Posts tagged ‘1994’

Friday, 1 June 2018

Perth by Ee Tiang Hong

The city has no centre, focal landmark,
no Place de la Concorde, Padang Merdeka, Tien An Men,
no particular square, terrace, public park.

On important days citizens do not converge,
as elsewhere, for a common purpose — they feel
no urge to (there’s no compulsion);

would rather windsurf, sprawl on beach, go bush,
or some place else, even overseas (if it’s
not too far, not too expensive).

Alternatively, might as well stay home,
weed, mow the lawn, try a new recipe, barbecue,
lounge, have a beer, watch tv (Love you Perth).

Of course. Or else. Yet sometimes,
for a while, I’d rather be away
from family, neighbours, visiting friends;

be all alone, to daydream, diverge, de-centred,
but no looking back to brood, and not too far ahead,
just the opposite foreshore, Bassendean.

And the Swan, quiet, deathly pale at evening.


Date: 1994

By: Ee Tiang Hong (1933-1990)

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Noonday Game, South Africa by Ralph Nixon Currey

Once it was buffalos,
Rhinos and hippos
By whom this noonday
Game was played;
Now it’s the cars of human beings
That nose each other
Out of the shade.

From: Currey, R.N., Collected Poems, 2001, David Philip & James Currey: Oxford & Cape Town, p. 19.

Date: 1994

By: Ralph Nixon Currey (1907-2001)

Sunday, 23 October 2016

At Last It’s Come by Sulpicia

At last it’s come, and to be said to hide this kind of love
would shame me more than rumors that I’d laid it bare.
Won over by the pleading of my Muse, Cytherea
delivered him to me. She placed him in my arms.
Venus has fulfilled what she promised: Let my joys be told
by one who is said to have no joy of her own.
I would hate to keep what I’ve written under seal where none
could read me sooner than my lover, for pleasure
Likes a little infamy; discretion is nothing but a tedious pose.
Let it be known I have found a fitting partner.

From: Rayor, Diane J. and Batstone, William W. (eds.), Latin Lyric and Elegaic Poetry: An Anthology of New Translations, 1995, Routledge: New York, p. 84.

Date: 1st century BCE (original in Latin); 1994 (translation in English)

By: Sulpicia (1st century BCE)

Translated by: Mary Maxwell (19??- )

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Bastille by Pierre Martory

You let your shirt hang down
putting on airs of cuffs
at the edge of ending night
like the end of a java with double ritournelles
or the way the canaries in the cage of still-closed mornings
were singing that it mattered little
to them that their windows were open
the stones the paving stones the door-frames the armatures
the window-frames the sheets of the bed clothes in their colors
were beating the dawn along with us
better drums than your belly
better drumsticks than my fingers
and the trees and the roofs the river and its bridges
the clear distances of the city the factories without smoke
bathed as at their birth stammered
a trial hello
that only ended however
in this word round as a doubloon
placed on the edge of that day
by a considerate friend
the sun on your arms naked against my cheeks
hello I said to you
the day of quatorz’juillet.


Date: 1994 (original in French); 2000 (translation in English)

By: Pierre Martory (1920-1998)

Translated by: John Ashbery (1927- )

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Rondeau I: Like the Mourning Dove by Christine de Pizan

Like the mourning dove I’m now all alone,
And like a shepherdless sheep gone astray,
For death has long ago taken away
My loved one whom I constantly mourn.
It’s now seven years that he’s gone, alas
Better I’d been buried that same day,
Like a mourning dove I’m all forlorn.
For since I have such sorrow borne,
And grievous trouble and disarray,
For while I live I’ve not even one ray
Of hope of comfort, night or mourn.
Like the mourning dove I’m now all forlorn.


Date: 1397 (original); 1994 (translation)

By: Christine de Pizan (1364-c1430)

Translated by: Charity Cannon Willard (1914-2005)

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Profiles of my Father by Rhyll McMaster

The night we went to see the Brisbane River
break its banks
my mother from her kitchen corner
stood on one foot and wailed, ‘Oh Bill,
it’s dangerous.’
‘Darl,’ my father reasoned,
‘don’t be Uncle Willy.’

And took me right down to the edge
at South Brisbane, near the Gasworks,
the Austin’s small insignia winking
in the rain.

A policeman helped a man load
a mattress on his truck.
At a white railing we saw the brown water
boil off into the dark.
It rolled midstream higher than its banks
and people cheered when a cat on a crate
and a white fridge whizzed past.

Every summer morning at five-thirty in the dark
I rummaged for my swimming bag
among musty gym shoes and Mum’s hats from 1940
in the brown hall cupboard.
And Dad and I purred down through the sweet, fresh morning
Still cool, but getting rosy
at Paul’s Ice Cream factory,
and turned left at the Gasworks for South Brisbane Baths.

The day I was knocked off my kickboard
by an aspiring Olympian aged ten
it was cool and quiet and green down on the bottom.
Above the swaying ceiling limbs like pink logs,
and knifing arms churned past.
I looked at a crack in the cream wall
as I descended and thought of nothing.

When all of a sudden
Dad’s legs, covered in silver bubbles,
his khaki shorts and feet in thongs
plunged into view like a new aquatic animal.
I was happy driving home;
Dad in a borrowed shirt with red poinsettias
and the coach’s light blue, shot-silk togs.


Date: 1994

By: Rhyll McMaster (1947- )

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Advent Calendar by Rowan Douglas Williams

He will come like last leaf’s fall.
One night when the November wind
has flayed the trees to bone, and earth
wakes choking on the mould,
the soft shroud’s folding.

He will come like frost.
One morning when the shrinking earth
opens on mist, to find itself
arrested in the net
of alien, sword-set beauty.

He will come like dark.
One evening when the bursting red
December sun draws up the sheet
and penny-masks its eye to yield
the star-snowed fields of sky.

He will come, will come,
will come like crying in the night,
like blood, like breaking,
as the earth writhes to toss him free.
He will come like child.


Date: 1994

By: Rowan Douglas Williams (1950- )

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Question by Anna Thilda May Swenson

Body my house
my horse my hound
what will I do
when you are fallen

Where will I sleep
How will I ride
What will I hunt
Where can I go
without my mount
all eager and quick
How will I know
in thicket ahead
is danger or treasure
when Body my good
bright dog is dead

How will it be
to lie in the sky
without roof or door
and wind for an eye

With cloud for shift
how will I hide?


Date: 1994 (published)

By: Anna Thilda May Swenson (1913-1989)

Sunday, 17 March 2013

St Patrick and the Snakes by Crawford Howard

You’ve heard of the snakes in Australia
You’ve heard of the snakes in Japan,
You’ve heard of the rattler – that old Texas battler
Whose bite can mean death to a man.
They’ve even got snakes in old England –
Nasty adders all yellow and black –
But in Erin’s green isle we can say with a smile,
They’re away… and they’re not coming back!

Now years ago things was quite different
There was serpents all over the place.
If ye climbed up a ladder ye might meet an adder
Or a cobra might leap at your face,
If ye went for a walk up the Shankill,
Or a dander along Sandy Row,
A flamin’ great python would likely come writhin’
And take a lump outa yer toe!

Now there once was a guy called St. Patrick,
A preacher of fame and renown
An’ he hoisted his sails and came over from Wales
To convert all the heathens in Down.
And he hirpled about through the country
With a stick and a big pointy hat,
An’ he kept a few sheep that he sold on the cheap,
But sure, there’s no money in that!

He was preachin’ a sermon in Comber
An’ getting quite carried away
And he mentioned that Rome had once been his home
(But that was the wrong thing to say!)
For he felt a sharp pain in his cheek-bone
And he stuck up a hand ’till his beak
And the thing that had lit on his gob (an’ had bit)
Was a wee Presbyterian snake!

Now the snake slithererd down from the pulpit
(Expectin’ St. Patrick to die),
But yer man was no dozer – he lifted his crozier
An’ he belted the snake in the eye,
And he says to the snake, ‘Listen, legless!
You’d better just take yerself aff!
If you think that that trick will work with St. Patrick
You must be far worser nor daft!’

So the snake slithered home in a temper
An’ it gathered its mates all aroun’
An’ it says, ‘Listen, mates! We’ll get on our skates,
I reckon it’s time to leave town!
It’s no fun when you bite a big fella
An’ sit back and expect him to die,
An’ he’s so flamin’ quick with that big, crooked stick
That he hits ye a dig in the eye!

So a strange sight confronted St. Patrick
When he woke up the very next day.
The snakes with long faces were all packin’ their cases
And headin’ for Donegal Quay.
Some got on cheap flights to Mallorca
And some booked apartments in Spain.
They were all headin’ out and there wasn’t a doubt
That they weren’t going to come back again.

So the reason the snakes left old Ireland
(An’ this is no word of a lie),
They all went to places to bite people’s faces
And be reasonably sure that they’d die.
An’ the oul’ snakes still caution their grandsons,
‘For God’s sake beware of St. Pat!
An’ take yerselves aff if you see his big staff,
An’ his cloak, an’ his big pointy hat!’


Date: 1994

By: Crawford Howard (?- )

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Library by Valerie Worth Bahlke (Valerie Worth)

No need even
To take out
A book: only
Go inside
And savour
The heady
Dry breath of
Ink and paper,
Or stand and
Listen to the
Silent twitter
Of a billion
Tiny busy
Black words.


Date: 1994

By: Valerie Worth Bahlke (Valerie Worth) (1933-1994)