Posts tagged ‘1936’

Friday, 22 October 2021

[I Have Accustomed These Bones to Grief] by Miguel Hernández Gilabert

I have accustomed these bones to grief
and these temples to deception:
grief goes, deception comes
like the sea from sand to beach.

Like the sea from beach to sand
I go from this wavering shipwreck
through a dark night, poor, black,
and sad as a round cast-iron pan.

If your love is not the plank I clench,
if your voice is not the north I follow,
no one will save me from this wreck.

So I go on eluding the dark omen
that I will never be safe in you,
smiling from heartache to heartache.

From: Hernández, Miguel and Genoways, Ted (ed.), The Selected Poems of Miguel Hernández: A Bilingual Edition, 2001, University of Chicago Press: Chicago, p. 57.

Date: 1936 (original in Spanish); 2001 (translation in English)

By: Miguel Hernández Gilabert (1910-1942)

Translated by: Ted Genoways (1972- )

Tuesday, 4 May 2021

Lunch with the Sole Survivor by Kenneth Flexner Fearing

Meaning what it seems to when the day’s receipts are
counted and locked inside the store and the
keys are taken home
feeling as it does to drive a car that rides and rides like
a long, low, dark, silent streak of radio waves
just the way the hero feels in a smash-hit show
exactly like the giant in a Times Square sign making
love across the sky to a lady made of light

And then as though the switch were thrown and all of
the lights went out
then as though the curtain fell and then they swept
the aisles and then it’s someone’s turn to go
smoke the last cigarette, drink the last tall drink, go
with the last long whistle of the midnight train
as it fades among the hills

Meaning what it seems to mean but feeling the way it
as though the wind would always, always blow away
from home.


Date: 1936

By: Kenneth Flexner Fearing (1902-1961)

Sunday, 3 March 2019

Weathered Rocks by Mary Ursula Bethell

Poetry is a music made of images
Worded one in the similitude of another,
Chaining the whole universe to the ecstasies,
Of humanity, its anguish and fervour.

But there shall be no equivalent
Of these fire-wrought and water-worn boulders,
Tattoo’d and stained, silvered, denigrated,
Rusted and empurpled by exposure
To ocean-salted south and east winds
Unremittingly sweeping over these headlands;

Since in the bosom of this volcano
The fires abated, died down, and were exhausted,
Fretted by aurelian and grey moulds,
Encrusted by frilled lichens, pale, glaucous;
Giving pittance to lissom tussock grasses
And twisted brambles, from invisible crevasses.

Rock, thorn, cryptogram, each has significance,
Each makes contribution to eternal parabole;
And we are kin, compounded of the same elements,
Alike proceeding to an unknown goal;
And they are secret to themselves as I am secret to myself,
And I think they have no part in my dole;

And shall another estimate the influence
Of mass, form, colour, on individual soul,
Or relate my smitten heart-throb,
Beholding these things, to cosmic diastole?
But deep is the given peace, when informed particular
Has respect unto the dignity of the whole.


Date: 1936

By: Mary Ursula Bethell (1874-1945)

Monday, 9 July 2018

In Memoriam Myself by Jan Jacob Slauerhoff

By enemies hemmed in,
With ‘friends in need’ who’ve fled
Rank meat that stinks like sin,
I laugh, toss back my head,
Though torn to shreds within,
My body all but dead.

Each day my life was crossed
By new adversity.
Good reaped iniquity;
I paid a heavy cost,
But now the battle’s lost
I fight on doggedly.

Snow, ice envelop me,
The bodies are piled high
Of those who crazily
Pursued my inner ‘I’,
Once bright as ‘gay Paree’,
Now polar, frozen, dry.

I leave no last bequest,
Smash life’s work at a stroke;
No mercy I request,
Curse past and future folk;
Stand tall where they now rest,
And treat death as a joke.

I look fate in the eye,
Have said not one goodbye,
But want men when I die
To say just this of me:
‘He did good very ill,
Served bad with honest will,
Succumbed while battling still,
Undaunted, lived his fill,
Intolerant and free.’


Date: 1936 (original in Dutch); 1999 (translation in English)

By: Jan Jacob Slauerhoff (1898-1936)

Translated by: Paul Vincent (1942- )

Friday, 6 October 2017

Witch-Burning by Mary Elizabeth Counselman

They burned a witch in Bingham Square
Last Friday afternoon.
The faggot-smoke was blacker than
The shadows on the moon;
The licking flames were strangely green
Like fox-fire on the fen…
And she who cursed the godly folk
Will never curse again.

They burned a witch in Bingham Square;
Before the village gate.
A huswife raised a skinny hand
To damn her, tense with hate.
A huckster threw a jagged stone—
Her pallid cheek ran red…
But there was something scornful in
The way she held her head.

They burned a witch in Bingham Square;
Her eyes were terror-wild.
She was a slight, a comely maid,
No taller than a child.
They bound her fast against the stake
And laughed to see her fear…
Her red lips muttered secret words
That no one dared to hear.

They burned a witch in Bingham Square—
But ere she swooned with pain
And ere her bones were sodden ash
Beneath the sudden rain,
She set her mark upon that throng…
For time can not erase
The echo of her anguished cries,
The memory of her face.


Date: 1936

By: Mary Elizabeth Counselman (1911-1995)

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

The Song of the Valkyries by Anonymous

Widely is flung, warning of slaughter,
the weaver’s-beam’s-web, ’t is wet with blood;
is spread now, grey, the spear-thing before,
the woof-of-the-warriors which valkyries fill
with the red-warp-of-Randvér’s-banesman.

Is this web woven and wound of entrails,
and heavy weighted with heads of slain;
are blood-bespattered spears the treadles,
iron-bound the beams, the battens, arrows:
let us weave with our swords this web of victory!

Goes Hild to weave, and Hiorthrimul,
Sangrith and Svipul, with swords brandished:
shields will be shattered, shafts will be splintered,
will the hound-of-helmets the hauberks bite.

Wind we, wind we the-web-of-darts,
and follow the atheling after to war!
Will men behold shields hewn and bloody
where Gunn and Gondul have guarded the thane.

Wind we, wind we such web-of-darts
as the young war-worker waged afore-time!
Forth shall we fare where the fray is thickest,
where friends and fellows ’gainst foemen battle!

Wind we, wind we the web-of-darts
where float the flags of unflinching men!
Let not the liege’s life be taken:
valkyries award the weird of battle.

Will seafaring men hold sway over lands,
who erstwhile dwelled on outer nesses;
is doomed to die a doughty king,
lies slain an earl by swords e’en now

Will Irish men eke much ill abide:
’t will not ever after be out of men’s minds.
Now the web is woven, and weapons reddened—
in all lands will be heard the heroes’ fall.

Now awful is it to be without,
as blood-red rack races overhead;
is the welkin gory with warriors’ blood
as we valkyries war-songs chanted.

Well have we chanted charms full many
about the king’s son: may it bode him well!
Let him learn them who listens to us,
and speak these spells to spearmen after.

Start we swiftly with steeds unsaddled—
hence to battle with brandished swords!

From: Hollander, Lee M., Old Norse Poems, 1936, Columbia University Press: New York, pp. 72-75.

Date: 13th century (original); 1936 (translation)

By: Anonymous

Translated by: Lee Milton Hollander (1880-1972)

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Ascetic by Patrick Kavanagh

That in the end
I may find
Something not sold for a penny
In the slums of Mind.

That I may break
With these hands
The bread of wisdom that grows
In the other lands.

For this, for this
Do I wear
The rags of hunger and climb
The unending stair.


Date: 1936

By: Patrick Kavanagh (1904-1967)

Sunday, 20 January 2013

For My Infant Daughter by Alan Swallow

Dear child, child of the human night,
The starless beaming of our fear,
Error, ingratitude, and war–
Dear child, I grieve for your birthright
Beneath these heavens: see, this year,
How blind, how deep the wound and scar.

What shall I offer besides love
And gratitude? What counsel give
Upon a planet hot with blood?
May you grow wiser than the dove
Whose passion, warm but relative,
Sits like the leaf, and the leaf’s bud.

May you grow beautiful with grace
Of limb and movement; may your mind
Grow fonder of the time’s decease
Than of its habitual, easy place–
More than conservative, to find
That more than earthly blessing, peace.

I hope too much? Yes, hope for all
That state, my human child, which shone
In many eyes, when the world shook,
And is not dead but yet may fall
On you, dear woman worthy grown,
On me, worthy of your backward look.


Date: 1936

By: Alan Swallow (1915-1966)

Friday, 8 June 2012

Poem by John Cornford

Heart of the heartless world,
Dear heart, the thought of you
Is the pain at my side,
The shadow that chills my view.

The wind rises in the evening,
Reminds that autumn is near.
I am afraid to lose you,
I am afraid of my fear.

On the last mile to Huesca,
The last fence for our pride,
Think so kindly, dear, that I
Sense you at my side.

And if bad luck should lay my strength
Into the shallow grave,
Remember all the good you can;
Don’t forget my love.


Date: 1936

By: John Cornford (1915-1936)

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Instructions from England by Valentine Ackland

Note nothing of why or how, enquire
no deeper than you need
into what set these veins on fire,
note simply that they bleed.

Spain fought before and fights again,
better no question why;
note churches burned and popes in pain
but not the men who die.


Date: 1936

By: Valentine Ackland (1906-1969)