Archive for ‘Relationships’

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

The Summer Tree by Edith Marion Marcombe Shiffert

Since winter ended for this tree, new leaves
filled all the branches, grew, could not restrain
themselves from coming. They will wilt and drop,
be nothing, but for summer they show green.

Light shines all around them. They do not
feel its warmth or shape. They wear the glow
belonging to the season while they grow.
They wear the light, and that is what they are.

The rustle and the texture of the leaves,
the way they look, their smell and taste, do not
concern them on their stems and twigs. Each moves
as air moves, and when winter comes it falls.

Grow is not a word to lightly say.
The tree is there. It uses what it is.
Underground the roots expand. In air
branches rise and spread. The tree is there.

From: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/11/arts/edith-shiffert-a-poet-inspired-by-nature-and-her-life-in-japan-dies-at-101.html

Date: 1968

By: Edith Marion Marcombe Shiffert (1916-2017)

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Monday, 22 July 2019

A Word by Ozaki Kihachi

I have to select a word for material.
It should be talked about in the smallest possible amount and
have a deep suggestiveness like nature,
bloom from inside its own self,
and at the edge of the fate encircling me
it will have to become darkly and sweetly ripened.

Of a hundred experiences it always
has to be the sum total of only one.
One drop of water dew
becomes the harvest of all dewdrops,
a dark evening’s one red point of light
is the night of the whole world.

And after that my poem
like a substance entirely fresh,
released far away from my memory,
the same as a scythe in a field in the morning,
the same as the ice on a lake in spring,
will suddenly begin to sing from its own recollection

From: Shiffert, Edith Marcombe and Sawa, Yūki (eds. and transls.), Anthology of Modern Japanese Poetry, 1972, Charles E. Tuttle Co. Inc: Tokyo, p. 39.
(https://books.google.com.au/books/about/Anthology_of_modern_Japanese_poetry.html?id=oR5kAAAAMAAJ)

Date:19?? (original in Japanese); 1972 (translation in English)

By: Ozaki Kihachi (1892-1974)

Translated by: Edith Marion Marcombe Shiffert (1916-2017) and Yūki Sawa (fl. 1969-1989)

Thursday, 18 July 2019

Black Pan by Joseph Millar

Let the evening spread over the garden
like the broad skirts of a mother
covering the windy potato plants
with their pale blossoms fluttering,
the spuds on their stems
having grown up from their parents’ eyes
clothed in a delicate skin,
then slow-cooked with oil in a black pan,
eaten with salt and white chicken meat
on the night of the equinox.

I stole this round-point shovel from work
with its fine-grained handle
and shiny blade
right after I twisted my back
the last day pouring some concrete stairs
on a job where there wasn’t much shade.

And now the sun shines down just the same
over the equator
so the night will last as long as the day
and Orion will appear with his belt and sword
before dawn, over the front porch
where my wife sits with her iPhone
picking up messages from outer space.
I can hear the straw chair
rock back and forth
I hear her deep sigh at summer’s end.

Will we have music? Will we have rain?
Listening to autumn coming down close
with its rake and scythe
stepping gently between the rows
over the mulch and fallen leaves
the celery, garlic, beets, and chives
unmindful of injury or pain.

From: https://blackbird.vcu.edu/v15n2/poetry/millar-j/black-page.shtml

Date: 2016

By: Joseph Millar (19??- )

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

You Turned Sixty by Candace Calsoyas

It might be 60,000 meals you’ve eaten, 60 years times 1000.
What would a garbage compacter do with all that
Would it be a pound of ash or decomposed peat, could it make oil, all that deadness that went into you to become only more dead

What did it make? Energy, laughter, struggle and kindness
(Along with many hours in the Loo)
What kind of plant did it grow, what kind of animal did it make?

A person who writes poetry but doesn’t like to read it—
Because then it all becomes the same, words

A person who likes to sing, preferably out of tune
Because that comes naturally

A person who likes to paint to see how internal brush strokes
inscribed in secret, walled chambers
Fly into thin air
To appear as color and line

A person who goes to non-western countries
To feel relief at not being rich

But whose likes are these, these ones at 60?
Not much of your mother’s or father’s
not much of former lovers, husband, or mother-in-law.
Whose likes are these?

These likes are yours and
Have brought you to sixty.
To another like: Witnessing
beauty and bounty in your eating
Before all becomes a very small mound of ash.

From: http://phren-z.org/Winter2014/candace_calsoyas.html

Date: 2014

By: Candace Calsoyas (19??- )

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

No One Congratulates You by Zack Rogow

No one congratulates you.
No one throws you a party
with mirrory invitations.
You don’t get to try on a floorlength
or new jet tux.
No marquise-cut diamond
or 24-carat dream.
No shower with ooh-and-aah packages,
or a frou-frou gâteau several stories high
with just one figure on the top.
You hear no toasts over bubbles and smiles,
sacerdotal blessings,
Pachelbel on the buzzcut lawn,
or sendoffs to a colada destination.

When you end a relationship,
no one congratulates you.
All you get is the delicious ozone of freedom,
and shadows growing ever heavier.

From: https://ninemusespoetry.com/2018/10/22/two-poems-by-zack-rogow/

Date: 2018

By: Zack Rogow (1952- )

Monday, 15 July 2019

Sonnet [I Love the First Shiver of Winter] by Alfred Louis Charles de Musset-Pathay

I love the first shiver of winter! That day
When the stubble resists the hunter’s foot,
When magpies settle on fields fragrant with hay,
And deep in the old chateau, the hearth is lit.

That’s the city time. I remember last year,
I came back and saw the good Louvre and its dome,
Paris and its smoke—that whole realm so dear.
(I can still hear the postilions shouting, “We’re home!”)

I loved the gray weather, the strollers, the Seine
Under a thousand lanterns, sovereign!
I’d see winter, and you, my love, you!

Madame, I’d steep my soul in your glances,
But did I even realize the chances
That soon your heart would change for me too?

From: Rogow, Zack, “Three Poems by Alfred de Musset” in Transference, Volume 6, Issue 1, Article 15, 2008, p. 66.
(https://scholarworks.wmich.edu/transference/vol6/iss1/15)

Date: 1829 (original in French), 2008 (translation in English)

By: Alfred Louis Charles de Musset-Pathay (1810-1857)

Translated by: Zack Rogow (1952- )

Sunday, 14 July 2019

The Marseillaise by Paul Déroulède

Have pity on yourselves and cease that song;
In silence, when the hour comes, march along
Like vanquished heroes whose undaunted breath
Whispers one word: ‘Revenge!’ — or haply ‘Death!’

Yet hear the accursëd story and be stirred:
Or if your ears in bygone days have heard
On many a trembling tongue the twice-told tale
‘Tis well; no need drive home the hammered nail!

You love, no doubt you love, our people’s hymn?
You love its sacred rage, its transports grim:
And, like proud sons, you feel in its song-fires
The quenchless spirit of your puissant sires.
Its rousing voice recalls our flag unfurled,
Floating to the four corners of the world,
Nations struck dumb and kings that looked askance;
You think of that? Our great and glorious France!
Think of this too, the day of our defeat,
Sedan — a name that with bowed heads you greet —
Frenchmen, remember in that surge of woes,
When conquered France surrendered to her foes,
When in crushed souls our soldiers bore unmanned
The mangled ghost of the poor fatherland,
When all was lost and leaving the fought field
Our troops, disarmed, were forced at last to yield —
O unforgotten blow! O worst of evil days!
Loud from the Prussian trumpets shrilled the Marseillaise!

From: Robertson, William John (ed. and transl.), A Century of French Verse: Brief biographical and critical notices of thirty-three French poets of the nineteenth century with experimental translations from their poems, 1895, A. D. Innes & Co.: London, p. 299.
(https://archive.org/details/centuryoffrenchv00roberich/)

Date: 1872 (original in French); 1895 (translation in English)

By: Paul Déroulède (1846-1914)

Translated by: William John Robertson (1846-1894)

Saturday, 13 July 2019

The Dark Blot [Le Point Noir] by Gérard de Nerval (Labrunie)

He who has gazed against the sun sees everywhere
he looks thereafter, palpitating on the air
before his eyes, a smudge that will not go away.

So in my days of still-youth, my audacity,
I dared look on the splendor momentarily.
The dark blot on my greedy eyes has come to stay.

Since when, worn like a badge of mourning in the sight
of all around me where my eye may chance to light,
I see the dark smudge settle upon everyone.

Forever thus between my happiness and me?
Alas for us, the eagle only, only he
can look, and not be hurt, on splendor and the sun.

From: Flores, Angel (ed.), The Anchor Anthology of French Poetry from Nerval to Valéry in English Translation, 2000, Anchor Books: New York, pp. 8-9.
(https://books.google.com.au/books/about/The_Anchor_Anthology_of_French_Poetry.html?id=nKOmHZXl5JgC)

Date: 1853 (original in French); 1958 (translation in English)

By: Gérard de Nerval (Labrunie) (1808-1855)

Translated by: Richmond Alexander Lattimore (1906-1984)

Friday, 12 July 2019

My Daughter Was Always the Resourceful One by Francesca Bell

In the days of her death wish,
my eyes were fixed, open

my life
a watchtower
I couldn’t stop
looking down from.

She couldn’t be
trusted even to sleep
separately then

though we’d locked up
so many things:

belts that seemed
innocent
before her

the well-meaning medicines
electrical cords
in their tyranny of tangles

her scarves/my scarves

the noose we found
when we searched
her closet

two deluxe Swiss Army knives

a handful of bare blades
she’d extracted
from her plastic razors

all our shoelaces
in a messy, little pile

dental floss, reeking of mint

keys to all four cars

and every pair of scissors
in the house
no matter how small.

I lay beside her
in the dark
to watch, weeping,

while she kept on
breathing
against her will.

I worked so hard
to give her life.

She worked so hard
to hand it back.

From: http://quidditylit.org/issue-11-2/fbell/

Date: 2018

By: Francesca Bell (19??- )

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Laughing Down Lonely Canyons by James Joseph Kavanaugh

Fear corrodes my dreams tonight,
and mist has grayed the hills,
mountains seem too tall to climb,
December winds are chill.
There’s no comfort on the earth,
I am a child abandoned,
Till I feel your hand in mine
and laugh down lonely canyons.

Snow has bent the trees in grief,
my summer dreams are dead,
Flowers are but ghostly stalks,
the clouds drift dull as lead.
There is no solace in the sky,
I am a child abandoned.
Till we chase the dancing moon
and laugh down lonely canyons.

Birds have all gone south too soon,
and frogs refuse to sing,
Deer lie hidden in the woods,
the trout asleep till spring.
There is no wisdom in the wind —
I am a child abandoned
Till we race across the fields
and laugh down lonely canyons.

Darkness comes too soon tonight,
the trees are silent scars,
rivers rage against the rocks,
and snow conceals the stars.
There’s no music in the air
I am a child abandoned
Till I feel my hand in yours
and laugh down lonely canyons.

From: Kavanaugh, James J., Laughing Down Lonely Canyons, 1984, Steven J. Nash Publishing: Battle Creek, Michigan, p. 1.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=m6YfNGMEto0C)

Date: 1984

By: James Joseph Kavanaugh (1928-2009)