Archive for June, 2019

Sunday, 30 June 2019

Sea Sand by Louise Morey Bowman

Between the rhythmical, unfathomed sea,
And the rich, warm fecundity of land
There lies the sand,
The shifting sand of beach and dune,
Pure, strange, sea dust, so alien to green earth,
With its brown furrows that the ploughman makes
Ready for sowers – and for miracle.

Here on the sand,
I lie and watch the coarse sea-grass that creeps
Like an adventurer along the dunes,
With wild pea-vines that bravely cling and spread
Tenacious tendrils in this sterile soil …
A barren mockery of useful bloom.

I let a little handful of the sand
Drift slowly through my fingers, and I see
Its myriad tiny atoms – shells and stones
That long ago the great waves tossed and ground
To starry powder on the rocky ledge.

At sunset out on the wet, shining sand
Left by the ebbing tide, rare colours fall,
And linger there as if they loved the sand.
Who dreams at noontide that its level ways
Can hold such colour: rose and turquoise green,
Purple and gold, and even a crimson glow
Just for a moment, till the splendour dies …

Then the moon, silvery and alone, shines down
Upon the sand – pure, strange, sea-dust of Time.

From: Trehearne, Brian (ed.), Canadian Poetry 1920 to 1960, 2010, McClelland & Stewart: Toronto, p. 19.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=5YgppDd6JQcC)

Date: 1922

By: Louise Morey Bowman (1882-1944)

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Saturday, 29 June 2019

In These Dark Waters by Maeda Ringai

In these dark waters
drawn up from
my frozen well…
glittering of spring.

From: Beilenson, Peter (ed. and transl.), Japanese Haiku, 1955, Peter Pauper Press: Mount Vernon, New York, p. 7.
(https://www.sacred-texts.com/shi/jh/index.htm)

Date: c1890 (original in Japanese); 1955 (translation in English)

By: Maeda Ringai (1864-1946)

Translated by: Peter Beilenson (1905-1962)

Friday, 28 June 2019

Moon Sitting by Hui Yung

High mountain cascades froth.
This wild temple owns few lamps.
Sit facing the glitter
of the moon: out of season
heart of ice.

From: Seaton, Jerome P. and Maloney, Dennis (eds.), A Drifting Poet: An Anthology of Chinese Zen Poetry, 1994, White Pine Press: Fredonia, New York, p. 19.
(https://books.google.com.au/books/about/A_drifting_boat.html?id=cUNkAAAAMAAJ)

Date: 4th century (original); 1994 (translation)

By: Hui Yung (332-414)

Translated by: Jerome P. Seaton (1941- )

Thursday, 27 June 2019

Take From My Palms Some Sun to Bring You Joy by Osip Emilyevich Mandelstam

Take from my palms some sun to bring you joy
and take a little honey – so the bees
of cold Persephone commanded us.

No loosing of the boat that is not moored,
no hearing of the shadow shod in fur,
no overcoming fear in life’s dense wood.

And kisses are all that’s left us now,
kisses as hairy as the little bees
who perish if they fly out of the hive.

They rustle in transparent depths of night,
their home dense forests on Taigetos’ slopes,
their food is honeysuckle, mint and time.

So for your joy receive my savage gift,
a dry and homely necklace of dead bees
who have transmuted honey into sun.

November 1920

From: http://www.stosvet.net/12/france/

Date: 1920 (original in Russian); 2011 (translation in English)

By: Osip Emilyevich Mandelstam (1891-1938)

Translated by: Peter France (1935- )

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

On Transience by Gavrila Derzhavin

Time’s river in its rushing course
carries away all human things,
drowns in oblivion’s abyss
peoples and kingdoms and their kings.

And if the trumpet or the lyre
should rescue something, small or great,
eternity will gulp it down
and it will share the common fate.

(July 1816, written on a slate a few days or perhaps only hours before Derzhavin’s death)

From: Chandler, Robert; Dralyuk, Boris; and Mashinski, Irina (eds.), The Penguin Book of Russian Poetry, 2015, Penguin Random House UK: London, p. 28.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=V8xbBAAAQBAJ)

Date: 1816 (original in Russian); 2015 (translation in English)

By: Gavrila Derzhavin (1743-1816)

Translated by: Peter France (1935- )

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Instruction, Final: To Brown Poets from Black Girl with Silver Leica by Nikky (Lynn Carol) Finney

Be camera, black-eyed aperture. Be diamondback terrapin, the only animal
that can outrun a hurricane. Be 250 million years old. Be isosceles. Sirius.
Rhapsody. Hogon. Dogon. Hubble. Stay hot. Create a pleasure that can stir
up the world. Study the moon with a pencil. Drink the ephemerides. Lay with
the almanacs. Become the lunations. Look up the word southing before you
use it in a sentence. Know southing is not a verb. Imitate them remarkable
days. Locate all your ascending nodes. Chew eight times before you swallow
the lyrics and silver Lamentations of James Brown, Abbey Lincoln, Al Green,
Curtis Mayfield, and Aretha. Hey! Watch your language! Two and a Quarter
is not the same as Deuce and a Quarter. Two-fisted is not two-faced. Remember:
One monkey don’t stop no show. Let your fat belly be quilts of quietus. Pass
on what the great winemakers know: The juice is not made in the vats but in
the vineyard. Keep yourself rooted in the sun, rain, and darkly camphored air.
Grow until you die, but before you do, leave your final kiss: Lay mint or orange
eucalyptus garland, double tuck these lips. Careful to the very end what you
deny, dismiss, & cut away.

I have spoken the best I know how.

From: https://womensvoicesforchange.org/poetry-sunday-instruction-final-to-brown-poets-from-black-girl-with-silver-leica-by-nikky-finney.htm

Date: 2011

By: Nikki (Lynn Carol) Finney (1957- )

Monday, 24 June 2019

Testimony of Baby Haydova by Seni Seneviratne

Beirut – 14th August 2006

In days to come I may grow older
learn to speak the names for anger, fear, forgiveness

but these days all I know is how my mother often
holds my face so tight against her that I feel

the tremors of her heartbeat pumping through my veins.
The smell of her blood will never leave me.

Take your picture now
then tell me why I have been saved.

From: https://badilishapoetry.com/seni-seneviratne/#inline1

Date: 2006

By: Seni Seneviratne (19??- )

Sunday, 23 June 2019

Another Country by James Harrison

I love these raw moist dawns with
a thousand birds you hear but can’t
quite see in the mist.
My old alien body is a foreigner
struggling to get into another country.
The loon call makes me shiver.
Back at the cabin I see a book
and am not quite sure what that is.

From: https://lithub.com/where-is-jim-harrison-seven-poems-from-a-master/

Date: 2016

By: James Harrison (1937-2016)

Saturday, 22 June 2019

You May Have Heard of Me by Shazea Quraishi

My father was a bear.
He carried me through forest, sky
and over frozen sea. At night
I lay along his back
wrapped in fur and heat
and while I slept, he ran,
never stopping to rest, never
letting me fall.
He showed me how to be as careful as stone,
sharp as thorn and quick
as weather. When he hunted alone
he’d leave me somewhere safe – high up a tree
or deep within a cave.
And then a day went on …
He didn’t come.
I looked and looked for him.
The seasons changed and changed again.
Sleep became my friend. It even brought my father back.
The dark was like his fur,
the sea’s breathing echoed his breathing.
I left home behind, an empty skin.
Alone, I walked taller, balanced better.
So I came to the gates of this city
—tall, black gates with teeth.
Here you find me, keeping my mouth small,
hiding pointed teeth and telling stories,
concealing their truth as I conceal
the thick black fur on my back.

From: https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2015/may/18/poem-of-the-week-shazea-quraishi

Date: 2015

By: Shazea Quraishi (19??- )

Friday, 21 June 2019

Saving Daylight by C. M. Davidson-Pickett

Suppose for a moment you live in a land,
Amazed at what happens during summer solstice.
Very strange things begin to occur,
Instantly, there is little darkness,
Night that we are so used to
Gone; what is left is the brilliant colors.

Daylight from dusk to dawn to dusk again,
Alight in all its energy and brightness.
Yes, we are north of the sixtieth parallel;
Land of the midnight sun.
I have been here before and seen things,
Gazed upon the horizon, waiting for darkness to reappear,
Holding on to summer in all its life, love and beauty;
To see it ebb once more as daylight fades to night.

From: https://www.poetrysoup.com/poem/saving_daylight_638838

Date: 2015

By: C. M. Davidson-Pickett (19??- )