Archive for ‘Relationships’

Thursday, 17 January 2019

From “Contr’Amours (Counter Loves)” by Étienne Jodelle

II
O you who have the head of Jove
For father and mother, who as you please
Can wage a war or keep the peace,
If I be yours and praise you alone

And if I distress for you the goddess
Who bore false Love, he whose arrows
Of peace and war, charms and sorrows,
Are plunging your poet into madnes,

Then come, come help avenge your suitor.
Bring me the writhing locks of the Gorgons,
Squeeze the filthy paunch of your dragons,

Get me so drunk on Stygian water
That I puke such ordure on the lady
As she hoards in her soul and body.

From: http://poetrymagazines.org.uk/magazine/recorde436.html?id=12925

Date: c1570 (original in French); 2000 (translation in English)

By: Étienne Jodelle (1532-1573)

Translated by: Geoffrey Brock (1964- )

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Monday, 14 January 2019

To My Wife by Qin Jian

Mindful that I had soon to leave on service,
Farther and farther away from you every day,
I sent a carriage to bring you back;
But it went empty, and empty it returned.
I read your letter with feelings of distress;
At meals I cannot eat;
And I sit alone in this desolate chamber.
Who is there to solace and encourage me?
Through the long nights I cannot sleep,
And solitary I lie prostrate on my pillow, tossing and turning.
Sorrow comes as in a circle
And cannot be rolled up like a mat.

From: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ch%27in_Chia

Date: 1st century (original); 1962 (translation)

By: Qin Jia (1st century)

Translated by: Albert Richard Davis (1924-1983)

Sunday, 13 January 2019

Your Humble Wife is Unwell by Xu Shu

Your humble wife is unwell,
Sickness prevents her from returning.
Lingering disease keeps her indoors,
Her health situation is not stable.
Imperial attendance is not worthy,
Respect goes to the wrong people.
You are on an official mission,
Going afar to the capital.
You will depart for long,
But we cannot meet.
Expectation and longing is intense,
Waiting only makes one restless.
I am missing my husband,
Your looks appear in dreams.

From: Peterson, Barbara Bennett (ed.), Notable Women of China: Shang Dynasty to the Early Twentieth Century, 2000, Routledge: Oxon, pp. [unnumbered].
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=kJ4ECwAAQBAJ)

Date: 1st century (original); 2000 (translation)

By: Xu Shu (1st century)

Translated by: Zhu Zhongliang (19??- )

Saturday, 12 January 2019

The Magnolia by Lee Rossi

O . . . great-rooted blossomer
are you the leaf, the blossom or the bole?
— W.B. Yeats

“I hate this tree”—the first words from my new neighbor
bending over the ground cover beneath her magnolia,

Belle of the Old South, “sweet and fresh,”
subtropical exile to our fertile desert.

She was 80 or 85, the tree half her age
and tall as a three-story house,

still dropping leaves and seed pods
like a teenager with a bad case of dandruff.

“It killed my lawn,” she said,
a violation twenty years in the past, which she held onto

as if it were last year, or last week. It soothed
and fueled her anger, I imagined, to pluck the brown

papery leaves from their hiding place in ivy
and stuff them in a green bin. I wondered if Sisyphus

hated his rock as much as she hated that tree.
I knew how much I hated my job, eight or nine

hours every day trying to lift the world another inch.
And every night more leaves would fall, leaves

and pods, those sexual hand grenades, those
pregnant cluster bombs. And yet she could no more live

without the tree than she could without her anger.
They were like an old couple, so deformed

by their love that they couldn’t want anything else.
Every day after work I’d come home and find her,

bowed or kneeling, or toward the end just sitting in the ivy—
city of beetles, city of mice—and see the tree,

blazoned with sunset’s gilt, its orange
and ruby ornaments a flaming candelabra.

From: https://www.birdlandjournal.com/journal-issues/spring-2018-issue/magnolia-by-lee-rossi/

Date: 2018

By: Lee Rossi (19??- )

Friday, 11 January 2019

Crows by Hailey Leithauser

Because they are clever, we believe they are wise.
Because they are wise, we conclude they are good,

or evil, or good and evil, but never muddied
in between. Because they are arrant and utter black,

we assume them to be downright chummy with death,
and so in England once a woman was pressed between stones

for owning a pillow made from crow feathers.
This, the people said, gave her the power to dream affliction

like moonlight into the lives of their children,
and even though during her trial, records show

that the streets rang with the din of fat and ruddy
lineage, there was still a principle involved

and the city was cheered when no crows arrived at her grave,
which was hurriedly and spotlessly dissembled by snow.

From: http://www.reduxlitjournal.com/2011/10/3-four-poems-by-hailey-leithauser.html

Date: 2008

By: Hailey Leithauser (1954- )

Thursday, 10 January 2019

Needlework by Michael Donaghy

tattoos commissioned for the
1999 ‘Last Words’ poetry festival, Salisbury

i.
Copy this across your heart,
Whisper what your eyes have heard,
To summon me when we’re apart,
This word made flesh, this flesh made word.

ii.
The serpent sheds her skin and yet
The pattern she’d as soon forget
Recalls itself. By this I swear
I am the sentence that I bare.

From: Donaghy, Michael, Conjure, 2000, Picador: London, p. [unnumbered].
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=A1taDwAAQBAJ)

Date: 1999

By: Michael Donaghy (1954-2004)

Monday, 7 January 2019

The Metamorphose by James Barclay

With rolling time that all things change,
Has oft been said, and oft been sung:
One instance more; the difference strange
‘Twixt WITWOUD old, and WITWOUD young!

In youth, compound of curls and lace,
Of giggle, fidget, and of froth;
One simper dimpled in his face,
No butterfly more void of wrath.

Pleas’d with himself, with all well-pleas’d,
The flutterer scarce could give offence:
Or if he teaz’d, with nought he teaz’d,
But simple, pure, impertinence.

Now view him in declining age,
Assume the four satyric frown:
On friends and foes discharge his rage,
The very SCARECROW of the town.

So Flies, in frisk, and buzz, and play,
That harmless through the summer past,
When ready to be swept away,
Grow blind, and sting us at the last.

From: http://www.eighteenthcenturypoetry.org/works/o4986-w0460.shtml

Date: 1770

By: James Barclay (1746/7-1774)

Saturday, 5 January 2019

Listen, People of This House by Iseabail Ní Mheic Cailéin

Listen, people of this house,
to the tale of the powerful penis
which has made my heart greedy.
I will write some of the tale.

Although many beautiful tree-like penises
have been in the time before,
this man of the religious order
has a penis so big and rigid.

The penis of my household priest,
although it is so long and firm,
the thickness of his manhood
has not been heard of for a long time.

That thick drill of his,
and it is no word of a lie,
never has its thickness been heard of
or a larger penis.

From: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%89istibh,_a_Luchd_an_Tighe-se

Date: 1500 (original in Gaelic); 2002 (translation in English)

By: Iseabail Ní Mheic Cailéin (fl. 1500)

Translated by: Malcolm Maclean (19??- ) and Theo Dorgan (1953- )

Thursday, 3 January 2019

Glass Slipper Sonnet by Angela Alaimo O’Donnell

Pity the poor step-sister those big feet
she’ll never stuff in a size-six sonnet,

her flesh so fulsome the slipper seems effete,
unworthy of the labor spent on it.

But try she must, and so she makes a pass,
jams four fat toes in the narrow throat,

the fifth pig smarting, pressed against the glass
(though pain’s no stranger—she knows it by rote.)

The other shoe drops—as it is wont to do—
a second foot is squeezed into the vamp.

She stands up straight and takes a stride towards you,
her footfall heavy as a farmgirl’s tramp.

The slipper strains against those excess feet.
She hobbles onward—she has a prince to meet.

From: https://www.tweetspeakpoetry.com/2011/08/08/glass-slipper-sonnets/

Date: 2011

By: Angela Alaimo O’Donnell (19??- )

Sunday, 30 December 2018

Summer of the Ladybirds by Vivian Brian Smith

Can we learn wisdom watching insects now,
or just the art of quiet observation?
Creatures from the world of leaf and flower
marking weather’s variation.

The huge dry summer of the ladybirds
(we thought we’d never feel such heat again)
started with white cabbage butterflies
sipping at thin trickles in the drain.

Then one by one the ladybirds appeared
obeying some far purpose or design.
We marvelled at their numbers in the garden,
grouped together, shuffling in a line.

Each day a few strays turned up at the table,
the children laughed to see them near the jam
exploring round the edges of a spoon.
One tried to drink the moisture on my arm.

How random and how frail seemed their lives,
and yet how they persisted, refugees,
saving energy by keeping still
and hiding in the grass and in the trees.

And then one day they vanished overnight.
Clouds gathered, storm exploded, weather cleared.
And all the wishes that we might have had
in such abundance simply disappeared.

From: https://www.poetryarchive.org/poem/summer-ladybirds

Date: 1995

By: Vivian Brian Smith (1933- )