Archive for May, 2016

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

At One Glance by Mihri Khatun

At one glance
I loved you
With a thousand hearts

They can hold against me
No sin except my love for you
Come to me
Don’t go away

Let the zealots think
Loving is sinful
Never mind
Let me burn in the hellfire
Of that sin.

From: Halman, Talât Sait and Warner, Jayne L. (eds.), Nightingales & Pleasure Gardens: Turkish Love Poems, 2005, Syracuse University Press: Syracuse: New York, p. 35.

Date: c1480 (original); 2005 (translation)

By:Mihri Khatun (14??-1506)

Translated by: Talât Sait Halman (1931-2014)

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Hymn to Adonis by Praxilla

[The Shades of the Underworld ask Adonis, “What was the most beautiful thing you left behind?” He answers:]

Most beautiful of things I leave is sunlight.
Then come glazing stars and the moon’s face.
Then ripe cucumbers and apples and pears.

From: Barnstone, Aliki and Barnstone, Willis (eds.), A Book of Women Poets from Antiquity to Now, 1980, Schocken Books: New York, p. 43.

Date: 5th century BCE (original); 1980 (translation)

By: Praxilla (5th century BCE)

Translated by: Willis Barnstone (1927- )

Monday, 9 May 2016

Selene in the South by John Laurence Rentoul (Gervaise Gage)

(On first seeing the ” New Moon ” rise over an Australian mountain-range.)

O fair young Moon, that risest on my sight
Clad in thy naked beauty white and pure,
A haunting sweet surprise, hopes that endure
Leap up to greet thee in my heart to-night!
Long, long ago I hailed thee, radiant-bright,
In the cold North: above thee, strong and sure,
Steadfast ‘midst darkling storms or mists that lure,
Gleamed guardant the Great Bear’s calm eyes of light.
New Heavens are o’er thee. New stars kneel and shine
At thy fair feet. Nay, thou wilt not forget
Endymion’s kiss that thrilled back joy to thine!
Here is no Latmos*; but, more lustrous yet,
Our South heights hail thee: for thy fairer crown
The Great Cross sheds on thee his splendour down.

Note: Endymion was said to have been the lover of the goddess of the moon, Selene, in Greek mythology. Selene saw and fell in love with him on Mount Latmos (or Latmus).

From: Gage, Gervaise (J. Laurence Rentoul), From Far Lands: Poems of North and South, 1914, MacMillan and Co: London, p. 67.

Date: 1914

By: John Laurence Rentoul (Gervaise Gage) (1846-1926)

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Neither Here nor There by William Robert Rodgers

In that land all is, and nothing’s Ought;
No owners or notices, only birds;
No walls anywhere, only lean wire of words
Worming brokenly out from eaten thought;
No oats growing, only ankle-lace grass
Easing and not resenting the feet that pass;
No enormous beasts, only names of them;
No bones made, bans laid, or boons expected,
No contracts, entails, or hereditaments,
Anything at all that might tie or hem.

In that land, all’s lackadaisical;
No lakes of coddled spawn, and no locked ponds
Of settled purpose, no netted fishes;
But only inkling streams and running fronds,
Fritillaried with dreams, weedy with wishes;
Nor arrogant talk is heard, haggling phrase,
But undertones, and hesitance, and haze;
On clear days mountains of meaning are seen
Humped high on the horizon; no one goes
To con their meaning, no one cares or knows.

In that land all’s flat, indifferent; there
Is neither springing house nor hanging tent,
No aims are entertained, and nothing is meant,
For there are no ends, and no trends, no roads,
Only follow your nose to anywhere.
No one is born there, no one stays or dies,
For it is a timeless land, it lies
Between the act and the attrition, it
Marks off bound from rebound, make from break, tit
From tat, also today from tomorrow.
No Cause there comes to term, but each departs
Elsewhere to whelp its deeds, expel its darts;
There are no homecomings, of course, no goodbyes
In that land, neither yearning nor scorning,
Though at night there is the smell of morning.


Date: 1942

By: William Robert Rodgers (1909-1969)

Saturday, 7 May 2016

A Fire-Side Fancy by John William Burgon

Oft as, at night, I sit and muse alone,
Bound by the spell of some enchanting page —
Bard of old Greece, or half inspir’d sage —
My kindl’d fancy takes a wayward tone:
And straight, I hear what seems the midnight moan
Of some poor restless ghost; — or, it may be,
The distant roaring of the sleepless sea; —
Or unchain’d winds that howl from zone to zone.
Hark! is it not a voice? There seem’d to come
A soft sad wail; — but now, such carol wild
As a young Mother chaunteth to her child
Steals o’er the sense. — Go to — it is the hum
Of a huge city! while I thus inquire,
I turn, and find — the kettle near the fire!

Worcester College,
13th Dec., 1844.

From: Burgon, John William, Petra, A Poem. Second Edition. To Which a Few Short Poems Are Now Added, 1846, F. MacPherson: Oxford, p. 56.

Date: 1844

By: John William Burgon (1813-1888)

Friday, 6 May 2016

The Female Patriots, Address’d to the Daughters of Liberty in America, 1768 by Hannah Griffitts

Since the Men from a Party, on fear of a Frown,
Are kept by a Sugar-Plumb, quietly down.
Supinely asleep, & deprived of their Sight
Are stripped of their Freedom, and robbed of their Right.
If the Sons (so degenerate) the Blessing despise,
Let the Daughters of Liberty, nobly arise,
And tho’ we’ve no Voice, but a negative here.
The use of the Taxables, let us forebear,
(Then Merchants import till yr. Stores are all full
May the Buyers be few & yr. Traffic be dull.)
Stand firmly resolved & bid Grenville [English Minister George] to see
That rather than Freedom, we’ll part with our Tea.
And well as we love the dear Draught when a dry,
As American Patriots, our Taste we deny,
Sylvania’s, gay Meadows, can richly afford,
To pamper our Fancy, or furnish our Board,
And Paper sufficient (at home) still we have,
To assure the Wise-acre, we will not sign Slave.
When this Homespun shall fail, to remonstrate our Grief
We can speak with the Tongue or scratch on a Leaf.
Refuse all their Colors, the richest of Dye,
The juice of a Berry – our Paint can supply,
To humour our Fancy – and as for our Houses,
They’ll do without painting as well as our Spouses,
While to keep out the Cold of a keen winter Morn
We can screen the Northwest, with a well polished Horn,
And trust me a Woman by honest Invention
Might give this State Doctor a Dose of Prevention.
Join mutual in this, & but small as it seems
We may Jostle a Grenville & puzzle his Schemes
But a motive more worthy our patriot Pen,
Thus acting – we point out their Duty to Men,
And should the bound Pensioners, tell us to hush
We can throw back the Satire by biding them blush.


Date: 1768

By: Hannah Griffitts (1727-1817)

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Excerpt from “The historie of that wise and fortunate prince, Henrie of that name the seventh, King of England With that famed battaile, fought betweene the sayd King Henry and Richard the third named Crookbacke, upon Redmoore neere Bosworth. In a poem” by Charles Aleyn

And thus he spoke. If punishment, and sinne
Are borne at once, then cannot Richard dreame,
But that in Heav’n his hath for vengeance beene:
For murders have low’d voyces, and the Steame,
Which fumes from blood, doth teare the clouds in sunder
Such exhalations can breed nought but thunder.

Thinke that you heare his slaughterd Brother cry,
And beg your almes of vengeance on his brother:
Thinke that you see his Nephewes smothered lye
In Bed, exchanging one sleepe for another.
And now heele wed his Neece, as if he wou’d
Be more alli’de by sinne, than by his Blood.

On Crooke-backe as a Malefactour looke,
Abstracted from the Title of a King:
But view your selves as Instruments, are tooke
By Heav’ns corrective hand vengeance to bring.
Be Bold: there can be no resistance made,
When Justice striketh with a Souldiers blade.

This is the Point of time: you must strike home;
Judgement holds execution by the hilt:
His sinnes are ripe, and to their growth are come;
His blood is now prepar’d to wash his gilt.
Vengeance doth surely, ‘though but slowly tread,
And strikes with Iron, ‘though it walkes with lead.

Dare, what they thinke you dare not: for that thought
Makes the act easie, ’cause they think not so:
The ends at which we levell, will be brought
Under command, if we but dare to doe
The hardnesse of an act as often springs
From our Imagination, as the things.

If you feare death, you shall decline that feare
By change of Object: pitch your thoughts upon
Those Garlands, which victorious you shall weare:
Graspe conquest in your apprehension.
No other qualities can be exprest,
When th’ Instruments of sense are prepossest.

You mannage death by facing it; blowes shun
Those that present themselves to meete a wound:
Death’s a Coy Mistresse, court her she’s not wonne,
Of those which sought her, she was rarely found.
Who shewes his backe to danger soonest dies,
The shadow of death from her pursuer flies.

Though his assaults be feirce, the charges hot
Partaking of that wild-fire, which doth glow
In Richards bosome; yet conceit them not
Certaine presages of an overthrow.
Sharpe maladies, and hardest to endure,
Have not in Physicke their predictions sure.

Feare not his numbers: Victories consist
In mindes, not multitudes: most of their part
Favour our cause, and coldly will resist:
Feare not the hand, assured of the heart.
Be wisely bold, and like a Center stand,
And fly with Brutus, not with foote, but hand,

Flight may be their security, and though
They vanquish not, they know there is a meane
Betweene a Trophee, and a Grave: but you
Are in a certeine desperatenesse betweene
Conquest and death: you must not doubt to dye
Though Fortune doubts to give the Victory.

From: Aleyn, Charles, The historie of that wise and fortunate prince, Henrie of that name the seventh, King of England With that famed battaile, fought betweene the sayd King Henry and Richard the third named Crookbacke, upon Redmoore neere Bosworth. In a poem, 2005, Text Creation Partnership: Ann Arbor, Michigan and Oxford, pp. 18-21.

Date: 1638

By: Charles Aleyn (????-c1640)

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Sonnet 47 by Bartholomew Griffin

I see, I hear, I feel, I know, I rue
My fate, my fame, my pain, my loss, my fall;
Mishap, reproach, disdain, a crown, her hue;
Cruel, still flying, false, fair, funeral,
To cross, to shame, bewitch, deceive, and kill
My first proceedings in their flowing bloom.
My worthless pen fast chainèd to my will,
My erring life through an uncertain doom,
My thoughts that yet in lowliness do mount,
My heart the subject of her tyranny:
What now remains, but her severe account
Of murder’s crying guilt (foul butchery!)
She was unhappy in her cradle breath,
That given was to be another’s death.


Date: 1596

By: Bartholomew Griffin (fl. 1596)

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

My Eyes Have Seen and Chosen by Meinloh of Sevelingen

My eyes have seen and chosen     for me a handsome youth
And other women envy     my fortune but, in truth,
I only seek to show him     that I am sweet and kind
and to this end give over     my heart and all my mind.
Whoever held his favor     before he was my own
has lost him with good reason,
yet I’ll feel only sorrow     to see her stand alone.

From: Walsøe-Engel, Ingrid (ed.), German Poetry from the Beginnings to 1750, 1992, Continuum: New York, p. 21.

Date: 12th century (original); 1992 (translation)

By: Meinloh of Sevelingen (12th century)

Translated by: J. W. Thomas (19??- )

Monday, 2 May 2016

Power by Susan Eisenberg

While her classmates cut in panels, bent pipe,
worked from blueprints, the black girl
ran for coffee, rustled stock, drilled
ceiling anchors by the mile, and swept
the shanty out; often worked alone. So,

when she was paired with a crackerjack
mechanic, a brother, and the foreman asked
how they’d like to disconnect
a transformer, high voltage, placing the cutters
in her palms, she leapt
like a racehorse out the starting gate.

The white boss walked them over to where the end
of cable lay in flaccid loop. Lifted it to show
the circle of fresh-cut copper, round
and wide-eyed as a shiny dollar coin: proof
the power was dead. She was fired up.

But Omar, bless that man, had to teach.
They walked the length of the site
and back, retrieved his meter, as he explained
good practice: test equipment, take no one’s word.

The meter buzzed: 480 live.

The two looked down; saw wet mud
beneath their boots. Looked up:
white faces –– like in a postcard
from a lynching –– gathered
on the ledge above
to watch.


Date: 2013

By: Susan Eisenberg (19??- )