Posts tagged ‘1986’

Thursday, 9 September 2021

Fall, Plum Petals by Minteisengan

Fall, plum petals,
fall—and leave behind the memory
of scent.

From: Hoffmann, Yoel, Japanese Death Poems: Written by Zen Monks and Haiku Poets on the Verge of Death, 1986, Charles E. Tuttle Company: Rutland, Vermont and Tokyo, Japan, p. 244.

Date: 1844 (original in Japanese); 1986 (translation in English)

By: Minteisengan (1777-1844)

Translated by: Yoel Hoffmann (1937- )

Tuesday, 8 June 2021

While We Are Still Alive by William Heyen

“Why don’t we find each other, and go home, while we are still alive?” – James Wright

I ease my seat back to try to doze,
and do, almost. A stewardess
brushes by in her cloud perfume.
How long before I’m home?

Terminal . . . . I stand in a circle
for my suitcase. Paranoid eyes
jump from one suspect to another.
When was I ever home?

Businessmen in black wingtips
click along corridors to waiting cars.
At least my line is busy:
someone must be home.

Something went wrong somewhere
in our lives, or we would not be here.
I try the phone again. This time,
the right number, no one home.

I sit down, untie my shoes,
close my eyes to think something through,
but what’s the use when a numb brain
droops from its stem?

I life my suitcase to my lap,
drum it with my fingers, hum,
stand too fast, dizzy, a dream
cut through by the clear ache for home.

Automatic doors buzz
but open only half way.
I bang into plate glass panes,
step back again.

Inside, outside the door,
I stand invisible in this form.
Why don’t we find each other,
and go home?

From: Heyen, William, ‘While We Are Still Alive’ in Southern Humanities Review, Volume 20.4, Fall 1986, p. 316.

Date: 1986

By: William Heyen (1940- )

Friday, 6 November 2020

Faces in Cold by Clive Faust

Whatever happens
just happens —notion
as real as the real, as the
‘illusory’. We

would hardly want it otherwise. Slow speech,
little understood, of a woman in labour,
tired of it all except …
it all. Where

there is birth, death, there is something —
whatever is to be confronted with, in death.
Clean words,

for and against each other —to be used
sparingly. Burning off, night’s
cold. Bonfire:
white hair, faces on dark
overcoats —memory
as a keepsake in cold. Put

the dried branches on it, it
could do with some more.


Date: 1986

By: Clive Faust (1932- )

Saturday, 30 May 2020

Femmes Sauvages by Johnny Clewell

When I grow old, grandmother,
I’ll be the one to live alone in the woods
with my herbs and roots and volumes of Rilke,
baskets of yarn and gardening tools,
old love letters tied into bundles,
old red hood in a bottom drawer.
When I grow old, I’ll be the one
sunning myself on the front porch step,
listening for fox and lark and owl
and the sound of my granddaughter’s voice.
When the time comes, I will know the wolf
who comes to call at the garden gate,
who asks for wine and poetry
and a place in my narrow bed.
When he eyes my granddaughter, this time
I’ll be the one who pounces first.
Oh grandmother, what big teeth you have!
the child will say to me.
All the better for you, my dear!
And I’ll gobble that bastard up.


Date: 1986

By: Johnny Clewell (19??- )

Saturday, 27 April 2019

War by Richard Kelly Tipping

The idealists are being booed off the stage again.
The people want to hear the cynics and the cynics
want war. After this one there’s no before.
The war needs people but the people aren’t quite convinced
they want the war. A compromise at last:
send the idealists to fight!


Date: 1986

By: Richard Kelly Tipping (1949- )

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Death Poem by Ōta Dōkan Sukenaga

Had I not known
that I was dead
I would have mourned
the loss of my life.

From: Hoffmann, Yoel (ed. and transl.), Japanese Death Poems: Written by Zen Monks and Haiku Poets on the Verge of Death, 1998, Tuttle Publishing: Tokyo; Turland, Vermont; Singapore, p. 52.

Date: 1486 (original in Japanese); 1986 (translation in English)

By: Ōta Dōkan Sukenaga (1432-1486)

Translated by: Yoel Hoffmann (1937- )

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Pebble by Anthony Conran

World pebble in my hand —
Millimetre escarpments,
Cliffs, potholes,
Flat places.

It remembers
A red mist of
Liquid stone
Slopping into the air.

Pressure was the heartbeat of living rock,
Millions of tons of it,
The pouring of world
To its centre.

Now this little lost stone
Must travel the trivial
Rivers of death.
Rub into dissolution.

Sharp gravel. Sand. Mud.
And then, deep down
Like a froth of rock.

Settle into the seabed.
Relax under the tons of deep sea.
Harden again
To strata.

It could be my fingers
That the sediments
Into chert.

My thumbprints could be fossil next.
The pebble on its way to death
Might laugh last.
It would remember me.


Date: 1986

By: Anthony Conran (1931-2013)

Friday, 25 November 2016

Man Is an Animal That Laughs by Raquel Jodorowsky

Man is an animal that laughs
or an animal that weeps
but when is he
a man who thinks?
For the way we are going
they will make of this world
the architecture of the end.
The political parties
that set up pedestals
crown man
with a yes movement and a no movement.
One-eyed poets!
What is important is to embrace the world
from this side as well as from the other,
with wrath and with love,
and to swallow the truth of its lies
and the lies of its truth.
Not life divided into right and left
but the totality of sweat,
the unity of reunited effort.
Allow us at least for a while,
little madmen,
chiefs of the flags,
to place our beautiful sex
astride your withered brains
allow us to undo the harnesses of the people
that they may run loose
like happy horses across the earth.

From: Flores, Angel and Flores, Kate (eds.), The Defiant Muse: Hispanic Feminist Poems from the Middle Ages to the Present. A Bilingual Anthology, 1986, The Feminist Press: New York, p. 107.

Date: 19?? (original in Spanish); 1986 (translation in English)

By: Raquel Jodorowsky (1937-2011)

Translated by: Kate Flores (19??-????)

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Spirit of ANZAC by Michael Raphael Gabriel (Mike) Subritzky

They clad us in the colours of the forest,
and armed us with the weapons made for war.
Then taught to us the ancient trade of killing,
and lead us to the sound of battles roar.

So give us comfort as we lay down bleeding,
and pray upon our cold and stiffened dead.
But mark our place that we might be accounted,
this foreign soil becomes our graven bed.

Now children place upon this stone a garland,
and learn of us each Anzac Day at dawn.
We are New Zealand’s dead from distant conflict,
our sacrifice remembered ever more.


Date: 1986

By: Michael Raphael Gabriel (Mike) Subritzky (1950- )

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Everywoman Her Own Theology by Alicia Suskin Ostriker

I am nailing them up to the cathedral door
Like Martin Luther. Actually, no,
I don’t want to resemble that Schmutzkapf
(See Erik Erikson and N. O. Brown
On the Reformer’s anal aberrations,
Not to mention his hatred of Jews and peasants),
So I am thumbtacking these ninety-five
Theses to the bulletin board in my kitchen.

My proposals, or should I say requirements,
Include at least one image of a god,
Virile, beard optional, one of a goddess,
Nubile, breast size approximating mine,
One divine baby, one lion, one lamb,
All nude as figs, all dancing wildly,
All shining. Reproducible
In marble, metal, in fact any material.

Ethically, I am looking for
An absolute endorsement of loving-kindness.
No loopholes except maybe mosquitoes.
Virtue and sin will henceforth be discouraged,
Along with suffering and martyrdom.
There will be no concept of infidels.
Consequently the faithful must entertain
Themselves some other way than killing infidels.

And so forth and so on. I understand
This piece of paper is going to be
Spattered with wine one night at a party
And covered over with newer pieces of paper.
That is how it goes with bulletin boards.
Nevertheless it will be there.
Like an invitation, like a chalk pentangle,
It will emanate certain occult vibrations.

If something sacred wants to swoop from the universe
Through a ceiling, and materialize,
Folding its silver wings,
In a kitchen, and bump its chest against mine,
My paper will tell this being where to find me.


Date: 1986

By: Alicia Suskin Ostriker (1937- )