Posts tagged ‘1995’

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Song Against the Sea by Roi Fernandez de Santiago

Whenever I look at the waves
that break below the bluffs,
I feel a pounding of waves
in my heart for the one I loved.
Damn the sea
that makes me grieve!

I never look at the waves
that beat against the shores
without being pounded by waves
in my heart for the one I adored.
Damn the sea
that makes me grieve!

Each time I look at the waves
that crash into the cliffs,
I feel a pounding of waves
in my heart for the one I miss.
Damn the sea
that makes me grieve!

From: http://www.poetryinternationalweb.net/pi/site/poem/item/4676/auto/0/SONG-AGAINST-THE-SEA

Date: 13th century (original in Galician-Portugese); 1995 (translation in English)

By: Roi Fernandez de Santiago (13th century)

Translated by: Richard Zenith (1956- )

Thursday, 26 May 2016

A Question of Belief by Rika Lesser

The first time wasn’t real, I mean
for real, a real attempt. No one
believed me when I said the medicine
was at fault, kept me from sleeping,
thinking, set my limbs tingling. Taking
those pills, staying in that house–
pigeons roosting on the roof, their
insistent coos and cries–in one of my
old bedrooms, made me an invalid.
What they believed was what I said
in scorn, in response to threats. That I’d
like to jump out of a window. All I wanted
was sleep.

And in the hospital that first time,
after the countless pills, the ipecac,
the papers signed, the break
with my first shrink, once I had slept
my fill and felt like a child in some
giant’s grip, they handed me nearly
the same damned drugs. Again I flipped,
stopped sleeping, believed they would kill me
on Walpurgis Night, not one swift scalpel,
ritual sacrifice–not just the staff,
the other patients too…

We were so frail. No one
believed what we said.
And we learned to get out
by saying: We won’t try it
again. Grateful to be alive,
we will pay our dues. Just
show us the way out of Hell,
dear Doctors, release us. Please.

From: Lesser, Rika, All We Need of Hell: Poems, 1995, University of North Texas Press: Denton, Texas, p. 5.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=WXNVKNssPYQC)

Date: 1995

By: Rika Lesser (1953- )

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Pearl: Section I by Pearl Poet/Gawain Poet

Pearl, to delight a prince’s day,
Flawlessly set in gold so fair
In all the East, I dare to say,
I have not found one to compare.
So round, so radiant in array,
So small, so smooth her contours were,
Wherever I judged jewels gay
I set her worth as truly rare.
I lost her in a garden where
Through grass she fell to earthen plot;
Wounded by love beyond repair
I mourn that pearl without a spot.

Since from that spot it fled that day
I waited oft, in hope to see
What once could drive my gloom away
And charge my very soul with glee;
But heavy on my heart it lay
And filled my breast with misery.
Yet no song ever seemed so gay
As that quiet hour let steal to me
Though in my heart one thought ran free,
Her fresh face wrapped in earthly clot;
Earth, you have marred her purity,
My secret pearl without a spot.

That spot of spices needs must spread
Where such rich bounty doth decay,
With yellow flowers and blue and red
That shine so bright in sun’s clear ray.
Flower and fruit can ne’er be dead
Where that pearl slipped into the clay,
For grass will grow from seed once shed
Or grain could not be stored away,
And good will always good repay.
This comely seed shall perish not,
And spices will their fruit display
From that dear pearl without a spot.

From that spot I in speech expound
I entered in that garden green,
As August’s season came around
When corn is cut with sickles keen,
There that pearl rolled into the ground,
Shadowed with plants both bright and clean,
Wallflower, ginger, gromwell abound
Bright paeonies scattered in between;
Though they were seemly to be seen
No less in their scent my sense caught;
And there that jewel long has been,
My precious pearl without a spot.

Before that spot I clasped my hand,
In chilling care my heart was caught;
A bitter grief my soul unmanned
Though reason wiser comfort sought.
I mourned my pearl from freedom banned
With arguments that fiercely fought;
Though Christ’s grace bade me understand
My wretched will fresh sorrow brought.
On flowery sward I fell, distraught;
Such fragrance to my senses shot
In deepest sleep I dreamt, methought,
On that dear pearl without a spot.

From: http://www.billstanton.co.uk/pearl/pearl0203.htm
http://www.billstanton.co.uk/pearl/pearl0405.htm
http://www.billstanton.co.uk/pearl/pearl0607.htm

Date: 14th century (original); 1995 (translation)

By: Pearl Poet/Gawain Poet (14th century)

Translated by: William Graham Stanton (1917-1999)

Friday, 1 January 2016

New Year by Bei Dao (Zhao Zhenkai)

a child carrying flowers walks toward the new year
a conductor tattooing darkness
listens to the shortest pause

hurry a lion into the cage of music
hurry stone to masquerade as a recluse
moving in parallel nights

who’s the visitor? when the days all
tip from nests and fly down roads
the book of failure grows boundless and deep

each and every moment’s a shortcut
I follow it through the meaning of the East
returning home, closing death’s door.

From: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/180394

Date: 1995 (original); 1995 (translation)

By: Bei Dao (Zhao Zhenkai) (1949- )

Translated by: David Hinton (1954- ) and Yanbing Chen (19??- )

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Hardy by Robert Mezey

Thrown away at birth, he was recovered,
Plucked from the swaddling-shroud, and chafed and slapped,
The crone implacable.  At last he shivered,
Drew the first breath, and howled, and lay there, trapped
In a world from which there is but one escape
And that forestalled now almost ninety years.
In such a scene as he himself might shape,
The maker of a thousand songs appears.

From this it follows, all the ironies
Life plays on one whose fate it is to follow
The way of things, the suffering one sees,
The many cups of bitterness he must swallow
Before he is permitted to be gone
Where he was headed in that early dawn.

From: http://www.thehypertexts.com/robert%20mezey%20poet%20poetry%20picture%20bio.htm

Date: 1995

By: Robert Mezey (1935- )

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

The Trout by Christian Friedrich Daniel Schubart

Across a clear brook gentle,
There shot in eager haste
The trout, so temperamental;
Quite arrow-like it raced.
I on the shore was gazing
And watched the brook disclose
The merry fish’s bathing
To me in sweet repose.

An angler’s reel unrolled
From where he stood below.
He watched with blood most cold
The fish swim to and fro.
So long no stone or sod
Stirred up the water pure
The trout from line and rod
Would stay, I thought, secure.

At length the thief lost patience
And made the brook obscure
With crafty agitations,
And ere I could be sure
The rod had started curving;
The squirming fish was hooked.
With pounding blood observing,
At the betrayed, I looked.

You, at the fountain golden,
Of youth, so free from doubt,
Be to the trout beholden;
At danger’s sign, clear out!
‘Tis oft for want of reason
That maids will shun the straight.
Beware the anglers’ treason
Else you may bleed too late!

From: http://www.elizabethvercoe.com/AnEqualMusic.html

Date: 1782 (German original); 1995 (English translation)

By: Christian Friedrich Daniel Schubart (1739-1791)

Translated by: Walter Meyer (19??-?)

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Rapunzel by Diane Mary Brotheridge Fahey

Far below her, the lake:
beyond depth at its centre.

At dawn, her stone-framed face;
hair spread out in darkness.

Gold fumes above the misted pines,
scrolls over the lake, finds her.

All morning, bronze enters her hair,
her cheeks grow amaryllis apples;

the forest’s shadow is a meniscus
round that great brimming tear.

As she steps from noon’s glare,
a keyplate of light slides down her

from brow to belly.
Now, dusk’s glittering shroud…

Pines fill the lake, their darknesses
masked by green crystal.

She sits weaving her strength
into a braid, thinking:

Whatever has happened, or will happen,
the lake is there, and the tower

dwells in me, and I within it:
a key hidden inside a lock.

She watches the wind’s fingers
trawl a nap on silver velvet,

unsettle then recompose
the snow-blue spruces.

From: http://www.poetrylibrary.edu.au/poets/fahey-diane/rapunzel-0196003

Date: 1995

By: Diane Mary Brotheridge Fahey (1945- )

Monday, 27 October 2014

The Invisible Person by James Laughlin

Life kept rolling her over
like a piece of driftwood

in the surf of an angry sea
she was intelligent and beau-

tiful and well-off she made
friends easily yet she wasn’t

able to put the pieces to-
gether into any recognizable

shape   she wasn’t sure who
she wanted to be   so she

ended up being no one in par-
ticular   she made herself al-

most invisible   she was the
person you loved so much who

really wasn’t there at all.

From: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/175665

Date: 1995

By: James Laughlin (1914-1997)

Friday, 3 May 2013

The House by Robin Skelton

This is the house
in which the words

are walls, are furniture,
are doors and cushions,

and in which the paintings,
chairs and rugs

are words, and all the words
stand in a circle

round the changing moment.
But when you enter,

opening the rhetoric
of the door,

seeing round you
vocabularies of sculpture,

libraries of sound,
do not assume

this is exclusively
a house of language;

think rather that it is
a place where love

has struggled to discover
what it means

and made these words
to hold you till it knows.

From: Skelton, Robin, In This Poem I Am: Selected Poetry of Robin Skelton / edited and introduced by Harold Rhenisch, 2008, Dundurn Press: Toronto, p. 19.
(http://books.google.com.au/books?id=0OSSPx-i29gC&pg=PA19&source=gbs_toc_r&cad=4#v=onepage&q&f=false)

Date: 1995

By: Robin Skelton (1925-1997)

Sunday, 7 April 2013

A Beard for a Blue Pantry by Donald Hall

(Alice Mattison dreamed that I wrote a poem with this title)

Bluebeard displayed his wives
in a gallery small as a pantry.
My wife Jane has leukemia

and I sit by her painful bed
as petechiae bloom on her skin
and white cells proliferate.

The summer after we married
I grew a black beard, and Jane
wrote a poem on an airplane

flying home from California:
“The First Eight Days of the Beard.”
After a dozen years I shaved

that curly intractable beard
when it turned as white
as King Arthur in the pantry

where Amos the cat birdwatched
from a yellow breadbox—
our furry Attila of mice,

until his eyes glazed over.
In those deliberate days,
Jane made bread so honest,

once it went blue in the pantry
on a hot August weekend.
In her room above the kitchen

she worked at her poems,
and in spring paused to garden,
and in winter to feed goldfinches

blackoil sunflower seed, on days
that started with coffee in bed
and continued with walking

the dog, with loving, with baking,
with answering Alice’s letters,
with mulching roses and washing

abundant hair that is gone now
in her terrible illness.
It is blue in the breadless pantry.

From: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/browse/165/5#!/20604318

Date: 1995

By: Donald Hall (1928- )

Note: The poem by Jane Kenyon referred to can be found here: http://staringatangels.wordpress.com/2009/04/05/jane-kenyon-the-first-eight-days-of-the-beard/