Posts tagged ‘1999’

Sunday, 11 December 2022

Gretel in Berkeley by Eve Sweetser

The crumb trail is gone
food for the birds of time
and there is no return
to childhood we have come
too far. From mothers’ arms
to stepmothers and slaps
to witches’ ovens, and then home
another way, to places not the same.

Where do they come from, then,
these paperclips?
Who dropped them one by one
along the sidewalk?
How can I
pick up these shiny frail
signposts for homeward travel —
following their trail
would I retrace whose steps
to what long-dusty backfiled memory?
I need no track
to lead me to the paper forest now.
For you
I’ll let them lie.

But fellow-tracemaker,
do not rely
on scavenger-prey or gravel.
Old photos, pencil-ends, and all the Library
of links to Other Places —
beware their Janus faces.
These strewings cannot tell —
no toes or heels — which way
to home, or to the cookie house?—
they do not say.
What clues have we
but our own and each others’ memory?
When visible paths
are only yarns unravelled
set by one of us Gretels as a key
for clingers to her labyrinthine past,
where do we go for futures, at the last?


Date: 1999

By: Eve Sweetser (19??- )

Saturday, 22 October 2022

The Kiss by Neil Carpathios

By freezing passion at its blossoming
perhaps Rodin knew he challenged
Sophocles who said as lover you want
ice to be ice yet not melt
in your hands. How stone,
implying permanence, might let us believe,
a moment, the seated figures are beyond the leaf
that cannot keep from letting go the branch,
beyond even stupidly purpling grapes
that do not understand the process
by which they darken; darken nevertheless.


Date: 1999

By: Neil Carpathios (1961- )

Sunday, 5 September 2021

Prayer for Words by Navarre Scott Momaday

My voice restore for me.

Here is the wind bending the reeds westward,
The patchwork of morning on gray moraine:

Had I words I could tell of origin,
Of God’s hands bloody with birth at first light,
Of my thin squeals in the heat of his breath,
Of the taste of being, the bitterness,
And scents of camas root and chokecherries.

And, God, if my mute heart expresses me,
I am the rolling thunder and the bursts
Of torrents upon rock, the whispering
Of old leaves, the silence of deep canyons.
I am the rattle of mortality.

I could tell of the splintered sun. I could
Articulate the night sky, had I words.


Date: 1999

By: Navarre Scott Momaday (1934- )

Friday, 27 August 2021

Time, Money and the Colour of the Sky by Joan Kerr

in the parking lot besides Swan Bay
the road workers
in their orange vests
are playing footy in their lunch hour
beside the yellow truck

dobbed and swizzled all across the Swan Bay sky
the almost white
to the grey of smudgy thumbprints
a slap of blue
as if the painter could not make up his mind
what sky should be

ground flows more easily

he’s got
the lightly furred effect on greenish shoals
the listening lean of stumps
a black and white boat
suckling at the pier

this drizzling day when sky
questions the certain colours of earth
I meet my friend the painter Kel
in Hesse St
Kel takes me to see his latest job
all friezes ceiling roses architraves
doors picked out
in five colours
different on each side of the door
Kel says
for a tricky job like this
it pays to use
a colour consultant


Date: 1999

By: Joan Kerr (1949- )

Friday, 23 July 2021

Three Burdens by Guido Pieter Theodorus Josephus Gezelle

Three burdens weigh upon my heart;
The first that men to death depart.
The second weighs still more on me:
I know not when my death shall be.
The third dismays me most of all;
‘t is that I know not what
thereafter shall befall!

From: Vincent, Paul (ed.), Poems of Guido Gezelle: A Bilingual Anthology, 2016, UCL Press: London, p. 147.

Date: 1886 (original in Dutch); 1999 (translation in English)

By: Guido Pieter Theodorus Josephus Gezelle (1830-1899)

Translated by: Albert van Eyken (19??- )

Saturday, 19 June 2021

A Window by Jorge Guillén Álvarez

The sky dreams clouds for the real world
with matter enamored of light and space.
Today dunes scatter over a reef,
sands with marine waves that are snows.
So many chance crossings, by fanciful caprice,
there in plain view with an irresistible
smiling reality. I dwell on the edges
of solid transparent depths.
The air is enclosing, displaying, enhancing
the leaves on the branch, the branches on the trunk,
walls, eaves, corners, pillars
Calm proof of the evening,
requiring a window’s tranquil vision.
Details chime with their surroundings:
smooth pebbles, there a fence, then a wire.
Every minute finds its own aureole,
or is it fancy dreaming this glass?
I am like my window. I marvel at the air.
Beauty so limpid, now so in accord,
between the sun and the mind! There are polished words,
but I would like to know as the June air knows.
The poplar’s stirring makes a visible breeze,
in a circle of peace the evening encloses me,
and a soaring sky adapts to my horizon.

From: Guillén, Jorge and Franzen, Cola (transl.), Horses in the Air and Other Poems, 1999, City Lights Books: San Francisco, p. 5.

Date: 1928 (original in Spanish); 1999 (translation in English)

By: Jorge Guillén Álvarez (1893-1984)

Translated by: Cola Franzen (1923-2018)

Monday, 27 April 2020

The Date by Alex Skovron

Each war contains all earlier wars,
Canetti says. The Father considers this,
the Daughter minces past the compact disc
repository snaked out across the shelf next to the door,
tossing a cruel eye. Her lipstick clatters proudly
from her lips into her side-slung armoury,

the bustle slams into a sudden truce,
he stops the book.
Jammed on last night’s news
the video timer flashes, the frame waits paralysed:
a girl with blood on her lips, war in her eyes.


Date: 1999

By: Alex Skovron (1948- )

Wednesday, 18 December 2019

How the Dead are Raised by Thom Satterlee

Why a trumpet? Why not a mole
whispering in their ears, or the sound
of footsteps on the earth
above their faces? I could imagine a rock
that shifts underground and knocks
on each coffin: “Come out! Come
out!” For the man who loved bees,
a swarm of them to serenade him
back to the living, their stingers
gone, fallen into a lake and turned
into minnows. For the woman
who complained, her pastor
never visited her, the crunching of gravel
as his car stops outside her door.
Still others will want a certain voice,
maybe your own, to bring them back, saying,
“You always hoped, now you can believe.”


Date: 1999

By: Thom Satterlee (1967- )

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Song 1 of “Eighteen Songs of a Nomad Flute” by Cai Yan

In the early part of my life, equity still governed the empire,
But later in my life the Han throne fell into decay.
Heaven was not humane, sending down rebellion and chaos,
Earth was not humane, causing me to encounter such a time.
War gear was a daily commonplace, and travel by road was dangerous,
The common people fled, all plunged in wretchedness.
Smoke and dust darkened the countryside, overrun by barbarians;
They knocked aside my widow’s vows, and my chastity was lost.
Their strange customs were so utterly foreign to me—
Whom can I possibly tell of my calamity, shame, and grief?
One measure for the nomad flute, one stanza for the qin,
No one can know my heart’s agony and anger!

From: Chang, Kang-i Sun and Saussy, Haun (eds.), Women Writers of Traditional China: An Anthology of Poetry and Criticism, Stanford University Press: Stanford, p. 23.

Date: 2nd century (original), 1999 (translation)

By: Cai Yan (c178-c249)

Translated by: Dore Jesse Levy (19??- )

Thursday, 10 January 2019

Needlework by Michael Donaghy

tattoos commissioned for the
1999 ‘Last Words’ poetry festival, Salisbury

Copy this across your heart,
Whisper what your eyes have heard,
To summon me when we’re apart,
This word made flesh, this flesh made word.

The serpent sheds her skin and yet
The pattern she’d as soon forget
Recalls itself. By this I swear
I am the sentence that I bare.

From: Donaghy, Michael, Conjure, 2000, Picador: London, p. [unnumbered].

Date: 1999

By: Michael Donaghy (1954-2004)