Posts tagged ‘1985’

Saturday, 29 December 2018

The Amorous Cannibal by Christopher Keith “Chris” Wallace-Crabbe

Suppose I were to eat you
I should probably begin
with the fingers, the cheeks and the breasts
yet all of you would tempt me,
so powerfully spicy
as to discompose my choice.

While I gobbled you up
delicacy by tidbit
I should lay the little bones
ever so gently round my plate
and caress the bigger bones
like ivory talismans.

When I had quite devoured the edible you
(your tongue informing my voice-box)
I would wake in the groin of night
to feel, ever so slowly,
your plangent, ravishing ghost
munching my fingers and toes.

Here, with an awkward, delicate gesture
someone slides out his heart
and offers it on a spoon,
garnished with adjectives.


Date: 1985

By: Christopher Keith “Chris” Wallace-Crabbe (1934- )

Saturday, 21 July 2018

Hill-Dwelling Cuckoo by Mibu no Tadamine

Hill-dwelling cuckoo
pouring forth his ceaseless song:
perhaps he thinks them
too short — summer nights ending
the moment they have begun.

From: McCullough, Helen Craig (ed. and transl.), Kokin Wakashū: The First Imperial Anthology of Japanese Poetry, 1985, Stanford University Press: Stanford, California, p. 44.

Date: c895 (original in Japanese); 1985 (translation in English)

By: Mibu no Tadamine (fl. 898-920)

Translated by: Helen Craig McCullough (1918-1998)

Saturday, 31 March 2018

Listen Mr Oxford Don by John Agard

Me not no Oxford don
me a simple immigrant
from Clapham Common
I didn’t graduate
I immigrate

But listen Mr Oxford don
I’m a man on de run
and a man on de run
is a dangerous one

I ent have no gun
I ent have no knife
but mugging de Queen’s English
is the story of my life

I don’t need no axe
to split/ up yu syntax
I don’t need no hammer
to mash/ up yu grammar

I warning you Mr. Oxford don
I’m a wanted man
and a wanted man
is a dangerous one

Dem accuse me of assault
on de Oxford dictionary/
imagine a concise peaceful man like me/
dem want me serve time
for inciting rhyme to riot
but I tekking it quiet
down here in Clapham Common

I’m not violent man Mr. Oxford don
I only armed wit mih human breath
but human breath
is a dangerous weapon

So mek dem send one big word after me
I ent serving no jail sentence
I slashing suffix in self-defence
I bashing future wit present tense
and if necessary

I making de Queen’s English accessory/ to my offence

From: Agard, John, “Listen Mr Oxford Don” in Index on Censorship, Volume 35, 2006 – Issue 2, p. 100.

Date: 1985

By: John Agard (1949- )

Monday, 26 February 2018

Love by Ariwara no Narihara

Composed during a drizzle and sent to a lady whom he had secretly been secretly wooing since early in the Third Month.

Having passed the night
neither waking nor sleeping,
I have spent the day
brooding and watching the rain—
the unending rain of spring.

From: Carter, Steven D. (ed.), Traditional Japanese Poetry: An Anthology, 1991, Stanford University Press: Stanford, California, p. 79.

Date: 9th century (original in Japanese); 1985 (translation in English)

By: Ariwara no Narihara (825-880)

Translated by: Helen Craig McCullough (1918-1998)

Monday, 29 August 2016

Jiu Bian (Nine Changes): VI by Song Yu

Dew falls and the bitter frost follows to afflict me,
And my heart is distraught and will not be comforted.
Sleet and snow, thickly commingling, harder and harder come down,
And I know that the time is near when I must meet my end.
I wish that by some lucky chance I might be forgiven;
But I shall soon die, along with the moorland grasses.
I wish I could set off unbidden and fly straight to him,
But the road to him is blocked and impassable.
I wish I could follow the others’ route and ride the easy way,
But that, too, is no good: I do not known how to do it.
And so I stop midway in perplexity,
Grieving and hesitant; unable to turn back.
And though dull and stupid by nature and poor in talents,
I restrain myself and learn to mourn in verses.
Orchid and iris are mixed with worthless mugwort:
Truly I am not skilled to imitate their fashion.

From: Hawkes, David (translator and editor), The Songs of the South. An Anthology of Poems by Qu Yuan and Other Poets, 2011, Penguin: London, pp. [unnumbered].

Date: 3rd century BCE (original); 1985 (translation)

By: Song Yu (c319-298 BCE)

Translated by: David Hawkes (1923-2009)

Sunday, 17 July 2016

The Lorelei Reformed by Agnes Louise Wathall Tatera

Don’t set your will to cross the stream, my love,
when I stand opposite and waiting.
The thinning, thicking mists swirl from my eyes.
My lips are traitor to my words, and baiting.

Our hands seem close enough to touch, my love,
but waves ride treacherous in the narrows
and if you trick a path from rock to rock
you’ll find them mossy stepping-stones to sorrows.

So kiss me only with your eyes, my love–
then turn your back on love’s confusion.
I take no dark delight in drownings, love:
my song is powerless, and my spell illusion.


Date: 1985

By: Agnes Louise Wathall Tatera (1907-2004)

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Words of Delusion by Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller

Three words doth man hear, with meaning full
In good and in best mouths extolling,
They sound off but idly, their ring is null,
They can not give any consoling.
And mankind doth forfeit this life’s own fruit,
As long as mere shadows are his pursuit.

As long as he trusts in the Golden Age,
Where the righteous, the good conquer evil—
The righteous, the good in battle e’er rage,
Ne’er will he vanquish the Devil,
And thou strangle him not in the air that’s blue,
E’er grows in him strength from the earth anew.

As long as he trusts, that a coquettish chance
Is with nobleness bound up in spirit—
The evil she trails with loving glance,
Not the earth, will the good man inherit.
He is a stranger, he goes to roam
And seeks an everlasting home.

As long as he trusts, that mere logic can grasp
The truth that is ever shining,
Then her veil lifts not any mere mortal clasp,
We’re left but supposing, divining.
Thou’d ’prison the soul in an empty sound,
But it wanders off in the storm unbound.

So, noble soul, from delusion tear thee,
And to heavenly trust be most faithful!
What no ear doth hear, what the eyes do not see,
It is this that’s the beaut’ous, the truthful!
It is not outside, there fools do implore,
It is in you, you bring it forth evermore.

From: of delusion

Date: 1797 (German original); 1985 (English translation)

By: Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller (1759-1805)

Translated by: Marianna Stapel Wertz (1948-2003)

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

The Light by Malay Roy Choudhury

I get a thud-kick in pitch dark thick on belly and tumble
Hands tied at the back on damp floor shack to humble
Lights flash on face eyes blind in case I spin
Then lights go off a boot or two rough on chin
I feel blood drips and snail down the lips in trickle
The glare blinks on and off and on and off in ripple
A hot metal rod scalds hard breast broad to snip flesh warm
The lights hem in piercing thin a ruthless swarm
Red eyes get shut in blinding rut my vision erode
Final blackout in grisly rout in elliptic node
I prepare my grit to encounter the hit as a fightback code.


Date: 19?? (Bengali); 1985 (English)

By: Malay Roy Choudhury (1939- )

Translated by: Malay Roy Choudhury (1939- )

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Moon Over Bourbon Street by Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner (Sting)

There’s a moon over Bourbon Street tonight
I see faces as they pass beneath the pale lamplight
I’ve no choice but to follow that call
The bright lights, the people, and the moon and all
I pray every day to be strong
For I know what I do must be wrong
Oh you’ll never see my shade or hear the sound of my feet
While there’s a moon over Bourbon Street.

It was many years ago that I became what I am
I was trapped in this life like an innocent lamb
Now I can never show my face at noon
And you’ll only see me walking by the light of the moon
The brim of my hat hides the eye of a beast
I’ve the face of a sinner but the hands of a priest
Oh you’ll never see my shade or hear the sound of my feet
While there’s a moon over Bourbon Street.

She walks everyday through the streets of New Orleans
She’s innocent and young, from a family of means
I have stood many times outside her window at night
To struggle with my instinct in the pale moonlight
How could I be this way when I pray to God above?
I must love what I destroy and destroy the thing I love
Oh you’ll never see my shade or hear the sound of my feet
While there’s a moon over Bourbon Street.


Date: 1985

By: Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner (Sting) (1951- )

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Miracle on St David’s Day by Gillian Clarke

They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude
                                                The Daffodils, William Wordsworth

An afternoon yellow and open-mouthed
with daffodils. The sun treads the path
among cedars and enormous oaks.
It might be a country house, guests strolling,
the rumps of gardeners between nursery shrubs.

I am reading poetry to the insane.
An old woman, interrupting, offers
as many buckets of coals as I need.
A beautiful chestnut-haired boy listens
entirely absorbed. A schizophrenic

on a good day, they tell me later.
In a cage of first March sun a woman
sits not listening, not seeing, not feeling.
In her neat clothes the woman is absent.
A big mild man is tenderly led

to his chair. He has never spoken.
His labourer’s hands on his knees, he rocks
gently to the rhythms of the poems.
I read to their presences, absences,
to the big, dumb labouring man as he rocks.

He is suddenly standing, silently,
huge and mild, but I feel afraid. Like slow
movement of spring water or the first bird
of the year in the breaking darkness,
the labourer’s voice recites The Daffodils.

The nurses are frozen, alert; the patients
seem to listen. He is hoarse but word-perfect.
Outside the daffodils are still as wax,
a thousand, ten thousand, their syllables
unspoken, their creams and yellows still.

Forty years ago, in a Valleys school,
the class recited poetry by rote.
Since the dumbness of misery fell
he has remembered there was a music
of speech and that once he had something to say.

When he’s done, before the applause, we observe
the flowers’ silence. A thrush sings
and the daffodils are aflame.


Date: 1985

By: Gillian Clarke (1937- )