Posts tagged ‘1953’

Sunday, 8 August 2021

For a Man Gone to Strasbourg Who Left an Automobile Behind Him by Charles Olson

for j w

the callacanthus
out again (the golden fury seen
thru those red candles

not at all a dead car, curiously,
even though it hasn’t moved as what pushes out but

not deadhead (as Grady’s
two were, all winter

Beyond, the grove of little dogwood (today’s

But, by the heady red flowers (their smell
will be heavy), the large dogwood (the single bush,
back of the stone steps,

and it came out this way (just after you  had left,)
a year ago

suddenly the spring field is blue, of figwort
and the callacanthus smell is intercepted by that color
as the dogwood was by the green of my pleasure
that I slept under it, for an hour, and woke,
as they have, to the rising of
the forces.


Date: 1953

By: Charles Olson (1910-1970)

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Choric Stanzas by James Falconer Kirkup

Remember, no men are strange, no countries foreign
Beneath all uniforms, a single body breathes

Like ours: the land our brothers walk upon
Is earth like this, in which we all shall lie.
They, too, aware of sun and air and water,
Are fed by peaceful harvests, by war’s long winter starv’d.
Their hands are ours, and in their lines we read
A labour not different from our own.
Remember they have eyes like ours that wake
Or sleep, and strength that can be won
By love. In every land is common life
That all can recognise and understand.
Let us remember, whenever we are told
To hate our brothers, it is ourselves
That we shall dispossess, betray, condemn.
Remember, we who take arms against each other
It is the human earth that we defile.
Our hells of fire and dust outrage the innocence
Of air that is everywhere our own,
Remember, no men are foreign, and no countries strange.


Date: 1953

By: James Falconer Kirkup (1918-2009)

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Cokkils by Sydney Goodsir Smith

Doun through the sea
A rain o’ cokkils, shells
Rains doun
Frae the ceaseless on-ding
O’ the reefs abune

Slawlie through millennia
Biggan on the ocean bed
Their ain subaqueous Himalaya
Wi a fine white rain o’ shells
Faa’an continuallie
Wi nae devall.

Sae, in my heid as birdsang
Faas throu simmer treen
Is the thocht o’ my luve
Like the continual rain
O’ cokkils throu the middle seas
Wi nae devall –
The thocht o’ my true-luve


Date: 1953

By: Sydney Goodsir Smith (1915-1975)

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Crossing the River by Qu Yuan

Since I was young I have worn gorgeous dress
And still love raiment rare,
A long gem-studded sword hangs at my side,
And a tall hat I wear.
Bedecked with pearls that glimmer like the moon,
With pendent of fine jade,
Though there are fools who cannot understand,
I ride by undismayed.

Then give me green-horned serpents for my steed,
Or dragons white to ride,
In paradise with ancient kings I’d roam,
Or the world’s roof bestride.
My life should thus outlast the universe,
With sun and moon supreme.
By southern savages misunderstood,
At dawn I ford the stream.

I gaze my last upon the river bank,
The autumn breeze blows chill.
I halt my carriage here within the wood
My steeds beside the hill.
In covered vessel travelling upstream,
The men bend to their oars;
The boat moves slowly, strong the current sweeps,
Nearby a whirlpool roars.

I set out from the bay at early dawn,
And reach the town at eve.
Since I am upright, and my conscience clear,
Why should I grieve to leave?
I linger by the tributary stream,
And know not where to go.
The forest stretches deep and dark around,
Where apes swing to and fro.

The beetling cliffs loom high to shade the sun,
Mist shrouding every rift,
With sleet and rain as far as eye can see,
Where low the dense clouds drift.
Alas! all joy has vanished from my life,
Alone beside the hill.
Never to follow fashion will I stoop,
Then must live lonely still.

One sage of old had head shaved like a slave,
Good ministers were killed,
In nakedness one saint was forced to roam,
Another’s blood was spilled.
This has been so from ancient times till now,
Then why should I complain?
Unflinchingly I still shall follow truth,
Nor care if I am slain.

Now, the phoenix dispossessed,
In the shrine crows make their nest.
Withered is the jasmine rare,
Fair is foul, and foul is fair,
Light is darkness, darkness day,
Sad at heart I haste away.


Date: 3rd century BCE (original); 1953 (translation)

By: Qu Yuan (c340-268 BCE)

Translated by: Gladys Yang (1919-1999) and Yang Xianyi (1915-2009)