Archive for February, 2018

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Judgement by T. Carmi (Carmi Charney)

I am sitting on the boat deck, and I see:
our handiwork drowning in the sea.
The works and the hands,
words from mouth to mouth,
your brow, eye to eye,
awake and asleep as the question fades.
And nothing differentiates
between the day-sky and the night-sky –
all are drowning in this sea
that swells before our eyes.
I speak poetry
because we have no other language.
Had one been found for us,
perhaps we would not have been doomed to water.


Date: 1981 (original in Hebrew); 2013 (translation in English)

By: T. Carmi (Carmi Charney) (1925-1994)

Translated by: Vivian Sohn Eden (194?- )

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

The Sun by Yehuda Alharizi

Look: the sun has spread its wings
over the earth to dispel the darkness.

Like a great tree, with its roots in heaven,
and its branches reaching down to the earth.


Date: c1219 (original in Hebrew); 1981 (translation in English)

By: Yehuda Alharizi (1165-1225)

Translated by: T. Carmi (Carmi Charney) (1925-1994)

Monday, 26 February 2018

Love by Ariwara no Narihara

Composed during a drizzle and sent to a lady whom he had secretly been secretly wooing since early in the Third Month.

Having passed the night
neither waking nor sleeping,
I have spent the day
brooding and watching the rain—
the unending rain of spring.

From: Carter, Steven D. (ed.), Traditional Japanese Poetry: An Anthology, 1991, Stanford University Press: Stanford, California, p. 79.

Date: 9th century (original in Japanese); 1985 (translation in English)

By: Ariwara no Narihara (825-880)

Translated by: Helen Craig McCullough (1918-1998)

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Spring Morning by Meng Hoaran

Spring naps, unconscious of the dawn.
Everywhere, birdsong.
Night sounds, wind, and rain.
How many petals, fallen?

From: Cheng, François (ed.), Chinese Poetic Writing, 2017, The Chinese University Press: Hong Kong, p. [unnumbered].

Date: 8th century (original); 1982 (translation)

By: Meng Hoaran (689/691-740)

Translated by: Jerome Potter Seaton (19??- )

Saturday, 24 February 2018

Epigram V by Leonidas of Tarentum

Often she shook off evening and morning sleep,
The old woman Platthís, so she could keep
Poverty far distant; grizzled and grayed,
To distaff and to spindle, spinner’s aide,
She sang until the dawn around the place
Of the long course of Athena, moving with grace,
Twirling in wrinkled hand on wrinkled knee
Enough thread for the loom; lovely was she,
At eighty years the Acheron perceiving,
Who, beautiful, was beautifully weaving.

From: Fain, Gordon L., Ancient Greek Epigrams: Major Poets in Verse Translation, 2010, University of California Press: Berkeley, Los Angeles and London, p. 52.

Date: 3rd century BCE (original in Greek); 2010 (translation in English)

By: Leonidas of Tarentum (3rd century BCE)

Translated by: Gordon L. Fain (19??- )

Friday, 23 February 2018

Voyage by Mark Irwin

When we could no longer walk or explore, we decided to wear
the maps and would sit talking, pointing to places, sometimes
touching mountains, canyons, deserts on each other’s body,
and that was how we fell in love again, sitting next to
each other in the home that was not our home, writing letters
with crooked words, crooked lines we handed back and forth,
the huge hours and spaces between us growing smaller and smaller.


Date: 2017

By: Mark Irwin (19??- )

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Under the Vulture-Tree by David Bottoms

We have all seen them circling pastures,
have looked up from the mouth of a barn, a pine clearing,
the fences of our own backyards, and have stood
amazed by the one slow wing beat, the endless dihedral drift.
But I had never seen so many so close, hundreds,
every limb of the dead oak feathered black,

and I cut the engine, let the river grab the jon boat
and pull it toward the tree.
The black leaves shined, the pink fruit blossomed
red, ugly as a human heart.
Then, as I passed under their dream, I saw for the first time
its soft countenance, the raw fleshy jowls
wrinkled and generous, like the faces of the very old
who have grown to empathize with everything.

And I drifted away from them, slow, on the pull of the river,
reluctant, looking back at their roost,
calling them what I’d never called them, what they are,
those dwarfed transfiguring angels,
who flock to the side of the poisoned fox, the mud turtle
crushed on the shoulder of the road,
who pray over the leaf-graves of the anonymous lost,
with mercy enough to consume us all and give us wings.


Date: 1987

By: David Bottoms (1949- )

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

John Peel by John Woodcock Graves

D’ye ken John Peel, with his coat so gay?
D’ye ken John Peel at the break of the day?
D’ye ken John Peel, when he’s far far away,
With his hounds and his horn in the morning.

For the sound of his horn brought me from my bed.
And the cry of the hounds which he oft times led,
Peel’s view hol-loo would awaken the dead,
Or his fox from his lair in the morning.

Yes, I ken John Peel, and Ruby too,
Ranter and Ringwood, Bell-man and True,
From a find to a check, from a check to a view.
From a view to a death in the morning.


Then here’s to John Peel, from my heart and soul.
Let’s drink to his health let’s finish the bowl,
We’ll follow John Peel thro’ fair thro’ foul.
If we want a good hunt in the morning.


D’ye ken John Peel, with his coat so gay,
He lived at Trout-beck once on a day,
Now he has gone far far away,
We shall ne’er hear his voice in the morning.



Date: 1824

By: John Woodcock Graves (1795-1886)

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

The Contented Cuckold by George Colman

First printed in the St. JAMES’s CHRONICLE, Saturday, March 28, 1767.

Harry with Johnny’s wife intrigues,
And all the world perceives it:
John forms with Harry such close leagues,
Who’d think that he believes it?

Contented Cuckold! but, alas,
This is poor Johnny’s curse:
If he don’t see it, he’s an Ass;
And if he does, he’s worse.

From: Colman, George, Prose on Several Occasions: Accompanied with Some Pieces in Verse, 2011, University of Michigan Library: Ann Arbor, Michigan, p. 316.

Date: 1767

By: George Colman (1732-1794)

Monday, 19 February 2018

To the Envious by John Andrews

Scarce Hell itself could conster1 that for ill,
Which—damnèd—thou—to satisfie thy will—
Hast ur’gd—I know— as an extreame offence,
Against unguiltie, harmlesse Innocence.
Which hath by some,—too credulous weake men—
—Out of their wisdomes—been found faulty; when
Had they been masters but of so much sight,
As to distinguish betweene day and night,
They had beene lesse injurious, or more just;
But to such judges must the guilty trust,
Whil’st Innocence must suffer; yet not so
But it may live to see their overthrow
Who moale-like heave unseene, till at the last
Their working be discover’d and they cast
Out of their hollow trenches, and withal
Trod on by them, whom they desir’d might fall;
Then shall your sable cacodæmon be
Hang’d with a twigge upon some willow tree;
To all which envious undermining slaves
I wish no fairer ends, no better graves.

1. Conster – construe.

From: Andrews, John and Grosart, Alexander B. (ed.), The Fuller Worthies’ Library: The Anatomie of Baseness (1615), 1871, Private Circulation: Blackshire, Lancashire, p. 53.

Date: 1615

By: John Andrews (fl. 1615-1655)