Posts tagged ‘1971’

Thursday, 2 May 2019

On the Owl by Jia Yi

In the year tan-o,
Fourth month, first month of summer,
The day kuei-tzu, when the sun was low in the west,
An owl came to my lodge
And perched on the corner of my mat,
Phlegmatic and fearless.
Secretly wondering the reason
The strange thing had come to roost,
I took out a book to divine it
And the oracle told me its secret:
“Wild bird enters the hall;
The master will soon depart.”
I asked and importuned the owl,
“Where is it I must go?
Do you bring good luck? Then tell me!
Misfortune? Relate what disaster!
Must I depart so swiftly?
And speak to me of the hour!”
The owl breathed a sigh,
Raised its head and beat its wings.
Its beak could utter no word,
But let me tell you what it sought to say:
All things alter and change,
Never a moment of ceasing,
Revolving, whirling, and rolling away,
Driven far off and returning again,
Form and breath passing onward,
Like the mutations of the cicada.
Profound, subtle, and illimitable,
Who can finish describing it?

Good luck must be followed by bad,
Bad in turn bow to good.
Sorrow and joy throng the gate,
Weal and woe in the same land.
Wu was powerful and great;
Under Fu-ch’a it sank in defeat.
Yüeh was crushed at K’uai-chi,
But Kou-chien made it an overlord.
Li Ssu, who went forth to greatness, at last
Suffered the five mutilations.
Fu Yüeh was sent into bondage,
Yet Wu Ting made him his aide.
Thus fortune and disaster
Entwine like the strands of a rope.
Fate cannot be told of,
For who shall know its ending?
Water, troubled, runs wild;
The arrow, quick-sped, flies far.
All things, whirling and driving,
Compelling and pushing each other, roll on.
The clouds rise up, the rains come down,
In confusion inextricably joined.
The Great Potter fashions all creatures,
Infinite, boundless, limit unknown.
There is no reckoning Heaven,
Nor divining beforehand the Tao.
The span of life is fated;
Man cannot guess its ending.

Heaven and earth are the furnace,
The workman, the Creator;
His coal is the yin and the yang,
His copper, all things of creation.
Joining, scattering, ebbing and flowing,
Where is there persistence or rule?
A thousand, a myriad mutations,
Lacking and end’s beginning.
Suddenly they form a man:
How is this worth taking thought of?
They are transforming again in death:
Should this perplex you?
The witless take pride in his being,
Scorning others, a lover of self.
The man of wisdom sees vastly
And knows what all things will do.
The covetous run after riches,
The impassioned pursue a fair name;
The proud die struggling for power,
While the people long only to live.
Each drawn and driven onward,
They hurry east and west.
The great man is without bent;
A million changes are as one to him.
The stupid man chained by custom
Suffers like a prisoner bound.
The sage abandons things
And joins himself to the Tao alone,
While the multitudes in delusion
With desire and hate load their hearts.
Limpid and still, the true man
Finds his peace in the Tao alone.

Discarding wisdom, forgetful of form,
Transcendent, destroying self,
Vast and empty, swift and wild,
He soars on wings of the Tao.
Borne on the flood he sails forth;
He rests on the river islets.
Freeing his body to Fate,
Unpartaking of self,
His life is a floating,
His death a rest.
And stillness like the stillness of deep springs,
Like an unmoored boat drifting aimlessly,
Valuing not the breath of life,
He embraces and drifts with Nothing.
Comprehending Fate and free of sorrow,
The man of virtue heads no bounds.
Petty matters, weeds and thorns–
What are they to me?


Date: 2nd century BCE (original); 1971 (translation)

By: Jia Yi (c200-169 BCE)

Translated by: Burton Dewitt Watson (1925-2017)

Monday, 8 April 2019

Reading by Abū Bakr Muḥammad ibn ʿAmmār

My eye frees what the page imprisons:
the white the white and the black the black.


Date: 11th century (original in Arabic); 1971 (translation in Spanish);1989 (translation in English)

By: Abū Bakr Muḥammad ibn ʿAmmār (1031-1086)

Translated by: Emilio García Gómez (1905-1995) and Cola Franzen (1923-2018)

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

My Confession by Šišmundo (Šiško) Menčetić

If ‘tis confession then which cleanses white each wrong,
my conscience now must be as snow,
for each of Venus’ deeds which I’ve sent in secret done,
I did disclose and so cry woe.
And thus I do entreat of him who knows love’s pain
with me her joys now to repent,
for I, you see, do view this life as one short dream,
a summer rose that brief endures.

From: Miletich, John S. (transl.) and Slamnig, Ivan (ed.), “The Lute and the Lattice: Croatian Poetry of the 15th and 16th Centuries” in Brücke, 1971 (25), p. 26.

Date: 15th century (original in Croatian); 1971 (translation in English)

By: Šišmundo (Šiško) Menčetić (1457-1527)

Translated by: John S. Miletich (19??- )

Sunday, 11 March 2018

The Whole Day Through I Long for You by Džore Držić

The whole day through, my pearl so fair, I long for you,
as does the thirsting deer for cool lake-waters clear,
so that the sunbeams in your eyes might cure my ills
and heal by dint of their sweet charm my secret wounds,
which your fair gaze has wrought within my very core,
your look of love which now deprives me of my life.
The pallor of my face reveals this wound so deep
as also does my life, by you destroyed, my love.
And this you see as I do by your window stroll
and grow quite pale and chilled with constant sighing spells;
but though too freely we must not each other see,
we neither should so hide the secret love we keep.
Oh God, can there be woe much greater here below
than crying out aloud with grief for one’s beloved?
Oh blessed are they and well endowed by fortune’s hand
who oft, together joined, can consummate their love,
and who in mere desire waste not their fairest youth,
and do not hope in vain to joy in love’s delights.
And thus, my love, may I not slowly pine away,
but yet do let me rest upon your lap so still,
for tightly have you with your tresses red and fair
my throat ensnared as would some hunter bind his catch;
how terrifying ‘tis to think of all these woes,
but ‘tis more awful still to bear them in one’s heart.
And so, my pearl, the whole day through I long for you,
as would a thirsting deer for cool lake-waters clear.

From: Miletich, John S. (transl.) and Slamnig, Ivan (ed.), “The Lute and the Lattice: Croatian Poetry of the 15th and 16th Centuries” in Brücke, 1971 (25), p. 37.

Date: 15th century (original in Croatian); 1971 (translation in English)

By: Džore Držić (1461-1501)

Translated by: John S. Miletich (19??- )

Monday, 18 September 2017

Aberdeen, the Granite City by George Bruce

The brown land behind, south and north
Dee and Don and east the doubtful sea,
The town secured by folk that warsled
With water, earth and stone; quarrying,
Shaping, smoothing their unforgiving stone,
Engineering to make this sufficient city
That takes the salt air for its own.
The pale blue winter sky, the spring green trees,
The castigating thunder rain, the wind
Beating about the midnight streets,
The hard morning sun make their change
By the white unaltered granite –
Streets of it, broad roadways, granite pavemented
To the tall tenements, rectangular wide-walled stores,
To the kirks and pillared Assembly Rooms;
Streets with drinking troughs for the animals,
And at the port quays crowded,
Overfed with horses, lorries, men and boys,
And always and at every point
Clatter on the causies.
Business is good, will be good here
At the dead end of time. Record then
This people who purposive and with strategy
Established a northern city, a coast town
That stands and stares by the waters,
Dee and Don and the sea.


Date: 1971

By: George Bruce (1909-2002)

Friday, 18 November 2016

First Prison Sonnet by Niccolò Machiavelli

I have, Giuliano, a pair of shackles on my legs
With six hoists of the rope on my shoulders:
My other miseries I do not want to talk about,
As this is the way poets are to be treated!
These walls exude lice
Sick with the heaves no less, that (are as big as) butterflies,
Nor was there ever a stench in (the massacre of) Roncesvalles.
Or among those groves in Sardinia,
As there is in my dainty inn;
With a noise that sounds just as if at the earth
Jove was striking lightning, and all Mount Etna (too).
One man is being chained and the other shackled
With a clattering of keyholes, keys, and latches;
Another shouts that he is (pulled) too high off the ground
What disturbed me most
Was that close to dawn while sleeping
I heard chanting: “Per voi s’ora.”
Now they can go their own way;
If only your mercy may turn toward me,
Good father, and these criminal bonds be untied.

From: Landon, William J., Politics, Patriotism and Language: Niccolò Machiavelli’s “Secular Patria” and the Creation of an Italian National Identity, 2005, Peter Lang: New York, p. 94.

Date: 1513 (original in Italian); 1971 (translation in English)

By: Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527)

Translated by: Quintin Hoare (19??- ) and Geoffrey Nowell-Smith (19??- )

Monday, 30 June 2014

Lean On Me by William Harrison (Bill) Withers, Junior

Sometimes in our lives
We all have pain, we all have sorrow
But if we are wise
We know that there’s always tomorrow

Lean on me when you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend, I’ll help you carry on
For it won’t be long
‘Til I’m gonna need somebody to lean on

Please, swallow your pride
If I have things you need to borrow
For no one can fill those of your needs
That you won’t let show

You just call on me, brother, when you need a hand
We all need somebody to lean on
I just might have a problem that you’ll understand
We all need somebody to lean on

If there is a load
You have to bear that you can’t carry
I’m right up the road, I’ll share your load
If you just call me.


Date: 1971

By: Willliam Harrison “Bill” Withers, Junior (1938- )

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Riddle-me-ree by Joseph Todd Gordon MacLeod (Adam Drinan)

I was afraid and they gave me guts.
I was alone and they made me love.
Round that wild heat they built a furnace
and in the torment smelted me.

Out of my fragments came design:
I was assembled. I moved, I worked,
I grew receptive. Thanks to them
I have fashioned me.
Who am I?


Date: 1971

By: Joseph Todd Gordon MacLeod (Adam Drinan) (1903-1984)

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Epigram 11.325 by Automedon of Cyzicus

Yesterday I ate tough mutton
and a cabbage ten days old;
I won’t say where I went to dinner,
for my host is of a cold
revengeful temper, and he might
invite me back another night.


Date: 1971 (translated)

By: Automedon of Cyzicus (1st century)

Translated by: Robin Skelton (1925-1997)

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Vincent by Donald “Don” McLean

Starry, starry night.
Paint your palette blue and grey,
Look out on a summer’s day,
With eyes that know the darkness in my soul.
Shadows on the hills,
Sketch the trees and the daffodils,
Catch the breeze and the winter chills,
In colours on the snowy linen land.

Now I understand what you tried to say to me,
How you suffered for your sanity,
How you tried to set them free.
They would not listen, they did not know how.
Perhaps they’ll listen now.

Starry, starry night.
Flaming flowers that brightly blaze,
Swirling clouds in violet haze,
Reflect in Vincent’s eyes of china blue.
Colours changing hue, morning field of amber grain,
Weathered faces lined in pain,
Are soothed beneath the artist’s loving hand.

Now I understand what you tried to say to me,
How you suffered for your sanity,
How you tried to set them free.
They would not listen, they did not know how.
Perhaps they’ll listen now.

For they could not love you,
But still your love was true.
And when no hope was left in sight
On that starry, starry night,
You took your life, as lovers often do.
But I could have told you, Vincent,
This world was never meant for one
As beautiful as you.

Starry, starry night.
Portraits hung in empty halls,
Frameless head on nameless walls,
With eyes that watch the world and can’t forget.
Like the strangers that you’ve met,
The ragged men in the ragged clothes,
The silver thorn of bloody rose,
Lie crushed and broken on the virgin snow.

Now I think I know what you tried to say to me,
How you suffered for your sanity,
How you tried to set them free.
They would not listen, they’re not listening still.
Perhaps they never will.


Date: 1971

By: Donald “Don” McLean (1945- )

Alternative Title: Starry, Starry Night