Posts tagged ‘2001’

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- )

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Perth: Riverside with Swans by Kim Young-Moo

I want to build a nest and spend some time here.
Becoming a water bird

I want to visit that forest of masts
across the river, moored with sails furled.

No matter how dazzlingly the lake waters
shine somewhere in the sky

I want to go flying

low, low
over the blue rippling waves

feeling the wind blowing on my breast
like a bare winter tree

on some snow-covered mountain slope.


Date: 2001 (original); 2001 (translation)

By: Kim Young-Moo (1944-2001)

Translated by: Brother Anthony of Taizé (1942- ) and Jongsook Lee (1952- )

Monday, 10 April 2017

An Evening Reflection Upon God’s Grandeur Prompted by the Great Northern Lights by Mikhail Vasilyevich Lomonosov

The day conceals its brilliant face,
And dark night covers up the fields,
Black shadows creep upon the hills,
Light’s rays recede from us.
Before us gapes a well of stars –
Stars infinite, well fathomless.

A grain of sand in ocean swells,
A tiny glint in endless ice,
Fine ash caught in a mighty gale,
A feather in a raging fire,
So I am lost in this abyss,
Oppressed by thoughts profound.

The mouths of wise men call to us:
“A multitude of worlds dwell there,
Among them burning suns untold,
And peoples, and the wheel of time:
There, all of nature’s strength
Exists God’s glory to proclaim”

But where, O nature, is your law?
Dawn breaks from out of northern lands!
Is this the home of our sun’s throne?
Or are the icy oceans burning?
Behold, cold fire envelops us!
Behold, now day has entered night.

O thou, whose lively gaze can see
Into the book of law eternal,
For whom the smallest part of things
Reveals the code in all of nature,
Thou comprehendeth planets’ course,
Now tell us what disturbs our souls?

Why do these bright rays sparkle in the night?
Why does fine flame assault the land?
Without a thundercloud can lightning
Rise from the earth up toward the heavens?
How can it be that frozen steam
Gives birth to fire from winter’s depths?

There, oily darkness battles water,
Or rays of sunlight sparkle bright,
Bend toward us through the thickened air;
Or do the peaks of stout hills glow,
Or have the sea winds ceased their song,
And smooth waves struck the space.

Regarding what lies right before us
Thine answer’s full of doubts
O, tell us, how enormous is the world?
What lies beyond the smallest stars?
Are thou aware of all creation’s end?
Tell us, how great is our Creator?


Date: 1743 (original in Russian); 2001 (translation in English)

By: Mikhail Vasilyevich Lomonosov (1711-1765)

Translated by: Andrew Baruch Wachtel (19??- ), Gwenan Wilbur (19??- ) and Tanya Tulchinsky (19??- )

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

I’ve Made This Rhyme Completely Free of Sense by William IX, Duke of Aquitaine

I’ve made this rhyme completely free
of sense—it’s not of you and me,
or youth, or doings he-and-she,
or springtime thoughts.
It came to me while I was sleeping
on my horse.

What planet ruled when I was born?
I’m native here and still feel foreign.
Can’t be contented, or forlorn,
or change myself:
I was the midnight work of freaking
magic elves.

I can’t tell when I wake or sleep
unless the others keep me briefed.
It almost breaks my heart—I’m deeply
plagued by doubts,
and none of them, by Saint Martial,
is worth a mouse.

They say I’ll soon be dropping dead
Fetch that doctor, quick!—I said—
his name has just escaped my head.
No matter who:
he’s bad if I do not get well,
good if I do.

My lady friend I’ve never seen:
I don’t know if she’s cute or plain,
or if she’s kind to me or mean.
Why should I care?—
I don’t let French and Normans stay
the night in here.

My passion’s absolutely strong
but she won’t do me right, or wrong.
Avoiding her I get along
just fine. Forget her:
I’ve others nicer anyway
who please me better.

This verse I’ve made—of what or who
unknown—I’ll send to someone who
will send it on to someone who
is in Anjou,
who might decode it and convey
the key to you.


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

By: William IX, Duke of Aquitaine (1071-1127)

Translated by: Leonard Cottrell (1937-2016)

Saturday, 23 April 2016

The Valve by David R. Slavitt

The one-way flow of time we take for granted,
but what if the valve is defective? What if the threads
on the stem wear thin, or the stuffing box or the bonnet
ring leaks, or the joints to the pipe ring fail,
and there’s a backwash?
It happens.
And then old loves,
meeting again, have no idea what to do,
resuming or not resuming from where they were
years before. Or the dead come back to chat.
Or you are reduced for a giddy moment to childhood’s
innocent incompetence. You look up
as if to see some hint in the sky’s blackboard.
But then, whatever it was, some fluff or grit
that clogged the works, works free, and again time passes,
almost as before, and you try to get on with your life.


Date: 2001

By: David R. Slavitt (1935- )

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Lacemakers by Beverley Bie Brahic

Santa Maria Assunta, Torcello

Mater dolorosa, here I am hungry
And ill-disposed on worn flags at your feet.
Through high windows wintry sun seeps in
And floods the six-tiered polychrome Apocalypse,
This Sunday’s text in comic strip.

That’s my son over by the door, impatient
To be off somewhere. Other boys pose
On Attila’s Throne while their fathers snap pictures
And mothers price lace – clotheslines of lace
Strung from trucks selling pizzas.

Around the lagoon, your fields have grown wild;
Vines redden on half-fallen fences
That no longer keep the allotments apart.
On some islands the women make lace, punti in aria – stitches in air –
Materializing the spaces between things.


Date: 2001

By: Beverley Bie Brahic (19??- )

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Verses written by Alis daughter of Gryffydd son of Iefan when her father asked her what sort of husband she would like by Alis ferch Gruffydd ab Ieuan ap Lleywelyn Fychan (Alis Wen)

Beautiful, accomplished, splendid – if he can be had – and brave
to strike where there need be;
a youth in age, wall-strong
and a man of the finest body to be had.

My father told me this – that best
for me is to love a repulsive man,
yet the heart asks for
a lad pure, lovely, and light of its own.

From: Stevenson, Jane and Davidson, Peter (eds.), Early Modern Women Poets (1520-1700): An Anthology, 2001, Oxford University Press: Oxford, p. 13.

Date: c1540 (original in Welsh); c2001 (translation in English)

By: Alis ferch Gruffydd ab Ieuan ap Lleywelyn Fychan (Alis Wen) (fl. c1540-1570)

Translated by: ??

Friday, 6 November 2015

Amaro Lagrimar – II. The Juniper Tree by Vittoria Colonna

See that lovely juniper, pressed so hard,
angry winds swirl round her, but she’ll not let
her leaves fall or scatter; clenched, branches held
high, she gathers strength; her refuge within.

This, my friend, is a picture of my soul
standing firm against all; if life’s ravaged,
weakened me, my fear’s contained, and I win
by enduring a pain which makes it hurt

to breathe. Mine was a noble dream, sheltered
in his splendor and love, my pride would be
restored; I would encounter life’s bitter

battles. Nature taught this tree to resist:
in me you see what reason can perform
how from the worst evil good can grow.


Date: c1530 (original in Italian); 2001 (translation in English)

By: Vittoria Colonna (1492-1547)

Translated by: Ellen Moody (1976- )

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Donkeyskin by Midori Snyder

There was the sight
Grey and monstrous, rubbed with ashes and grit
Father’s skin in the moonlight, shadows from my door
His jaw stretching into the room

There was the smell
Rank and cloying, the tang of smoked flesh
Father’s exhalations on the surface of my skin
A tooth decayed from a hunger for sweets

There was the sound
Parchment crackle as I coiled, a tail sweeping the rushes
Father’s breathing harsh, labored as his
Feet slid over the stones to my bed

There was the feel
Stiff and dried, the sinews couched threads
Father’s parched hand on my wrist, roped fingers
Snaring my rebellious pulse

There was the taste
Tannery salt, rubbed into the cured flesh
Father’s hand over my mouth
The tidal sweat of his palm stinging my lips

Beneath the donkeyskin I lived
Embraced by arched ribs of ivory
Father clamored over the dead skin, but could not
Find me curled in the belly

Later, I stitched the skin to my sides
And fled into the night, the cutting edge of
Hooves striking the granite stones
Shedding stars to light my way.


Date: 2001

By: Midori Snyder (1954- )

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Lesson by Eamon Grennan

I was watching a robin fly after a finch, the smaller bird
chirping with excitement, the bigger — its breast blazing — silent
in light-winged earnest chase, when out of nowhere

over the chimneys and the shivering front gardens,
flashes a sparrowhawk headlong, a light brown burn
scorching the air from which it simply plucks

like a ripe fruit the stopped robin, whose two or three
cheeps of terminal surprise twinkle in the silence
closing over the empty street when the birds have gone

about their business, and I began to understand
how a poem can happen: you have your eye on a small
elusive detail, pursuing its music, when a terrible truth

strikes and your heart cries out, being carried off.

From: Weingarten, Roger and Higgerson, Richard M. (eds.), Poets of the New Century: An Anthology, 2001, David R. Gardine: New Hampshire, p. 124.

Date: 2001

By: Eamon Grennan (1941- )

Alternative Title: Detail