Archive for February, 2019

Thursday, 28 February 2019

The Child in a Stranger’s Arms by Julia Palmer

Oh world, what means thy tempting charms
I’me like a litle Child
Infolded in, a strangers arms
whilst in thee, I am held

If the Child does, its father spy
it then can take no rest
But will strecth out, its arms, and cry
in’ts fathers arms to nest

Whatever you. to it can give
it will not satisfie
Nothing can to it give releife
But still t’will moane, and cry

Untill its father, do it take
and then its crys, doe cease
Its fathers arms can only make
it still, & be at peace

Oh pity Lord, my weary soull
still reaching after thee
And cannot rest, till thou condole
and strecth thine arms, to me

My soull cannot be quiet sung
with this worlds luluby
somthing There is that from thee sprung
that makes mee restlesly

Desire and long, once for to be
in thy sweet arms entwin’d
I cannot come, to reach att thee
whilst I am here confin’d

Thou hast more pity in thee Lord
then fathers, on the earth
I shall not then, be long in word
where is nought else, but dearth

Thy meaning’s hid, I know it not
but surely thou wilt own
Thy own desires thou’st in me wrought
and fecth me, to thy throne.

From: Millman, Jill Seal and Wright, Gillian (eds.), Early Modern Women’s Manuscript Poetry, 2005, Manchester University Press: Manchester and New York, pp. 171-172.

Date: 1671-1673

By: Julia Palmer (fl. 1671-1673)

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Christen Lyndesay to Ro. Hudsone by Christian Lindsay with rough translation by flusteredduck

Oft haive I hard, bot ofter fund it treu,
That courteours kyndnes lasts but for a vhyle.
Fra once ȝour turnes be sped, vhy then adeu,
ȝour promeist freindship passis in exyle.
Bot, Robene, faith, ȝe did me not beguyll;
I hopit ay of ȝou as of the lave:
If thou had with, thou wald haif mony a wyle,
To mak thy self be knaune for a knaive.
Montgomrie, that such hope did once conceave
Of thy guid-will, nou finds all is forgotten.
Thoght not bot kyndnes he did at the craiv,
He finds thy friendship as it rypis is rotten.
The smeikie smeithis cairs not his passit travel,
Bot leivis him lingring, déing of the gravell.

Oft have I heard, but oftener found it true,
That courteous kindness lasts but for a while.
For once your turn be sped, why then adieu,
Your promised friendship passes into exile.
But, Robin, faith, you did me beguile;
I hoped of you of all the many:
If you had wit, you would have many a wile,
To make yourself known for a knave.
Montgomerie, that such hope did once conceive
Of your good will, now finds all is forgotten.
Though nought but kindness he did from you crave,
He finds your friendship as it ripens is rotten.
The smoky smith cares not for his past work,
But leaves him lingering, dying of the gravel.

From: Stevenson, Jane and Davidson, Peter (eds.), Early Modern Women Poets (1520-1700): An Anthology, 2001, Oxford University Press: Oxford, pp. 83-84.

Date: 1580/86

By: Christian Lindsay (fl. 1580/86)

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

It’s High Time for Me to Sing by Cercamon

It’s high time for me to sing;
I have been slumbering so long
that my music wasn’t heard far away anymore,
but now I am waking up,
and I will keep retrieving my joy
against the Winter and the cold north wind.

I should not shun again that joy,
for it didn’t shine on me a single day
but today it springs deep in my heart
so that I go through people sighing
the desire that I have of a great love
and I can’t sleep nor stay awake, nor hear nor see because of it.

If ever I was kept awake by love
or startled and driven insane,
or changed by a changing woman,
now – be god and Saint John be praised! –
I go loving with a love such
as I’d never trade it for another one.

I don’t think this one deceives me
albeit I am not yet in her good graces,
nor have I lost my reason over her so much
that I’d ask or entreat her for anything,
small or great, here or there,
bad or good, this way or that.

I see her, so graceful and worthy,
and in her deeds is such distinction
that here I consider myself enriched
and there I shall be at her beck and call
night and day and [every] month and [every] year
for I am hers as I must be.

The verse is simple, and I am refining it
without trivial, false or preposterous words;
and it is put together so
that there aren’t but elegant words in it,
and now it is still improving
if there is someone to sing and present it well.


Date: c1140 (original in Occitan); 2006 (translation in English)

By: Cercamon (fl. c1135-1145)

Translated by: Leonardo Malcovati (19??- )

Monday, 25 February 2019

Send Your Spirit by Solomon ibn Gabirol

Send your spirit
to revive our corpses,
and ripple the longed-for
land again.

The crops come from you;
you’re good to all—
and always return
to restore what has been.


Date: c1035 (original in Hebrew); 2007 (translation in English)

By: Solomon ibn Gabirol (c1021-c1070)

Translated by: Peter Cole (1957- )

Sunday, 24 February 2019

Lausavisur 10 by Hallfreðr Óttarsson (vandræðaskáld)

The whole race of men to win
Óðinn’s grace has wrought poems
(I recall the exquisite
works of my forebears);
but with sorrow, for well did
Viðrir’s [Óðinn’s] power please the poet,
do I conceive hate for the first husband of
Frigg [Óðinn], now I serve Christ.


Date: 10th century (original in Old Norse); 2012 (translation in English)

By: Hallfreðr Óttarsson (vandræðaskáld) (c965-c1007)

Translated by: Diana Whaley (19??- )

Saturday, 23 February 2019

Another Episode Buried at Sea: Overhead by Jeanne Larsen

shearwaters veer, debating his chances, his girlish
facile infidelities, which they admire,
pass on. He passes on, or will, our mobile
Odysseus, remembering immemorial singers,
how they placed in the sea’s abyss the whole
in small: lie well & learn; feint & stay true;
forgotten is dry bones. But what song’s that
for a sailor boy, sea dog, pollywog, old tarpaulin,
storm-scoured gob? Those gals are fathomless.
Out of control, they break the code. They offer
mooring—a new unauthorized field of view.

Maybe sisters, maybe lovers, they show us
every song’s a chronicle of Sing!
Show, on their unnamed island, wasted Troy’s corpse.


Date: 2018

By: Jeanne Larsen (1950- )

Friday, 22 February 2019

Teasing Lu Chang, a Bridesmaid from Down South by Song Ruoshen

For the wedding, a mansion’s
tower—twelve floors
upheld by a turquoise sky:

our nubile hen, her virile mate,
stand ready, face
to face on their nuptial tree.

But immortal Mistress Couple-up
brings heaven’s decree
to the guards round the women’s rooms:

To this Han palace, here in the north,
don’t let that drawling
country music in!

From: Larsen, Jeanne (ed. and transl.), Willow, Wine, Mirror, Moon: Women’s Poems from Tang China, 2005, BOA Editions: New York, p. [unnumbered].

Date: c800 (original); 2005 (translation)

By: Song Ruoshen (768-820)

Translated by: Jeanne Larsen (1950- )

Thursday, 21 February 2019

Meeting in a Dream by Ōtomo no Yakamochi

Meeting in a dream
Is a cruel way to meet:
For you wake,
Suddenly groping, but nothing
Is there for your hand to touch.

From: Cranston, Edwin A. (ed. and transl.) The Gem-Glistening Cup: A Waka Anthology, 1993, Stanford University Press: Stanford, California, p. 441.

Date: c740 (original in Japanese); 1993 (translation in English)

By: Ōtomo no Yakamochi (c718-785)

Translated by: Edwin Augustus Cranston (1932- )

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Half-life by Rosie Breese

It comes upon you when you least expect it:
when you’re stepping out to the offy on a freezing night
and don’t stop to sniff the air or feel
the stars’ insane glimmer, and light-
footed you trip along as if nobody
could cancel out the mirrored knock
of your feet. The fireless clay.
The half-life of heat.


Date: 2009

By: Rosie Breese (1983- )

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Cormorants by Alan Feldman

The colder the wind, the more they seem to perch
in clusters, like a small minion
of hasids, or like Puritans at a burial.
And when they rise in fright,
they head off different ways,
a survival tactic programmed into their genes
from back when they were dinosaurs.

They eat and eat,
without the gaucherie of chewing,
fish as large as they can swallow.
And in China, where they may fish for decades,
wearing a ring constricting their necks,
they are honored in old age with a pension,
living with imprinted loyalty with their human families,
and eating any sized fish they want.

Look at their long necks as they fly:
like living crosses. And notice how,
when they ride amidst the waves,
they dive all the way under, at home
in an element that isn’t theirs.
Watch them dry their wings in the breeze
like laundry––black laundry––
lest, having no oil in their feathers,
they grow logy and drown.

Can you say they are really of the devil?
Part of the bargain we make
to live on this hostile and abundant sea?
When we see them perched
amidst the stench of whatever boat they meet on,
fouling their resting place with vital abandon,
their wings stretched wide in the sun,
we have to remember they are birds,
hoisting the same black flag
of survival that we hoist,
hungry beings that we are.


Date: 2015

By: Alan Feldman (19??- )