Archive for ‘General’

Tuesday, 13 December 2022

By Lantern Light by Clem Christesen

It was such fun,
with lantern light
agleam, to hollow out the night
of years and dream
again, again, again
of canefields washed by rain,
and we two strolling arm in arm
from riverside to farm,
past crushing mills a blaze,
through lantana lanes to laze
on fragrant grass, and listening hear
the rumble of the wheels
borne on molasses-sweetened air ;
and when the light took sudden flight,
and blue-grey
mantles of the night
were spread o’er day,
then lantern gleam
would seem
to leap and dance ahead,
while at our muted tread
the shy wild things would cast
inquiring, scarce-apprehensive eyes
and hold their breath till past . . .
it was such fun,
with lantern light agleam,
to hollow out the night
of years, and dream.


Date: 1940

By: Clem Christesen (1911-2003)

Monday, 5 December 2022

Excerpt from “The Modern Art of Breeding Bees, a Poem” by Joshua Dinsdale

The Bees, who loaded at the Dome arrive,
First store the Golden Honey in the Hive,
Then from their sep’rate Cells suspended cling,
And buz and flutter with a trembling Wing,
Immediately you’ll see the others come,
With Signs of Gladness to the Lab’rers Hum,
Then pick the waxen Treasure from the Thigh,
And back the Lab’rer cuts the smiling Sky,
Triumphant o’er the flow’ry Kingdom reigns,
And tributary makes the blooming Plains.

But while the Youth pour o’er the shining Field,
And the sweet-smelling Cowslips Forage yield,
The Seniors in the public Care have Part,
And form the angled Cells with curious Art;
Or, for the Young prepare the downy Bed,
And soft the od’rous flow’ry Powder spread.
For if they early in the Summer’s Days,
Begin the Structure of their Comb to raise,
Before descends the golden Globe of Light,
And o’er the shaded Landschape steals the Night,
Four Thousand Cells their Diligence declare,
A Monument of nice instinctive Care!

Each has his Task; this makes the City’s Walls,
On this the shapeless Wax to Labour calls;
Another, for mechanic Judgment known,
Reviews the Buildings of the waxen Town;
That none with useless Weight o’erbear the rest,
But all alike be in Proportion prest.

Others obsequious th’ Artist’s Steps pursue,
And give by Order the Proportion due;
Here add, and there with Caution take away,
And Skill perfective, beyond Man’s, display.

While some are busy in a nicer Art,
And glaze and polish the sweet Cells with Art.

No City, with proud Heav’n-ascending Spires,
The human Mind with juster Cause admires,
Than that nice Art by which the Bees contrive
The curious Combs within the strawy Hive,
And that Variety of useful Ways
Which thro’ the Citadel the Swarm conveys.

From: Dinsdale, Joshua, The Modern Art of Breeding Bees, a Poem, Joseph Davidson, London, pp. 11-13.

Date: 1740

By: Joshua Dinsdale (fl. 1740-1751)

Friday, 16 September 2022

[Here I Praise the Brutal Flight] by Viktor Vladimirovich (Velimir) Khlebnikov

Here I praise the brutal flight
of those wings, they carried me into distances,
to Freedom’s signifying blue dimension
domed by the sun with rings of light,
high, high, to that absolute height —
the snowy egret of song eternally.

From: Khlebnikov, Velimir; Schmidt, Paul (transl.) and Douglas, Charlotte (ed.), The King of Time, 1985, Harvard University Press: Cambridge, Massachusetts, p. 15.

Date: 1908 (original in Russian); 1985 (translation in English)

By: Viktor Vladimirovich (Velimir) Khlebnikov (1885-1922)

Translated by: Paul Schmidt (1934-1999)

Monday, 12 September 2022

Sonnet XLI by Charles Lloyd

Let those to whom Love ne’er his raptures dealt
Despise his power;-dead to the thrilling
The dear infatuating influence,
With which the stricken breast is doomed to melt.
Let those not talk of love, who have not knelt
In supplicating anguish so intense
That Grief could not conceive a recompense
In all the stores of life for what it felt.
If thou hast suffer’d thus, thy God implore
To teach thy thought devotion’s ardent aim;
For all thy days of happiness are o’er
If thou confidest in an earthly flame.
Heaven grant the infinite of thought may find
Him who alone can fill the heights and depths of mind.

29th Sept. 1807.

From: Lloyd, Charles, Nugae Canorae: Poems, Third Edition, 1819, J. and A. Arch, Cornhill: London, p. 216.

Date: 1807

By: Charles Lloyd (1775-1839)

Tuesday, 12 July 2022

The Head by Blaise Cendrars (Frédéric-Louis Sauser)

The guillotine is the masterpiece of plastic art
Its click
Creates perpetual motion
Everyone knows about Christopher Columbus’ egg
Which was a flat egg, a fixed egg, the egg of an inventor
Archipenko’s sculpture is the first ovoidal egg
Held in intense equilibrium
Like an immobile top
On its animated point
It throws off
Multicolored waves
Color zones
And turns in depth


Date: 1919 (original in French); 1966 (translation in English)

By: Blaise Cendrars (Frédéric-Louis Sauser) (1887-1961)

Translated by: Ron Padgett (1942- )

Monday, 21 March 2022

The Rehabilitation Hobbies Room by Helen Burke

This is re-cuperation then, this is rehabilitation.
Here by learning how to re-tie my own anxiety into bows
I will be made whole again.
From all the hobbies on the hobby table
I shall choose sand.  Sand and ribbon-reading.
By my ribbons they will know me.
I send back the mirrors made from pasta twirls.
I send back the soft toy dogs made from
cotton wool and silly tape.
The gnomes and plaster cast of Jesus (the champagne
corks still wobbling) I eschew.
These are the glories of the hobby room
where we must come before they sign us out, we damaged moths.

I must sketch my own silhouette in beer can tops and
draw my own eyes with sea-foam and silicone.
I must re-join my bones with cement and sloe-gin.
I must position my mended shadow on the wall of reason.
I must play football with my own spleen,
badminton with my own kidney.
I must leave a sample of my own cheerfulness in the cup provided.
I must fashion a prophecy from eggshells and straw.
My hobby is leaving – this is my choice.
I will not choose another.
My lilac wings are beating a pattern in the clear space above my head.


Date: 2012

By: Helen Burke (1953-2019)

Monday, 7 March 2022

Epitaph On a Patient killed by a Cancer Quack by Lemuel Hopkins

Here lies a fool flat on his back,
The victim of a Cancer Quack;
Who lost his money and his life,
By plaister, caustic, and by knife.
The case was this—a pimple rose,
South-east a little of his nose;
Which daily reden’d and grew bigger,
As too much drinking gave it vigour:
A score of gossips soon ensure
Full three score diff’rent modes of cure:
But yet the full-fed pimple still
Defied all petticoated skill;
When fortune led him to peruse
A hand-bill in the weekly news;
Sign’d by six fools of diff’rent sorts,
All cur’d of cancers made of warts;
Who recommend, with due submission,
This cancer-monger as magician;
Fear wing’d his flight to find the quack,
And prove his cancer-curing knack;
But on his way he found another,—
A second advertising brother:
But as much like him as an owl
Is unlike every handsome fowl;
Whose fame had rais’d as broad a fog,
And of the two the greater hog:
Who us’d a still more magic plaister,
That sweat forsooth, and cur’d the faster.
This doctor view’d, with moony eyes
And scowl’d up face, the pimple’s size;
Then christen’d it in solemn answer,
And cried, “This pimple’s name is CANCER.”
“But courage, friend, I see you’re pale,
“My sweating plaisters never fail;
“I’ve sweated hundreds out with ease,
“With roots as long as maple trees;
“And never fail’d in all my trials—
“Behold these samples here in vials!
“Preserv’d to shew my wond’rous merits,
“Just as my liver is—in spirits.
“For twenty joes the cure is done—”
The bargain struck, the plaister on,
Which gnaw’d the cancer at its leisure,
And pain’d his face above all measure.
But still the pimple spread the faster,
And swell’d, like toad that meets disaster.
Thus soil’d, the doctor gravely swore,
It was a right rose-cancer sore;
Then stuck his probe beneath the beard,
And shew’d them where the leaves appear’d;
And rais’d the patient’s drooping spirits,
By praising up the plaister’s merits.—
Quoth he, “The roots now scarcely stick—
“I’ll fetch her out like crab or tick;
“And make it rendezvous, next trial,
“With six more plagues, in my old vial.”
Then purg’d him pale with jalap drastic,
And next applies th’ infernal caustic.
But yet, this semblance bright of hell
Serv’d but to make the patient yell;
And, gnawing on with fiery pace,
Devour’d one broadside of his face—
“Courage, ’tis done,” the doctor cried,
And quick th’ incision knife applied:
That with three cuts made such a hole,
Out flew the patient’s tortur’d soul!
Go, readers, gentle, eke and simple,
If you have wart, or corn, or pimple;
To quack infallible apply;
Here’s room enough for you to lie.
His skill triumphant still prevails,
For DEATH’s a cure that never fails.

From: Smith, E. H. (ed.), American Poems, Selected and Original. Vol. I, 1793, Collier and Buel: Litchfield, pp. 137-139.

Date: 1793

By: Lemuel Hopkins (1750-1801)

Thursday, 20 January 2022

Brush Turkey’s by Sue Watson

powerful claw
scrapes  leaves
into a metre high
incubator   eco-mound
for the eggs of many hens
it’s shoulder peak season
he has a Rolls Royce address
instinct outweighs his beauty
given an ugly head & neck
of the worst sunburnt hue
a goitre of bright yellow
ruffles the base of his throat
contrasts with the blue black
of his feathers   his walk is neither
swagger nor trot
he’s reclaimed his spot on the hill
in flannel flower cul-de-sac.


Date: 2010

By: Sue Watson (19??- )

Sunday, 9 January 2022

A Thunderstorm at Night by George Eric Mackay

The lightning is the shorthand of the storm
That tells of chaos; and I read the same
As one may read the writing of a name,—
As one in Hell may see the sudden form
Of God’s fore-finger pointed as in blame.
How weird the scene! The Dark is sulphur-warm
With hints of death; and in their vault enorme
The reeling stars coagulate in flame.
And now the torrents from their mountain-beds
Roar down uncheck’d; and serpents shaped of mist
Writhe up to Heaven with unforbidden heads;
And thunder-clouds, whose lightnings intertwist,
Rack all the sky, and tear it into shreds,
And shake the air like Titians that have kiss’d!

From: Mackay, Eric, Love Letters of a Violinist and Other Poems, 1894, Brentano’s: New York, p. 231.

Date: 1894

By: George Eric Mackay (1835-1898)

Friday, 10 December 2021

Myriad Stars, No. 34 by Bing Xin/Ping Hsin

The creators of the new continent
are not those roaring waves,
but the minuscule sands beneath them.

From: Lin, Julia C. (ed. and transl.), Twentieth-Century Chinese Women’s Poetry: An Anthology, 2009, Routledge: London and New York, p. 3.

Date: 1923 (original in Chinese); 2009 (translation in English)

By: Bing Xin/Ping Hsin (1900-1999)

Translated by: Julia Chang Lin (1928-2013)