Posts tagged ‘1950’

Wednesday, 14 September 2022

Ballad of the Country Exile by Max Jacob

The farmers call me by name on the roads
as they might tell a skylark from a thrush
but they know the names of the animals better
than mine, for my name is Dolor.

If that which I love weighs upon my wound, it pains it;
if it weigh only upon summer, it is the field that suffers.

What will feed summer and my love if not that sorrow,
since my love and summer can no longer feed on joy?

The swan disappears in the slant of branches,
and the naked muses take me in their arms;
the winged horse contains my passion
and the wild flowers spread for me.

From: Jacob, Max, “Ballad of the Country Exile” in Poetry, Volume 76 Issue 2, May 1950, p. 85.

Date: 1939 (original in French); 1950 (translation in English)

By: Max Jacob (1876-1944)

Translated by Harvey Shapiro (1924-2013)

Saturday, 3 July 2021

Metamorphosis by Nancy Fotheringham Cato

I am become a tree with eyes, as still
As the straight, peeled saplings burning through in the bush
In sharp white flame. The golden honeyeaters
Feed upside-down in blossoms, the little fly-catchers
Flirt their fans before me unconcerned
And scarlet robins dart their restless fires
From twig to twig, and I look into their bright eyes.
I would shed my clothes like the shredded bark
And become as a white flame in this dark gully
Springing out of the bracken and maidenhair
Unwaveringly bright; I would stand so long
That my roots should feel down through the damp earth,
My arms reach up till they caught the last gold light
Now tinting the highest leaves; no longer restless,
But rooted content in the one place forever;
no change but the slow march of the turning years,
And the mighty pageant of the night-wheeling stars.

From: Cato, Nancy, ‘Metamorphosis’ in The Bulletin, Vol. 71 No. 3667 (24 May 1950), p. 13.

Date: 1950

By: Nancy Fotheringham Cato (1917-2000)

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Feathers by Leo Vroman

Women have twisted wings,
they sadly finger their sky.
Where chickens would smilingly fly
they sit and flutter at things.

When their withered feathers fall
cold makes women think
and sadnesses cover us all
and feathers, scented with pink.

Bald wings, revealing old skin,
are tender to behold
as the ivory membranes unfold
with a spray of fishbones within,
when the aged women die
and soar like blushing bats
clad in coats and battered hats
to obliterate the sky.


Date: 1950

By: Leo Vroman (1915-2014)

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Cats by Francis Scarfe

Those who love cats which do not even purr
Or which are thin and tired and very old,
Bend down to them in the street and stroke their fur
And rub their ears, and smooth their breast, and hold
Them carefully, and gaze into their eyes of gold.

For how can they pass what does not ask for love
But draws it out of those who have too much,
Frustrated souls who cannot use it all, who have
Somewhere too tight and sad within them, such
A tenderness it flows through all they touch.

They are the ones who love without reward,
Those on whom eyes are closed, from whom heads turn,
Who know only too well they can afford
To squander love, since in the breast it burns
With the cold anguish every lover learns.

So they pass on, victims of silent things,
And what they love remains indifferent
And stretches in the sun and yawns, or licks the rings
That sheathe its claws, or sleeps and is content,
Not knowing who she was, or what she meant.


Date: 1950

By: Francis Scarfe (1911-1986)

Thursday, 8 October 2015

The White Magnolia Tree by Helen Deutsch

The year when I was twenty-one,
(John that year was twenty-three)
That was the year, that was the spring,
We planted the white magnolia tree.

“This tree,” said John, “shall grow with us,
And every year it will bloom anew.
This is our life. This is our love.”
And the white magnolia tree grew and grew…

Oh, youth’ a thing of fire and ice,
And currents that run hot and white,
And its world is as bright as the sun…

I was twenty-one…
And I wore a plume in my hat.
And we went to the movies and wept over” Stella Dallas”,
And John sang “Moonlight and Roses”
(a little off-key, but very nicely really),

And we hurried through our crowded days
With beautiful plans, boundless ambitions, and golden decisions.
There is so much the young heart clamours for,
That it must have, and that it cannot live without,
And it must be all or nothing,
For aren’t we the masters of creation?

Oh, valiant and untamed were we,
When we planted the white magnolia tree!
And the white magnolia grew and grew,
Holding our love within its core,
And every year it bloomed anew,
And we were twenty-one no more.

No more untamed, no more so free,
Nor so young, nor so wild and aflame were we.
Dearer to us grew other things:
Easy sleep, books, a day’s quiet holiday,
Good talk beside a fire, the beauty of old faces…

We have known many things since then:
The death of a child and the bitter lesson
That a heart which breaks can mend itself again
(That it can and must be done),
And what loyalty can mean,
And how real a word like courage can become,
And that solitude can be rich and gratifying
And quite different from loneliness…

There is so little the serious heart requires:
Friends, faith, a window open to the world,
Pride in work well done,
And strength to live in a world at war
And still maintain the heart’s own private peace…

Dear Heaven, I give thanks to thee
For things I did not know before,
For the wisdom of maturity,
For bread, and a roof, and for one thing more…

Thanks because I still can see
The bloom on the white magnolia tree!


Date: 1950

By: Helen Deutsch (1906-1992)

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Nobody’s Chasing Me by Cole Porter

The breeze is chasing the zephyr
The moon is chasing the sea
The bull is chasing the heifer
But nobody’s chasing me.

The cook is chasing the chicken
The pea wakes up, pee-wee-wee
The cat is taking a lickin’
But nobody’s taking me.

Nobody wants to own me
And I object
Nobody wants to phone me
Even collect.

The leopard’s chasing the leopard
The chimp, some chap chimpanzee
The sheep is chasing the shepherd
But nobody’s chasing me.
Nobody’s chasing me.

The flood is chasing the levy
The wolf is out on a spree
The Ford is chasing the Chevy
But nobody’s chasing me.

The bee is chasing petunias
The queen is chasing the bee
The worm is chasing the lettuce
But nobody’s chasing me.

Each night I get the mirror
From off the shelf
Each night I’m getting queerer,
Chasing myself.

Ravel is chasing Debussy
The avid chases the pee
The gander’s chasing the goosey
But nobody’s goosing me.
Nobody’s chasing me.

The pa is chasing the papa
Papa is chasing Mama
Monsieur is chasing Madame
But nobody’s chasing moi.

The dove, each moment, is older
The lark speaks my petite
Tristan is chasing Isolde
But nobody’s chasing me.

Although I may be Juno,
Believe it or not,
I got a lot of you-know
And you-know-what.

The snake, with passion, is shaking
The pooch is chasing the flea
The moose his love call is making
But nobody’s making me.
Nobody’s chasing me!


Date: 1950

By: Cole Porter (1891-1964)

Monday, 21 May 2012

Purely Personal by Berton Braley

I am as I am
With the faults that beset me,
And which I should cure,
But my nature won’t let me.
And if you’re as you are
As I am as I am,
You will get me.

I am as I am.
Though I can rearrange me
In some minor details,
I am helpless to change me
From the basic Myself.
And I’ve got what I’ve got
`Cause I am what I am
And I’m not what I’m not.

I am as I am
And I do as I do
As I am, being me,
And not you, being you.
Perhaps I would be
And do better by far,
If I weren’t as I am
And I were as you are,

But I’m bound to be me
And, without any sham,
Make the best of whatever
I am – as I am!


Date: 1950

By: Berton Braley (1882-1966)