strength still keeps this hummock in its hold.
Iron bit on bronze, when these bold deeds were done.
The sea-kings’ vessel, gone aground in mold,
Sails on its voyage to oblivion.
With stone its prow is stayed,
Of cloud its sails are made,
Yet it’s kin to all free ships beneath the sun.

A brig slips, soundless on the misty blue,
Around the corner of the nearest stone,
Bound for the Skagerrak and Dover, it will do
A measured minute while this place sleeps on;
Yet none knows how to say
What in this silent play
Is passing now, and what to past has gone.

Glittering waves both ship and grave embrace,
A thousand years, a thousand miles go by,
And time exchanges its salutes with space,
And sails are swelled and stones in slumber lie,
And the meadow casts its bloom
Around the age-old tomb,
And larks sing out, and Skåne’s summers fly.

From: Schoolfield, George C., “Anders Österling: A Life for Literature” in World Literature Today, Vol. 55. No. 2, A Look at Chinese and African Letters (Spring, 1981), p. 243.

Date: 1933 (original in Swedish); 1981 (translation in English)

By: Anders Österling (1884-1981)

Translated by: George C. Schoolfield (1925- )

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Disenchanted by Eliza Harriet Keary

I took my heart up in my hand,
I climbed the hill,
That superb height on which you stand;
And my strung will
Found only sweet
The labour that it was to reach your feet.

I poured my life out at your feet;
I almost ceased
To breath or be; my heart scarce beat;
No flutter teased
My calm; strength fast
Struck through my soul, that worshipped, loved, at last.

But then I looked up at your face,
And your self spoke;
My stung soul shuddered from its place
As my love broke
Wild from its chain,
And rebegotten in the womb of pain.

I dragged my life up from the ground,
And went forth bare,
(I had not found, I had not found)
Through sharp, stern air
Alone I went,
Alone I go, through vast abandonment.

From: Keary, Eliza, Little Seal-skin, and Other Poems, 1874, George Bell and Sons: London, pp. 32-32.

Date: 1874

By: Eliza Harriet Keary (1827-1918)