Posts tagged ‘1947’

Tuesday, 1 November 2022

All Saints’ Day by Anne Spencer Morrow Lindbergh

Today no breath
Of life’s allowed
For Autumn spins
Her crystal shroud.

Thread upon thread
The earth is bound
(November’s needle
Round and round).

No wind may lift
The fallen leaf;
No flower split
The face of grief.

No flight of birds
Distracts the eye
Across the smooth
Unravelled sky.

The shuttle stilled
Within the loom,
Imprisoned in
Her crystal womb,

Earth waits a miracle
—I too;
Perhaps your spirit
Might, come through!


Date: 1947

By: Anne Spencer Morrow Lindbergh (1906-2001)

Thursday, 9 June 2022

Dirck Hartog’s Island by Cedric “Peter” Hopegood (Peter Lecky)

(News item:—A metal plate placed on Dirck Hartog Island, Western Australia, in 1697, is being brought to Canberra.)

There was a plate in Eendracht’s lazaret,
An Amsterdam ships’ chandler’s platter,
Taken and set,
Afar from galley reek and clatter,
Where ocean’s winds with panting breezes met
Upon that isle where first the white man trod
This lost primeval land,
A fabled strand,
Hid ever jealously within the sleeve of God.
Twice forty seasons’ rout, nailed to its picket stout,
Grilled by the savage heat,
Singing to flailing gusts and scuttering sands,
Bold eyes again to greet and ready hands.
It told its gallant tale:
Though wild the wave and lone the grave,
Man’s curious feet shall tread the longest trail.
There, where the osprey hangs on high to hurl,
‘Mid skirlings demon-shrill.
Down on the mew’s salt, kill,
Barren of life withdrew the arid, soil,
Though savage monsters set the seas a-boil
With flying shoals a-swirl.
No echo reached those men of mustered flocks.
No hanging dust proclaimed the driven herd.
Only the wurlies’ devil’s-funnels stirred,
And lizards drowsed between the roasted rocks.
What dragons lurked upon
Those mirage-haunted sands of this, the last of lands?
What wizard-empire of what Prester John
Might not some hardy men despoil anon?
What El Dorado,
Where wretched hodmandods should be constrained
To moil for gems, souls saved but bodies chained
Respectively by priest and desperado?

Man’s dauntless heart—his sateless greed, as well—
Seeking yet richer Thules, all may spell
Behind the weathered glyphs upon a plate,
Logging the ship, authorities, and date.
Yet fortune here decreed
Another ruling race, a homelier fate.
And Jason’s fabled fleece in sober deed.

From: Hopegood, Peter, “Dirck Hartog’s Island” in The Sydney Morning Herald, Saturday, 1 March 1947, p. 9.

Date: 1947

By: Cedric “Peter” Hopegood (Peter Lecky) (1891-1967)

Monday, 6 June 2022

Today by Ethel Anderson

Present time is the omnibus,
The Frigidaire, the rustless knife,

We have no high-grade hates, no cheap amours,
No absinthe served with petits-fours,
Ours not the saved skin, the lost honour.

But the cute jupon
The cut coupon
The clean slate
A child’s estate.

No blunderbuss.
No old-world fuss.

Merely the rising tide of tears
For those returning with our fears,
The maimed, the halt, the blind, the shocked,
With whom our world is nobly stocked.

Loved ones.
Sons of guns.
Docked lives
Clocking in.

From: Macartney, Frederick T., Australian Poetry 1947, 1948, Angus and Robertson: Sydney, p. 11.

Date: 1947

By: Ethel Louise Mason Anderson (1883-1958)

Sunday, 5 April 2020

Cholera by Nazik Al-Malaika

It is night.
Listen to the echoing wails
rising above the silence in the dark

the agonized, overflowing grief
clashing with the wails.
In every heart there is fire,
in every silent hut, sorrow,
and everywhere, a soul crying in the dark.

It is dawn.
Listen to the footsteps of the passerby,
in the silence of the dawn.
Listen, look at the mourning processions,
ten, twenty, no… countless.

Everywhere lies a corpse, mourned
without a eulogy or a moment of silence.

Humanity protests against the crimes of death.

Cholera is the vengeance of death.

Even the gravedigger has succumbed,
the muezzin is dead,
and who will eulogize the dead?

O Egypt, my heart is torn by the ravages of death.


Date: 1947 (original in Arabic); 2001 (translation in English)

By: Nazik Al-Malaika (1923-2007)

Translated by: Husain Haddawy (19??- ) and Nathalie Handal (1969- )

Monday, 17 February 2020

To Hope by Mihály Csokonai Vitéz

To mortal eyes, you, Hope, do seem
a form divinely sweet;
but eyes of gods can pierce the dream
and see your blind deceit.
Unhappy men in times of ill
create you for their easing;
and as their Guardian Angel still
they worship without ceasing.
Why do you flatter me with praise?
Why do you then deride me?
Why in my bosom do you raise
a dubious heart to chide me?
Stay far and fair beyond my reach,
as first my soul you greeted!
I had depended on your speech,
but you have ever cheated.

With jonquil and with daffodil
you planted all my garden,
and introduced a chattering rill
to be my orchard’s warden;
you did bestrew my laughing spring
with many a thousand flowers,
the scents of Heaven did you fling
to perfume all its hours;
my thoughts, like bees, found morning sweet
‘mid garden plots and closes,
and hovered ’round in fragrant heat
above my heavy roses.
One hope possessed my soul apart,
one radiant prospect joyed me,
my garden lay in Lilla’s heart
its wonders never cloyed me.

But, ah, the roses of my ease
Have withered quite away;
my sparkling brook and shady trees
are dead and dry today.
The springtime of my happiness
is winter now instead;
my dreams are gone beyond redress,
my fairy world has fled.
Ah, would you leave me but my lass,
the Lilla of my passion,
I’d let all sad complaining pass
nor mourn in any fashion.
Within her arms I could forget
misfortune, grief, and pain;
no wreath of pearl could match my girl
were she with me again!

Depart from me, O cruel Hope!
Depart and come no more;
for blinded by your power I grope
along a bitter shore.
My strength has failed, for I am riven
by all my doubt and dearth;
my tired spirit longs for Heaven
my body yearns for earth.
I see the meadows overcome
with dark consuming blight;
the vocal grove today is dumb;
the sun gives place to night.
I cannot tune this trill of mine!
My thoughts are all askew!
Ah, heart! Ah, hope! Ah, Lilla mine!
May God remember you!


Date: 1803 (original in Hungarian); 1947 (translation in English)

By: Mihály Csokonai Vitéz (1895-1977)

Translated by: Watson Kirkconnell (1895-1977)

Friday, 19 January 2018

Bought by Francis Douglas Davison

Fine rays of praise my asking rings from her
rose and the dying warrior can do no more
at night on frosty plains
to satisfy the heart’s desire
creation’s bloom on dying things admire
the fire down empty corridors the black night makes
incarnate in the strength that sleeps it
so dies like days in emblems pressed
on mortal thoughts and fears which follow them
if pity finds a heart and fills the hunger.
Her nature drawn in smiles
not merely wished or guessed
miles after hours I strove to hold the essence frozen
only she dimmed and gave my gaze to remember
empty hands on the counter fold, unfold
in thoughts’ weave rest unrest.

From: Rexroth, Kenneth (ed.), The New British Poets: An Anthology, 1947, New Directions: London, p. 299.

Date: c1947

By: Francis Douglas Davison (1919-1984)

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

The Flight of the Earls* by Aindrais MacMarcuis

This night sees Eire desolate,
Her chiefs are cast out of their state;
Her men, her maidens weep to see
Her desolate that should peopled be.

How desolate is Connla’s plain,
Though aliens swarm in her domain;
Her rich bright soil had joy in these
That now are scattered overseas.

Man after man, day after day
Her noblest princes pass away
And leave to all the rabble rest
A land dispeopled of her best.

O’Donnell goes. In that stern strait
Sore-stricken Ulster mourns her fate,
And all the northern shore makes moan
To hear that Aodh of Annagh’s gone.

Men smile at childhood’s play no more
Music and song, their day is o’er;
At wine, at Mass the kingdom’s heirs
Are seen no more; changed hearts are theirs.

They feast no more, they gamble not,
All goodly pastime is forgot,
They barter not, they race no steeds,
They take no joy in stirring deeds.

No praise in builded song expressed
They hear, no tales before they rest;
None care for books and none take glee
To hear the long-traced pedigree.

The packs are silent, there’s no sound
Of the old strain on Bregian ground.
A foreign flood holds all the shore,
And the great wolf-dog barks no more.

Woe to the Gael in this sore plight!
Hence forth they shall not know delight.
No tidings now their woe relieves,
Too close the gnawing sorrow cleaves.

These the examples of their woe:
Israel in Egypt long ago,
Troy that the Greek hosts set on flame,
And Babylon that to ruin came.

Sundered from hope, what friendly hand
Can save the sea-surrounded land?
The clan of Conn no Moses see
To lead them from captivity.

Her chiefs are gone. There’s none to bear
Her cross or lift her from despair;
The grieving lords take ship. With these
Our very souls pass overseas.

*Note: The Flight of the Earls occurred in 1607 when the Earl of Tyrone and the Earl of Tyrconnell left Ireland following the end of the Nine Years’ War and the English victory under King James I. It is considered the end of Gaelic Ireland.

From: Green, David H. (ed.), An Anthology of Irish Literature, Volume I, 1985, New York University Press: New York, pp.197-199.

Date: 1608 (original in Gaelic); 1947 (translation in English)

By: Aindrais MacMarcuis (fl. 1608)

Translated by: Robin Ernest William Flower (1881-1946)

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Imagine the South by George Woodcock

Imagine the South from which these migrants fled,
Dark-eyed, pursued by arrows, crowned with blood,
Imagine the stiff stone houses and the ships
Blessed with wine and salt, the quivering tips
Of spears and edges signalling in the sun
From swords unscabbarded and sunk in brine,
Imagine the cyclamen faces and yielding breasts
Hungered after in a dead desert of icy mists,
Imagine, for though oblivious, you too are cast
Exile upon a strange and angry coast.

Going into exile away from youth,
You too are losing a country in the south,
Losing, in the red daylight of a new shore
Where you are hemmed by solitude and fear,
The loving faces far over a sea of time,
The solid comfort and the humane dream
Of a peaceful sky, the consoling patronage
And the golden ladder to an easy age,
All these are lost, for you too have gone away
From your Southern home upon a bitter journey.

There is no home for you marked on the compass.
I see no Penelope at the end of your Odysseys,
And all the magic islands will let you down.
Do not touch the peaches and do not drink the wine,
For the Dead Sea spell will follow all you do,
And do not talk of tomorrow, for to you
There will only be yesterday, only the fading land,
The boats on the shore and tamarisks in the sand
Where the beautiful faces wait, and the faithful friends.
They will people your mind. You will never touch their hands.


Date: 1947

By: George Woodcock (1912-1995)

Sunday, 9 July 2017

We, As Old As Two Wars by Henry Treece

We, as old as two wars, here have stood
Beneath the white and sheltering apple-tree,
Listening to the night’s dark violins;
Have paused from time to time
Among the fantasy of wild orchises
To watch the painted birds daub the bright sky
With fugue of feathers in a breathless sweep.

We, old as history now, have even dared
To mimic God, fly as the angels fly,
Forgetting we were moment’s minions,
That bone would break to lime
And brightness yearly fade from eager eyes.
Perhaps we forgot too soon mortality,
Man’s fragile virtue and the way to weep.


Date: 1947

By: Henry Treece (1911-1966)

Friday, 5 May 2017

The Tomb of Honey Snaps Its Marble Chains by Derek Stanford

“J’écris seulement pour vous exalter.” Guillaume Apollinaire

Year after year before my life began
I lived with lug-worms in a sunken marsh.
Feet of the town stamped over me by day:
clocks of the town above me chimed at night.

Fossil among the gutters of the world,
I grew like cactus in a pavement’s crack;
cigarette-ash and excrement my food,
urine of dogs and rain moistened my mouth.

My head was bent,
my lips were glued to earth;
boots strode upon the gang-plank of my neck;
beetles filed through the postern of my teeth
and scurried down the lift-shaft of my throat.

Darkness, the taste of sourness, choking dust,
the insane speech of dynasties of mice;
Time in his own asylum faintly raving,
contriving wreaths of slime-dank silver daisies,
kissing his luminous finger-tips to Death.

The arrogance of haughty high-heeled shoes,
the chain-gang trudge of a multitude of slaves
forged an iron echo in my shackled skull.
The moon’s infected spittle lay in my hair.

How can I write of the buried will’s revolt,
that vast protracted midnight of rebellion
when the heart cracks like the sepulchre of a god,
and Time and Fate–earth’s hypocritical mourners–
freeze into standing shadows,
and resurrection
grapples and shatters its pre-determined shell?

So I was born in an avalanche of carnage,
torn from the jailor-image of my heart,
severed in pain from die double of all my durance:
reeking with crimsoned sweat I stood complete.

How can I speak of the trumpets and the garlands,
giant hands that tended me sheathed in gloves of flowers;
choirs, beyond stars, proclaiming through the ether
“Only the Free shall discover the Morning River;
only the Free who are pure shall uncover My Face,”

I drank the Milky Way’s sweet foaming cordial
fresh from the spouting nipples of the sky.
Now I walk upright, crowned with the bee’s gold halo;
sure-footed as a panther, shod with fern.

For those who slake their thirst at the constellations,
who wear their love like a sprig of mistle-toe,
the Spring shall be a never-failing garden,
and bread shall be “a star upon the tongue.”

From: Rexroth, Kenneth, The New British Poets: An Anthology, 1947, New Directions: New York, pp. 234-236.

Date: 1947

By: Derek Stanford (1918-2008)