Posts tagged ‘1933’

Monday, 27 November 2017

Summer Doggerel by Elizabeth Heaton

One day down-sitting in the purple sun
That green with orange cloves stood in my eyes,
Beside the smell of meadow-sweet and weeds,
Platform for zebraed insect and blue fly
And green, and gold; sitting in cotton dress
All pink and billowy and girlish-garden,
I heard a clatter in the yard behind,
The clump of hob-nailed boots, and starting, saw
A staring sweep, with windmill brushes cocked
Like feathery One o’clocks, upon his shoulder.
So black he looked and grim, I’d rather
Daun Pluto, his father.

From: Heaton, Elizabeth, “Summer Doggerel”, New Verse, No. 3, May 1933, p. 15.

Date: 1933

By: Elizabeth Heaton (?-?)

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Drunk Again by Bai Juyi

Last year, when I lay sick,
I vowed
I’d never touch a drop again
As long as I should live.

But who could know
Last year
What this year’s spring would bring?

And here I am,
Coming home from old Liu’s house
As drunk as I can be!


Date: 9th century (original); 1933 (translation)

By: Bai Juyi (772-846)

Translated by: Henry Hersch Hart (1886-1968)

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Ale’s Stones by Anders Österling

Where the coast falls between the sea and sky,
Ale has raised a giant ship of stone,
Fair in its setting, when bright ears of rye
To union with the block’s dark quiet have grown,
A saga put ashore
Beside the Baltic’s roar,
A mark with sense known to the sea alone.

In tight formation, these grey masses rise
On guard since ancient times: a haunted hill,
The story goes – where clash of arms and cries
(As from a camp) the autumn darkness fill.
In midst of farmer’s land,
Here Ale took command
On board death’s ship, the last to mind his will.

Great strength still keeps this hummock in its hold.
Iron bit on bronze, when these bold deeds were done.
The sea-kings’ vessel, gone aground in mold,
Sails on its voyage to oblivion.
With stone its prow is stayed,
Of cloud its sails are made,
Yet it’s kin to all free ships beneath the sun.

A brig slips, soundless on the misty blue,
Around the corner of the nearest stone,
Bound for the Skagerrak and Dover, it will do
A measured minute while this place sleeps on;
Yet none knows how to say
What in this silent play
Is passing now, and what to past has gone.

Glittering waves both ship and grave embrace,
A thousand years, a thousand miles go by,
And time exchanges its salutes with space,
And sails are swelled and stones in slumber lie,
And the meadow casts its bloom
Around the age-old tomb,
And larks sing out, and Skåne’s summers fly.

From: Schoolfield, George C., “Anders Österling: A Life for Literature” in World Literature Today, Vol. 55. No. 2, A Look at Chinese and African Letters (Spring, 1981), p. 243.

Date: 1933 (original in Swedish); 1981 (translation in English)

By: Anders Österling (1884-1981)

Translated by: George C. Schoolfield (1925- )

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Nameless by William Montgomerie

Its light is in the grass,
Its yearning in the white gull’s cry
And in the geese that pass
In a long wavering line across the sky.

I listen, and it dreams
In silence, and it has no name;
The life of light it seems,
And all thing burn with it, as with a flame.

Rabbits on a dune
Erect, with long translucent ears,
Know the eternal tune,
And trees pulse with the wisdom of the years.

All the flying birds
Know it, and have no need to learn;
They teach us without words,
And ask from us no knowledge in return.


Date: 1933

By: William Montgomerie (1904-1994)

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Risorgimento by John Rayner Heppenstall

Not from a new soil
Unchurned by insistent roots,
Not out of any small miraculous seed
Nor plucking timid sustenance with soft fingers in the earth
To be a hieroglyph of growth shown
On fostering air

But like the blessed pilgrim staff
That was dead
And that became alive with many flowers,
Grace in its own hard fibres groping

For emergence is
A deposition of small virginities,
And that obscene virginity
Which squatted on our shoulders like
An old man of the sea with writhing legs
Is clutched and flung down
By hands unhusked.

From: Heppenstall, Rayner, “Risorgimento” in New Verse, Volume 3, 1933, p. 19.

Date: 1933

By: John Rayner Heppenstall (1911-1981)

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Peace Be Unto Her by Myra Marini

Surrounded by friends and curious strangers,
her sons and daughters kissed,
as they never kissed in life,
the cold forehead of the image—

the irrelevant image,
with small hands curled upon
the mother-bosom, hands
once vehement in life;

banked with flowers—the smell
of the death of roses—
six cars of flowers
(she loved plants that grew).

Tall sons and vivid daughters,
pale now, white-mouthed;
and those not born of her
who called her mother

and bore her grandchildren
or begot them, knelt, rose,
knelt to the ritual—
(the priests were fat, and one

showed a length of trouser,
the lace skirt puckered)—
rose, knelt; but the old man
sat unmoving, stubborn in grief.

With all the mummery of
swinging censer—the priest
chanting beautifully, but
mumbling the muttered prayers,

slighting the words—the song
Rock of Ages broke the bands
of grief.  Oh, why
bury with ironies her

who laughed at inconsistencies
who lived honestly,
who loved—(reservations to her
were traitorous, she never

knew them)—why carry in pomp
to the closed niche
her body, shorn
of all its clarity?

(The driver of one car
said to the driver of the hearse,
“How old was this stiff, anyway?”)

Pray for the soul of
Concetta Marini,
Loved on Earth.


Date: 1933

By: Myra Marini (?-?)

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Walk Slowly by Adelaide Love

If you should go before me, dear, walk slowly
Down the ways of death, well-worn and wide,
For I would want to overtake you quickly
And seek the journey’s ending by your side.

I would be so forlorn not to descry you
Down some shining highroad when I came;
Walk slowly, dear, and often look behind you
And pause to hear if someone calls your name.


Date: ?1933

By: Adelaide Love (?-?)

Sunday, 15 April 2012

The Truly Great by Stephen Spender

I think continually of those who were truly great.
Who, from the womb, remembered the soul’s history
Through corridors of light, where the hours are suns,
Endless and singing. Whose lovely ambition
Was that their lips, still touched with fire,
Should tell of the Spirit, clothed from head to foot in song.
And who hoarded from the Spring branches
The desires falling across their bodies like blossoms.

What is precious, is never to forget
The essential delight of the blood drawn from ageless springs
Breaking through rocks in worlds before our earth.
Never to deny its pleasure in the morning simple light
Nor its grave evening demand for love.
Never to allow gradually the traffic to smother
With noise and fog, the flowering of the spirit.

Near the snow, near the sun, in the highest fields,
See how these names are fêted by the waving grass
And by the streamers of white cloud
And whispers of wind in the listening sky.
The names of those who in their lives fought for life,
Who wore at their hearts the fire’s centre.
Born of the sun, they travelled a short while toward the sun
And left the vivid air signed with their honour.


Date: 1933

By: Stephen Spender (1909-1995)