Posts tagged ‘2001’

Sunday, 5 April 2020

Cholera by Nazik Al-Malaika

It is night.
Listen to the echoing wails
rising above the silence in the dark

the agonized, overflowing grief
clashing with the wails.
In every heart there is fire,
in every silent hut, sorrow,
and everywhere, a soul crying in the dark.

It is dawn.
Listen to the footsteps of the passerby,
in the silence of the dawn.
Listen, look at the mourning processions,
ten, twenty, no… countless.

Everywhere lies a corpse, mourned
without a eulogy or a moment of silence.

Humanity protests against the crimes of death.

Cholera is the vengeance of death.

Even the gravedigger has succumbed,
the muezzin is dead,
and who will eulogize the dead?

O Egypt, my heart is torn by the ravages of death.


Date: 1947 (original in Arabic); 2001 (translation in English)

By: Nazik Al-Malaika (1923-2007)

Translated by: Husain Haddawy (19??- ) and Nathalie Handal (1969- )

Sunday, 26 January 2020

Australia Day by Bronwyn Lea

On the blackboard
(which in truth is green)
Mr Lyndon writes:

When Europeans first
(the chalk is white
and so are the children)

black people lived here
(but some were the yellows
of sand, the pinks of shell,

the variegated browns
of rough hewn bark).
There were lots of fights,

but the white people
used guns (they are
learning their colours)

to beat the Aborigines
(the blood reds of history,
how bone is hidden

white on a page). For
homework, the children
must draw pictures

to match nulla nulla,
woomera, boomerang

(they already know

what gun is). And
remember, Mr Lyndon says,
to colour inside the lines.

From: Lea, Bronwyn, Flight Animals, 2001, University of Queensland Press: St Lucia, Queensland, p. 34.

Date: 2001

By: Brownyn Lea (1969- )

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Fireworks, Harborfest by Luisa A. Igloria

So painful-sweet, all waiting
and anticipation.

The crowds,
as eager a multitude as the pilgrims
come to venerate the Buddha’s
sacred ankle, carried in procession
across a lake in your island home.

A couple has just pushed their way
to where we stand at the edge
of the docks, the woman’s hair
like straw gathered into a wild
bouquet; his hands, like lightning,
streaking down her sides.

Theirs is another kind
of combustion, perhaps more ripe
because it opens in plain sight,
more without reserve
or circumspection.

What they do, not holding back
their ardor, electrifies the space
around them. No one
wants to look at them
directly, to come
too close.

Only when the fireworks burst
above our heads
can we forgive
them their pleasure.

I think of a different
story, the boy Gautama deep
in meditation, the unseen cobra
slithering up to spread its deadly cowl,
shielding him from the rain.

Against the dark roof of sky, a thousand flares
fracture into cathedrals of light: mercury
and oxides, silvered pearl and purple,
flowering with the boom
of worlds becoming—

The way a gong sounds in a temple
far away, carrying across water
to echo in each hollow reed;
the bones in the bronze bell
of the body breathless,
clapping as one, before falling
back into familiar silence.

From: Igloria, Luisa A., “Fireworks, Harborfest,” in Poetry, January 2001, pp. 248-249.

Date: 2001

By: Luisa A. Igloria (1961- )

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Hell’s Bells by Jeffrey Skinner

For John Branscum

Inside me the many things I should not have done
keep up a steady ringing, tinnitus, the medical term
and I try to comfort myself that I am no longer
doing those things, most of them at least,

that I have become another man with a new face
not new of course but altered
more frayed and crumpled and hopeful
more trustworthy to others because of the fraying

or the hope, and have for some time
been set on the path, as they say, though I hear Paul
loud and clear when he says The good I would do
I do not, and the evil I would not

I do—in a sense have joined a lineage
of wakeful self-doubt, without which no waking
beyond the self is possible
so that sometimes for moments I am permitted

to sit with a dying friend without fear
to sweep up the shattered bowl without resentment
or when my daughter begs for a ride to the video rental
not slam down the paper but simply rise

and lift the ring of keys from its hook
hearing as I turn that pleasing toss of music
and all these thoughts and actions by grace help quiet
somewhat the incessant ringing.


Date: 2001

By: Jeffrey Skinner (1949- )

Thursday, 15 August 2019

Hawk in a Tree, Roadside by Kristen Lindquist

Fields assume
their contours as long, furred bodies,
rise to meet the mist.
Already oak’s bare branches skein across
the bright wash of this strange winter mist
like tangled hairs upon sheets.
Already these simple roadside epiphanies
of driving alone, fast, on a raw
December morning, having just left
the bed of a new lover,
this heightened attention to detail,
like an extra sense, somehow awakened
through the skin.
The hawk’s chest bears dark arrows
of brown feathers on white.
It flies away slowly
over the blueberry barrens, unafraid,
losing itself in the simple reality of air.


Date: 2001

By: Kristen Lindquist (19??- )

Thursday, 6 June 2019

Love Came and Emptied Me of Self by Abū-Sa’īd Abul-Khayr

Love came and emptied me of self,
every vein and every pore,
made into a container to be filled by the Beloved.
Of me, only a name is left,
the rest is You my Friend, my Beloved.

From: Abramian, Vraje (ed. and transl.), Nobody, Son of Nobody: Poems of Sheikh Abu-Saeed Abil-Kheir, 2001, Hohm Press: Prescott, Arizona, p. 13.

Date: 11th century (original in Persian); 2001 (translation in English)

By: Abū-Sa’īd Abul-Khayr (967-1049)

Translated by: Vraje Abramian (19??- )

Saturday, 9 February 2019

Fragment 44: War by Heraclitus

War, as father
of all things, and king,
names few
to serve as gods,
and of the rest makes
these men slaves,
those free.

From: Heraclitus and Haxton, Brooks (transl.), Fragments: The Collected Wisdom of Heraclitus, 2001, Viking: New York, p. 44.

Date: 6th century BCE (original in Greek); 2001 (translation in English)

By: Heraclitus (c535 BCE-c475 BCE)

Translated by: Brooks Haxton (1950- )

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Inside Our Dreams by Jeanne Willis

Where do people go to when they die?
Somewhere down below or in the sky?
‘I can’t be sure,’ said Grandad, ‘but it seems
They simply set up home inside our dreams.’

From: Harrison, Michael (ed.), A Book of Very Short Poems, 2001, Oxford University Press: Oxford, p. 79.

Date: 2001

By: Jeanne Willis (1959- )

Monday, 8 October 2018

Sunflowers by Eugenio Montale

Bring me the sunflower so that I can transplant it
in my soil burnt by salt air,
and show all day to the mirroring blues
of the sky the anxiety of its yellow face.

Dark things tend towards clarity,
bodies consume themselves in a flowing
of colours: these in music. Vanishing
is thus the chance of chances.

Bring me the plant that leads
where blonde transparencies rise
and life evaporates like spirit;
bring me the sunflower crazed with the light.


Date: 1923 (original in Italian); 2001 (translation in English)

By: Eugenio Montale (1896-1981)

Translated by: Jack Ross (1962- )

Saturday, 26 May 2018

Nostalgia by Charles Wright

Always it comes when we least expect it, like a wave,
Or like the shadow of several waves,
one after the next,
Becoming singular as the face

Of someone who rose and fell apart at the edge of our lives.

Breaks up and re-forms, breaks up, re-forms.
And all the attendant retinue of loss foams out
Brilliant and sea-white, then sinks away.

Memory’s dog-teeth,
lovely detritus smoothed out and laid up.

And always the feeling comes that it was better then,
Whatever it was—
people and places, the sweet taste of things—
And this one, wave borne and wave-washed, was part of all that.

We take the conceit in hand, and rub it for good luck.

Or rub it against the evil eye.
And yet, when that wave appears, or that wave’s shadow, we like it,
Or say we do,
and hope the next time

We’ll be surprised again, and returned again, depite the fact
The time will come, they say, when the weight of nostalgia,
that ten-foot spread
Of sand in the heart, outweighs
Whatever living existence we drop on the scales.

May it never arrive, Lord, may it never arrive.


Date: 2001

By: Charles Wright (1935- )