Posts tagged ‘1920’

Thursday, 27 June 2019

Take From My Palms Some Sun to Bring You Joy by Osip Emilyevich Mandelstam

Take from my palms some sun to bring you joy
and take a little honey – so the bees
of cold Persephone commanded us.

No loosing of the boat that is not moored,
no hearing of the shadow shod in fur,
no overcoming fear in life’s dense wood.

And kisses are all that’s left us now,
kisses as hairy as the little bees
who perish if they fly out of the hive.

They rustle in transparent depths of night,
their home dense forests on Taigetos’ slopes,
their food is honeysuckle, mint and time.

So for your joy receive my savage gift,
a dry and homely necklace of dead bees
who have transmuted honey into sun.

November 1920


Date: 1920 (original in Russian); 2011 (translation in English)

By: Osip Emilyevich Mandelstam (1891-1938)

Translated by: Peter France (1935- )

Sunday, 19 May 2019

Canción by Álvaro de Luna

Since to cry
And to sigh
I ne’er cease;
And in vain
I would gain
My release;
Yet I still
Have the will,
Though I see
That the way
Every day
Is less free.
She is light
And the blight
Wrecks my joy;
Better death
Than such breath
I employ!
But perchance
For such glance
I was born;
And my grief
Is relief
For your scorn.

From: Walsh, Thomas (ed.), Hispanic Anthology: Poems Translated from the Spanish by English and North American Poets, 1920, G. P. Putnam’s Sons: New York and London, pp. 52-53.

Date: 15th century (original in Spanish); 1920 (translation in English)

By: Álvaro de Luna (c1388-1453)

Translated by Thomas Walsh (1875-1928)

Saturday, 26 January 2019

Sydney Cove, 1788 by Roderic Quinn

She sat on the rocks, her fireless eyes
Teased and tired with the thoughts of yore;
And paining her sense were alien skies,
An alien sea and an alien shore.

In gold-green dusks she glimpsed new flowers
And the glittering wings of gleaming birds —
But haunting her still were English bowers
And the clinging sweetness of old love-words.

A soft breeze murmured of unknown shores
And laughed as it touched her with fingers light,
But she mourned the more for the wind that roars
Down sullen coasts on a northern night.

Like topaz gems on a sable dome
The stranger stars stole shyly forth;
She saw no stars like the stars of home
That burned, white-fired, in the frosty north.

A restless sea was at her feet,
A restless sea of darkest blue;
The lights burned dimly on The Fleet,
And these were all the ships it knew.

She watched the dark tides rise and fall,
The lion-tides that, night and noon,
Range round the world, and moan and call
In sad sea-voices to the moon.

Thus while she watched they ebbed and flowed;
Till last with sudden splendour Day
Lit all the scene with gold, and showed
An arrow black on a garb of grey.

From: Quinn, Roderic, Poems, 2003, University of Sydney Library: Sydney, p. 18.

Date: 1920

By: Roderic Quinn (1867-1949)

Monday, 26 March 2018

Child’s Song by Leah McTavish Cohen

My mother was a harlot,
My father was a clerk;
My mother wore scarlet,
My father a coat dark.

They met once only.
Parted at morn —
But from that lone lie
Was I born.

When she grew bigger,
Mother in dread
Pinched in her figure,
Bore me dead.

They buried my body
Deep in a hole.
And prayed to God He
Would save my soul.

From: Sitwell, Edith (ed.), Wheels, 1920 (Fifth Cycle), 1920, B. H. Blackwell: Oxford, p. 43.

Date: 1920

By: Leah McTavish Cohen (fl. 1920)

Friday, 16 March 2018

Skyscrapers by John Gould Fletcher

What are these, angels or demons,
Or steel and stone?
Soaring, alert,
Striped with diversified windows,
These sweep aloft
And the multitude crane their necks to them: —
Are they angels, or demons,
Or stone?

If the grey sapless people,
Moving along the street, thought them angels,
They too would be beautiful,.
Erect and laughing to the sky for joy.
If as demons they feared them,
They would smite with fierce hatred
These brown haughty foreheads:
They would not suffer them to hold the sun in trust.

What,are they, then, angels, or demons,
Or stone?
Deaf sightless towers
Unendowed yet with life;
Soaring vast effort
Spent in the sky till it breaks there.
You men of my country
Who shaped these proud visions,
You have yet to find godhead
Not here, but in the human heart.

May 25, 1920.

From: Fletcher, John Gould, Breakers and Granite, 1921, The Macmillan Company: New York, pp. 15-16.

Date: 1920

By: John Gould Fletcher (1886-1950)

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Hard of Hearing by Alan Porter

Once in April ways
I heard the cuckoo call.
Among more withering days
Haulms twitched and clicked with heat.
I heard the bumping fall
Of yellow plums. My feet
Drew bickerings from the grass
Like thunder-rain on roofs,
Or clattered arms of brass.
Horses’ battering hoofs
Ring no louder now
Than once a distant stream.
The grasshopper’s old-hussif row
Dies to remembered dream.

In bygone days I heard
The swinging dewberry scratch
To the flurried flight of a bird,
Nor found it hard to catch
The plashy drop when a trout
Came bowbent leaping out.
I heard from pools and bogs
The little, barking frogs.
Clapping water-weeds,
The hiss of sand-wasps’ wings,
Wind-brattled campion seeds,
Were close familiar things.
Now nature’s musics half are fled;
And half my heart is dead.

From: Porter, Alan, “Hard of Hearing”, Wheels, 1920 (Fifth Cycle), 1920, pp. 39-40.

Date: 1920

By: Alan Porter (1899-1942)

Thursday, 16 November 2017

A Lament by George Edward Woodberry

Dizzily dropping, to the gulf I fall,
The bright bolt in my brain!
Vainly upon the heavenly gods I call,
Murmuring a mortal’s pain.

Deep under deep receives me, and no wing
Bears up the astonished soul:—
Only the fire-eyed stars have ceased to sing.
And the gray sea to roll.

From: Woodberry, George Edward, The Roamer and Other Poems, 1920, Harcourt, Brace and Howe: New York, p. 245.

Date: 1920

By: George Edward Woodberry (1855-1930)

Saturday, 4 February 2017

A Quatrain on Dyeing the Hair by Abu Abdollah Jafar ibn Mohammad Rudaki

Not for this reason, black my hair I dye.
To look more young and vices new to try ;
People in time of grief don raiment black —
I black my hair in grief at old age nigh.

From: Jackson, A. V. Williams, Early Persian Poetry: From the Beginnings Down to the Time of Firdausi, 1920, The MacMillan Company: New York, p. 41.

Date: 10th century (original in Arabic); 1920 (translation in English)

By: Abu Abdollah Jafar ibn Mohammad Rudaki (858-c941)

Translated by: Abraham Valentine Williams Jackson (1862-1937)

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Toleration by John Leslie Barford (Philebus)

Is it too much to ask that I should be
Allowed to prove
God’s gift of infinite variety
In human love?

I do not seek that all should understand,
Much less forgive;
But surely heed man’s commonsense command
“Live and let love,”

And, if the Greatest Lover’s word divine
Further can move, —
(Who had Himself all natures, even mine,)
Love — and let love.

Serve Her Right

Gertie Green made eyes at me.
Mother ought to slap her!
But I took her out to tea
Just to see if I could be
Happy with a flapper.

But the base philanderer
Ogled with another;
So, of course to despite her,
I decided to transfer
Affections to her brother;

And I did! . . .


Date: c1920

By: John Leslie Barford (Philebus) (1886-1937)

Sunday, 14 August 2016

In Praise of Love by Juan Ruiz

Truly my mother bore me ‘neath the sign of Venus fair,
Know, therefore, that to serve good dames is aye my chiefest care;
And if the pear-tree I must see yet never taste the pear,
To rest at least beneath its shade is bliss that all may share.

Love to the foolish giveth wit by great and potent art,
Love to the dumb or slow of speech can eloquence impart,
Can make the craven, shrinking coward valiant and strong of heart,
Can by his power the sluggard spur out of his sleep to start.

Love to the young eternal youth can by his craft bestow,
The all-subduing might of eld can even overthrow;
Can make the face as swart as pitch full white and fair to grow,
And give to those not worth a doit full many a grace, I trow.

The dolt, the fool, the slow of wit, the poor man or the base
Unto his mistress seemeth rich in every goodly grace,
Then he that loseth lady fair should straightway set his face
T’ward finding one that worthily may fill her vacant place.

At length the poet, still unsuccessful in his quest of a lady,
loses patience and makes a spirited attack on Love, here, as
in Provençal poetry, represented as a young man.

From: Farnell, Ida (editor and translator), Spanish Prose and Poetry Old and New with Translated Specimens, 1920, Clarendon Press: Oxford, p. 20.

Date: c1330 (original in Spanish); 1920 (translation in English)

By: Juan Ruiz (c1283-c1350)

Translated by: Ida Farnell (18??-19??)