Posts tagged ‘1975’

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Other Fabrics, Other Mores! by Anna Maria Malmstedt Lenngren

‘When I was young,’ said Aunt to me,
‘Women then, about the year
Seventeen-thirty, Betty dear,
Dressed in decent linsey-woolsey!
No painted faces would find,
Nor flimsy gowns on womenfolk.
The fairer sex possessed a mind
Of sturdy fabric, like her cloak.
Now all is different in our lives–
Other fabrics, other mores!
Taffetas, indecent stories
Of young girls as well as wives!
The path of lust they boldly walk;
Shameless manners, daring ways,
Make-up, muslins, brazen talk
Go hand-in-hand with modern days.’

From: Cosman, Carol; Keefe, Joan and Weaver, Kathleen (eds.), The Penguin Book of Women Poets, 1978, Penguin Books: London, p. 251.

Date: c1780 (original in Swedish); 1975 (translation in English)

By: Anna Maria Malmstedt Lenngren (1754-1819)

Translated by: Nadia Christensen (19??- ) and Mariann Tiblin (19??- )

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Sick Cicada by Jia Dao

A sick cicada, unable now to fly,
Walks over onto my palm.
Its broken wings can still grow thinner.
And its bitter songs are clear as ever.
Dewdrops stick on its belly,
Dust specks fallen by mischance in its eyes.
The oriole and the kite as well
Both harbor the thought of your ruin.

From: Liu, Wu-chi and Lo, Irving Youcheng (eds.), Sunflower Splendor: Three Thousand Years of Chinese Poetry, 1975, Indiana University Press: Bloomington and Indianapolis, p. 227.

Date: 9th century (original); 1975 (translation)

By: Jia Dao (779-843)

Translated by: Stephen Owen (1946- )

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Mad Exit by Vasile “Vasko” Popa

They scare me by saying
There’s a screw loose in my head

They scare me more by saying
They’ll bury me
In a box with the screws loose

They scare me but little do they realise
That my loose screws
Scare them

The happy crazy from our street
Boasts to me.


Date: c1975 (original in Serbian); 1996 (translation in English)

By: Vasile “Vasko” Popa (1922-1991)

Translated by: Anthony Weir (1941- )

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Things by Fleur Adcock

There are worse things than having behaved foolishly in public.
There are worse things than these miniature betrayals,
committed or endured or suspected; there are worse things
than not being able to sleep for thinking about them.
It is 5 a.m. All the worse things come stalking in
and stand icily about the bed looking worse and worse and worse.


Date: 1975

By: Fleur Adcock (1934- )

Friday, 14 April 2017

The Messiah After the Crucifixion by Badr Shakir al Sayyab

After I was brought down, I heard the winds
Whip the palm trees with wild laments;
Footsteps receded into infinity. Wounds
And the cross I was nailed to all afternoon
Didn’t kill me. I listened. A cry of grief
Crossed the plain between me and the city
Like a hawser pulling a ship
Destined to sink. The cry
Was a thread of light between morning
And night in sad winter sky.
Despite all this, the city fell asleep.

When the orange and mulberry trees bloom
When my village Jaykour reaches the limits of fantasy
When grass grows green and sings with fragrance
And the sun suckles it with brilliance
When even darkness grows green
Warmth touches my heart and my blood flows into earth
My heart becomes sun, when sun throbs with light
My heart become earth, throbbing with wheat, blossom and sweet water
My heart is water, an ear of corn
Its death is resurrection. It lives in him who eats
The dough, round as a little breast, life’s breast.
I died by fire. When I burned, the darkness of my clay disappeared. Only God remained.
I was the beginning, and in the beginning was poverty
I died so bread would be eaten in my name
So I would be sown in season.
Many are the lives I’ll live. In every soil
I’ll become a future, a seed, a generation of men
A drop of blood, or more, in every man’s heart.

Then I returned. When Judas saw me he turned pale
I was his secret!
He was a shadow of mine, grown dark
The frozen image of an idea
From which life was plucked
He feared I might reveal death in his eyes
(his eyes were a rock
behind which he hid his death)
He feared my warmth. It was a threat to him so he betrayed it.
“Is this you? Or is it my shadow grown white emitting light?
Men die only once! That’s what our fathers said
That’s what they taught us. Or was it a lie?!”
That’s what he said when he saw me. His whole face spoke.

I hear footsteps, approaching and falling
The tomb rumbles with their fall
Have they come again? Who else could it be?
Their falling footsteps follow me
I lay rocks on my chest
Didn’t they crucify me yesterday? Yet here I am!
Who could know that I . . . ? Who?
And as for Judas and his friends, no one will believe them.
Their footsteps follow me and fall.

Here I am now, naked in my dank tomb
Yesterday I curled up like a thought, a bud
Beneath my shroud of snow. My blood bloomed from moisture
I was then a thin shadow between night and day.
When I burst my soul into treasures and peeled it like fruit
When I turned my pockets into swaddling clothes and my sleeves into a cover
When I kept the bones of little children warm within my flesh
And stripped my wounds to dress the wound of another
The wall between me and God disappeared.
The soldiers surprised even my wounds and my heartbeats
They surprised all that wasn’t dead even if it was a tomb
They took me by surprise the way a flock of starving birds pluck the fruit of a palm tree in a deserted village.

The rifles are pointed and have eyes with which they devour my road
Their fire dreams of my crucifixion
Their eyes are made of fire and iron
The eyes of my people are light in the skies they shine with memory and love.
Their rifles relieve me of my burden; my cross grows moist. How small
Such death is! My death. And yet how great!

After I was nailed to the cross, I cast my eyes toward the city
I could hardly recognize the plain, the wall, the cemetery
Something, as far as my eyes could see, sprung forth
Like a forest in bloom
Everywhere there was a cross and a mourning mother
Blessed be the Lord! Such are the pains of a city in labor.


Date: 1960 (original in Arabic); 1975 (translation in English)

By: Badr Shakir al-Sayyab (1926-1964)

Translated by: Ben M. Bennani (1946- )

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Though the Tortoise Lives Long by Cao Cao (Mengde)

Though the tortoise blessed with magic powers lives long,
Its days have their allotted span;
Though winged serpents ride high on the mist,
They turn to dust and ashes at the last;
An old war-horse may be stabled,
Yet still it longs to gallop a thousand li;
And a noble-hearted man though advanced in years
Never abandons his proud aspirations.
Man’s span of life, whether long or short,
Depends not on Heaven alone;
One who eats well and keeps cheerful
Can live to a great old age.
And so, with joy in my heart,
I hum this song.


Date: 207 (original); 1975 (translation)

By: Cao Cao (Mengde) (155-220)

Translated by: Unknown

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Song of Kai-hsia by Xiang Yu

Strength I had to uproot hills,
my spirit dominated the age;
Now in this hour of misfortune,
my dappled steed cannot flee.
Dappled steed, unable to break away,
what hope is left?
Ah, Lady Yü, my Yü!
what will become of you?

From: Wu-chi Liu and Irving Yucheng Lo (eds.), Sunflower Splendor: Three Thousand Years of Chinese Poetry, 1975, Indiana University Press: Bloomington and Indianopolis, p. 29.

Date: 202 BC (original); 1975 (translation)

By: Xiang Yu (232-202 BC)

Translated by: Ronald C. Miao (19??-????)

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Parson Hawker’s Farewell by Patricia Beer

Let no one wear black at my funeral.
I have not let blackness be the friend
To me it could have been. The black storm
Crawling with demons clambered up the sky
Each day. My eyes shrank. I turned away
And the prince demon tore the roof off my house.

I have passed through purple and grey to white.
I am as white now as the ship’s figurehead
The sea spat out on the shore one day.
All its paint licked off, it had a body
Still, better without gaudiness, a face
Hinting at what was behind the colours.

I have been compassionate at the lych-gate.
I have been made hateful by drowned sailors
Brought to me every one, some in good clothes
Others piecemeal out of the murk of rock pools
Where the biting and shaking sea at last left them.
Limbs, dispossessed hearts, all begging for burial.

Those storms. ‘A corpse ashore, sir.’ The words
Make me cringe even as the gap narrows
Between me and the men I every day sent
To resurrection. All ended with me, and I
Have been alone. Even my loving wife cannot
Ward off the blown leaves that presage storm.

My fellow clerics care mostly about food.
They eat pigs’ faces: cannibals, narcissists.
With gluttony they disgust their own angels.
What can I call them? Some Latin name
With a prim mouth and filth in the tail.
They know enough for that. Pigs’ faeces might do.

You see, I have rage still. At lifeboatmen
At coroners I have raged, at those who stole
My books, at the demons who chewed up my fields
Forcing me to buy corn. I shall always
Be angry but perhaps with a white heat
That seraphim will sociably glare back at.

Farewell to the bad roads and the steep hills
And London remote. I shall never walk
On the cliffs alone again. My last cats
Whose language I spoke fluently will outlive me.
Peace and defiance be with you all. What matters
Is not money or being feasted but soul safe.


Date: 1975

By: Patricia Beer (1919-1999)

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Not My Best Side* by Ursula Askham Fanthorpe

*This poem was written in reference to this painting: (

Not my best side, I’m afraid.
The artist didn’t give me a chance to
Pose properly, and as you can see,
Poor chap, he had this obsession with
Triangles, so he left off two of my
Feet. I didn’t comment at the time
(What, after all, are two feet
To a monster?) but afterwards
I was sorry for the bad publicity.
Why, I said to myself, should my conqueror
Be so ostentatiously beardless, and ride
A horse with a deformed neck and square hoofs?
Why should my victim be so
Unattractive as to be inedible,
And why should she have me literally
On a string? I don’t mind dying
Ritually, since I always rise again,
But I should have liked a little more blood
To show they were taking me seriously.

It’s hard for a girl to be sure if
She wants to be rescued. I mean, I quite
Took to the dragon. It’s nice to be
Liked, if you know what I mean. He was
So nicely physical, with his claws
And lovely green skin, and that sexy tail,
And the way he looked at me,
He made me feel he was all ready to
Eat me. And any girl enjoys that.
So when this boy turned up, wearing machinery,
On a really dangerous horse, to be honest
I didn’t much fancy him. I mean,
What was he like underneath the hardware?
He might have acne, blackheads or even
Bad breath for all I could tell, but the dragon–
Well, you could see all his equipment
At a glance. Still, what could I do?
The dragon got himself beaten by the boy,
And a girl’s got to think of her future.

I have diplomas in Dragon
Management and Virgin Reclamation.
My horse is the latest model, with
Automatic transmission and built-in
Obsolescence. My spear is custom-built,
And my prototype armour
Still on the secret list. You can’t
Do better than me at the moment.
I’m qualified and equipped to the
Eyebrow. So why be difficult?
Don’t you want to be killed and/or rescued
In the most contemporary way? Don’t
You want to carry out the roles
That sociology and myth have designed for you?
Don’t you realize that, by being choosy,
You are endangering job prospects
In the spear- and horse-building industries?
What, in any case, does it matter what
You want? You’re in my way.


Date: 1975

By: Ursula Askham Fanthorpe (1929-2009)

Monday, 2 September 2013

Galileo’s Telescope by Sandra M Gilbert

A fine March night, let’s say,
clear, and Venice swaying around him.
He leaned back in the gondola,
he lifted the starry tube to his eye—
and saw, coming toward him, very fast,
an Oldsmobile!

“Questa cosa che é,”
he muttered (or maybe Latin)
“Quid est,” and looked again.

This time a Chrysler and three TV dinners
spinning out of infinity.

He leaped in terror, overturned
the damned gondola
and dived for his life, down,
down to the center of the still earth
towards the Pope, towards the whales,
towards Ptolemy…


Date: 1975

By: Sandra M Gilbert (1936- )