Posts tagged ‘1993’

Monday, 23 March 2020

In the Loneliness of My Heart by Kasa no Iratsume

In the loneliness of my heart
I feel as if I should perish
Like the pale dew-drop
Upon the grass of my garden
In the gathering shades of twilight.

From: Keene, Donald, Seeds in the Heart: Japanes Literature from Earliest Times to the Late Sixteenth Century, 1993, Henry Holt and Company: New York, p. 151.

Date: early 8th century (original in Japanese), 1993 (translation in English)

By: Kasa no Iratsume (early 8th century)

Translated by: Donald Lawrence Keene (1922-2019)

Friday, 6 December 2019

Don’t Smile Please by Dennis Joseph Enright

Since the primary school is next door

You can’t help passing the playground
But don’t you smile at the children
Whether  a small girl or a little boy
Don’t you even look
You know what people will think
And you really can’t blame them.

What a world we live in! What went wrong?
If there’s another world to come
Let’s hope it’s one where people smile
And you can smile back safely.

Once they asked you to return their ball
It had sailed over the palings—
Eyes cast discreetly upwards, you stepped
Into the street and were nearly run down
Still, a little boy said ‘Thank you, mister’
A small girl almost smiled.


Date: 1993

By: Dennis Joseph Enright (1920-2002)

Saturday, 15 June 2019

Buying Stock by Denise Duhamel

“…The use of condoms offers substantial protection, but does not guarantee total protection and that while there is no evidence that deep kissing has resulted in transfer of the virus, no one can say that such transmission would be absolutely impossible.” –The Surgeon General, 1987

I know you won’t mind if I ask you to put this on.
It’s for your protection as well as mine–Wait.
Wait.  Here, before we rush into anything
I’ve bought a condom for each one of your fingers. And here–
just a minute–Open up.
I’ll help you put this one on, over your tongue.
I was thinking:
If we leave these two rolled, you can wear them
as patches over your eyes. Partners have been known to cry,
shed tears, bodily fluids, at all this trust, at even the thought
of this closeness.


Date: 1993

By: Denise Duhamel (1961- )

Friday, 17 May 2019

Kiritsubo I: Kiritsubo no Kōi to the Emperor by Murasaki Shikibu

Now the end has come,
We part along diverging paths,
And one sad desire
Still lies heavy in my heart:
To live, not leave, our life.

From: Cranston, Edwin A. (ed. and transl.), A Waka Anthology: Volume Two – Grasses of Remembrance, Part B, 1993, Stanford University Press: Palo Alto, California, p. 689.

Date: 1000-1012 (original in Japanese); 1993 (translation in English)

By: Murasaki Shikibu (c973 or 978-c1014 or 1031)

Translated by: Edwin Augustus Cranston (1932- )

Sunday, 12 May 2019

Political Poem by Jeffrey W. Harrison

Gone are the days,
are the centuries, even,
when government officials
retired to become
poets in gardens
of their own design,
as here in Suzhou
happened for so long:
a gnarled shaft
of limestone here,
there a willow’s
green locks swaying
above the fishpond,
a zigzag bridge
to a pagoda where,
far from the capital,
one could finally
attend to matters
of real importance:
the moon’s reflection
troubled by a carp.


Date: 1993

By: Jeffrey W. Harrison (19??- )

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Equinox by Elizabeth Alexander

Now is the time of year when bees are wild
and eccentric. They fly fast and in cramped
loop-de-loops, dive-bomb clusters of conversants
in the bright, late-September out-of-doors.
I have found their dried husks in my clothes.

They are dervishes because they are dying,
one last sting, a warm place to squeeze
a drop of venom or of honey.
After the stroke we thought would be her last
my grandmother came back, reared back and slapped

a nurse across the face. Then she stood up,
walked outside, and lay down in the snow.
Two years later there is no other way
to say, we are waiting. She is silent, light
as an empty hive, and she is breathing.


Date: 1993

By: Elizabeth Alexander (1962- )

Thursday, 21 February 2019

Meeting in a Dream by Ōtomo no Yakamochi

Meeting in a dream
Is a cruel way to meet:
For you wake,
Suddenly groping, but nothing
Is there for your hand to touch.

From: Cranston, Edwin A. (ed. and transl.) The Gem-Glistening Cup: A Waka Anthology, 1993, Stanford University Press: Stanford, California, p. 441.

Date: c740 (original in Japanese); 1993 (translation in English)

By: Ōtomo no Yakamochi (c718-785)

Translated by: Edwin Augustus Cranston (1932- )

Saturday, 17 February 2018

An Elegiac Poem Complaining About Grief by Desiderius Erasmus

Although gray hair has not yet begun to
whiten the top of my head and fallen hair has
not left me with a shining forehead, although
advanced age has not dimmed my eyesight
and no blackened tooth has fallen from a
rotten mouth and stiff bristles have not yet
made my arms prickly and my skin does not
hang loose on a withered body – in short,
although I see in myself none of the signs of
old age, the lot assigned me by God is
contrived to make me miserable, I know not
how. He has decided to make me bear the
afflictions of old age during my tender years,
and he wants me to be already old, and yet he
does not allow me to grow old. Care and
sorrow, which would sprinkle my temples with
sad gray hair, have come before their time.

From: Erasmus, Desiderius, Miller, Clarence H. (transl.) and Vredeveld, Harry (ed.), Collected Works of Erasmus: Poems, 1993, University of Toronto Press: Toronto/Buffalo/London, p. 235.

Date: ?1487 (original in Latin); 1993 (translation in English)

By: Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536)

Translated by: Clarence H. Miller (c1930- )

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Three Dirges: 2 by Tao Yuanming (Tao Qian)

In former days I wanted wine to drink;
The wine this morning fills the cup in vain.
I see the spring mead with its floating foam,
And wonder when to taste of it again.
The feast before me lavishly is spread,
My relatives and friends beside me cry.
I wish to speak but lips can shape no voice,
I wish to see but light has left my eye.
I slept of old within the lofty hall,
Amidst wild weeds to rest I now descend.
When once I pass beyond the city gate
I shall return to darkness without end.

From: Minford, John and Lau, Joseph, M. S. (eds.), Classical Chinese Literature: An Anthology of Translations. Volume I: From Antiquity to the Tang Dynasty, 2000, Columbia University Press: New York and The Chinese University Press: Hong Kong, p. 514.

Date: 427 (original); 1993 (translation)

By: Tao Yuanming (Tao Qian) (365-427)

Translated by: Gladys Yang (1919-1999) and Yang Xianyi (1915-2009)

Sunday, 4 September 2016

A Second Language by Lesley Fowler Lebkowicz

In conversation class
Trang asks, Miss
would you eat
another person?
Oh, says Susan,
why ever would
I? And call me
Susan. ‘Miss’ is
far too formal.
In Vietnam, Duc
explains, we had
to show respect.
Sue nods and smiles.
Well, would you?
asks Trang again.
She twists a lock
of hair around
her index finger.
Her eyes hold
Susan still. At last
the teacher sees

the old man – from the start
a risk to travel with, but loved –
dying hungry thirsty as the boat
loses its way to Australia.
Duc and Trang and their parents
sit and chant the rites for the departed
their mouths are dry
the chanting doesn’t sound right
and then the son and father
takes his knife
cuts along the line of muscle
in the arm
removes the flesh
and hands it to his daughter.
she reaches for it
her eyes shocked
by the greed of her hand.

From: Westerly, No. 4, Summer, 1993, pp. 42-43.

Date: 1993

By: Lesley Fowler Lebkowicz (1946- )