Posts tagged ‘1962’

Monday, 14 January 2019

To My Wife by Qin Jian

Mindful that I had soon to leave on service,
Farther and farther away from you every day,
I sent a carriage to bring you back;
But it went empty, and empty it returned.
I read your letter with feelings of distress;
At meals I cannot eat;
And I sit alone in this desolate chamber.
Who is there to solace and encourage me?
Through the long nights I cannot sleep,
And solitary I lie prostrate on my pillow, tossing and turning.
Sorrow comes as in a circle
And cannot be rolled up like a mat.


Date: 1st century (original); 1962 (translation)

By: Qin Jia (1st century)

Translated by: Albert Richard Davis (1924-1983)

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

The Heaven of Animals by James Lafayette Dickey

Here they are. The soft eyes open.
If they have lived in a wood
It is a wood.
If they have lived on plains
It is grass rolling
Under their feet forever.

Having no souls, they have come,
Anyway, beyond their knowing.
Their instincts wholly bloom
And they rise.
The soft eyes open.

To match them, the landscape flowers,
Outdoing, desperately
Outdoing what is required:
The richest wood,
The deepest field.

For some of these,
It could not be the place
It is, without blood.
These hunt, as they have done,
But with claws and teeth grown perfect,

More deadly than they can believe.
They stalk more silently,
And crouch on the limbs of trees,
And their descent
Upon the bright backs of their prey

May take years
In a sovereign floating of joy.
And those that are hunted
Know this as their life,
Their reward: to walk

Under such trees in full knowledge
Of what is in glory above them,
And to feel no fear,
But acceptance, compliance.
Fulfilling themselves without pain

At the cycle’s center,
They tremble, they walk
Under the tree,
They fall, they are torn,
They rise, they walk again.


Date: 1962

By: James Lafayette Dickey (1923-1997)

Monday, 5 March 2018

Keep Going, Monster by Hipponax

Keep going, monster, all the long way to Smyrna.
Pass through Lydia and past the tomb of Attales,
the grave of King of Gyges and the stele of Megastrys,
the funereal monument of Atys, and king of Attalyda,
and turn your belly toward the sinking sun.

Note by Translator: Attales: brother of Alyattes, King of Persia, whose tomb still exists. Megastrys: lover of Gyges. Atys: mythical lover of Kybeles. Attalyda: founder of the city of the same name. Text is corrupt and with many variations and interpretations.

From: Barnstone, Willis, Ancient Greek Lyrics, 2010, Indiana University Press: Bloomington and Indianapolis, p. 104.

Date: 6th century BCE (original in Greek); 1962 (translation in English)

By: Hipponax (6th century BCE)

Translated by: Willis Barnstone (1927- )

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Boat Poem by Charles Bernard Spencer

I wish there were a touch of these boats about my life;
so to speak, a tarring,
the touch of inspired disorder and something more than that,
something more too
than the mobility of sails or a primitive bumpy engine,
under that tiny hot-house window,
which eats up oil and benzine perhaps
but will go on beating in spite of the many strains
not needing with luck to be repaired too often,
with luck lasting years piled on years.

There must be a kind of envy which brings me peering
and nosing at the boats along the island quay
either in the hot morning
with the lace-light shaking up against their hulls from the water,
or when their mast-tops
keep on drawing lines between stars.
(I do not speak here of the private yachts from the clubs
which stalk across the harbour like magnificent white cats
but sheer off and keep mostly to themselves.)

Look for example at the Bartolomé a deck-full
of mineral water and bottles of beer in cases
and great booming barrels of wine from the mainland,
endearing trade;
and lengths of timber and iron rods for building
and, curiously, a pig with flying ears
ramming a wet snout into whatever it explores.

Or the Virgin del Pilar, mantled and weary with drooping nets
with starfish and pieces of cod drying on the wheel-house roof
some wine, the remains of supper on an enamel plate
and trousers and singlets ‘passim’;
both of these boats stinky and forgivable like some great men
both needing paint,
but both, one observes, armoured far better than us against jolts
by a belt of old motor-tyres lobbed round their sides for buffers.

And having in their swerving planks and in the point of their bows
the never-enough-to-be-praised
authority of a great tradition, the sea-shape
simple and true like a vase,
something that stays too in the carved head of an eagle
or that white-eyed wooden hound crying up beneath the bowsprit.

Qualities clearly admirable. So is their response to occasion,
how they celebrate such times
and suddenly fountain with bunting and stand like ocean maypoles
on a Saint’s Day when a gun bangs from the fortifications,
and an echo-gun throws a bang back
and all the old kitchen bells start hammering from the churches.

Admirable again
how one of them, perhaps tomorrow, will have gone with no hooting or fuss,
simply absent from its place among the others,
occupied, without self-importance, in the thousands-of-
millions-of sea.


Date: 1962

By: Charles Bernard Spencer (1909-1963)

Monday, 20 June 2016

Winter Solstice by William Watt

Due north, its measured round complete,
Earth cleaves its seasons’ wax and wane,
as suppliant, the year-end’s draff,
dead leaves bend to the absent sun.
The path of night leads back to birth:
the star repeats its parallax.
Under wide orbits cleanly graphed
the frost-clenched fields ingerminate.

Thule is dayless, and the plow must shun
the dour crust, the arthritic roots which run
twisting through shallow graves. On the longest night
the restless spheres, Earth-centred, encased the rite:
Cut! Shear the mistletoe from its wintered tree,
unman the old year, set the new year free;
the gnomon’s shadow, turning, liberates
the soil we quicken.—The woods grow light.

Now in annual fealty the sun at rising
faces the Statues-of-the-Plain, whose stone
renews the celestial power to invoke
the flooding Nile. As the East rose-window
takes, all year, the day’s first-offered light
to tinge the cross. An old man spells
the god’s return, sullen and stiff, to his farm:
from the dark kingdom to the mourning bitch.

And wasn’t the King of Rome baptized with light?
Baptized with light, though the Earth’s condemned
to sweep its constant sector around the sun:
when the mirrored pattern that once ratified
his sovereignty, had passed?

Solstice: a lynx,
having found means to smash his accustomed cage,

—freed of his chains, but not of their weight—
quivers in the chill hours until dawn.


Date: 1962

By: William Watt (1913-1996)

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Vermeer by Howard Nemerov

Taking what is, and seeing it as it is,
Pretending to no heroic stances or gestures,
Keeping it simple; being in love with light
And the marvellous things that light is able to do,
How beautiful a modesty which is
Seductive extremely, the care for daily things.

At one for once with sunlight falling through
A leaded window, the holy mathematic
Plays out the cat’s cradle of relation
Endlessly; even the inexorable
Domesticates itself and becomes charm.

If I could say to you, and make it stick,
A girl in a red hat, a woman in blue
Reading a letter, a lady weighing gold . . .
If I could say this to you so you saw,
And knew, and agreed that this was how it was
In a lost city across the sea of years,
I think we should be for one moment happy
In the great reckoning of those little rooms
Where the weight of life has been lifted and made light,
Or standing invisible on the shore opposed,
Watching the water in the foreground dream
Reflectively, taking a view of Delft
As it was, under a wide and darkening sky.


Date: 1962

By: Howard Nemerov (1920-1991)

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Allegro by Tomas Tranströmer

I play Haydn after a black day
and feel a simple warmth in my hands.

The keys are willing. Soft hammers strike.
The resonance green, lively and calm.

The music says freedom exists
and someone doesn’t pay the emperor tax.

I push down my hands in my Haydnpockets
and imitate a person looking on the world calmly.

I hoist the Haydnflag – it signifies:
“We don’t give in. But want peace.”

The music is a glass-house on the slope
where the stones fly, the stones roll.

And the stones roll right through
but each pane stays whole.


Date: 1962 (Swedish);1997 (translated)

By: Tomas Tranströmer (1931-2015)

Translated by: Robin Fulton Macpherson (1937- )

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Surprised By Evening by Robert Bly

There is unknown dust that is near us
Waves breaking on shores just over the hill
Trees full of birds that we have never seen
Nets drawn with dark fish.

The evening arrives; we look up and it is there
It has come through the nets of the stars
Through the tissues of the grass
Walking quietly over the asylums of the waters.

The day shall never end we think:
We have hair that seemed born for the daylight;
But at last the quiet waters of the night will rise
And our skin shall see far off as it does under water.


Date: 1962

By: Robert Bly (1926-2021)

Monday, 15 April 2013

Communication by Alex Comfort

Babies’ and lovers’ toes express
ecstasies of wantonness.
It’s a language we lose
with the trick of wearing shoes.

From: Parker, Derek (ed), An Anthology of Erotic Verse, 1980, The Softback Preview: London, p. 331.

Date: 1962

By: Alex Comfort (1920-2000)