Posts tagged ‘1984’

Friday, 8 January 2021

I Don’t Want to Know by Ana Castillo

I don’t want to know
it will be like this:
ex-husband anxious
to get back to his
young wife
menopause pulling at
my insides
parents old
and so wise
solemnly waiting
understanding without
a word
and there
like a dormant garden
at the end
of a long tediious road
that led from Japan to here
lying very still
the corpse that was my son.

From: Castillo, Ana, Women Are Not Roses, 1984, Arte Público Press: Houston, Texas, p. 11.

Date: 1984

By: Ana Castillo (1953- )

Wednesday, 23 September 2020

Books by Nobody by Daniel Towner

Those that draw around us the tranquillity
self-starving anchorites know,
becoming nobody, like God;
that are husks of the wish,
not to die, but to be dead,
“to lie in the dust, and to be full of Christ”—
those are the ones that have swept us away,
against our will but in a cataract
whose power our will reveres.
If they have any stylistic color,
any savoring of their own desperation,
it is the cloud in a clear pool
turned up by a fish already gone
by the time you look.

From: Towner, Daniel, “Books by Nobody” in The Agni Review, No. 21 (1984), p. 40.

Date: 1984

By: Daniel Towner (19??- )

Friday, 3 July 2020

Agoraphobia by Susan Hahn

It isn’t that she doesn’t
want to go to the marketplace, if only
to buy one small
compliment. She can remember each
time she went,
got one, took it
home, put it in
a porcelain cup she kept
beside her bed.
She stopped
going out for fear

of wanting too much to fill
the fragile container,
decorated her house in muted
and moved onto her bed
a color TV

which she watches
She likes the news, especially
the accidents that happen
when people travel too far
from home.
They secure her place.
And when she faces
a scene filled with a good
time, she wanders—
but only in her mind.

From: Hahn, Susan, “Agoraphobia” in Poetry, Volume 144, Issue 3, June 1984, p. 136.

Date: 1984

By: Susan Hahn (1951- )

Saturday, 23 May 2020

For Years I Wallowed by Itzik Manger

For years I wallowed about in the world,
Now I’m going home to wallow there.
With a pair of shoes and the shirt on my back,
And the stick in my hand that goes with me everywhere.

I’ll not kiss your dust as that great poet did,
Though my heart, like his, is filled with song and grief
How can I kiss your dust? I am your dust.
And how, I ask you, can I kiss myself?

Still dressed in my shabby clothes
I’ll stand and gape at the blue Kinneret
Like a roving prince who has found his blue
Though blue was in his dream when he first started.

I’ll not kiss your blue, I’ll merely stand
Silent as a shimenesre prayer myself.
How can I kiss your blue? I am your blue.
And how, I ask you, can I kiss myself?

Musing, I’ll stand before your great desert,
And hear the camels’ ancient tread as they
Sway with trade and Torah on their humps.
I’ll hear the age-old hovering wander-song
That trembles over glowing sand and dies,
And then recalls itself and does not disappear.
I’ll not kiss your sand. No, and ten times no.
How can I kiss your sand? I am your sand.
And how, I ask you, can I kiss myself?


Date: 1958 (original in Yiddish); 1984 (translation in English)

By: Itzik Manger (1901-1969)

Translated by: Leonard George Wolf (1923-2019)

Sunday, 28 July 2019

Eve Names the Animals by Susan Donnelly

To me, lion was sun on a wing
over the garden. Dove,
a burrowing, blind creature.

I swear that man
never knew animals. Words
he lined up according to size,

while elephants slipped flat-eyed
through water

and trout
hurtled from the underbrush, tusked
and ready for battle.

The name he gave me struck
me to him. He did it to comfort me,
for not being first.

Mornings, while he slept,
I got away. Pickerel
hopped on the branches above me.
Only spider accompanied me,
nosing everywhere,
running up to lick my hand.

Poor finch. I suppose I was
woe to him-
the way he’d come looking for me,
not wanting either of us
to be ever alone.

But to me I was
fox. . .
I strung words
by their stems and wore them
as garlands on my long walks.

The next day
I’d find them withered.

I liked change.


Date: 1984

By: Susan Donnelly (1939- )

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Laughing Down Lonely Canyons by James Joseph Kavanaugh

Fear corrodes my dreams tonight,
and mist has grayed the hills,
mountains seem too tall to climb,
December winds are chill.
There’s no comfort on the earth,
I am a child abandoned,
Till I feel your hand in mine
and laugh down lonely canyons.

Snow has bent the trees in grief,
my summer dreams are dead,
Flowers are but ghostly stalks,
the clouds drift dull as lead.
There is no solace in the sky,
I am a child abandoned.
Till we chase the dancing moon
and laugh down lonely canyons.

Birds have all gone south too soon,
and frogs refuse to sing,
Deer lie hidden in the woods,
the trout asleep till spring.
There is no wisdom in the wind —
I am a child abandoned
Till we race across the fields
and laugh down lonely canyons.

Darkness comes too soon tonight,
the trees are silent scars,
rivers rage against the rocks,
and snow conceals the stars.
There’s no music in the air
I am a child abandoned
Till I feel my hand in yours
and laugh down lonely canyons.

From: Kavanaugh, James J., Laughing Down Lonely Canyons, 1984, Steven J. Nash Publishing: Battle Creek, Michigan, p. 1.

Date: 1984

By: James Joseph Kavanaugh (1928-2009)

Thursday, 6 December 2018

The Star Field by Mei-mei Berssenbrugge

Placing our emotion on a field, as I said, became a nucleus of space
defined by a rain of light and indeterminate contours of a landscape
like the photograph of an explosion, and gave the travel of your gaze into it or on me
imaginative weight of the passage along a gulf of space
or a series of aluminum poles

She walks through the rooms of blue chain-linked fence, a spacious tennis court
of rooms on concrete, instead of the single movement of a room where sky and earth
would come together

Outside is the field she is thinking about, a category of gray dots
on a television screen, of star data, representing no one’s experience
but which thrills all who gaze on it, so that it must be experience, and
the land at large becomes the light on the land

A coyote or a flicker’s call
is transfixed at the moment before its dissemination across the field
a sediment of, instead
of the tracing of feeling, the ratio of people to the space

I pass through focal planes of blue tennis court as a scene of desire
The material of the sky adjacent to me eludes me,
a pure signifier, and shift of sense
the sky or space a gradation of material, the light a trace
of mobility like a trace of light on a sensitive screen, extended
into the plane of the trace
and marked by light poles or drawn close by a planet at the edge

Your name becomes a trace of light. Through the movement of the trace
its repetition and deferral, my life protects itself
from blurs, time lapses, flares
of the sexual act, its mobility of an afterimage

Then I can understand the eye’s passage into depth
as an inability to stand still for you to see.


Date: 1984

By: Mei-mei Berssenbrugge (1947- )

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Ghazal by Khāqānī (Afzaladdin Badil (Ibrahim) ibn Ali Nadjar)

lovers seek none other
than a risk-all lover.
good hearts only want
an all-or-nothing lover.
while love reigns, reason is under ban
for folk won’t tolerate rival claims in love’s domain.
there are those like mé with nothing left them
but clipped wings and
wide eyes fixed on flame.
stoke-hearts fired to flame, ẃe
are but moths driven to love’s flame.
yet you’ll not catch me flying
outside my love’s sacrosanct seraglio.
they don’t call that soul-searing spike
oppression. they seek not shrieks
from that world-burning tulip.
should I be slain by the flirt,
of her eyes twain lovely, take care—
lest lovers want my blood’s spurt
for her twin twinkling eyes.
this is the moral law in the lovers’ church:
none shall seek to gain
blood-price for those love in slain.
speak not a word to Khāqānī
‘less its main line be love,
lovers won’t hear a song sung
from the nightingale’s tongue
‘less roses be in bloom and spring be sprung.

From: Martin, David, “Selected Ghazaliyat (Love Poems) Translated from the Classical Persian of Khaqani, Sa’di, and Rumi”, 1984, Comitatus: A Journal of Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 15(1), pp. 17-18.

Date: 12th century (original in Persian); 1984 (translation in English)

By: Khāqānī (Afzaladdin Badil (Ibrahim) ibn Ali Nadjar) (1121/1122-1190)

Translated by: David Martin (1944- )

Saturday, 4 August 2018

Has the One You Love by Ki no Akimine

Has the one you love
left for a summer retreat
in distant mountains
oh nightingale—is that why
you raise your sorrowful cries?

From: Rodd, Laura Rasplica with Henkenius, Mary Catherine (ed. and transl.), Kokinshū: A Collection of Poems Ancient and Modern, 2004, Cheng & Tsui Company: Boston, p. 93.

Date: c890 (original in Japanese); 1984 (translation in English)

By: Ki no Akimine (9th century)

Translated by: Laurel Rasplica Rodd (19??- )

Friday, 20 July 2018

The Wife’s Thoughts by Xu Gan

Clouds that drift so far and free
I’d ask to bear my message,
but their whirling shapes accept no charge;
wandering, halting, I long in vain.
Those who part all meet once more;
you alone send no word of return.
Since you went away,
my shining mirror darkens with neglect.
Thoughts of you are like the flowing river—
when will they ever end?

From: Minford, John and Lau, Joseph S. M. (eds.), Classical Chinese Literature: An Anthology of Translations. Volume I: From Antiquity to the Tang Dynasty, 2002, Columbia University Press: New York and The Chinese University Press: Hong Kong, pp. 421-422.

Date: c200 (original); 1984 (translation)

By: Xu Gan (171-217)

Translated by: Burton Dewitt Watson (1925-2017)