Posts tagged ‘1995’

Tuesday, 21 July 2020

Sister Cat by Frances Mayes

Cat stands at the fridge,
Cries loudly for milk.
But I’ve filled her bowl.
Wild cat, I say, Sister,
Look, you have milk.
I clink my fingernail
Against the rim. Milk.
With down and liver,
A word I know she hears.
Her sad miaow. She runs
To me. She dips
In her whiskers but
Doesn’t drink. As sometimes
I want the light on
When it is on. Or when
I saw the woman walking
toward my house and
I thought there’s Frances.
Then looked in the car mirror
To be sure. She stalks
The room. She wants. Milk
Beyond milk. World beyond
This one, she cries.

From: http://famouspoetsandpoems.com/poets/frances_mayes/poems/19894.html

Date: 1995

By: Frances Mayes (1940- )

Monday, 20 July 2020

The Step-sister’s Story by Emma Bull

I knew you, dancing.
She said, “Who is that?”
The others said it, too.
But I knew.

I thought the word she would not let me say.
Sister. You danced by so close.

I could have touched the tiny buttons down your back.
I kept your secret, as true sisters do.

You were not more beautiful
Spinning in a cloud of silk,
Laughing in spangle-light,
Than on that cold hearth.

Not more beautiful
Than when my eyes crept secretly toward you
To the line of your bent white neck
And I thought, Sister.

Not more beautiful
Than your fair closed ash-marked face.
Ash-bruised fingers took the poker, made the fire dance
And I thought, I love you.

Who closed the tiny buttons down your back?
I would have done that sister’s work.
You would have made the boys who loved you
Dance with me first.

Oh, tomorrow, don’t let her see
That fallen sequin, that unguarded smile.
She’ll be wild to think that you were happy.
Never be happy out loud
And I’ll keep the secret.

The shoe came.
She locked you in the pantry.
She brought it to me, still full of spangle-light
And the chime of your laugh.

I did it to share your laugh and the cloud of silk
For don’t true sisters share?
I did it to dance away from fear, from her,
To dance you away in my arms and call you sister.
True sisters ride to rescue, and I would
Only if the shoe fit.

We’ll make it fit, she said.
The kitchen knife was not full of spangle-light
And this is not how I meant to share with you.

Light-headed, I rode away,
My arms around the prince’s waist,
Blood welling from your shoe
To stain the horse’s white flank.

And as the spangles danced before my eyes
I thought I might be you, riding safely away,
That I was the one she’d shut in darkness,
That we’d both slipped from her grasp at last.

I can’t dance now.
But I would sit on your hearth
And stir the fire to dancing with a crutch.
Let me sit near your happiness.
Let me warm myself at your laughter.
Let me say at last, where she can’t hear,
Sister, sister, sister.

From: Windling, Terri (ed.), The Armless Maiden and Other Tales for Childhood’s Survivors, 1995, Tor:  New York, pp. 85-86.
(https://books.google.com.au/books/about/The_Armless_Maiden_and_Other_Tales_for_C.html?id=v77cHQAACAAJ&redir_esc=y)

Date: 1995

By: Emma Bull (1954- )

Tuesday, 14 July 2020

The Roses of Saadi by Marceline Desbordes-Valmore (Marie Felicite Josephe Desbordes)

I wanted to bring you roses this morning.
There were so many I wanted to bring,
The knots at my waist could not hold so many.

The knots burst. All the roses took wing,
The air was filled with roses flying,
Carried by the wind, into the sea.

The waves are red, as though they are burning.
My dress still has the scent of the morning,
Remembering roses. Smell them on me.

From: https://newcriterion.com/issues/1995/11/four-poems-by-marceline-desbordes-valmore

Date: 1860 (original in French); 1995 (translation in English)

By: Marceline Desbordes-Valmore (Marie Felicite Josephe Desbordes) (1786-1859)

Translated by: Louis Aston Marantz Simpson (1923-2012)

Thursday, 23 April 2020

Snow White to the Prince by Delia (Cordelia Caroline) Sherman

I am beautiful you say, sublime,
Black and crystal as a winter’s night,
With lips like rubies, cabochon,
My eyes deep blue as sapphires.
I cannot blame you for your praise:
You took me for my beauty, after all;
A jewel in a casket, still as death,
A lovely effigy, a prince’s prize,
The fairest in the land.

But you woke me, or your horses did,
Stumbling as they bore me down the path,
Shaking the poisoned apple from my throat.
And now you say you love me, and would wed me
For my beauty’s sake. My cursed beauty.
Will you hear now why I curse it?
It should have been my mother’s — it had been,
Until I took it from her.

I was fourteen, a flower newly blown,
My mother’s faithful shadow and her joy.
I remember combing her hair one day,
Playing for love her tire-woman’s part,
Folding her thick hair strand over strand
Into an ebon braid, thick as my wrist,
And pinned it round and round her head
Into a living crown.
I looked up from my handiwork and saw
Our faces, hers and mine, caught in the mirror’s eye.
Twin white ovals like repeated moons
Bright amid our midnight hair. Our eyes
Like heaven’s bowl; our lips like autumn berries.
She frowned a little, lifted hand to throat.
Turned her head this way and then the other.
Our eyes met in the glass.

I saw what she had seen: her hair white-threaded,
Her face and throat fine-lined, her eyes softened
Like a mirror that clouds and cracks with age;
While I was newly silvered, sharp and clear.
I hid my eyes, but could not hide my knowledge.
Forty may be fair; fourteen is fairer still.
She smiled at my reflection, cold as glass,
And then dismissed me thankless.

Not long after the huntsman came, bearing
A knife, a gun, a little box, to tell me
My mother no longer loved me. He spared me, though,
Unasked, because I was too beautiful to kill.
And the seven little men whose house
I kept that winter and the following year,
They loved me for my beauty’s sake, my beauty
That cost me my mother’s love.

Do you think I did not know her,
Ragged and gnarled and stooped like a wind-bent tree,
Her basket full of combs and pins and laces?
Of course I took her poisoned gifts. I wanted
To feel her hands combing out my hair,
To let her lace me up, to take an apple
From her hand, a smile from her lips,
As when I was a child.

From: https://www.terriwindling.com/blog/2014/01/winter-poetry-challenge.html

Date: 1995

By: Delia (Cordelia Caroline) Sherman (1951- )

Sunday, 29 December 2019

Scene from a Marriage by Richard James Allen

you are my context
without you
i’m a picture
wandering out
of its frame
a blotch of colours
a mess of sky.

From: https://www.poetrylibrary.edu.au/poets/allen-richard-james/poems/scene-from-a-marriage-0162019

Date: 1995

By: Richard James Allen (1960- )

Tuesday, 17 December 2019

At the Gate by Henrik Nordbrandt

1.
In the dream
at the gate to your grave
you stopped me
with the same words
I had spoken in a dream
where I died before you

so now I can no longer dream.

2.
Rusty, and on squeaky hinges
all the gates I have ever
seen, heard, or described
closed one by one
under a grey sky.

That is all there was
in my mind, earth.

3.
What can I say about the world
in which your ashes sit in an urn
other than that?

4.
On every trip you stay ahead of me.
On platforms I see your footprints in fresh snow.
When the train starts to move
you jump out of the back carriage

to reach the next station ahead of me.

5.
Outside the small towns with their sleepy street lights:
stadiums bright as capitols.

The lights glinted off your glasses.

Where else should you look for the ring
which, the night the power went out,
rolled under the bed and was gone?

6.
“I miss you, too”
were my last words
on the telephone
when you said you missed me.
I miss you too, Forever!

7.
You are gone.

Three words. And not one
of them
exists now in any

other context.

From: https://www.poetryinternational.org/pi/poem/16681/

Date: 1995 (original in Danish); 2009 (translation in English)

By: Henrik Nordbrandt (1945- )

Translated by: Thom Satterlee (1967- )

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Lines 1-17 of “The Chatelaine of Vergi” by Anonymous

There are people who pretend
Loyalty, say they intend
To keep your confidence so well
That you may without danger tell
Your secrets; and when they discover
Proof that someone has a lover
Make it their pleasure and their pride
To send the news out far and wide,
And afterward make fun of those
Who lose their joy because they chose
To have it known. The greater the love
The more will be the sorrow of
The true lover who must start
Doubting the one who rules his heart.
And oftentimes such harm is done
By this that love will quickly run
Its course, to end in grief and shame.

From: Terry, Patricia (ed. and transl.), The Honeysuckle and the Hazel Tree: Medieval Stories of Men and Women, 1995, University of California Press: Berkeley, Los Angeles, London, Section 8.
(https://publishing.cdlib.org/ucpressebooks/view?docId=ft4580069z)

Date: 13th century (original in French); 1995 (translation in English)

By: Anonymous

Translated by: Patricia Terry (1929- )

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

In My Garden by Ōtomo no Tabito

In my garden
plum blossoms fall—
or is not rain
but snow, cast down
from the sky?

From: Addiss, Stephen, The Art of Haiku: Its History Through Poems and Paintings by Japanese Masters, 2012, Shambhala Publications: Boston, p. 17.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=Jdnb44l3uNgC)

Date: c8th century (original in Japanese); 1995 (translation in English)

By: Ōtomo no Tabito (665-731)

Translated by: Edwin Augustus Cranston (1932- )

Sunday, 30 December 2018

Summer of the Ladybirds by Vivian Brian Smith

Can we learn wisdom watching insects now,
or just the art of quiet observation?
Creatures from the world of leaf and flower
marking weather’s variation.

The huge dry summer of the ladybirds
(we thought we’d never feel such heat again)
started with white cabbage butterflies
sipping at thin trickles in the drain.

Then one by one the ladybirds appeared
obeying some far purpose or design.
We marvelled at their numbers in the garden,
grouped together, shuffling in a line.

Each day a few strays turned up at the table,
the children laughed to see them near the jam
exploring round the edges of a spoon.
One tried to drink the moisture on my arm.

How random and how frail seemed their lives,
and yet how they persisted, refugees,
saving energy by keeping still
and hiding in the grass and in the trees.

And then one day they vanished overnight.
Clouds gathered, storm exploded, weather cleared.
And all the wishes that we might have had
in such abundance simply disappeared.

From: https://www.poetryarchive.org/poem/summer-ladybirds

Date: 1995

By: Vivian Brian Smith (1933- )

Thursday, 11 October 2018

House of Air by Philip Gross

a letter was sent
but no one was there
no one at home
in the house of air

no window no frame
no number no door
between sixty eight
and sixty four

just a pit prop joist
wedged there to shore
two end walls peeling
patchwork squares

paint patterns plaster
layers on layers
unpicked by rain
and roots and years

like generations
a stray cat stirs
in the deep pile carpet
of rubble and briars

it’s one big room
just follow the stairs
zig zag to the sky
through invisible floors

a fireplace smoulders
green then flares
mauve buddleia
the postman stares

number sixty six
strange it was there
this time yesterday
he could swear.

From: http://www.poetrybyheart.org.uk/poems/house-of-air/

Date: 1995

By: Philip Gross (1952- )