Posts tagged ‘1969’

Saturday, 15 December 2018

An Exchange of Gifts by Alden Albert Nowlan

As long as you read this poem
I will be writing it.
I am writing it here and now
before your eyes,
although you can’t see me.
Perhaps you’ll dismiss this
as a verbal trick,
the joke is you’re wrong;
the real trick
is your pretending
this is something
fixed and solid,
external to us both.
I tell you better:
I will keep on
writing this poem for you
even after I’m dead.


Date: 1969

By: Alden Albert Nowlan (1933-1983)

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

The Spirit Is Too Blunt an Instrument by Anne Stevenson

The spirit is too blunt an instrument
to have made this baby.
Nothing so unskilful as human passions
could have managed the intricate
exacting particulars: the tiny
blind bones with their manipulating tendons,
the knee and the knucklebones, the resilient
fine meshings of ganglia and vertebrae,
the chain of the difficult spine.

Observe the distinct eyelashes and sharp crescent
fingernails, the shell-like complexity
of the ear, with its firm involutions
concentric in miniature to minute
ossicles. Imagine the
infinitesimal capillaries, the flawless connections
of the lungs, the invisible neural filaments
through which the completed body
already answers to the brain.

Then name any passion or sentiment
possessed of the simplest accuracy.
No, no desire or affection could have done
with practice what habit
has done perfectly, indifferently,
through the body’s ignorant precision.
It is left to the vagaries of the mind to invent
love and despair and anxiety
and their pain.


Date: 1969

By: Anne Stevenson (1933- )

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Letters from America by Jyotirmoy Datta

I have been intrigued by much
That I came across in this bewildering land
But by none more than the winged corkscrew
Bottle openers I bought at our neighborhood store.

The object looks like the skeleton
Of a man without legs
Whose spinal column
At turns of its hollow skull
Becomes its penis, which penetrates the cork.

Punctured, with loss of a little wine,
The cork is evicted from the bottle
Following a manly pumping of the outstretched
Metal arms
Which is why in the local tongue
Making love is called “screwing.”
But it’s a love even more heartless
Than that of the caliph in the Arabian Nights.

I think of all the empty spaces in the world:
The slits of my shirtsleeve buttonholes,
The hollows in the breasts of shoes
Waiting in cardboxes in the stores.
But in all the earth there is nothing emptier
Than the hole in the punctured virgin cork
Pierced by a ravisher who was cold as steel.


Date: 1969 (original in Bengali); 1969 (translation in English)

By: Jyotirmoy Datta (1936- )

Translated by: Jyotirmoy Datta (1936- )

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Sympathy of Peoples by Robert Stuart Fitzgerald

No but come closer. Come a little
Closer. Let the wall-eyed hornyhanded
Panhandler hit you for a dime
Sir and shiver. Snow like this
Drives its pelting shadows over Bremen,
Over sad Louvain and the eastern
Marshes, the black wold. It sighs
Into the cold sea of the north,
That vast contemptuous revery between
Antiquity and you. Turn up your collar,
Pull your hatbrim down. Commune
Briefly with your ignorant heart
For those bewildered raging children
Europe surrenders her old gentry to.

All their eyes turn in the night from
Your fretfulness and forgetfulness,
Your talk; they turn away, friend.
Their eyes dilated with dreams of power
Fix on the image of the mob wet
With blood scaling the gates of order.
Anarchist and incendiary
Caesar bind that brotherhood
To use and crush the civil guard,
Debauch the debauché, level
Tenement and court with soaring
Sideslipping squadrons and hard regiments,
Stripped for the smoking levée of the
Howitzer, thunderstruck under the net.

The great mouth of hunger closes
On swineherd and princess, on the air
Of jongleur and forest bell; Grendel
Swims from the foul deep again.
Deputy, cartelist, academician
Question in haste any plumeless captain
Before the peremptory descent
Of mankind, flattered and proud.
With whitening morning on the waste
You may discern through binoculars
A long line of the shawled and frozen,
Moving yet motionless, as if those
Were populations whom the sun failed
And the malicious moon enchanted
To wander and be still forever
The prey of wolves and bestial mazes.


Date: 1969

By: Robert Stuart Fitzgerald (1910-1985)

Monday, 16 May 2016

The New World, Requesting Nothing but Peace by Steven Orlen

The sky extracts color like blood into needles.
Our pristine organists have landed again
in movable towers, set on the backs of donkeys
in the grand, ascetic tradition:

if only to break the silence
or create new ones burned with our names,
only to say we have lived here,
to be counted among the missing.

This is the long-awaited continent,
maps without faces, cities without saints,
no encores, no deaths
to plant, no momentos
hung on the walls like crosses.

You cannot imagine the emptiness,
the sabbath of fantasy.

Antarctica, lunar love, future
whatever is offered
we will gladly fall over your edge,
bathe our bodies in salt.

No, we will lie here until we can safely dream,
discover what
kind of life you really lead.


Date: 1969

By: Steven Orlen (1942-2010)

Monday, 8 February 2016

Space Oddity by David Bowie (David Robert Jones)

Ground Control to Major Tom
Ground Control to Major Tom
Take your protein pills and put your helmet on

Ground Control to Major Tom
Commencing countdown, engines on
Check ignition and may God’s love be with you

Ten, Nine, Eight, Seven, Six, Five, Four, Three, Two, One, Lift off

This is Ground Control to Major Tom
You’ve really made the grade
And the papers want to know whose shirts you wear
Now it’s time to leave the capsule if you dare

This is Major Tom to Ground Control
I’m stepping through the door
And I’m floating in a most peculiar way
And the stars look very different today

For here
Am I sitting in a tin can
Far above the world
Planet Earth is blue
And there’s nothing I can do

Though I’m past one hundred thousand miles
I’m feeling very still
And I think my spaceship knows which way to go
Tell my wife I love her very much she knows

Ground Control to Major Tom
Your circuit’s dead, there’s something wrong
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you…

Here am I floating round my tin can
Far above the Moon
Planet Earth is blue
And there’s nothing I can do.


Date: 1969

By: David Bowie (David Robert Jones) (1947-2016)

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Close Every Door to Me by Timothy Miles Bindon Rice

Close every door to me
Hide all the world from me
Bar all the windows and shut out the light
Do what you want with me
Hate me and laugh at me
Darken my daytime and torture my night

If my life were important I
Would ask will I live or die
But I know the answers lie far from this world

Close every door to me
Keep those I love from me
Children of Israel are never alone
For I know I shall find
My own peace of mind
For I have been promised a land of my own

Just give me a number
Instead of my name
Forget all about me and let me decay
I do not matter
I’m only one person
Destroy me completely then throw me away

If my life were important I
Would ask will I live or die
But I know the answers lie far from this world
Close every door to me
Keep those I love from me
Children of Israel are never alone

For we know we shall find
Our own peace of mind
For we have been promised a land of our own.


Date: 1969

By: Timothy Miles Bindon Rice (1944- )

Monday, 25 May 2015

Swifts* by Glyn Jones

Shut-winged fish, brown as mushroom,
The sweet, hedge-hurdling swifts, zoom
Over waterfalls of wind.
I salute all those lick-finned,
Dusky-bladed air-cutters.
Could you weave words as taut, sirs,
As those swifts’, great cywydd kings,
Swart basketry of swoopings?

*This poem is written in a metre called the traethodl, which means something like ‘delivery in rhyme’, I suppose. Each line has seven syllables and an accented final syllable rhymes with an unaccented. The ‘great cywydd-kings’ are the Welsh poets who wrote in the cywydd metre, following Dafydd ap Gwilym and his contemporaries, poets like Gruffydd Grug, Iolo Goch, Dafydd Nanmor, and so on. My poem has only eight lines, and my explanation takes longer than the poem! – Glyn Jones


Date: 1969

By: Glyn Jones (1905-1995)

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Autopsychography by Fernando António Nogueira Pessoa

(Poets feign and conceal
So completely feign and pretend
That the pain which they really feel
They’ll feign for you in the end

And he who reads what they’ve done
Never senses the twofold pain
That’s in them, only the one
Which they never feel but feign

And so, to amuse our minds
Round again to the start
On its circular railway winds
That toy train called the heart.)


Date: 1931 (original), 1969 (translation)

By: Fernando António Nogueira Pessoa (1888-1935)

Translated by: Michael Peter Leopold Hamburger (1924-2007)

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Both Sides Now by Joni Mitchell (Roberta Joan Anderson)

Rows and flows of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere
I’ve looked at clouds that way

But now they only block the sun
They rain and snow on everyone
So many things I would have done
But clouds got in my way
I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now

From up and down, and still somehow
It’s cloud illusions I recall
I really don’t know clouds at all

Moons and Junes and Ferris wheels
The dizzy dancing way you feel
As ev’ry fairy tale comes real
I’ve looked at love that way

But now it’s just another show
You leave ’em laughing when you go
And if you care, don’t let them know
Don’t give yourself away

I’ve looked at love from both sides now
From give and take, and still somehow
It’s love’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know love at all

Tears and fears and feeling proud
To say “I love you” right out loud
Dreams and schemes and circus crowds
I’ve looked at life that way

But now old friends are acting strange
They shake their heads, they say I’ve changed
Well something’s lost, but something’s gained
In living every day

I’ve looked at life from both sides now
From win and lose and still somehow
It’s life’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know life at all
I’ve looked at life from both sides now
From up and down, and still somehow
It’s life’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know life at all.


Date: 1969

By: Joni Mitchell (Roberta Joan Anderson) (1943- )