Posts tagged ‘2006’

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Joseph, I’m Pregnant by the Holy Ghost by Kilian McDonnell

“Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man…
planned to dismiss her quietly.”  —Matthew 1:19

Life was simple before that angel
pushed open the kitchen door,
announced light and trouble, as though
a foe had roiled the bottom of the well
and now the pail brings up only

murky water. I’m chosen for some
terrible grace beyond the well.
After short light long dark,
left to stumble through Sinai

Desert. No manna to gather, no quail
to catch. Nothing. When I tell Joseph
I’m pregnant by the Holy Ghost,
he stares, ox dumb in hurt. I’ve asked

him to believe that I, God’s
Moses-girl, part seas, give Torah. He turns, leaves
without a word. Why should my dearest

love believe? Yahweh’s not fair.
Where is the voice of light? Where
the pillar of fire? My man drops
me cold, as though I were a concubine

dismissed without a drachma for cheating
on her master’s blanket with that
swarthy Roman soldier from the barracks.
Joseph doesn’t expose me; I will not

be stoned. My heart eats Yahweh’s
cinders; I drink the last date wine
gone sour at the dregs.
God does nothing. But I carry life.

From: McDonnell, Kilian, Yahweh’s Other Shoe, 2006, Liturgical Press: Collegeville, Minnesota, pp. 18-19.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=hie6eOdFXV0C)

Date: 2006

By: Kilian McDonnell (1921- )

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Tuesday, 5 December 2017

The Lost Thing by Stephen Dunn

The truth is
it never belonged to anybody.
It’s not a music box or a locket;
it doesn’t bear our initials.
It has none of the tragic glamour
of a lost child, won’t be found
on any front page. It’s like
the river that confuses
search dogs, like the promise
on the far side of the ellipsis.
Look for it in the margins,
is the conventional wisdom.
Look for it as late afternoon light
drips below the horizon.
But it’s not to be seen.
Nor does it have a heart
or give off any signal.
It’s as if. . . is how some of us
keep trying to reach it.
Once, long ago, I felt sure
I was in its vicinity.

From: http://www.commonlinejournal.com/2009/07/poetry-by-stephen-dunn.html

Date: 2006

By: Stephen Dunn (1939- )

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Light by Charles Kenneth (C.K.) Williams

Another drought morning after a too brief dawn downpour,
unaccountable silvery glitterings on the leaves of the withering maples—

I think of a troop of the blissful blessed approaching Dante,
“a hundred spheres shining,” he rhapsodizes, “the purest pearls…”

then of the frightening brilliants myriad gleam in my lamp
of the eyes of the vast swarm of bats I found once in a cave,

a chamber whose walls seethed with a spaceless carpet of creatures,
their cacophonous, keen, insistent, incessant squeakings and squealings

churning the warm, rank, cloying air; of how one,
perfectly still among all the fitfully twitching others,

was looking straight at me, gazing solemnly, thoughtfully up
from beneath the intricate furl of its leathery wings

as though it couldn’t believe I was there, or were trying to place me,
to situate me in the gnarl we’d evolved from, and now,

the trees still heartrendingly asparkle, Dante again,
this time the way he’ll refer to a figure he meets as “the life of…”

not the soul, or person, the life, and once more the bat, and I,
our lives in that moment together, our lives, our lives,

his with no vision of celestial splendor, no poem,
mine with no flight, no unblundering dash through the dark,

his without realizing it would, so soon, no longer exist,
mine having to know for us both that everything ends,

world, after-world, even their memory, steamed away
like the film of uncertain vapor of the last of the luscious rain.

From: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/52308/light-56d230aab00c7

Date: 2006

By: Charles Kenneth (C.K.) Williams (1936-2015)

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Sententiae by Kassiani

I hate a murderer condemning the hot-tempered.
I hate the adulterer when he judges the fornicator.
I hate the leper who drives out the leprous.

I hate a rich man complaining as a poor man.
I hate the poor man boasting as in wealth.
I hate a debtor who sleeps unconcernedly.

I hate the verbose in an unsuitable time.
I hate silence when it is a time for speaking.
I hate the one who conforms to all ways.

I hate the one who does not encourage everyone with words.
I hate one who speaks before examining.
I hate the one who teaches knowing nothing.

From: http://www.istanbulkadinmuzesi.org/en/kassia

Date: 9th century (original in Greek); 2006 (translation in English)

By: Kassiani (c805-c865)

Translated by: Anna Margaret Silvas (1954- )

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Cansoneta 7 by Marcabru

Before the season turns green,
I will sing and I have the right!
Rejoice about Love who wants:
me, I have neither song nor complaint.
To a man who acts all courteous,
I don’t wish worse disease,
for he soon dies of starvation and cold
who is in the clutches of Love.

I do not want, nor desire, Love,
so much it knows how to deceive and lie.
For those reason I want to tell you
I never could feel the joy of love.
I wish it so much ill and hate it so,
that the remembrance alone makes me sick.
I was foolish in serving Love
but we have come to part.

For Love used to be gay,
but I will never be so
as one deceived me and betrayed me.
This is why I give up and renounce love.
He is loaded by quite a senseless burden
he who is in Love’s thrall.
Lord god, he was born in an evil hour
who feeds on such madness!

For Love is full of deception:
it changes its mind for money,
and turns the most valiant into despicable people,
for the wicked will have it before them.
And don’t go womanizing
without money, and by toiling!
Love that becomes a commodity:
the Devil may take it!

I’ll tell you how it is with Love:
if you were worth as much as a marquis,
do not dare court
after becoming poor.
It doesn’t matter how much you’ve given and provided:
you will not be considered worth a quarter.
One won’t even give you a thank
after you’ve ran out of money.

And I say to the suitors
who want to dream of love
not to make their desire apparent.
And I say this in their interest
because he is rather miserable
who is too eager to love
for he loves too much
soon turns from bad to worse.

The song is over:
I say no more to Sir Perman;
some, who act as lords of Love
should rather be cheating.
A lover who has himself compared to Bazan,
for Love, acts like a fool.
And let him not cross himself,
who will be deceived by Love!

From: http://www.trobar.org/troubadours/marcabru/mcbr7.php

Date: c1140 (original in Occitan); 2006 (translation in English)

By: Marcabru (fl. 1130-1150)

Translated by: Leonardo Malcovati (19??- )

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Be Here First by Ellen Doré Watson

I don’t know my trees but I know my trees.
Their angling for what has spurned them;
their spitting and drooling, the battered

crocuses at their feet. We share the roofline,
the cesspool, I’m responsible for all that salt.
From my stone stoop I watch the lilac’s sun-

starved horizontal heroics, the still-naked
redbud shrugging off bitty unlit lights.
Neglect leans back on the lawn chair.

Must we dislike ourselves to change?
Sick of every other part of me, I approve
my hand slobbered by the horse’s jawing

a hacked apple. I say fear is behind our
everything. Or brazenness, which is just
a jacket fear puts on. The mare’s sudden

stillness says look: fox. The world as ever
offering now distraction, now danger.
But no. How much I owe the trees, the hissing

raccoon outsmarting my heart. The shed
moving towards ruin in its own slow time.
There’s something sprouting on the kitchen

table that’s not supposed to. Everything
eager, rude and alive. Not just the knotweed
but the crows’ hideous vowels; buds blasted

open or whipped young off the tree. Take your
pick: the ridge hurtling for the last rag of snow
or simply lifting off with the first smack of dawn.

From: https://orionmagazine.org/poetry/be-here-first/

Date: 2006

By: Ellen Doré Watson (1950- )

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

This is a Letter by Rebecca Dunham

This is a letter to the worm-threaded earth.

This is a letter to November, its gray bowl of sky riven by black-branched trees.
A letter to split-tomato skins, overripe apples, & a flock of fruit flies lifting
from the blueing clementines’ wood crate.
To the broken confetti of late fall leaves.
This is a letter to rosemary.

This is a letter to the floor’s sink & creak, the bedroom door’s torn hinge
moaning its good-night.
This is to the unshaven cheek.
To cedar, mothballs, camphor, & last winter’s unwashed wool.
This is a letter to the rediscovered,

to mulch, pine needles, the moon, frost, flats of pansies, the backyard,
hunger, night, the unseen.
This is a letter to soil, thrumming as it waits to be turned.
This is a letter to compost, eggshell’s bone-ash chips, fruit rinds curved like
fingernails, & stale chunks of bread.
A letter to the intimate dark—mouth-warm & damp as a bed.

This is a letter to the planet’s scavenging lips.

From: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/182205

Date: 2006

By: Rebecca Dunham (19??- )

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Invective Against the Bumblebee by Diane Lockward

Escapee from a tight cell, yellow-streaked,
sex-deprived sycophant to a queen,
you have dug divots in my yard
and like a squatter trespassed in my garage.

I despise you for you have swooped down
on my baby boy, harmless on a blanket of lawn,
his belly plumping through his orange stretch suit,
yellow hat over the fuzz of his head.
Though you mistook him for a sunflower,
I do not exonerate you,
for he weeps in my arms, trembles, and drools,
finger swollen like a breakfast sausage.
Now my son knows pain.
Now he fears the grass.

Fat-assed insect! Perverse pedagogue!
Henceforth, may flowers refuse to open for you.
May cats chase you in the garden.
I want you shellacked by rain, pecked by shrikes,
mauled by skunks, paralyzed by early frost.
May farmers douse your wings with pesticide.
May you never again taste the nectar
of purple clover or honeysuckle.
May you pass by an oak tree just in time
to be pissed on by a dog.

And tomorrow may you rest on my table
as I peruse the paper. May you shake
beneath the scarred face of a serial killer.
May you be crushed by the morning news.

From: http://www.culturalweekly.com/diane-lockward-three-poems/

Date: 2006

By: Diane Lockward (19??- )

Monday, 11 May 2015

The Bunny Gives Us a Lesson in Eternity by Mary Ruefle

We are a sad people, without hats.
The history of our nation is tragically benign.
We like to watch the rabbits screwing in the graveyard.
We are fond of the little bunny with the bent ear
who stands alone in the moonlight
reading what little text there is on the graves.
He looks quite desirable like that.
He looks like the center of the universe.
Look how his mouth moves mouthing the words
while the others are busy making more of him.
Soon the more will ask of him to write their love
letters and he will oblige, using the language
of our ancestors, those poor clouds in the ground,
beloved by us who have been standing here for hours,
a proud people after all.

From: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poem/178838

Date: 2006

By: Mary Ruefle (1952- )

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Home by Richard Newman

I like my hometown more
the longer I’m away.
Memories, like trick candles,
flicker as I pull in.

The longer I’ve been away
the less I recognize. Stars
flicker as I pull in.
Where are the woods and fields?

I barely recognize the stars.
Home is where
my boyhood woods and fields
now offer beautiful new homes.

Home is where they said
Leave now so we might miss you someday.
The beautiful new homes say
We’re better off since you left.

We might miss you someday—
yes, that would be my wish.
Home is where they’re better off since you left.
Blow into town and blow right out.

Yes, that would be my wish—
that I liked my hometown more.
Blow through town. Blow out
memories like trick candles.

From: http://www.versedaily.org/2007/home.shtml

Date: 2006

By: Richard Newman (1966- )