Archive for ‘General’

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Evolution: II by Hjalmar Hjorth Boyesen

I am the child of earth and air and sea!
My lullaby by hoarse Silurian storms
Was chanted; and through endless changing forms
Of plant and bird and beast unceasingly
The toiling ages wrought to fashion me.
Lo, these large ancestors have left a breath
Of their strong souls in mine, defying death
And change. I grow and blossom as the tree,
And ever feel the deep-delving earthy roots
Binding me daily to the common clay.
But with its airy impulse upward shoots
My life into the realms of light and day;
And thou, O Sea, stern mother of my soul,
Thy tempests sing in me, thy billows roll!

From: Boyesen, Hjalmar Hjorth, “Evolution” in Popular Science Monthly, Volume 23, June 1883, p. 238.
(https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Popular_Science_Monthly/Volume_23/June_1883/Evolution)

Date: 1883

By: Hjalmar Hjorth Boyesen (1848-1895)

Advertisements
Thursday, 19 October 2017

Perth: Riverside with Swans by Kim Young-Moo

I want to build a nest and spend some time here.
Becoming a water bird

I want to visit that forest of masts
across the river, moored with sails furled.

No matter how dazzlingly the lake waters
shine somewhere in the sky

today,
I want to go flying

low, low
over the blue rippling waves

feeling the wind blowing on my breast
like a bare winter tree

on some snow-covered mountain slope.

From: http://cordite.org.au/essays/kim-young-moon-and-perth/

Date: 2001 (original); 2001 (translation)

By: Kim Young-Moo (1944-2001)

Translated by: Brother Anthony of Taizé (1942- ) and Jongsook Lee (1952- )

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Summer by Ko Un

The sightless sunflower follows the sun.
The sightless moonflower blossoms in moonlight.
Foolishness.
That’s all they know.
Dragonflies fly by day
beetles by night.

From: http://apjjf.org/-Brother-Anthony-of-Taize-/3420/article.html

Date: 19?? (original in Korean); 1997 (translation in English)

By: Ko Un (1933- )

Translated by: Brother Anthony of Taizé (1942- ) and Kim Young-Moo (1944-2001)

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Damselfly, Trout, Heron by John Engels

The damselfly folds its wings
over its body when at rest. Captured,
it should not be killed
in cyanide, but allowed to die
slowly: then the colors,
especially the reds and blues,
will last. In the hand
it crushes easily into a rosy
slime. Its powers of flight
are weak. The trout

feeds on the living damselfly.
The trout leaps up from the water,
and if there is sun you see
the briefest shiver of gold,
and then the river again.
When the trout dies
it turns its white belly
to the mirror of the sky.
The heron fishes for the trout

in the gravelly shallows on the far
side of the stream. The heron
is the exact blue of the shadows
the sun makes of trees on water.
When you hold the heron most clearly
in your eye, you are least certain
it is there. When the blue heron dies,
it lies beyond reach
on the far side of the river.

From: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/48099/damselfly-trout-heron

Date: 1979

By: John Engels (1931-2007)

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Life to be Enjoyed by Bion of Smyrna

If sweet my songs, or these sufficient be
Which I have sung to give renown to me,
I know not: but it misbeseems to strain
At things we have not learned, and toil in vain.
If sweet these songs are not, what profit more
Have I to labour at them o’er and o’er?
If Saturn’s son, and changeful Fate, assigned
A double life-time to our mortal kind,
That one in joys and one in woes be past,
Who had his woes first would have joys at last.
But since Heaven wills one life to man should fall,
And this is very brief — too brief for all
We think to do, why should we fret and moil,
And vex ourselves with never-ending toil?
To what end waste we life, exhaust our health
On gainful arts and sigh for greater wealth?
We surely all forget our mortal state —
How brief the life allotted us by Fate!

From: Chapman, M. J. (transl.), The Greek Pastoral Poets, Theocritus, Bion, and Moschus. Done into English, 1836, James Fraser: London, pp. 273-274.
(https://archive.org/details/greekpastoralpo00biongoog)

Date: c100 BCE (original in Greek); 1836 (translation in English)

By: Bion of Smyrna (fl. c100 BCE)

Translated by: Matthew James Chapman (1796-1865)

Sunday, 8 October 2017

The American by Roy Addison Helton

I have no race, nor ancient wrongs:
I do not even know
How many of my sires came
From countries far too far to name:
I am a mongrel with no shame
For what is in my blood.

I dare not boast a single line,
Nor show one chance heroic strain;
I cannot feel myself the seed
Of some far patriot’s stirring deed —
It does not seem to be a need
Among my friends.

For of my fathers, some were rude,
Some old and sick for solitude;
A few were mad for blood and gold,
And others merely poor and cold
And kind.

And some sought food and some sought wine;
Some were for lust and some for land —
Now all their gathered griefs are mine,
And all their hopes are in my hand:

Some sought the stars of other skies,
And some new worlds to win and sway;
Some wanted freedom for their eyes
And some had need to think and say;

Some craved the gift to He alone
With labor done and heart at ease,
To heed the pausing monotone
Of laughing winds among the trees;

Some were for women, some for sleep;
Some craved salt kisses of the sea;
And some were fools that sin and weep —
Now all their strains are fleshed in me.

From: Helton, Roy, Outcasts in Beulah Land, and Other Poems, 1918, Henry Holt and Company: New York, pp. 74-75.
(https://archive.org/details/outcastsinbeulah00heltrich)

Date: 1918

By: Roy Addison Helton (1886-1977)

Saturday, 7 October 2017

The Dream by Charles Godfrey Leland

‘Life’s sweetest dreams
Are foam on streams.’

An ancient dream has wandered
Through earth since the earliest time,
And he o’er whom it sweepeth
Grows stern — or it may be weepeth,
Like one who suffers with longing
For a sweet yet terrible crime.

It hath but a single picture;
A fountain which leaps and foams,
And by it a woman sits yearning,
Starting ‘mid reveries — burning
For a love which never comes.

The fountain leaps up in passion,
Darts out in a gleaming pain;
And the longing of him who dreameth,
And the passion of her who seemeth,
Fall back into foam again.

From: Leland, Charles Godfrey, The Music-Lesson of Confucius, and Other Poems, 1872, Trübner & Co: London, p. 88.
(https://archive.org/details/musiclessonconf01conggoog)

Date: 1872

By: Charles Godfrey Leland (1824-1903)

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

White Death by Clark Ashton Smith

Methought the world was bound with final frost:
The sun, made hueless as with fear and awe,
Illumined still the lands it could not thaw.
Then on my road, with instant evening crossed,
Death stood, and in its dusky veils enwound,
Mine eyes forgot the light, until I came
Where poured the inseparate, unshadowed flame
Of phantom suns in self-irradiance drowned.

Death lay revealed in all its haggardness:
Immitigable wastes horizonless;
Profundities that held nor bar nor veil;
All hues wherewith the suns and worlds were dyed
In light invariable nullifed;
All darkness rendered shelterless and pale.

From: http://www.blackcatpoems.com/s/white_death.html

Date: 1912

By: Clark Ashton Smith (1893-1961)

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Hardship in a Nice Place by Jack Ridl

The roof on our house slants out
over the garden and if it rains
the water falls on what blossoms

still arc in late August. My wife
is sleeping through her day. There
is a breeze here on the porch. There

is a certain slant of light collapsing
through the beech trees on the hill. One
tree fell this afternoon. I could hear it

cracking into the quiet, saw an angle
of trunk begin to lean and then rustle
its branches across the limbs along

the stagger of woods. At night, sounds
come I can never identify. It’s often
like that, our long days lacking much

of anything that can be named. My
wife will sleep. I will walk back from
the mailbox with our dog and wait.

From: https://www.rattle.com/hardship-in-a-nice-place-by-jack-ridl/

Date: 2012

By: Jack Ridl (1944- )

Friday, 29 September 2017

Morning News in the Big Horn Mountains by William Notter

The latest movie star is drunk just out of rehab,
two or three cities had extraordinary killings,
and expensive homes are sliding off the hills
or burning again. There’s an energy crisis on,
and peace in the Middle East is close as ever.
In Wyoming, just below timberline,
meteors and lightning storms
keep us entertained at night. Last week,
a squirrel wrecked the mountain bluebirds’ nest.
I swatted handfuls of moths in the cabin
and set them on a stump each day,
but the birds would not come back to feed.
It snowed last in June, four inches
the day before the solstice. But summer
is winding down—frost on the grass
this morning when we left the ranger station.
Yellow-bellied marmots are burrowing
under the outhouse vault, and ravens leave the ridges
to gorge on Mormon crickets in the meadows.
Flakes of obsidian and red flint
knapped from arrowheads hundreds of years ago
appear in the trails each day,
and the big fish fossil in the limestone cliff
dissolves a little more with every rain.

From: https://newwest.net/topic/article/two_poems_from_holding_everything_down_by_william_notter/C39/L39/

Date: 2009

By: William Notter (19??- )