Posts tagged ‘2008’

Sunday, 17 January 2021

Oracular by Maxine Chernoff

“It is all a Tree.”–Thomas Carlyle

By making things rare, we create an elite:
in the Sudan, how a chicken
is poisoned for divination.

Jung’s dream of the wings of a house —
I misread as a house with wings —
“the distorted notions of invisible things.”

Let us speak of what we haven’t seen,
the light that fills the room or
page on which words float like clouds.

How conscience gets extinguished
with threadbare slogans.
Let us now praise embryonic growth,

One thousand poems about the same cathedral,
fixations and ruses, earth-worn objects
and those who love them.

From: http://jacketmagazine.com/36/chernoff-3p.shtml

Date: 2008

By: Maxine Chernoff (1952- )

Wednesday, 21 October 2020

My Rain by Beckian Fritz Goldberg

I vowed not to come back
until the world was clean
the day a mirror in which the coyote
could see the shortfalls
of his breath, the trees sucked
dry by desert mistletoe.

When they tried
to wake me I said no.
I meant, Leave me

snug in my own rain, I
meant to say brain but liked
the way it came out or

didn’t because I only thought
and was too at home to make
a sound.  The greenest
butterfly was my best

hallucination.   It loved
bedtime, sports, and remorseful
children.  Yes, I’m afraid no one

will hear me.  Look for me.
Balance the budget or
remember the last war. I swore
not to return, to look for heaven,
the whole, the state of enlightenment,

while the gray stems were lavender
and headless by January, the brittlebush,
the tub of garbage
javelina overturn at night,
full of eggs and grounds
and cans, the names
we give to time.

From: http://www.diodepoetry.com/v2n1/content/goldberg_bf.html

Date: 2008

By: Beckian Fritz Goldberg (1954- )

Thursday, 15 October 2020

Song by Castelloza

Friend, if I found you gracious, fair,
Candid and humble, full or virtuousness,
How I would love you! But, alas, far less
I find you now: so fell, so cruel to me.
Yet do I sing, to let the wide world know
How virtuous you could be; for I would show
That praised would be your virtue everywhere,
Though you bestow me naught but pain and care.

I shall not deem you debonair
Nor, faithful-hearted, my true love profess
Unless, first, I pronounce how fickley, yes,
How faithless is your heart!… Nay, verily,
Best I think better, lest I too be so
Heartless and faithless unto you—although
So are you unto me!—and lest I bear
Your wrath, should I your slightest wrong declare.

Well do I do; but well aware
Am I that one and all claim we transgress,
Who bare our heart and jabber to excess
Our bane and bale unto our swains. But he
Who judges so, judges us ill; for, no!
Rather than die, I would prove, à propos,
That I much comfort feel when, in my prayer,
I pray to him who causes my despair.

Passing daft must one be to dare
Say I ought love you not, nor acquiesce
To love’s demands: he knows not my distress,
Nor knows what cheer was mine when I could see
You there before me, telling me that, lo!
Done would my dolor be, undone my woe;
That love for me, once more, might bring you there:
Ah! promise of a joy beyond compare!

All other loves do I foreswear.
None else consoles me in my dire duress,
Nor brings me solacy; yours would I possess,
And yours alone, to ease my misery…
But, friend, I cannot change you; and I go
On yearning, hoping, dreaming of the beau
You will not be! Where isd your love? Oh, where
But in my sleep, that love I fain would share?

I fear I will no better fare,
Nor can, in other wise, my dole express;
For, ceaseless, have I tried, with no success,
Fair means and foul to thwart your cruelty.
This message do I send you—this canso
Writ in my words, my very own. But, oh!
If die I must, yours be the blame! Beware:
Yours, the sin; mine, the woe without repair.

From: Shapiro, Norman R.; Krueger, Roberta L.; LaFarge Catherine and Perry, Catherine, Freench Women Poets of Nine Centuries: The Distaff and the Pen, 2008,  The John Hopkins University Press: Baltimore, Maryland, pp: 65-67.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=ScCsMt710ZwC

Date: 13th century (original in Occitan); 2008 (translation in English)

By: Castelloza (13th century)

Translated by: Norman R. Shapiro (19??- )

Wednesday, 29 July 2020

The Heart’s Laboratory by Stephen Oliver

You must read words
to be reminded of them.

Left alone they are rabble, argumentative, a calm
or crazy half-remembered message
of some forgotten incident,
or people.

Whatever heart you have visited,
someone passed that way before.

Silk road of remembrance.

How humanizing it is to half-turn and glimpse –
as if to say,
‘Trust me, again’.

The small discoveries one makes of the moment
are soon forgotten – deafened

by the blood’s quiet tumult,
that roar in the ears via the heart’s laboratory.

A plane-shadow snatches a tree; Autumn

From: Oliver, Stephen, “The Heart’s Laboratory” in Snorkel, No.7, 2008.
(https://webarchive.nla.gov.au/awa/20080521224553/http://pandora.nla.gov.au/pan/84567/20080522-0833/www.snorkel.org.au/002/oliver.html)

Date: 2008

By: Stephen Oliver (1950- )

Monday, 20 April 2020

The Story of Madame Chevalier by Ciaran Carson

You remember the Incredible Shrinking Man? I said.
Well, last night I dreamed I was him. It began the same way.

The shirt cuffs were the first thing that came to my attention,
drooping down over my knuckles in the bedroom mirror.

And my waistband and shoes were getting looser by the day.
Within weeks you could perch me on your knee like a male doll.

Later you would put me to bed in the empty matchbox.
You failed to watch for the spider that came to explore me.

I fought her with a darning needle, a button my shield.
She retreated from me on a thread. I followed her down

to the cellar. How I made my way back I’ll never know.
It took me days to travel over the quilt to your hand.

No longer a hand but an Alpine range of sleeping flesh.
I crawled into an open pore and entered your bloodstream.

From: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/55594/the-story-of-madame-chevalier

Date: 2008

By: Ciaran Carson (1948-2019)

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- )