Posts tagged ‘2000’

Saturday, 13 January 2018

The Eagle and the Crow: A Dialogue by Abul Qasim Hassan Unsuri Balkhi

A dialogue occurred, I happen to know,
Betwixt the white eagle and the crow.

Birds we are, said the crow, in the main,
Friends we are, and thus we shall remain.

Birds we are, agreed the eagle, only in name,
Our temperaments, alas, are not the same.

My leftovers are a king’s feast,
Carrion you devour, to say the least.

My perch’s the king’s arm, his palace my bed,
You haunt the ruins, mingle with the dead.

My color is heavenly, as everyone can tell,
Your color inflicts pain, like news from hell.

Kings tend to choose me rather than you,
Good attracts good, that goes for evil too.


Date: 11th century (original in Persian); 2000 (translation in English)

By: Abul Qasim Hassan Unsuri Balkhi (980-1039/40)

Translated by: Iraj Bashiri (1940- )

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Epigram 1 by Nossis

Nothing is sweeter than desire. All other delights are second.
From my mouth I spit even honey.
Nossis says this. Whom Aphrodite does not love,
knows not her flowers, what roses they are.


Date: 3rd century BCE (original in Greek); 2000 (translation in English)

By: Nossis (3rd century BCE)

Translated by: Marilyn B. Skinner (19??- )

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

The Exorcism by Joyce Sutphen

It was homemade and primitive,
like pulling a tooth with a string
and a slamming door, like taking out
an appendix by kerosene light
where dogs wandered in and out
the dirt-floored room.
Nothing for the pain that
everyone wanted to examine,
the twisted heart they thought
they could shout back into place.

Moaning and fluttering their fleshy hands
on the wind, on the wail of the soul possessed,
they certified her in a manner Inquisitional,
frantic when she held to the grip of darkness,
grimly determined to wait the thing out,
something learned from movie sheriffs,
white hats ghostly in the moonlight.

When she would not answer (though they
conjured her by heaven and by the all
mighty names they knew), they laid hands
on her and shouted down the well of her eyes.
Many tongues twisted in their mouths when
she went, leaving behind only
the smallest tooth of wickedness.


Date: 2000

By: Joyce Sutphen (1949- )

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Chanukah Lights Tonight by Steven P. Schneider

Our annual prairie Chanukah party—
latkes, kugel, cherry blintzes.
Friends arrive from nearby towns
and dance the twist to “Chanukah Lights Tonight,”
spin like a dreidel to a klezmer hit.

The candles flicker in the window.
Outside, ponderosa pines are tied in red bows.
If you squint,
the neighbors’ Christmas lights
look like the Omaha skyline.

The smell of oil is in the air.
We drift off to childhood
where we spent our gelt
on baseball cards and matinees,
cream sodas and potato knishes.

No delis in our neighborhood,
only the wind howling over the crushed corn stalks.
Inside, we try to sweep the darkness out,
waiting for the Messiah to knock,
wanting to know if he can join the party.


Date: 2000

By: Steven P. Schneider (19??- )

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Put A Curse On My Enemy by Meir ben Elijah of Norwich

Put a curse on my enemy, for every man supplants his brother.
When will You [God] say to the house of Jacob, come let us walk in the light?
You are mighty and full of light, You turn the darkness into light.

Tear out their hearts – they who brought harm to those who come in Your Name,
When I hoped for good, evil arrived, yet I will wait for the light.
You are mighty and full of light, You turn the darkness into light.

The words of the seer are garbled, for the foe has mocked Your children
Until they don’t know which path is the one that gives off light.
You are mighty and full of light, You turn the darkness into light.

The land exhausts us by demanding payments, and the people’s disgust is heard
While we are silent and wait for the light.
You are mighty and full of light, You turn the darkness into light.

They make our yoke heavier, they are finishing us off.
They continually say of us, let us despoil them until the morning light.
You are mighty and full of light, You turn the darkness into light.

Let their victory spatter Your garment/for Your beloved’s heart is distressed
But she will be consoled for this; her lord will remain until light.
You are mighty and full of light, You turn the darkness into light.

Have You forgotten to be gracious, My God? When will You gather in the camps
Scattered to the corners [of the earth], like infants that have not seen the light
You are mighty and full of light, You turn the darkness into light.

Let the King bring home His banished one, let Him smell his savory offering.
The foes who make his savor stink will never see the light.
You are mighty and full of light, You turn the darkness into light.

And if You have continued to afflict him [Israel], be abundantly merciful, be gracious to him.
For he has despaired of [returning to] his dwelling, and of Your ways of radiant light.
You are mighty and full of light, You turn the darkness into light.

The vision of His intimates tarries; the predicted time has passed.
Let their [the enemies’] hold on us weaken, one and all, until the light [dawns].
You are mighty and full of light, You turn the darkness into light.

If his vision shall be hidden, with no interpreter for his dreams
Why should the glory of the crown remain with the filthy one until the light [comes]?
You are mighty and full of light, You turn the darkness into light.

Even if his [Israel’s] sins have really enraged [You], why should his foes wage war [against him]?
They whose mouths have spoken arrogantly, they are rebels against the light.
You are mighty and full of light, You turn the darkness into light.

They scattered him with their horns, but he hoped in hidden prophecies
For the men of visions have sealed [themselves] up and do not know the light.
You are mighty and full of light, You turn the darkness into light.

Malicious men have cast down his crown, and presumed to annihilate him.
They put him in prison, where in twilight he hoped for the light.
You are mighty and full of light, You turn the darkness into light.

Bring near his End to raise him up, before he is lost in his exile,
For they have boasted to annihilate him; they mistake the darkness for light.
You are mighty and full of light, You turn the darkness into light.

All his days, he [Israel] has surely hoped; day after day [he awaits] consolation.
O Awesome and Mighty One in Heaven, who brings His justice into the light
You are mighty and full of light, You turn the darkness into light.

If You have given me unto my enemy, rise up to plead my cause.
Establish the Messiah’s reign, [so that] light will be seen in Your light.
You are mighty and full of light, You turn the darkness into light.


Date: 1290 (original in Hebrew); 2000 (translation in English)

By: Meir ben Elijah of Norwich (fl. 1290)

Translated by: Susan L. Einbinder (1954- )

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Instructions by Neil Richard MacKinnon Gaiman

Touch the wooden gate in the wall you never
saw before.
Say “please” before you open the latch,
go through,
walk down the path.
A red metal imp hangs from the green-painted
front door,
as a knocker,
do not touch it; it will bite your fingers.
Walk through the house. Take nothing. Eat
However, if any creature tells you that it hungers,
feed it.
If it tells you that it is dirty,
clean it.
If it cries to you that it hurts,
if you can,
ease its pain.

From the back garden you will be able to see the
wild wood.
The deep well you walk past leads to Winter’s
there is another land at the bottom of it.
If you turn around here,
you can walk back, safely;
you will lose no face. I will think no less of you.

Once through the garden you will be in the
The trees are old. Eyes peer from the under-
Beneath a twisted oak sits an old woman. She
may ask for something;
give it to her. She
will point the way to the castle.
Inside it are three princesses.
Do not trust the youngest. Walk on.
In the clearing beyond the castle the twelve
months sit about a fire,
warming their feet, exchanging tales.
They may do favors for you, if you are polite.
You may pick strawberries in December’s frost.
Trust the wolves, but do not tell them where
you are going.
The river can be crossed by the ferry. The ferry-
man will take you.
(The answer to his question is this:
If he hands the oar to his passenger, he will be free to
leave the boat.
Only tell him this from a safe distance.)

If an eagle gives you a feather, keep it safe.
Remember: that giants sleep too soundly; that
witches are often betrayed by their appetites;
dragons have one soft spot, somewhere, always;
hearts can be well-hidden,
and you betray them with your tongue.

Do not be jealous of your sister.
Know that diamonds and roses
are as uncomfortable when they tumble from
one’s lips as toads and frogs:
colder, too, and sharper, and they cut.
Remember your name.
Do not lose hope — what you seek will be found.
Trust ghosts. Trust those that you have helped
to help you in their turn.
Trust dreams.
Trust your heart, and trust your story.
When you come back, return the way you came.
Favors will be returned, debts will be repaid.
Do not forget your manners.
Do not look back.
Ride the wise eagle (you shall not fall).
Ride the silver fish (you will not drown).
Ride the grey wolf (hold tightly to his fur).

There is a worm at the heart of the tower; that is
why it will not stand.

When you reach the little house, the place your
journey started,
you will recognize it, although it will seem
much smaller than you remember.
Walk up the path, and through the garden gate
you never saw before but once.
And then go home. Or make a home.
And rest.


Date: 2000

By: Neil Richard MacKinnon Gaiman (1960- )

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Invisible in the Torn Out Interiors by Dara Wier

A man looked at us across his little dish
Of watercress and peas and said he’d wasted
Five years. We couldn’t ask him doing what?
He said he knew he’d let some thing alive die
And didn’t know how to get it back again now
That it was gone. He looked as if he were
About to cry, as if a fresh death wanted him
To mourn. He talked as if the place he’d been
Had so unwelcomed him it had ruined his soul,
As if it were a place into which drained an
Absolute dead air. He said he’d left no friends
Behind, no one who’d notice he was gone.
And here he was without a job, no place his to
Live, no one his to love. We said welcome home.


Date: 20??

By: Dara Wier (1949- )

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Clever and Poor by V. Penelope Pelizzon

She has always been clever and poor,
especially here off the Yugoslav train

on a crowded platform of dust. Clever was
her breakfast of nutmeg ground in water

in place of rationed tea. Poor was the cracked
cup, the missing bread. Clever are the six

handkerchiefs stitched to the size of a scarf
and knotted at her throat. Poor is the thin coat

patched with cloth from the pockets
she then sewed shut. Clever is the lipstick,

Petunia Pink, she rubbed with a rag on her nails.
Poor nails, blue with the cold. Posed

in a cape to hide her waist, her photograph
was clever. Poor then was what she called

the last bills twisted in her wallet. Letter
after letter she was clever and more

clever, for months she wrote a newspaper man
who liked her in the picture. The poor

saved spoons of sugar, she traded them
for stamps. He wanted a clever wife. She was poor

so he sent a ticket: now she could come to her wedding
by train. Poor, the baby left with the nuns.

Because she is clever, on the platform to meet him
she thinks Be generous with your eyes. What is poor

is what she sees. Cracks stop the station clock,
girls with candle grease to sell. Clever, poor,

clever and poor, her husband, more nervous
than his picture, his shined shoes tied with twine.


Date: 2000

By: V. Penelope Pelizzon (13 August 2016)

Monday, 18 July 2016

Allayne by Kevin Nicholas Roberts

The dawn of day is drawing near—
Would that explain
Why I should wake and find you here,
My lost Allayne?

I see you wear the look of saints,
The face you feign,
To hide the hungry beast that waits
To strike, Allayne.

But parted lips betray the thirst
You can’t restrain,
And kissing them would make them burst
And bleed, Allayne.

So relish now the single kiss
Real love has lain,
And when you die, remember this
In hell, Allayne:

To love you was my single sin—
Could I abstain?
Fair flesh has felled far better men
Than I, Allayne.

Your perfect mouth was made to please
And bring me pain
With brazen teeth that taunt and tease
My soul, Allayne.

That I should chasten you by the rod
The gods ordain.
What breed of fierce infernal god
Forged you, Allayne?

What sort of strange sadistic spawn,
What brand of bane,
Made you a dark delicious pawn
Of death, Allayne?

When you were born, the devil swore
He would obtain
Your body and the soul it bore
With shame, Allayne.

Your Lord’s perversely pulsing heart
Was torn in twain
That he might place the blackest part
In you, Allayne.

But when he tore you from the womb
Did you complain,
Or did you like his torrid tomb
Much more, Allayne?

He filled you with each kind of curse
You could contain,
And left you with a lust far worse
Than his, Allayne.

Henceforth you were his cherished prize
And chatelaine;
You rule the world of grim demise
With glee, Allayne.

You hold his horde of fiends in thrall,
A queen you reign,
And walk in shadows where they fall,
By night, Allayne.

And though you hate me for it, yet
I still maintain,
I love you, though you would forget
I lived, Allayne.

A sweet and subtly scented sea,
Your splendid mane
Excites my soul, enticing me
To drown, Allayne.

Your shameless cryptic shoulder’s curve
Is half profane;
It shifts with fire in every nerve
That burns, Allayne.

But of your charms that mesmerise
And seek to chain,
Your brilliant black voracious eyes
Are best, Allayne.

They seethe with all the eager slaves
Your love has slain;
You sent them gladly to their graves
Alone, Allayne.

The pressure of your piercing teeth
Would prick the vein
And draw the flood that flows beneath
The flesh, Allayne.

The fragments of their fleeting lives
Would rush and rain
To feed the fiendish life that thrives
In you, Allayne.

You flourish by the fevered lips
And life you drain;
With lusty sighs and hungry sips
You drink, Allayne.

You seem a vile, envenomed thing
And less than sane;
Your kiss so like a serpent’s sting
Can kill, Allayne.

The poison in that brutal kiss
Now wracks my brain
And sends my blood to mortal bliss
In you, Allayne.

Against your scarlet silken dress
The nipples strain
And raise to meet the hard caress
You crave, Allayne.

But you could never stoop to love,
Nor would you deign
To hold a mortal man above
Yourself, Allayne.

Your only longing is for death
And things arcane;
Your breathing is the tainted breath
Of tombs, Allayne.

Destroying me will be the cost,
And what you gain
Is freedom from the soul you lost
Long since, Allayne.

But when I’m gone will you forget,
Or entertain,
The passions you could not permit
To grow, Allayne?

I’ve one last wish, but would my wishing
Be in vain?
Just once, I’d hear the hateful thing
You hide, Allayne.

So now I ask you to confess,
By love of Cain,
The joy it gives you to possess
My gift, Allayne.

I leave you something that will stay,
A fatal stain,
That you could never wash away
With blood, Allayne.

The touch of my deferring hand
You will retain,
A touch you may well understand
In time, Allayne.

Until the end of all your days
It will remain,
And then the fiend you dared to praise
Will fall, Allayne.

Angelic armies will descend
And him arraign;
They’ll bring about his brutal end
On earth, Allayne.

The remnant of his writhing form
Will wax and wane
And perish in a reeking storm
Of dust, Allayne.

You’ll stand alone to face the fall
Of his domain
And watch the ruin of every wall
He built, Allayne.

And then, my love, we both will see
If you disdain
The only soul that would not flee
Your touch, Allayne.

I sink into the strangest sleep,
Whilst you sustain;
As dark as death and twice as deep
I doze, Allayne.

With death die all my mortal fears
I shan’t regain,
And I can wait a swarm of years
For you, Allayne.

You think you’ve seen the last of me,
You slavish swain,
But mine will be the face you see
In dreams, Allayne.

I swear it now, my wicked thing,
We’ll meet again.
Then will you wear the devil’s ring…
Or mine, Allayne?


Date: 2000

By: Kevin Nicholas Roberts (1969-2008)

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Bastille by Pierre Martory

You let your shirt hang down
putting on airs of cuffs
at the edge of ending night
like the end of a java with double ritournelles
or the way the canaries in the cage of still-closed mornings
were singing that it mattered little
to them that their windows were open
the stones the paving stones the door-frames the armatures
the window-frames the sheets of the bed clothes in their colors
were beating the dawn along with us
better drums than your belly
better drumsticks than my fingers
and the trees and the roofs the river and its bridges
the clear distances of the city the factories without smoke
bathed as at their birth stammered
a trial hello
that only ended however
in this word round as a doubloon
placed on the edge of that day
by a considerate friend
the sun on your arms naked against my cheeks
hello I said to you
the day of quatorz’juillet.


Date: 1994 (original in French); 2000 (translation in English)

By: Pierre Martory (1920-1998)

Translated by: John Ashbery (1927- )