Archive for January, 2019

Thursday, 31 January 2019

Bitter, As I Know Too Well… by Kata Szidónia Petrőczy

Bitter, as I know too well, was my beginning;
Bitter was the orphaned course of my upbringing;
Bitter, sad, would be the time of my wing-taking;
Bitter till I die my heart will go on aching.
Since my heart with sadness as in smoke is smothered,
I, as if a thing, to fate and chance being tethered,
To a cruelty self-renewing and unwithered;
Pain burns on in me, unlucky and unmothered.

From: Ozsváth, Zsuzsanna and Turner, Frederick (eds. and transls.), Light Within the Shade: Eight Hundred Years of Hungarian Poetry, 2014, Syracuse University Press: Syracuse, New York, p. 14.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=l23iAwAAQBAJ)

Date: 1681-1683 (original in Hungarian); 2014 (translation in English)

By: Kata Szidónia Petrőczy (1662-1708)

Translated by: Zsuzsanna Ozsváth (1931- ) and Frederick Turner (1943- )

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Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Brilliant and Lovely Eyes by Veronica Gambara

Brilliant and lovely eyes
How can it be that in one single instant
You give birth to so many varied moods?

Happy and sad, exalted, humble, proud—
You shine forth in a flash, in which, with hope
And fear you fill me full,
And many other sweet effects—bitter and wild—
All come together in a heart on fire
With you, when you desire.

Now that you are both life and death to me,
O joyful eyes, O blessed eyes and dear,
Be evermore serene, happy and clear.

From: Stortoni, Laura Anna and Lillie, Mary Prentice (eds. and transls.), Women Poets of the Italian Renaissance: Courtly Ladies and Courtesans, 1997, Italica Press: New York, p. 33.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=lFT7Y5TDEUgC)

Date: c1530 (original in Italian); 1997 (translation in English)

By: Veronica Gambara (1485-1550)

Translated by: Laura Anna Stortoni (1942- ) and Mary Prentice Lillie Barrows (1906-1998)

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

The Hosts of Faery by Anonymous

White shields they carry in their hands,
With emblems of pale silver;
With glittering blue swords,
With mighty stout horns.

In well-devised battle array,
Ahead of their fair chieftain
They march amid blue spears,
Pale-visaged, curly-headed bands.

They scatter the battalions of the foe,
They ravage every land they attack,
Splendidly they march to combat,
A swift, distinguished, avenging host!

No wonder though their strength be great:
Sons of queens and kings are one and all;
On their heads are
Beautiful golden-yellow manes.

With smooth comely bodies,
With bright blue-starred eyes,
With pure crystal teeth,
With thin red lips.

Good they are at man-slaying,
Melodious in the ale-house,
Masterly at making songs,
Skilled at playing fidchell.

From: Meyer, Kuno (ed. and transl.), Selections from Ancient Irish Poetry, 1911, Constable & Company: London, p. 20.
(https://www.gutenberg.org/files/32030/32030-h/32030-h.htm)

Date: 12th century (original in Gaelic); 1911 (translation in English)

By: Anonymous

Translated by: Kuno Meyer (1858-1919)

Monday, 28 January 2019

Our Silence by Julian Farmer

Every moment of silence is beautiful.
And then, on the silence, is played
a tune:

something traditional, earthy,
with a lilt, a poise, in the silence,
the simplest tune.

And love is like that…
It plays on the silence, becomes its theme
and conjoins.

Our hearts beat a pulse,
meter the silence, playing the tune
of our years.

From: https://thegalwayreview.com/2016/07/08/julian-farmer-five-poems-translations/

Date: 2016

By: Julian Farmer (19??- )

Sunday, 27 January 2019

River Song by Li Zhiyi

To the tune of Busuanzi (Calculating the Future)

I live at the head of the long Yangtze.
He lives in its furthest reaches.
I think of him, each day, but we never meet.
The drink we share is the Yangtze water.

When will these waters come to rest,
or my regrets finally end?
I only hope his heart’s like mine.
Surely, we won’t betray our longings!

From: https://www.litro.co.uk/2012/09/river-song-by-li-zhiyi-1035-1117/

Date: 11th century (original); 2012 (translation)

By: Li Zhiyi (1035-1117)

Translated by: Julian Farmer (19??- )

Saturday, 26 January 2019

Sydney Cove, 1788 by Roderic Quinn

She sat on the rocks, her fireless eyes
Teased and tired with the thoughts of yore;
And paining her sense were alien skies,
An alien sea and an alien shore.

In gold-green dusks she glimpsed new flowers
And the glittering wings of gleaming birds —
But haunting her still were English bowers
And the clinging sweetness of old love-words.

A soft breeze murmured of unknown shores
And laughed as it touched her with fingers light,
But she mourned the more for the wind that roars
Down sullen coasts on a northern night.

Like topaz gems on a sable dome
The stranger stars stole shyly forth;
She saw no stars like the stars of home
That burned, white-fired, in the frosty north.

A restless sea was at her feet,
A restless sea of darkest blue;
The lights burned dimly on The Fleet,
And these were all the ships it knew.

She watched the dark tides rise and fall,
The lion-tides that, night and noon,
Range round the world, and moan and call
In sad sea-voices to the moon.

Thus while she watched they ebbed and flowed;
Till last with sudden splendour Day
Lit all the scene with gold, and showed
An arrow black on a garb of grey.

From: Quinn, Roderic, Poems, 2003, University of Sydney Library: Sydney, p. 18.
(http://setis.library.usyd.edu.au/ozlit/pdf/quipoem.pdf)

Date: 1920

By: Roderic Quinn (1867-1949)

Friday, 25 January 2019

Dark Matter by Jack Elliott Myers

I’ve lived my life as if I were my wife
packing for a trip—I’ll need this and that
and I can’t possibly do without that!

But now I’m about
what can be done without.
I just need a thin valise.

There’s no place on earth
where I can’t unpack in a flash
down to a final spark of consciousness.

No place where I can’t enter
the joyless rapture
of almost remembering

I’ll need this and I’ll need that,
hoping to weigh less than silence,
lighter than light.

From: http://numerocinqmagazine.com/2011/07/22/from-the-memory-of-water-poems-by-jack-myers/

Date: 2009

By: Jack Elliott Myers (1941-2009)

Thursday, 24 January 2019

I Must Be A God by Gregory Fraser

just look how the whole Atlantic sprays my feet with kisses
a god
or a matador at least
sidestepping month after month
charges of the two-horned moon

I might have been one of those unfortunates forced
to live below a sky without color or cloud
under a flaming cipher

or one of the innocents torn from their beds like crabmeat from shells

Something always clued me though
when to hide or run
and you see
I had the patience of a cathedral step

Were I a pebble I would disturb your window
sleep
bearing words of apologetic longing

I am not

Were I mud clinging to a bank afraid of drowning
I would cry out for chivalrous compassion

No
I must be a god

A nameless weight kin to love loss slows the blood of many

but look at the overjoy of thrashers
my state birds
rushing toward me

Even in my absence they hurtle toward the big bay
windows of my twice
mortgaged temple

and leave as offerings head feathers stuck to the glass!

From: http://32poems.com/poem/gregory-fraser/

Date: 2014

By: Gregory Fraser (19??- )

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

The Liberal Christ Gives an Interview by Adrian Mitchell

I would have walked on the water
But I wasn’t fully insured
And the BMA sent a writ my way
With the very first leper I cured.

Would’ve preached a golden sermon
But I didn’t like the look of the Mount
And I would’ve fed fifty thousand
But the Press wasn’t there to count.

And the businessmen in the temple
Had a team of coppers on the door
And if I’d spent a year in the desert
I’d have lost my pension for sure.

I would’ve turned the water into wine
But they weren’t giving licences
And I would have died and been crucified
But like – you know how it is.

I’m going to shave off my beard
And cut my hair
Buy myself some bullet-proof
underwear
I’m the Liberal Christ
And I’ve got no blood to spare.

From: https://www.marxists.org/history/etol/newspape/isj/1967/no028/mitchell2.htm

Date: 1967

By: Adrian Mitchell (1932-2008)

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Feathers by Leo Vroman

Women have twisted wings,
they sadly finger their sky.
Where chickens would smilingly fly
they sit and flutter at things.

When their withered feathers fall
cold makes women think
and sadnesses cover us all
and feathers, scented with pink.

Bald wings, revealing old skin,
are tender to behold
as the ivory membranes unfold
with a spray of fishbones within,
when the aged women die
and soar like blushing bats
clad in coats and battered hats
to obliterate the sky.

From: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/browse?volume=75&issue=6&page=14

Date: 1950

By: Leo Vroman (1915-2014)