Posts tagged ‘2007’

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Done Drinking My New Year’s Wine by Lu You

Done drinking my New Year’s wine,
truly now an eighty-year-old man,
Used to worry outspokenness would be my death,
now content just to be poor and write poems.
Rice cheap — that means no thieves this year;
cloudy skies foretell another good harvest.
Something in the food bowl — what other cares?
Smiling, happy, I tag along with the young boys.


Date: 1204 (original); 2007 (translation)

By: Lu You (1125-1209)

Translated by: Burton DeWitt Watson (1925-2017)

Monday, 17 April 2017

La Città Nuova: a construction for Antonio Sant’Elia by Simon Turner

“every generation will have to build its own city”

the fire escapes clatter up the walls
repetitious inky arpeggios
everything is happening &
all at once hissing yellow
repetitious inky arpeggios
jasmine tongues the gas jets
all at once hissing yellow
igniting the interstices of
jasmine tongues the gas jets
everything is arpeggios
igniting the interstices of
repetitious inky gas jets
everything is arpeggios
jasmine tongues the walls
repetitious inky gas jets
igniting the inky arpeggios
jasmine tongues the walls
fire tongues the gas jets
igniting the inky arpeggios
everything is hissing yellow
fire tongues the gas jets
everything is happening &
everything is yellow
the fire escapes, clatters up the walls.


Date: 2007

By: Simon Turner (1980- )

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

The Dictator in Prison by Adélia Luzia Prado Freitas

The dictator is writing poetry,
poor fellow,
poor us for saying
poor fellow,
since he, too, has a memory
to conjure orange trees,
little bowls of pudding,
laughter and pleasant conversation—
a paradise of lowly delights.
The impatiens have barely opened
and the bees are already busy among them,
turning the day perfect.
Let’s not ridicule the bloodthirsty man
who, under the eyes of the guards,
pours his desire—equal to anyone’s—
into a notebook:
I want to be happy, I want an elastic body,
I want a horse, a sword and a good war!
The dictator is devout,
he observes his canonic hours
like the monks in the choir,
and dozes over the Koran.
I who live outside the walls
tremble for the fate
of a man who pounded the ground
with his iron boot.
Let no one interrupt the outcast’s prayer
or ridicule his verses.
God’s mercy is strange,
its mystery crushing.
For some unfathomable reason
I am not the prisoner.
My compassion is too large
to be my own.
He who invented hearts
loves this poor wretch with mine.


Date: 1976 (original in Portugese); 2007 (translation in English)

By: Adélia Luzia Prado Freitas (1935- )

Translated by: Ellen Doré Watson (1950- )

Friday, 30 December 2016

The Cicada Summer by Dorothy Featherstone Porter

Cath would never forget
that hot terrible Sydney summer
of bushfires
and cicadas,
cicadas so loud
she thought they’d trill
in her deafened ears

the summer
she and Bill never talked about
the summer
she found a lucky cicada
clinging to the bark
of a rusty old gum
perfect in every detail
until it disintegrated
to nasty grit
in her pocket

the summer
Bill’s mum got sick
and the summer
a weird kid
(what was his name?)
fell out of her treehouse
and nearly died.

Bill’s mum
didn’t fall out of a tree cubby
but a year later
she did die.

His father remarried –
a real tart,
who wore a gold lame bikini
that showed everything,
and had enamelled blonde hair
that looked like
it had been cemented
to her head
a complete bitch
who hated kids
even her own sorry

That summer of cicadas.
That hot loud
terrible time.

No wonder
Bill came to Melbourne.


Date: 2007

By: Dorothy Featherstone Porter (1954-2008)

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Northwest Passage by Averill Ann Curdy

Standing on this deck I have watched
morning’s first pale peach jeopardy
of light flush alleys and rooftops,
just touching my neighbors’ gardens,
until the seethes like the green smoke

of a new world. On these sidewalks,
with the linden’s melon scent twined
around an untuned engine’s blue carbon
monoxide and Wednesday’s trash,
I’ve looked for an authentic eloquence:

Frobisher returning three times
from Baffin Island, boreal winds
still on his tongue, timbers strained by tons
of fool’s gold. Circled with lamplight
I’ve imagined sailing under discipline

into strange seas where the sun hangs
dumb as a cabbage all day in ice.
Even as sirens squall down the block,
I’ve fallen asleep in my armchair,
tired as any theoretical geographer

after dinner, who dreams of trading
his knives for nutmegs, mirrors,
for cinnamon and pearls, and beyond—
finding by brute necessity and skill
some route between suffering and song.


Date: 2007

By: Averill Ann Curdy (19??- )

Monday, 5 September 2016

Miscegenation by Natasha Trethewey

In 1965 my parents broke two laws of Mississippi;
they went to Ohio to marry, returned to Mississippi.

They crossed the river into Cincinnati, a city whose name
begins with a sound like sin, the sound of wrong—mis in Mississippi.

A year later they moved to Canada, followed a route the same
as slaves, the train slicing the white glaze of winter, leaving Mississippi.

Faulkner’s Joe Christmas was born in winter, like Jesus, given his name
for the day he was left at the orphanage, his race unknown in Mississippi.

My father was reading War and Peace when he gave me my name.
I was born near Easter, 1966, in Mississippi.

When I turned 33 my father said, It’s your Jesus year—you’re the same
age he was when he died.
It was spring, the hills green in Mississippi.

I know more than Joe Christmas did. Natasha is a Russian name—
though I’m not; it means Christmas child, even in Mississippi.


Date: 2007

By: Natasha Trethewey (1966- )

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Untitled by Vasiliki (Kiki) Radou Dimoula

It rains with absolute candor.
So the sky is not a rumor
it does exist
and therefore earth is not
the sole solution
as each lazy dead person pretends.


Date: 2007 (original); 2012 (translation)

By: Vasiliki (Kiki) Radou Dimoula (1931- )

Translated by: Cecile Inglessis Margellos (1953- ) and Rika Lesser (1953- )

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Dead Butterfly by Ellen Bass

For months my daughter carried
a dead monarch in a quart mason jar.
To and from school in her backpack,
to her only friend’s house.   At the dinner table
it sat like a guest alongside the pot roast.
She took it to bed, propped by her pillow.

Was it the year her brother was born?
Was this her own too-fragile baby
that had lived—so briefly—in its glassed world?
Or the year she refused to go to her father’s house?
Was this the holding-her-breath girl she became there?

This plump child in her rolled-down socks
I sometimes wanted to haul back inside me
and carry safe again.   What was her fierce
commitment?   I never understood.
We just lived with the dead winged thing
as part of her, as part of us,
weightless in its heavy jar.


Date: 2007

By: Ellen Bass (1947- )

Sunday, 28 June 2015

The Dodo Bird by Judith Skillman

with lines from Holderlin

I found it land-bound, small wings tucked
against its sides. The head naked,
almost human in its appraisal.
I remember hearing about you, I said
and it replied For the gods grow indignant…

It was not repulsive, rather oily, a few black strands
like leftover feathers sprouting from its head.
I thought you were a figment I said,
and it replied if a man not gather himself to save His soul…

I said I was a woman, that I would have preferred
to lose the ostrich, but would not starve my children.
If there had been a famine and the opportunity arose
I also would have beaten the Dodo to death
with whatever was at hand—
club, baseball bat, plank of wood,
but I wouldn’t have laughed.

Women are tame.
We don’t kill unless threatened.
Did you not perceive the Dutchmen as a threat?
Yet he has no choice…
the bird replied, foraging, head down,
diamond eyes shrunken to slits
as it pried grubs from mud.

Why have you grown so large—
three feet tall, walking about
as if you owned the ground
between clouds of idealism and germs of reality.
You had your heyday.
We have your beak in the British Museum
for proof: DNA, some writings and renderings.

It went about the business of the omnivorous—
scavenging, turning its arse this way and that,
always the silly walk of it
and the precious non-birdness of its serious demeanor,
unshaken by extinction: like-
wise; mourning is in error…


Date: 2007

By: Judith Skillman (1954- )

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Winter Solstice by Karen Knight

The annual Antarctic depression
wrapped in a thick gauze of cloud
rides pillion with the Bridgewater Jerry

across the Derwent River
over the tops of hills
round as a nudist colony

like a fog snake
it sheds its skin
trails a giant smudge through the city

The homeless stand between
freeze and thaw.
They are frost shadows

holding the ice
long after their sorrows
have melted around them.


Date: 2007

By: Karen Knight (1950- )