Posts tagged ‘1972’

Wednesday, 4 March 2020

Translations by Adrienne Cecile Rich

December 25, 1972

You show me the poems of some woman
my age, or younger
translated from your language

Certain words occur: enemy, oven, sorrow
enough to let me know
she’s a woman of my time


with Love, our subject:
we’ve trained it like ivy to our walls
baked it like bread in our ovens
worn it like lead on our ankles
watched it through binoculars as if
it were a helicopter
bringing food to our famine
or the satellite
of a hostile power

I begin to see that woman
doing things: stirring rice
ironing a skirt
typing a manuscript till dawn

trying to make a call
from a phonebooth

The phone rings endlessly
in a man’s bedroom
she hears him telling someone else
Never mind. She’ll get tired.
hears him telling her story to her sister

who becomes her enemy
and will in her own way
light her own way to sorrow

ignorant of the fact this way of grief
is shared, unnecessary
and political.


Date: 1972

By: Adrienne Cecile Rich (1929-2012)

Friday, 7 February 2020

If You Wish by Abdulla Pashew/Ebdulla Peşêw

If you wish
your children’s pillows
to bloom pinks,
if you wish to surround cradles
in silky dreams white as snow,
if you wish their swaddling clothes
made of rainbows and
that they might play doll with
the heart of the messiah,
if you wish
your vineyards full of fruit,
if you wish the sun to drink
from the floods of your joy,
if you wish the heavy clouds
to send messages of green to your fields
and to raise the drowsy eyelids of springs,
then liberate—
the bird that nests
on my tongue.



Date: 1972 (original in Kurdish); 2018 (translation in English)

From: Abdulla Pashew/Ebdulla Peşêw (1946- )

Translated by: Alana Maria Levinson-LaBrosse (1974- )

Thursday, 26 December 2019

Boxing Day by Vern Rutsala

In the mud we
begin to understand.
Fictions fall away—
old skin, old hair,

old midnight pledges
scale in wet light.
Whatever was following
has caught up.

It is with us now.
Old vacancy, old tramp
riding the train
whistles, old ugly

come to visit,
old bastard Daddy
crazy drunk, warbling
hello and hacking

like a bullfrog.
We are his favorites.
His dark pockets
are stuffed with gifts—

Christmas candy matted
with lint and tobacco
is peeled out like ore
and it is just for us.

From: Rutsala, Vern, “Boxing Day” in Poetry, January 1972, p. 193.

Date: 1972

By: Vern Rutsala (1934-2014)

Monday, 28 October 2019

The Witch’s Cat by Ian Serraillier

‘My magic is dead,’ said the witch. ‘I’m astounded
That people can fly to the moon and around it.
It used to be mine and the cat’s till they found it.
My broomstick is draughty, I snivel with cold
As I ride to the stars. I’m painfully old,
And so is my cat;
But planet-and-space-ship,
Rocket or race-ship
Never shall part me from that.’

She wrote and advertisement, ‘Witch in a fix
Willing to part with the whole bag of tricks,
Going cheap at the price at eighteen and six.’
But no one was ready to empty his coffers
For out-of-date rubbish. There weren’t any offers—
Except for the cat.
‘But planet-and-space-ship,
Rocket or race-ship
Never shall part me from that.’

The tears trickled fast, not a sentence she spoke
And she stamped on her broom and the brittle stick broke,
And she dumped in a dustbin her hat and her cloak,
Then clean disappeared, leaving no prints;
And no one at all has set eyes on her since
Or her tired old cat.
‘But planet-and-space-ship,
Rocket or race-ship
Never shall part me from that.’

From: Livingston, Myra Cohn (ed.), Why Am I Grown So Cold?: Poems of the Unknowable, 1982, Atheneum: New York, p. 173.

Date: 1972

By: Ian Serraillier (1912-1994)

Monday, 22 July 2019

A Word by Ozaki Kihachi

I have to select a word for material.
It should be talked about in the smallest possible amount and
have a deep suggestiveness like nature,
bloom from inside its own self,
and at the edge of the fate encircling me
it will have to become darkly and sweetly ripened.

Of a hundred experiences it always
has to be the sum total of only one.
One drop of water dew
becomes the harvest of all dewdrops,
a dark evening’s one red point of light
is the night of the whole world.

And after that my poem
like a substance entirely fresh,
released far away from my memory,
the same as a scythe in a field in the morning,
the same as the ice on a lake in spring,
will suddenly begin to sing from its own recollection

From: Shiffert, Edith Marcombe and Sawa, Yūki (eds. and transls.), Anthology of Modern Japanese Poetry, 1972, Charles E. Tuttle Co. Inc: Tokyo, p. 39.

Date:19?? (original in Japanese); 1972 (translation in English)

By: Ozaki Kihachi (1892-1974)

Translated by: Edith Marion Marcombe Shiffert (1916-2017) and Yūki Sawa (fl. 1969-1989)

Friday, 21 October 2016

After All, White Doves by Geoffrey Edward Harvey Grigson (Martin Boldero)

They rose out of dead men,
out of their mouths,
gently, white doves,
to branches where they fidgeted
at first, a little,–
free, uncertainly.

It was something,
white doves for the souls of men,
instead of the roving idiots
of the morning, cuckoos,
or jackdaws cackling, or identical
factory chicken chelping, or worse,

White doves
even the souls of the worst.


Date: 1972

By: Geoffrey Edward Harvey Grigson (Martin Boldero) (1905-1985)

Thursday, 29 May 2014

You Were My Death by Paul Celan (Anczel)

You were my death:
you I could hold
when all fell away from me.


Date: 1968 (original); 1972 (translated)

By: Paul Celan (Anczel) (1920-1970)

Translated by: Michael Peter Leopold Hamburger (1924-2007) and Christopher Middleton (1926- )

Friday, 29 November 2013

The Bicycle by Derek Mahon

There was a bicycle, a fine
Raleigh with five gears
And racing handlebars.
It stood at the front door
Begging to be mounted;
The frame shone in the sun.

I became like a character
In “The Third Policeman,” half
Human, half bike, my life
A series of dips and ridges,
Happiness a free-wheeling
Past fragrant hawthorn hedges.

Cape and sou’wester streamed
With rain when I rode to school
Side-tracking the bus routes.
Night after night I dreamed
Of valves, pumps, sprockets,
Reflectors and repair kits.

Soon there were long rides
In the country, wet week-ends
Playing snap in the kitchens
Of mountain youth-hostels,
Day-runs to Monaghan,
Rough and exotic roads.

It went with me to Dublin
Where I sold it the same winter;
But its wheels still sing
In the memory, stars that turn
About an eternal centre,
The bright spokes glittering.


Date: 1972

By: Derek Mahon (1941- )

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Scotched by Alexander Scott

Scotch God
Kent his

Scotch Religion

Scotch Education
I telt ye
I telt ye.

Scotch Queers
Wha peys wha
— For what?

Scotch Prostitution

Scotch Presbyterianism

Scotch Glasgow-Irish
Weirs a green jersey.

Scotch Orangeman
For Billy.

Scotch Liberty
Wi me.

Scotch Equality
Kaa the feet frae
Thon big bastard.

Scotch Fraternity
Our mob uses
The same razor.

Scotch Optimism
Through a gles,

Scotch Pessimism

Scotch Modernity
Lang Syne.

Scotch Initiative

Scotch Generosity

Scotch Co-operation
Pou thegither
— My wey.

Scotch Geniuses
— Or damned.

Scotch sex
In atween

Scotch Drink

Scotch Free-Love
Canna be
Worth much.

Scotch Lovebirds

Scotch Fractions
A hauf
‘n’ a hauf.

Scotch Troubles
Monie a pickle
Maks a puckle.

Scotch Political-Parties
Monie a puckle
Maks a pickle.

Scotch Gaeldom
Up the

Scotch Astronomy
Keek at

Scotch Astrology
In the gloamin.

Scotch Soccer
Wi violence.

Scotch Waverley-Novels
Tales anent

Scotch Exiles
Love ye

Scotch Charity
At hame.

Scotch Self-Sacrifice
— On Sundays.

Scotch Unionism
Wallace bled but
Here’s their transfusion.

Scotch Socialism
— Indeed?

Scotch Liberalism

Scotch Nationalism

Scotch Conservatism

Scotch Labour
Nine months

Scotch England

Scotch Afternoon-Tea

Scotch Drink

Scotch Poets
Wha’s the

From: Lindsay, Maurice and Duncan, Lesley (eds), The Edinburgh Book of Twentieth-Century Scottish Poetry, 2005, Edinburgh University Press: Edinburgh, pp. 306-308.

Date: 1972

By: Alexander Scott (1920-1989)

Thursday, 3 November 2011

The Trouble With Geraniums by Mervyn Peake

The trouble with geraniums
is that they’re much too red!
The trouble with my toast is that
it’s far too full of bread.

The trouble with a diamond
is that it’s much too bright.
The same applies to fish and stars
and the electric light.

The troubles with the stars I see
lies in the way they fly.
The trouble with myself is all
self-centred in the eye.

The trouble with my looking-glass
is that it shows me, me;
there’s trouble in all sorts of things
where it should never be.


Date: 1972

By: Mervyn Peake (1911-1968)