Archive for ‘Relationships’

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Aspidistra Street by Harold Edward Monro

Go along that road, and look at sorrow.
Every window grumbles.
All day long the drizzle fills the puddles,
Trickles in the runnels and the gutters,
Drips and drops and dripples, drops and dribbles,
While the melancholy aspidistra
Frowns between the parlour curtains.

Uniformity, dull Master! —
Birth and marriage, middle-age and death;
Rain and gossip: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday . . .

Sure, the lovely fools who made Utopia
Planned it without any aspidistra.
There will be a heaven on earth, but first
We must banish from the parlour
Plush and poker-work and paper flowers,
Brackets, staring photographs and what-nots,
Serviettes, frills and etageres,
Anti-macassars, vases, chiffonniers;

And the gloomy aspidistra
Glowering through the window-pane.
Meditating heavy maxims,
Moralising to the rain.

From: Monro, Harold and Monro, Alida (ed.), The Collected Poems of Harold Monro, 1933, Cobden-Sanderson: London, p. 130.
(https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.184362/)

Date: 1917

By: Harold Edward Monro (1879-1932)

Saturday, 9 November 2019

Dead Love by Elizabeth Eleanor Siddall

Oh never weep for love that’s dead
Since love is seldom true
But changes his fashion from blue to red,
From brightest red to blue,
And love was born to an early death
And is so seldom true.

Then harbour no smile on your bonny face
To win the deepest sigh.
The fairest words on truest lips
Pass on and surely die,
And you will stand alone, my dear,
When wintry winds draw nigh.

Sweet, never weep for what cannot be,
For this God has not given.
If the merest dream of love were true
Then, sweet, we should be in heaven,
And this is only earth, my dear,
Where true love is not given.

From: http://lizziesiddal.com/portal/dead-love/

Date: c1855

By: Elizabeth Eleanor Siddall (1829-1862)

Friday, 8 November 2019

To My Most Honored Cosen, Mrs Somerset, On the Unjust Censure Past Upon My Poore Marcelia* by Frances Boothby

Sigh not, Parthenia, that I’me doom’d to dye,
Since a false scandal’s made the reason why.
Fortune I ever found my rigid foe,
And did not hope she now would milder grow.
A small weake barke by a rough tempest tost,
Can raise noe wonder when we heare ’tis lost;
When powerfull enemys resolve to kill,
They heed not justice, strength can do their will;
Ruled by self interest their foes confine,
And word their judgments to their owne designe.
This byas made that injuring blow be given,
That thy Arcasia had prophan’d gainst heaven.
But why this furious hurricane did rise
Where by detracting zeale I’m made a sacrifice,
I cannot reach; for sure a woman’s pen
Is not (like comets,) ominous to men:
Nor could my clouded braine, (wrapt up in night,)
Destroy in all my sex their sunshine light:
The basalisk’s poison lys not in my head,
To strike the wits of other women dead,
If my dull ignorance could blast them all,
Then should I justly as their victim fall.

*The poet’s play, Marcelia, or, The Treacherous Friend, was performed in 1669 in London. It was the first play by a woman produced in London.

From: Clifford, Arthur (ed.), Tixall Poetry; with Notes and Illustrations, 1813, Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown: London and John Ballantyne and Co.: Edinburgh, pp. 228-229.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=a6U_AAAAYAAJ)

Date: 1670

By: Frances Boothby (fl. 1669-1670)

Thursday, 7 November 2019

Reflections on the Sparrow by Celia Gilbert

Matins in the morning and evensong at dusk,
in French called moineaux: little monks, shabby, humble,
more than a bit agitated, twittering prayers
as if time were running out to save the world;
not too proud to forage in the dust,
certain that God looks out
for each and every one
for he takes care of his own.

Lear complains “The lecherous sparrows do couple in my sight.”

They rear three broods in a season,
invade other nests,
attack chickadee, thrush, and robin.

“Who killed Cock Robin?”
“I,” said the sparrow,
I shot him with my little bow and arrow.”

If I were a shaman I would take the sparrow’s cloak,
brown and coca buff,
and whirl and whirl about,
my black eye no bigger than
a pepper seed over my curved beak,
and I would dance the dance of humility and lust,
of friendship and enmity,
I, my chest pounding,
I, in my lowly, kingly robes.

From: http://www.towerjournal.com/spring2011/celia_poetry.htm

Date: 2011

By: Celia Gilbert (1932- )

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Marked by D. by Tony Harrison

When the chilled dough of his flesh went in an oven
not unlike those he fuelled all his life,
I thought of his cataracts ablaze with Heaven
and radiant with the sight of his dead wife,
light streaming from his mouth to shape her name,
‘not Florence and not Flo but always Florrie.’
I thought how his cold tongue burst into flame
but only literally, which makes me sorry,
sorry for his sake there’s no Heaven to reach.
I get it all from Earth my daily bread
but he hungered for release from mortal speech
that kept him down, the tongue that weighed like lead.

From: http://famouspoetsandpoems.com/poets/tony_harrison/poems/12696

Date: 1978

By: Tony Harrison (1937- )

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Fireworks, Harborfest by Luisa A. Igloria

So painful-sweet, all waiting
and anticipation.

The crowds,
as eager a multitude as the pilgrims
come to venerate the Buddha’s
sacred ankle, carried in procession
across a lake in your island home.

A couple has just pushed their way
to where we stand at the edge
of the docks, the woman’s hair
like straw gathered into a wild
bouquet; his hands, like lightning,
streaking down her sides.

Theirs is another kind
of combustion, perhaps more ripe
because it opens in plain sight,
more without reserve
or circumspection.

What they do, not holding back
their ardor, electrifies the space
around them. No one
wants to look at them
directly, to come
too close.

Only when the fireworks burst
above our heads
can we forgive
them their pleasure.

I think of a different
story, the boy Gautama deep
in meditation, the unseen cobra
slithering up to spread its deadly cowl,
shielding him from the rain.

Against the dark roof of sky, a thousand flares
fracture into cathedrals of light: mercury
and oxides, silvered pearl and purple,
flowering with the boom
of worlds becoming—

The way a gong sounds in a temple
far away, carrying across water
to echo in each hollow reed;
the bones in the bronze bell
of the body breathless,
clapping as one, before falling
back into familiar silence.

From: Igloria, Luisa A., “Fireworks, Harborfest,” in Poetry, January 2001, pp. 248-249.
(https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/browse?volume=177&issue=3&page=10)

Date: 2001

By: Luisa A. Igloria (1961- )

Monday, 4 November 2019

Death’s A Debt That Everybody Owes by Palladas

Death’s a debt that everybody owes,
and if you’ll last the night out no one knows.

Learn your lesson then, and thank your stars
for wine and company and all-night bars.

Life careers gravewards at a breackneck rate,
so drink and love, and leave the rest to Fate.

From: Harrison, Tony, Collected Poems, 2016, Penguin: London, p. [unnumbered].
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=io3_CgAAQBAJ)

Date: 4th century (original in Greek); 1975 (translation in English)

By: Palladas (4th century)

Translated by: Tony Harrison (1937- )

Sunday, 3 November 2019

GGS 2817: I Awoke From Sleep by Fujiwara no Ietaka

I awoke from sleep
hearing a sad sound
I had not listened for:
the voice of waves at daybreak
breaking on the rocky shore.

From: Carter, Steven D. (ed. and transl.) Waiting for the Wind: Thirty-Six Poets of Japan’s Late Medieval Age, 1989, Columbia University Press: New York, p. 42.
(https://www.gwern.net/docs/japanese/1989-carter-waitingforthewind.pdf)

Date:  c12th century (original in Japanese); 1989 (translation in English)

By: Fujiwara no Ietaka (1158-1237)

Translated by: Steven D. Carter (19??- )

Saturday, 2 November 2019

Canto 1: Summer from Rtusamhāram (The Gathering of the Seasons) by Kālidasa

1
The sun blazing fiercely,
the moon longed for eagerly,
deep waters inviting
to plunge in continually,
days drawing to a close in quiet beauty,
the tide of desire running low:
scorching Summer is now here, my love.

2
Night’s indigo-masses rent by the moon,
wondrous mansions built on water,
cooled by fountains; various gems
cool to the touch; liquid sandal;
the world seeks relief in these
in Summer’s scorching heat, my love.

3
Palace-terraces perfumed, luring the senses,
wine trembling beneath the beloved’s breath,
sweet melodies on finely-tuned lutes:
lovers enjoy tese passion-kindling things
at midnight in Summer, my love.

4
Curving hips, their beauty enhanced
by fine silks and jewelled belts;
sandal-scented breasts caressed by necklaces of pearls,
fragrant tresses bathed in perfumed water:
with these women soothe their loves
in burning Summer, my love.

5
Swaying hips; soles tinted deep rose;
anklets with tinkling bells
imitating at each step the cry of the wild goose:
men’s hearts are churned by desire.

6
Breasts rubbed smooth with liquid sandal,
crowned by strings of pearls lustrous as dewdrops,
hips encircled by golden belts—
whose heart will not yearn restless?

7
High-breasted women in the flush of youth,
limbs shining with beads of sweat, throw off
heavy garments and put on thin stoles
right for the season to cover their breasts.

8
The breeze of moist sandal-scented fans,
the touch of flower-garlands on the beloved’s breast,
the lute’s exquisite murmuring sound:
these now awaken sleeping Love.

9
Gazing all night longingly
on the faces of lovely women sleeping happy
on terraces of sparkling white mansions,
the moon pales at dawn struck by guilty shame.

10
Hearts burning in the fire of separation,
men far from home can scarcely bear to see
the swirling clouds of dust tossed up
from the earth burnt by the sun’s fierce heat.

11
Antelopes suffering from Summer’s savage heat,
race with parched throats towards the distant sky
the colour of smooth-blended collyrium, thinking:
—‘there’s water there in another forest.’

12
As enchanting twilights jewelled by the moon
instantly kindle desire in pleasure-seeker’s minds,
so do the graceful movements, subtle smiles
and wayward glances of amorous women.

13
In an agony of pain from the sun’s fierce rays,
scorched by dust on his path, a snake with drooping hood
creeps on his tortuous course, repeatedly hissing,
to find shelther under a peacock’s shade.

14
The king of beasts suffering intense thirst, pants
with wide open jaws, lolling tongue, quivering mane;
powerless to attack he does not kill
elephants though they are not beyond his reach.

15
Dry-throated, foaming at the mouth,
maddened by the sun’s sizzling rays,
tuskers in an agony of growing thirst,
seeking water, do not fear even the lion.

16
Peacocks, exhausted by the flame-rays of the sun
blazing like numerous sacrificial fires,
lack the will to strike at the hooded snake
thrusting its head under their circle of plumes.

17
By the hot sun tormented a herd of wild boars
rooting with the round tips of their long snouts
in the caked mud of ponds with swamp-grass overgrown,
appear as if descending deep into the earth.

18
Burning under the sun’s fiery wreath of rays,
a frog leaps up from the muddy pond
to sit under the parasol hood
of a deadly cobra that is thirsty and tired.

19
A whole host of fragile lotus plants uprotted,
fish lying dead, sarus cranes flown away in fear,
the lack is one thick mass of mire, pounded
by a packed elephant-herd pushing and shoving.

20
A cobra overcome by thirst darts his forked tongue out
to lick the breeze; the iridescence of his crest-jewel
flashes struck by brilliant sunbeams; burning
from Summer’s heat and his own fiery poison
he does not attack the assemblage of frogs.

21
A herd of female buffaloes frenzied by thirst
emerges from the hill’s caves, heads lifted up
sniffing for water, spittle overflowing from cavernous jaws
and frothing round their lips, pink tongus hanging out.

22
A raging forest fire burns tender shoots to a cinder;
cruel words hurl shrivelled leaves high up with impetuous force;
all around waters shrink to the bottom in the sizzling heat;
O what a scene of horror the woodland’s outskirts present!

23
Birds sit panting on trees shorn of leaves;
lean monkeys troop into caves overgrown with bushes;
wild bulls roam around looking for water;
elephant cubs diligently draw up water from a well.

24
Relentlessly driven by the force of violent winds,
the fire, brilliant as the vermilion petals
of the mallow rose unfolding,
speeds in every direction, smitten with longing to clasp
the tops of trees, bushes and creepers, and burns the earth.

25
Springing up at the skirts of the woodland,
the fire’s glare tires the creatures of the woodland;
it blazes in the glens fanned by the winds,
crackles and bursts through dry bamboo thickets
and spreads in the grass, waxing each moment.

26
Incited by the winds, the wild fire roams
all around the woodland, seeking to assume
multiple forms in the bright silk-cotton groves;
it glitters, burnished gold, in the hollows of trees
and springs up tall trees, to branches whose leaves are singed.

27
With their bodies burning in the fire’s fierce heat,
elephants, wild bulls, lions, lay aside their enmity,
and come quickly out of grasslands scorched by fire, together,
like friends, to rest on the river’s wide, sandy banks.

28
O lady, whose singing flows so sweet
in the night over moonlit terraces,
may Summer waited upon by lovely women,
when pools are strewn thick with lotuses
and the air scented by pāṭala flowers,
when waters are pleasant to laze in
and garlands of pearls cool with their touch,
pass in greatest delight and ease for you.

From: Kālidasa and Rajan, Chandra (ed.), The Complete Works of Kālidasa: In three volumes, Volume 1, 2005, Sahitya Akademi:  New Delhi, pp. 77-82.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=v8KZyQk0VWUC)

Date: c4th-5th century BCE (original in Sanskrit); 1997 (translanted in English)

By: Kālidasa (c4th-5th century BCE)

Translated by: Chandra Rajan (19??- )

Friday, 1 November 2019

Change of Address by Dónall Dempsey

You didn’t die
you just changed shape

became invisible
to the naked eye

became this grief

it’s sharpness
more real

than your presence was

before you were separate to me
entire to yourself

now you are
a part of me

you are inside my self

I call you
by your new name

‘Grief…Grief! ‘

although I still call you
‘Love.’

From: Dempsey, Donall, Being Dragged Across the Carpet by the Cat, 2015, Dempsey & Windle: UK, p. 38.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=v2tlCwAAQBAJ)

Date: 2013

By: Dónall Dempsey (1956- )