Posts tagged ‘2008’

Monday, 16 March 2020

Ceasefire by Simon Ó Faoláin

Come down, dismount your piebald pony,
Leave cloud of doubt and halo of fury,
And I’ll lay aside prejudice’s helmet.

Do you know me now, dark glowering man,
Or do we all look much the same in your eyes?
On the edge of Kilmallock you pulled a knife.

And although the point was turned on me,
It was as though you could not see,
It was as though you fought with shadows.

And although your hand controlled the hilt,
I felt like a surgeon observing a reflex,
For the knife was your answer to all your ills.

I never wish to deny free will,
But who can deny conditioning
Instils salivation in dogs and men?

Yet might both of us pull out of Pavlov’s disease
And see the face behind the mask,
No cloud or halo, no helmet or knife?

From: https://www.poetryinternational.org/pi/poem/22531/auto/0/0/Simon-O-Faolain/Ceasefire/en/tile

Date: 2008 (original in Irish); 2008 (translation in English)

By: Simon Ó Faoláin (1973- )

Translated by: Simon Ó Faoláin (1973- )

Wednesday, 11 March 2020

Quarantine by Eavan Boland

In the worst hour of the worst season
of the worst year of a whole people
a man set out from the workhouse with his wife.
He was walking – they were both walking – north.

She was sick with famine fever and could not keep up.
He lifted her and put her on his back.
He walked like that west and west and north.
Until at nightfall under freezing stars they arrived.

In the morning they were both found dead.
Of cold. Of hunger. Of the toxins of a whole history.
But her feet were held against his breastbone.
The last heat of his flesh was his last gift to her.

Let no love poem ever come to this threshold.
There is no place here for the inexact
praise of the easy graces and sensuality of the body.
There is only time for this merciless inventory:

Their death together in the winter of 1847.
Also what they suffered. How they lived.
And what there is between a man and woman.
And in which darkness it can best be proved.

From: http://poem-of-the-week.blogspot.com/2008/05/quarantine-by-eavan-boland.html

Date: 2008

By: Eavan Boland (1944- )

Saturday, 5 October 2019

Scarecrow by Fady Joudah

The rice field birds are too clever for scarecrows,
They know what they love, milk in the grain.

When it happens, there will be no time to look for anyone.
Husband, children, nine brothers and sisters.

You will drop your sugarcane-stick-beating of plastic bucket,
Stop shouting at birds and run.

They will pack you in trucks or herd you for a hundred miles.
Old men will teach you trade with soldiers at checkpoints.

You will give them your spoon, blanket and beans,
They’ll let you keep your life. And if you jump off the truck,

The army jeep trailing it will run you over.
Later, they will accuse you of giving up your land.

Later, you will stand in distribution lines and won’t receive enough to eat.
Your mother will weave you new underwear from flour sacks.

And they’ll give you plastic tents, cooking pots,
Vaccine cards, white pills, and wool blankets.

And you will keep your cool.
Standing with eyes shut tight like you’ve got soap in them,

Arms stretched wide like you’re catching rain.

From: https://fpif.org/poem_scarecrow/

Date: 2008

By: Fady Joudah (1971- )

Thursday, 25 July 2019

O God! These People! by Mohammad Hanif Hairan

O God! Change these people so that
Nobody will die by another’s hand.
End cruelty so that
An ant won’t die by someone’s hand.
O God, for any thing to which you have given a soul
These things should never die by someone else’s hand.
Reserve everyone’s cruelty to their eyes
So no living thing will die by someone else’s hand,
No traveller will be bitten by someone else’s dog,
And nobody’s dog will be killed by someone else’s hand.

From: van Linschoten, Alex Strick and Kuehn, Felix (eds.), Poetry of the Taliban: Translated by Mirwais Rahmany and Hamid Stanikzai, 2012, Columbia University Press: New York, p. 194.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=EUcBwQEACAAJ)

Date: 2008

By: Mohammad Hanif Hairan (19??- )

Translated by: Mirwais Rahmany (1983- ) and Hamid Stanikzai (19??- )

Monday, 15 July 2019

Sonnet [I Love the First Shiver of Winter] by Alfred Louis Charles de Musset-Pathay

I love the first shiver of winter! That day
When the stubble resists the hunter’s foot,
When magpies settle on fields fragrant with hay,
And deep in the old chateau, the hearth is lit.

That’s the city time. I remember last year,
I came back and saw the good Louvre and its dome,
Paris and its smoke—that whole realm so dear.
(I can still hear the postilions shouting, “We’re home!”)

I loved the gray weather, the strollers, the Seine
Under a thousand lanterns, sovereign!
I’d see winter, and you, my love, you!

Madame, I’d steep my soul in your glances,
But did I even realize the chances
That soon your heart would change for me too?

From: Rogow, Zack, “Three Poems by Alfred de Musset” in Transference, Volume 6, Issue 1, Article 15, 2008, p. 66.
(https://scholarworks.wmich.edu/transference/vol6/iss1/15)

Date: 1829 (original in French), 2008 (translation in English)

By: Alfred Louis Charles de Musset-Pathay (1810-1857)

Translated by: Zack Rogow (1952- )

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Dear Tourists by Johannes Göranson

Dear Tourists,

You can grope for moist souvenirs in the basement,
but you’ll need patience
because nobody down there will warn you about the floor.

In the street you’ll find squirrels; on my scalp, bumps.
If you want proof for the folks back home that you’ve surged
like a seagull, print your name and number in the bathroom.

If you want a seagull for a pet, talk to my therapist.
If you find her, tell me where she lives, and where her daughter
goes to school. If you want a piece of me, suck my dick.

If you want to sell trips to the general public, take my pulse
or my coffee-table picture-books about Italy.
If there’s a house in the trees, throw up a hammer

and see what falls down. The bleeding kid isn’t
the best prize and you can’t return it, so be careful where
you walk when you’ve had a few.

If there’s a nettle between your shoulder blades
and you’re having trouble breathing, tell the teacher,
but don’t tell her it was me cause it wasn’t.

I was just watching, maybe even laughing at your gurgling sounds.
That incident belongs to somebody else’s amusement park.
I don’t ever want to see it again on this side of the blunt tracks.

From: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/56358/dear-tourists

Date: 2008

By: Johannes Göranson (19??- )

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Jade Stairs Resentment by Xie Tiao

In the evening hall, the bead curtain is lowered;
Drifting glowworms fly, then rest.
Through the long night, sewing a gossamer dress:
This longing for you—when will it ever cease?

From: Cai, Zong-qi (ed.), How to Read Chinese Poetry: A Guided Anthology, 2008, Columbia University Press: New York, p. 143.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=FFWsAgAAQBAJ)

Date: c490 (original); 2008 (translation)

By: Xie Tiao (464-499)

Translated by: Xiaofei Tian (1971- )

Friday, 11 January 2019

Crows by Hailey Leithauser

Because they are clever, we believe they are wise.
Because they are wise, we conclude they are good,

or evil, or good and evil, but never muddied
in between. Because they are arrant and utter black,

we assume them to be downright chummy with death,
and so in England once a woman was pressed between stones

for owning a pillow made from crow feathers.
This, the people said, gave her the power to dream affliction

like moonlight into the lives of their children,
and even though during her trial, records show

that the streets rang with the din of fat and ruddy
lineage, there was still a principle involved

and the city was cheered when no crows arrived at her grave,
which was hurriedly and spotlessly dissembled by snow.

From: http://www.reduxlitjournal.com/2011/10/3-four-poems-by-hailey-leithauser.html

Date: 2008

By: Hailey Leithauser (1954- )

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Before We Get Into This by Lemn Sissay

Before we get to know each other
And sing for tomorrow
And unearth yesterday
So that we can prepare our joint grave
You should know that I have no family,
Neither disowned nor distanced – none.

No birthdays nor Christmas,
No telephone calls. It’s been that way
Since birth for what it’s worth
No next of skin.

I am the guilty secret of an innocent woman
And a dead man – tell your parents, they’ll want to know.

From: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2008/sep/20/poetry.originalwriting

Date: 2008

By: Lemn Sissay (1967- )

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Skins by Patience Agbabi

It’s not like you don’t turn me on.
Every time you walked past
I thought, She’s fit.
Come-to-bed eyes.
We both want to
feel my skin

against your skin.
It’s not like you’re on
or I’m changing into
a woman. It’s my past.
Look into my eyes.
I just wanted to fit

in. A misfit.
Mixed race but light-skinned,
brown hair, blue eyes,
bootboy with a hard-on.
I passed.
I had to.

Then I got this tattoo.
I did it in a fit
of rage. It soon passed.
You want to read my skin?
Whatever turns you on.
I closed my eyes

and put my soul on ice,
denied a black dad, too
terrified to let on.
I wore the outfit,
marched with the skins.
I don’t like to talk about the past,

I hate my past.
My big lie reflected in their eyes,
their hatred in my skin.
With this tattoo
I’m a walking Photofit.
That’s why I keep my clothes on.

It’s past midnight. I’ll call a cab if you want me to.
But your eyes know how to fit
a condom like a second skin. Come on…

From: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/mar/28/poem-of-the-week-skins-by-patience-agbabi

Date: 2008

By: Patience Agbabi (1965- )