Posts tagged ‘1992’

Friday, 5 January 2018

Sonnet Written at Fotheringhay Castle by Mary, Queen of Scots

Alas what am I? What use has my life?
I am but a body whose heart’s torn away,
A vain shadow, an object of misery
Who has nothing left but death-in-life.
O my enemies, set your envy all aside;
I’ve no more eagerness for high domain;
I’ve borne too long the burden of my pain
To see your anger swiftly satisfied.
And you, my friends who have loved me so true,
Remember, lacking health and heart and peace,
There is nothing worthwhile I can do;
Ask only that my misery should cease
And that, being punished in a world like this,
I have my portion in eternal bliss.

From: Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots and Bell, Robin (ed. and transl.), Bittersweet Within My Heart, 1992, Chronicle Books: San Francisco, p. 109.
(https://openlibrary.org/books/OL1707527M/Bittersweet_within_my_heart)

Date: 1587 (original in French); 1992 (translation in English)

By: Mary, Queen of Scots (1542-1587)

Translated by: Robin Bell (19??- )

Advertisements
Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Lines on Retirement, After Reading “Lear” by David John Murray Wright

For Richard Pacholski

Avoid storms. And retirement parties.
You can’t trust the sweetnesses your friends will
offer, when they really want your office,
which they’ll redecorate. Beware the still
untested pension plan. Keep your keys. Ask
for more troops than you think you’ll need. Listen
more to fools and less to colleagues. Love your
youngest child the most, regardless. Back to
storms: dress warm, take a friend, don’t eat the grass,
don’t stand near tall trees, and keep the yelling
down—the winds won’t listen, and no one will
see you in the dark. It’s too hard to hear
you over all the thunder. But you’re not
Lear, except that we can’t stop you from what
you’ve planned to do. In the end, no one leaves
the stage in character—we never see
the feather, the mirror held to our lips.
So don’t wait for skies to crack with sun. Feel
the storm’s sweet sting invade you to the skin,
the strange, sore comforts of the wind. Embrace
your children’s ragged praise and that of friends.
Go ahead, take it off, take it all off.
Run naked into tempests. Weave flowers
into your hair. Bellow at cataracts.
If you dare, scream at the gods. Babble as
if you thought words could save. Drink rain like cold
beer. So much better than making theories.
We’d all come with you, laughing, if we could.

From: http://www.timegoesby.net/weblog/2012/03/elder-poetry-interlude-lines-on-retirement-after-reading-lear.html

Date: 1992

By: David John Murray Wright (1920-1974)

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

My Eyes Have Seen and Chosen by Meinloh of Sevelingen

My eyes have seen and chosen     for me a handsome youth
And other women envy     my fortune but, in truth,
I only seek to show him     that I am sweet and kind
and to this end give over     my heart and all my mind.
Whoever held his favor     before he was my own
has lost him with good reason,
yet I’ll feel only sorrow     to see her stand alone.

From: Walsøe-Engel, Ingrid (ed.), German Poetry from the Beginnings to 1750, 1992, Continuum: New York, p. 21.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=zB7K9EVCqfkC)

Date: 12th century (original); 1992 (translation)

By: Meinloh of Sevelingen (12th century)

Translated by: J. W. Thomas (19??- )

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Prologue to “Lais” by Marie de France

Whoever gets knowledge from God, science,
and a talent for speech, eloquence,
Shouldn’t shut up or hide away;
No, that person should gladly display.
When everyone hears about some great good
Then it flourishes as it should;
When folks praise it at full power,
Then the good deed’s in full flower.
Among the ancients it was the tradition
(On this point we can quote Priscian)

When they wrote their books in the olden day
What they had to say they’d obscurely say.
They knew that some day others would come
And need to know what they’d written down;
Those future readers would gloss the letter,
Add their own meaning to make the book better.
Those old philosophers, wise and good,
Among themselves they understood
Mankind, in the future tense,
Would develop a subtler sense
Without trespassing to explore
What’s in the words, and no more.

Whoever wants to be safe from vice
Should study and learn (heed this advice)
And undertake some difficult labor;
Then trouble is a distant neighbor–
From great sorrows one can escape.
Thus my idea began to take shape:
I’d find some good story or song
To translate from Latin into our tongue;
But was the prize worth the fight?
So many others had already tried it.
Then I thought of the lais I’d heard;
I had no doubt, I was assured
They’d been composed for memory’s sake
About real adventures–no mistake:
They heard the tale, composed the song,
Sent it forth. They didn’t get it wrong.
I’ve heard so many lais, I would regret
Letting them go, letting people forget.
So I rhymed them and wrote them down aright.
Often my candle burned late at night.

In your honor, noble king,
Whose might and courtesy make the world ring–
All joys flow from you or run to you,
Whose heart is the root of every virtue–
For you these lais I undertook,
To bring them together, rhymed, in this book.
In my heart I always meant
To offer you this, my present.
Great joy to my heart you bring
If you accept my offering–
I’ll be glad forever and a day!
Please don’t think that I say
This from conceit–pride’s not my sin.
Just listen now, and I’ll begin.

From: http://people.clas.ufl.edu/jshoaf/files/prologue.pdf

Date: 12th century (original); 1992 (translation)

By: Marie de France (12th century)

Translated by: Judith P. Shoaf (19??- )

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Sonnet by Sibylla Schwarz

If love is chaste, what bears adultery?
If love is good, and does no evil own,
How can its fire so many flames propone?
If love is joy, why’s it called cruelty?
Who love adores, sails on a lustful sea,
And lets himself into death’s net be sewn,
Which does not tear; he lives for sin alone,
Is stripped of virtue, worships vanity.

From: Walsøe-Engel, Ingrid (ed.), German Poetry from the Beginnings to 1750, 1992, Continuum: New York, p. 251.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=zB7K9EVCqfkC)

Date: 1650 (published in German); 1992 (translated in English)

By: Sibylla Schwarz (1621-1638)

Translated by: George C. Schoolfield (1925- )

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Cat’s Cradle by Robyn Sarah

When women together sit sipping
cold tea and tugging at the
threads of memory, thoughtfully
pulling at this
or that bit or loop, or slipping
this loop over that finger till
warp and weft of past lives begin
crazily to unwind, when women sit
smoking and talking, the talk
making smoke in the air, when they shake
shreds of tobacco out of a crumpled pack
and keep drinking the same weak tea
from the same broken pot, something clicks
in the springs of the clock
and it’s yesterday again,
and the sprung yarn rolls down loose
from the spool of the moon.

When women together sit talking
an afternoon, when they talk
the sun down, talk stars, talk
dawn–they talk up a dust
of sleeping dogs and bones
and they talk a drum for the dust
to dance to, till the dance
drums up a storm; when women
sit drumming fingers on tops
of tables, when the tables turn
into tops that spin and hum
and the bobbin of the moon
keeps spinning its fine yarn down
to catch fingers, when fingers catch
talk in a cat’s cradle, and turn
talk into a net to catch the curve
of the storm–then it’s talk
against talk, till the tail
of the storm trails into dust
and they talk the dust back down.

Things that matter and don’t matter
are caught together, things done and undone,
and the kettle boils dry and over
while they lean closer to peer down
into the murky water where last night’s dream
flicks its tail and is gone
(and the reel of the moon keeps cranking
its long line down)–when women together
sit sipping cold tea and sawing on the strings
of memory, it is an old tune.
The rice sticks to the bottom of the pan,
and things get left out in the rain.

From: http://www.library.utoronto.ca/canpoetry/sarah/poem11.htm

Date: 1992

By: Robyn Sarah (1949- )

Monday, 16 September 2013

Cinderella by Enid Dame

Every daughter has two mothers:
my good mother believes in government.
She loves and distrusts her house.
She scours the ceiling, scrubs the floor with a toothbrush.
Father’s been gone for years.

My bad mother is an anarchist.
She sleeps late in a cobweb bed.
She walks through the house naked,
feeds tramps at the backdoor.

My good mother says, “Your body is disgusting.
It flops and bulges; it has no self-control.
I must keep you locked in this basement
because your smell would overpower the city.
Boys would fall out windows for lust of you.
A young woman is a walking swamp.
She leaks and oozes. Insects and toads cling to her hair.
She draws trouble
like a pile of manure draws flies.”

My bad mother likes to walk barefoot
in mud. Cats and dogs sniff her crotch.
She laughs. She gathers flowers:
shameless daylilies,
demure black-eyed Susans,
bluebells seductively
open their skirts for her.
My bad mother says, “Trust your body.”

My good mother gives me a necklace of cowrie shells.
I think they are ugly. They look like vaginas
with jagged, sharp teeth.
My bad mother hands me
a garland of dark red roses.
They are beautiful. But they too look like vaginas.

My good mother says, “If I let you go to the ball,
don’t come home with a man or a belly.
If you do, I’ll kill myself.”

My bad mother says,
“Someday you’ll bring home a man.
I’ll make him chicken soup.
I’ll knit you an afghan
to warm yourself under.
If he says your body smells like fern and rain-worked earth,
if he says your juices taste like flowers then
stick with him.
Whoever he is,
he’ll be a prince.”

From: http://www.poetsusa.com/wisewomensweb/dame.html#poem1

Date: 1992

By: Enid Dame (1943-2003)