Posts tagged ‘1990’

Friday, 10 March 2017

People Burn Beanstalks to Boil Beans by Cao Zhi (Zijian)

People burn beanstalks to boil beans;
They sieve soya to make a drink.
The beanstalk burns beneath the pot;
The beans in the pot cry out.
Born as they are of the selfsame root,
Why should they torment each other so much?

From: http://202.194.48.102/englishonline/culture/ChineseCulture/Chineseliterature/caozhi.htm

Date: c220 (original); 1990 (translation)

By: Cao Zhi (Zijian) (192-232)

Translated by: Wu Fu-Sheng (19??- )

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Tuesday, 30 August 2016

The Wife’s Lament by Anonymous

I make this song of myself, deeply sorrowing,
my own life’s journey. I am able to tell
all the hardships I’ve suffered since I grew up,
but new or old, never worse than now –
ever I suffer the torment of my exile.

First my lord left his people
for the tumbling waves; I worried at dawn
where on earth my leader of men might be.
When I set out myself in my sorrow,
a friendless exile, to find his retainers,
that man’s kinsmen began to think
in secret that they would separate us,
so we would live far apart in the world,
most miserably, and longing seized me.

My lord commanded me to live with him here;
I had few loved ones or loyal friends
in this country, which causes me grief.
Then I found that my most fitting man
was unfortunate, filled with grief,
concealing his mind, plotting murder
with a smiling face. So often we swore
that only death could ever divide us,
nothing else – all that is changed now;
it is now as if it had never been,
our friendship. Far and near, I must
endure the hatred of my dearest one.

They forced me to live in a forest grove,
under an oak tree in an earthen cave.
This earth-hall is old, and I ache with longing;
the dales are dark, the hills too high,
harsh hedges overhung with briars,
a home without joy. Here my lord’s leaving
often fiercely seized me. There are friends on earth,
lovers living who lie in their bed,
while I walk alone in the light of dawn
under the oak-tree and through this earth-cave,
where I must sit the summer-long day;
there I can weep for all my exiles,
my many troubles; and so I may never
escape from the cares of my sorrowful mind,
nor all the longings that have seized my life.

May the young man be sad-minded
with hard heart-thoughts, yet let him have
a smiling face along with his heartache,
a crowd of constant sorrows. Let to himself
all his worldly joys belong! let him be outlawed
in a far distant land, so that my friend sits
under stone cliffs chilled by storms,
weary-minded, surrounded by water
in a sad dreary hall! My beloved will suffer
the cares of a sorrowful mind; he will remember
too often a happier home. Woe to the one
who must suffer longing for a loved one.

From: https://web.utk.edu/~rliuzza/514/pdf/The%20Wife’s%20Lament.pdf

Date: c950 (original in Anglo-Saxon English); ?1990 (translation in modern English)

By: Anonymous

Translated by: Roy M. Liuzza (19??- )

Alternative Title: The Wife’s Complaint

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

For the Birds: The Life of Paolo Uccello by Martin Johnston

Uccello once fancied he was turning into cheese,
still, lived “to a disgruntled eighty-three”,
according to the censorious Vasari.
He was the fanatical type, like Spinoza.
He loved pictures of animals and birds,
being unable to afford the creatures themselves
or, like Leonardo, to buy and free them.
When his friend Donatello made fun of him
he stopped painting, saw no one, spent his last years
“solitary, eccentric, melancholy and poor”,
working on intricate technical problems.
His wife said he’d refuse to come to bed,
saying “Oh, what a lovely thing is this perspective!”
He seems to me to have been a happy man.

From: http://jacketmagazine.com/01/mj-late-poems.html

Date: 1990

By: Martin Johnston (1947-1990)

Monday, 21 September 2015

Etching of the Plague Years by Mary Karr

In the valley of your art history book,
the corpses stack in the back of a cart
drawn by an ox whose rolling shoulder muscles
show its considerable weight.

He does this often. His velvet nostrils
flare to indicate the stench.

It’s the smell you catch after class
while descending a urine-soaked
subway stair on a summer night
in a neighborhood where cabs won’t drive:
the odor of dead flowers, fear
multiplied a thousand times.

The train door’s hiss
seals you inside with a frail boy
swaying from a silver hoop.
He coughs in your direction, his eyes
are burn holes in his face.

Back in the fourteenth-century print
lying in your lap, a hand
white as an orchid has sprouted
from the pyramid of flesh.
It claws the smoky air.

Were it not for that,
the cart might carry green cordwood
(the human body knobby and unplaned).

Wrap your fingers around your neck
and feel the stony glands.
Count the holes in your belt loop
for lost weight.

In the black unfurling glass,
study the hard planes of your face.

Compare it to the prom picture
in your wallet, the orchid
pinned to your chest like a spider.

Think of the flames
at your high school bonfire
licking the black sky, ashes rising,
innumerable stars. The fingers that wove
with your fingers
have somehow turned to bone.

The subway shudders between dark and light.
The ox plods across the page.

Think of everyone
you ever loved: the boy
who gets off at your stop
is a faint ideogram for each.

Offer him your hand.
Help him climb the stair.

From: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poem/26991

Date: 1990

By: Mary Karr (1955- )

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

The Witch by John Francis Alexander Heath-Stubbs

Judy Cracko–she was a witch,
And lived in a muddy, smelly ditch:

But when the moon shone bright, she’d fly
On a tatty old broomstick, up in the sky,

With the bats, and the owls, and the booboo birds,
Shouting out loud the most horrible words,

Like Botheration, and Bottom, and Belly,
And Nurts and Nark it and Not on your Nelly!

Now the judge, Mr Justice Fuzzywig,
And the village policeman, Constable Pigg,

And Major Wilberforce Wotherspoon,
And a lady called Miss Prissy La Prune,

Put their heads together, and vowed
That sort of behaviour should not be allowed.

So they locked her up in a dungeon dim,
With her one-eyed pussycat, Smoky Jim.

But she didn’t stay long in that prison cell-
She muttered a rather difficult spell:

Then seven red devils, with horns and tails,
And seldom manicured finger-nails,

And each with one great donkey’s hoof,
Whirled Judy and Jim through a hole in the roof,

Over the seas and far away
To an island eastward of Cathay;
She’s living there still, to this very day.

From: http://literature.proquestlearning.com/literature/displayItem.do?QueryType=literature&ResultsID=14B0A567E551&forAuthor=1017&ItemNumber=20

Date: 1990

By: John Francis Alexander Heath-Stubbs (1918-2006)

Saturday, 14 December 2013

For I Will Consider Your Dog Molly by David Lehman

For it was the first day of Rosh Ha’shanah, New Year’s Day, day of remembrance, of ancient sacrifices and averted calamities.
For I started the day by eating an apple dipped in honey, as ritual required.
For I went to the local synagogue to listen to the ram’s horn blown.
For I asked Our Father, Our King, to save us for his sake if not for ours, for the sake of his abundant mercies, for the sake of his right hand, for the sake of those who went through fire and water for the sanctification of his name.
For despite the use of a microphone and other gross violations of ceremony, I gave myself up gladly to the synagogue’s sensual insatiable vast womb.
For what right have I to feel offended?
For I communed with my dead father, and a conspicuous tear rolled down my right cheek, and there was loud crying inside me.
For I understood how that tear could become an orb.
For the Hebrew melodies comforted me.
For I lost my voice.
For I met a friend who asked “is this a day of high seriousness” and when I said yes he said “it has taken your voice away.”
For he was right, for I felt the strong lashes of the wind lashing me by the throat.
For I thought there shall come a day that the watchmen upon the hills of Ephraim shall cry, Arise and let us go up to Zion unto the Lord our God.
For the virgin shall rejoice in the dance, and the young and old in each other’s arms, and their soul shall be as a watered garden, and neither shall they learn war any more.
For God shall lower the price of bread and corn and wine and oil, he shall let our cry come up to him.
For it is customary on the first day of Rosh Ha’shanah to cast a stone into the depths of the sea, to weep and pray to weep no more.
For the stone represents all the sins of the people.
For I asked you and Molly to accompany me to Cascadilla Creek, there being no ocean nearby.
For we talked about the Psalms of David along the way, and the story of Hannah, mother of Samuel, who sought the most robust bard to remedy her barrenness.
For Isaac said “I see the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the offering?”
For as soon as I saw the stone, white flat oblong and heavy, I knew that it had summoned me.
For I heard the voice locked inside that stone, for I pictured a dry wilderness in which, with a wave of my staff, I could command sweet waters to flow forth from that stone.
For I cast the stone into the stream and watched it sink to the bottom where dozens of smaller stones, all of them black, gathered around it.
For the waterfall performed the function of the chorus.
For after the moment of solemnity dissolved, you playfully tossed Molly into the stream.
For you tossed her three times, and three times she swam back for her life.
For she shook the water off her body, refreshed.
For you removed the leash from her neck and let her roam freely.
For she darted off into the brush and speared a small gray moving thing in the neck.
For this was the work of an instant.
For we looked and behold! the small gray thing was a rat.
For Molly had killed the rat with a single efficient bite, in conformance with Jewish law.
For I took the rat and cast him into the stream, and both of us congratulated Molly.
For now she resumed her noble gait.
For she does not lie awake in the dark and weep for her sins, and whine about her condition, and discuss her duty to God.
For I’d as lief pray with your dog Molly as with any man.
For she knows that God is her savior.

From: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/242412

Date: 1990

By: David Lehman (1948- )

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Let Evening Come by Jane Kenyon

Let the light of late afternoon
shine through chinks in the barn, moving
up the bales as the sun moves down.

Let the cricket take up chafing
as a woman takes up her needles
and her yarn. Let evening come.

Let dew collect on the hoe abandoned
in long grass. Let the stars appear
and the moon disclose her silver horn.

Let the fox go back to its sandy den.
Let the wind die down. Let the shed
go black inside. Let evening come.

To the bottle in the ditch, to the scoop
in the oats, to air in the lung
let evening come.

Let it come, as it will, and don’t
be afraid. God does not leave us
comfortless, so let evening come.

From: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/16019

Date: 1990

By: Jane Kenyon (1947-1995)

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Oh! The Places You’ll Go! by Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr Seuss)

Congratulations!
Today is your day,
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.

You’ll look up and down streets. Look ‘em over with care.
About some you will say, ‘I don’t choose to go there.’
With your head full of brains, and your shoes full of feet,
you’re too smart to go down any not-so-good street.

And you may not find any you’ll want to go down.
In that case, of course, you’ll head straight out of town.
It’s opener there in the wide open air.
Out there things can happen and frequently do
to people as brainy and footsy as you.

And when things start to happen, don’t worry. Don’t stew.
Just go right along. You’ll start happening too.

Oh! The places you’ll go!
You’ll be on your way up!
You’ll be seeing great sights!
You’ll join the high fliers who soar to high heights.

You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have the speed.
You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead.
Wherever you fly, you’ll be best of the best.
Wherever you go, you’ll top all the rest.

Except when you don’t.
Because, sometimes, you won’t.

I’m sorry to say so but, sadly, it’s true
that Bang-ups and Hang-ups can happen to you.
You can get all hung up in a prickle-ly perch.
And your gang will fly on. You’ll be left in a Lurch.

You’ll come down from the Lurch with an unpleasant bump.
And the chances are, then, that you’ll be in a Slump.
And when you’re in a Slump, you’re not in for much fun.
Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.

You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted. But mostly they’re darked.
A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin!
Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?
And if you go in, should you turn left or right…
or right-and-three-quarters? Or, maybe, not quite?
Or go around back and sneak in from behind?
Simple it’s not, I’m afraid you will find,
for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.

You can get so confused that you’ll start in to race down
long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace and grind on
for miles across weirdish wild space,
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.

The Waiting Place…for people just waiting.

Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go or the phone to ring,
or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or No
or waiting for their hair to grow. Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.

No! That’s not for you!
Somehow you’ll escape all that waiting and staying.
You’ll find the bright places where Boom Bands are playing.
With banner flip-flapping, once more you’ll ride high!
Ready for anything under the sky.
Ready because you’re that kind of a guy!

Oh, the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done!
There are points to be scored. There are games to be won.
And the magical things you can do with that ball
will make you the winning-est winner of all.
Fame! You’ll be famous as famous can be,
with the whole wide world watching you win on TV.
Except when they don’t. Because, sometimes, they won’t.

I’m afraid that some times you’ll play lonely games too.
Games you can’t win, ’cause you’ll play against you.
All Alone! Whether you like it or not,
Alone will be something you’ll be quite a lot.

And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance
you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants.
There are some, down the road between hither and yon,
that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.

But on you will go though the weather be foul.
On you will go though your enemies prowl.
On you will go though the Hakken-Kraks howl.
Onward up many a frightening creek,
though your arms may get sore and your sneakers may leak.
On and on you will hike. And I know you‟ll hike far
and face up to your problems whatever they are.

You’ll get mixed up, of course, as you already know.
You’ll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go.
So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act.
Just never forget to be dexterous and deft.
And never mix up your right foot with your left.

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)
Kid, you‟ll move mountains!

So…be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ale Van Allen O’Shea,
you’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!

From: http://w3.palmer.edu/vanderhorn/Word%20docs/Dr.%20Seuss.pdf

Date: 1990

By: Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr Seuss) (1904-1991)