Posts tagged ‘1999’

Monday, 9 July 2018

In Memoriam Myself by Jan Jacob Slauerhoff

By enemies hemmed in,
With ‘friends in need’ who’ve fled
Rank meat that stinks like sin,
I laugh, toss back my head,
Though torn to shreds within,
My body all but dead.

Each day my life was crossed
By new adversity.
Good reaped iniquity;
I paid a heavy cost,
But now the battle’s lost
I fight on doggedly.

Snow, ice envelop me,
The bodies are piled high
Of those who crazily
Pursued my inner ‘I’,
Once bright as ‘gay Paree’,
Now polar, frozen, dry.

I leave no last bequest,
Smash life’s work at a stroke;
No mercy I request,
Curse past and future folk;
Stand tall where they now rest,
And treat death as a joke.

I look fate in the eye,
Have said not one goodbye,
But want men when I die
To say just this of me:
‘He did good very ill,
Served bad with honest will,
Succumbed while battling still,
Undaunted, lived his fill,
Intolerant and free.’


Date: 1936 (original in Dutch); 1999 (translation in English)

By: Jan Jacob Slauerhoff (1898-1936)

Translated by: Paul Vincent (1942- )

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

1941 by Ruth Stone

I wore a large brim hat
like the women in the ads.
How thin I was: such skin.
Yes. It was Indianapolis;
a taste of sin.

You had a natural Afro;
no money for a haircut.
We were in the seedy part;
the buildings all run-down;
the record shop, the jazz
impeccable. We moved like
the blind, relying on our touch.
At the corner coffee shop,
after an hour’s play, with our
serious game on paper,
the waitress asked us
to move on. It wasn’t much.

Oh mortal love, your bones
were beautiful. I traced them
with my fingers. Now the light
grows less. You were so angular.
The air darkens with steel
and smoke. The cracked world
about to disintegrate,
in the arms of my total happiness.


Date: 1999

By: Ruth Stone (1915-2011)

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Spring Rain is Falling by Fujiwara no Teika

Spring rain is falling
On the wings of the wild geese
As they return north,
Wings that drooped when they struggled
Through a sky laden with frost.


Date: 1197 (original in Japanese); 1999 (translation in English)

By: Fujiwara no Teika (1162-1241)

Translated by: Donald Keene (1922- )

Monday, 3 April 2017

Dog Music by Paul Zimmer

Amongst dogs are listeners and singers.
My big dog sang with me so purely,
puckering her ruffled lips into an O,
beginning with small, swallowing sounds
like Coltrane musing, then rising to power
and resonance, gulping air to continue—
her passion and sense of flawless form—
singing not with me, but for the art of dogs.
We joined in many fine songs—”Stardust,”
“Naima,” “The Trout,” “My Rosary,” “Perdido.”
She was a great master and died young,
leaving me with unrelieved grief,
her talents known to only a few.

Now I have a small dog who does not sing,
but listens with discernment, requiring
skill and spirit in my falsetto voice.
I sing her name and words of love
andante, con brio, vivace, adagio.
Sometimes she is so moved she turns
to place a paw across her snout,
closes her eyes, sighing like a girl
I held and danced with years ago.

But I am a pretender to dog music.
The true strains rise only from
the rich, red chambers of a canine heart,
these melodies best when the moon is up,
listeners and singers together or
apart, beyond friendship and anger,
far from any human imposter—
ballads of long nights lifting
to starlight, songs of bones, turds,
conquests, hunts, smells, rankings,
things settled long before our birth.


Date: 1999

By: Paul Zimmer (1934- )

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Forgetfulness by William James “Billy” Collins

The name of the author is the first to go
followed obediently by the title, the plot,
the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel
which suddenly becomes one you have never read,
never even heard of,

as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor
decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain,
to a little fishing village where there are no phones.

Long ago you kissed the names of the nine Muses goodbye
and watched the quadratic equation pack its bag,
and even now as you memorize the order of the planets,

something else is slipping away, a state flower perhaps,
the address of an uncle, the capital of Paraguay.

Whatever it is you are struggling to remember
it is not poised on the tip of your tongue,
not even lurking in some obscure corner of your spleen.

It has floated away down a dark mythological river
whose name begins with an L as far as you can recall,
well on your own way to oblivion where you will join those
who have even forgotten how to swim and how to ride a bicycle.

No wonder you rise in the middle of the night
to look up the date of a famous battle in a book on war.
No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted
out of a love poem that you used to know by heart.


Date: 1999

By: William James “Billy” Collins (1941- )

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Summer by Luke Davies

The sky broods like the whole of Sydney’s
done something wrong and it can’t quite put its finger
on it. Christmas stretches into New Year and
Sydneysiders wear the vacant stare of the slightly
troubled. This is nothing, you think. Humidity
of gathering crowds. Everyone heads to the beach
and the beach too is not quite right, the way
the water stalks foreigners, the way the seaweed

crunches underfoot, the way the wind whips sand
into your fillings. This is nothing, you think.
Diving onto the sandbar, the boy breaks his neck
and the helicopter takes him away. Too much sun,
everywhere. All a helicopter ever meant
is Apocalypse Now, the way its blades shimmer
in the salt haze. The gulls go more insane than ever,
if that’s possible, and later you learn the neck boy dies.


Date: 1999

By: Luke Davies (1962- )

Monday, 24 October 2016

The Apotheosis of Delacroix by Mary Maxwell

The heavens rumble. Clouds are raised by riderless thunder
that halts then storms unreined, snorts and halts again
in sweaty, wide-eyed frenzy. Black, the dog, is barking.
Pissarro has just set up parasol and easel. Cézanne looks up
from under broad-brimmed hat, paint-box burden strapped across
his back. farmers drop jaw and pitchfork and gape
in pious wonder. They behold Apollo’s chariot charge through
sky’s Mozarabic arches; they observe that beyond
those gates (opened by a turbaned servant) a fragrant Odalisque
welcomes the artist in sprawled nakedness. Kohl-rimmed
eyes of the divine tigress promise endless angelic wrestling. But
as mortal and immortal forms do at last commingle,
impassioned and violent, could Death’s voyeurs suppose that
the resplendent Delacroix himself composed this one last
painted ceiling, this celestial arabesque of his own soul’s uprising?


Date: 1999

By: Mary Maxwell (19??- )

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

I See People Riding on Shrieking Horses by Mahd al-Aadiyya

I see people riding on shrieking horses
Steering clouds of sparkbelching fires
On their way to flame life out of you.


Date: 4000 BCE (original in ?Arabic); 1999 (translation in English)

By: Mahd al-Aadiyya (4000 BCE)

Translated by: Abdullah al-Udhari (19??- )

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Excerpt from “Elegy On Féilim Mac Maghnusa Méig Uidhir” by Anonymous

Sorrow is the worst thing in life.
What life is not misery for us?
A grief which cannot be overcome is upon us;
it is difficult to set sorrow aside.

No one will live forever;
alas that my sorrow
which is akin to death has increased;
it is a great misery that it is only beginning.

From: Ó Cuív, Brian, “Elegy On Féilim Mac Maghnusa Méig Uidhir, Ob. 1487” in Celtica, 23, 1999, 261-268.

Date: 1487 (original); 1999 (translation)

By: Anonymous

Translated by: Brian Ó Cuív (1916-1999)

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Below the Horizon by Stephen Eng

(for Anne, Mary, Michael, David, and Natalie Eng)

Beginning poets write of sunsets, yes,
And so do ending poets, too,
Wan singers whose exhausted little tunes are through,
Who sing one final tune of purple-splendored rosiness,
Of twilight turned to violet
And then to grey. Poetic suns have set,
As black-winged angels press their skeletal-caress.

From: Eng, Steve, Yellow Rider and Other Fantasy Poems, 1999, Gothic Press: Baton Rouge, Louisiana, p. 35.

Date: 1999

By: Steve Eng (19??- )