Posts tagged ‘1996’

Wednesday, 26 December 2018

Boxing Day, Campbell Parade by Adam Aitken

I step out into the sun and traffic chaos
of a beach in an obscure developing country.
Doorsteps of exotic eateries where child labour
sweeps spice dust into pyramids.
There are drums, the economy in hysterical trance.
Talismans glitter, shamans, crystals.
Boulevarde life. Potential film extras filing past,
drunks collect guilt money.

I stop, I know it’s Christmas.
An agent of perfection unflips her briefcase of safaris.
I yearn for the quiet birth of metaphysics
and invite her to partake with me
the wild ecology beyond whitewater.

Later that evening a Pizza boy arrives
sweltering with a stack of two-for-ones.
And in the morning the beer’s worn off.
I jog to the shark tower’s siren,
and read a blackboard with the sea’s numerology.

I want Boxing Day to end without strain,
it’s not too late in life to be a Weetbix Kid
riding waves of traffic generated deep and distantly
from suburbs that flounder in the heat.

My box of concrete fire rated,
fully secure. I miss my friends.
My lover goes back to her parents.

I miss her kind of Christmas,
turkeys, smoked hams, and not
a single regret in the world.
The southerly begins to blow.
A humble star arrives, it’s late but I don’t mind;
its pinpoint of light
leading me home.

From: https://www.poetrylibrary.edu.au/poets/aitken-adam/boxing-day-campbell-parade-0579050

Date: 1996

By: Adam Aitken (1960- )

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Alive Together by Lisel Mueller

Speaking of marvels, I am alive
together with you, when I might have been
alive with anyone under the sun,
when I might have been Abelard’s woman
or the whore of a Renaissance pope
or a peasant wife with not enough food
and not enough love, with my children
dead of the plague. I might have slept
in an alcove next to the man
with the golden nose, who poked it
into the business of stars,
or sewn a starry flag
for a general with wooden teeth.
I might have been the exemplary Pocahontas
or a woman without a name
weeping in Master’s bed
for my husband, exchanged for a mule,
my daughter, lost in a drunken bet.
I might have been stretched on a totem pole
to appease a vindictive god
or left, a useless girl-child,
to die on a cliff. I like to think
I might have been Mary Shelley
in love with a wrongheaded angel,
or Mary’s friend, I might have been you.
This poem is endless, the odds against us are endless,
our chances of being alive together
statistically nonexistent;
still we have made it, alive in a time
when rationalists in square hats
and hatless Jehovah’s Witnesses
agree it is almost over,
alive with our lively children
who–but for endless ifs–
might have missed out on being alive
together with marvels and follies
and longings and lies and wishes
and error and humor and mercy
and journeys and voices and faces
and colors and summers and mornings
and knowledge and tears and chance.

From: https://www2.illinois.gov/sites/poetlaureate/Pages/lisel_alive.aspx

Date: 1996

By: Lisel Mueller (1924- )

Friday, 7 December 2018

Little Citizen, Little Survivor by Hayden Carruth

A brown rat has taken up residence with me.
A little brown rat with pinkish ears and lovely
almond-shaped eyes. He and his wife live
in the woodpile by my back door, and they are
so equal I cannot tell which is which when they
poke their noses out of the crevices among
the sticks of firewood and then venture farther
in search of sunflower seeds spilled from the feeder.
I can’t tell you, my friend, how glad I am to see them.
I haven’t seen a fox for years, or a mink, or
a fisher cat, or an eagle, or a porcupine, I haven’t
seen any of my old company of the woods
and the fields, we who used to live in such
close affection and admiration. Well, I remember
when the coons would tap on my window, when
the ravens would speak to me from the edge of their
little precipice. Where are they now? Everyone knows.
Gone. Scattered in this terrible dispersal. But at least
the brown rat that most people so revile and fear
and castigate has brought his wife to live with me
again. Welcome, little citizen, little survivor.
Lend me your presence, and I will lend you mine.

From: http://tuesdaypoem.blogspot.com/2011/05/three-poems-by-hayden-carruth.html

Date: 1996

By: Hayden Carruth (1921-2008)

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Mad Exit by Vasile “Vasko” Popa

They scare me by saying
There’s a screw loose in my head

They scare me more by saying
They’ll bury me
In a box with the screws loose

They scare me but little do they realise
That my loose screws
Scare them

The happy crazy from our street
Boasts to me.

From: http://www.beyond-the-pale.co.uk/vaskopopa.htm

Date: c1975 (original in Serbian); 1996 (translation in English)

By: Vasile “Vasko” Popa (1922-1991)

Translated by: Anthony Weir (1941- )

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Two Dublin Poems by Anthony Weir

I. At the Conference of Poetry Police
an observer who claimed
that a tree was worth a thousand poets
was declared mentally ill
and unfit to work at the paper-mill.

II. The greatest disability
is wanting to be normal.
The second greatest
is normality.

From: Garwood, Andi and Weir, Anthony, Fearful Symmetry, 1996, Dissident Editions: Loughkeelan, Northern Ireland, p. 2.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=538vURta4JMC)

Date: 1996

By: Anthony Weir (1941- )

Friday, 22 June 2018

In the Summer by Nizar Tawfiq Qabbani

In the summer
I stretch out on the shore
And think of you
Had I told the sea
What I felt for you,
It would have left its shores,
Its shells,
Its fish,
And followed me.

From: https://allpoetry.com/In-The-Summer

Date: 19?? (original in Arabic); 1996 (translation in English)

By: Nizar Tawfiq Qabbani (1923-1998)

Translated by: Bassam Frangieh (1949- ) and Clementina R. Brown (19??- )

Saturday, 10 March 2018

By My Life I Will Not Let You Go by Janābāi

I caught the thief of Pandhari1
by tying a rope around his neck.

I made my heart the prison cell
and locked him up inside.

I bound him firmly with the Word,
I fettered his holy feet,

I thrashed him, whipped him
with the word so’ham2
while Vitthal complained bitterly.

Sorry, O Lord,
says Jani,
by my life I will not let you go.

Notes:
1. Thief of Pandhari – Vitthala/Vitthal/Vithoba, Hindu god, generally considered as a manifestation of Vishnu or Krishna.
2. So’ham – Hindu mantra which translates as “I am He/That”.

From: http://www.poetry-chaikhana.com/Poets/J/Janabai/BymylifeIwil/index.html

Date: c1320 (original in Marathi); 1996 (translation in English)

By: Janābāi (c1280-1350)

Translated by: Sarah Sellergren (19??- )

Thursday, 28 September 2017

The Prayer-Jar by Pat Boran

At the bottom of the prayer-jar
was a layer of quiet
so thin it could be missed,
so quiet it might be worn to church.

At the back of the church
you could take, unseen,
the prayer-jar from your pocket,
to collect the sound of people shuffling,

and then go shuffling off back home
through the market visited earlier on,
the clucking of vendors and birds on perches
already somewhere in the belly of the prayer-jar.

From: http://www.poetryinternationalweb.net/pi/site/poem/item/15431/auto/0/THE-PRAYER-JAR

Date: 1996

By: Pat Boran (1963- )

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Foreseeing by Sharon Bryan

Middle age refers more
to landscape than to time:
it’s as if you’d reached

the top of a hill
and could see all the way
to the end of your life,

so you know without a doubt
that it has an end—
not that it will have,

but that it does have,
if only in outline—
so for the first time

you can see your life whole,
beginning and end not far
from where you stand,

the horizon in the distance—
the view makes you weep,
but it also has the beauty

of symmetry, like the earth
seen from space: you can’t help
but admire it from afar,

especially now, while it’s simple
to re-enter whenever you choose,
lying down in your life,

waking up to it
just as you always have—
except that the details resonate

by virtue of being contained,
as your own words
coming back to you

define the landscape,
remind you that it won’t go on
like this forever.

From: http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php?date=2009/04/27

Date: 1996

By: Sharon Bryan (19??- )

Thursday, 16 March 2017

High School Senior by Sharon Olds

For seventeen years, her breath in the house
at night, puff, puff, like summer
cumulus above her bed,
and her scalp smelling of apricots
–this being who had formed within me,
squatted like a bright tree-frog in the dark,
like an eohippus she had come out of history
slowly, through me, into the daylight,
I had the daily sight of her,
like food or air she was there, like a mother.
I say “college,” but I feel as if I cannot tell
the difference between her leaving for college
and our parting forever–I try to see
this house without her, without her pure
depth of feeling, without her creek-brown
hair, her daedal hands with their tapered
fingers, her pupils dark as the mourning cloak’s
wing, but I can’t. Seventeen years
ago, in this room, she moved inside me,
I looked at the river, I could not imagine
my life with her. I gazed across the street,
and saw, in the icy winter sun,
a column of steam rush up away from the earth.
There are creatures whose children float away
at birth, and those who throat-feed their young
for weeks and never see them again. My daughter
is free and she is in me–no, my love
of her is in me, moving in my heart,
changing chambers, like something poured
from hand to hand, to be weighed and then reweighed.

From: http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/poets/m_r/olds/poems.htm

Date: 1996

By: Sharon Olds (1942- )