Posts tagged ‘2013’

Saturday, 25 August 2018

The Enigma of Arrival by Anis Shivani

First the Coptics came smiling to the Maryland shores,
drowning black cats, when they weren’t worshiping
the bells that never rang around their knobby necks;
then came the Assyrians, settling around Boston hills,
digging in the land like raggedy rabbits run out of chase,
weaned of scraps, agonized by the shadow of their tails;
then came the Phoenicians, complete with identity clasps
strangling their thin throats, swishing their romantic robes
as if they were a nation entirely of loving kings and queens;
Finally, the Huns, who chose Philadelphia to build
in the image of castles where murders are publicized
to maids not afraid enough of their raping masters,
so that harmony in the new world may prevail.


Date: 2013

By: Anis Shivani (19??- )

Monday, 4 June 2018

For a Plain Man by Marianne Burton

For a plain man you have fancy writing.
It announces itself on envelopes
in a fanfare of loops and curlicues.
Your letters clasp hands to dance galliards,
throw each other through the air, swooping
down lower than is strictly legible,
deeper than any teacher would have ever ticked.

You must have practiced it under the desk
of the village school that wrote you off,
with short blunt pencils and scraps of paper
salvaged and stored in the empty inkwells,
working up rococo scripts whimsical
enough to summarise the man you prayed
you would become, just to spite them.

None of it comforts you of course. Not
your florid penmanship, nor the fact that
you are now important. The child still sits
under an alphabet frieze in cheap clothes,
tight-lipped, trying to coil his pot hooks into Os
of wonder and praise. You can’t get back
to tell him it worked out. None of us can.


Date: 2013

By: Marianne Burton (19??- )

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Torn by Ada Limón

Witness the wet dead snake,
its long hexagonal pattern weaved
around its body like a code for creation,
curled up cold on the newly tarred road.
Let us begin with the snake: the fact
of death, the poverty of place, of skin
and surface. See how the snake is cut
in two—its body divided from its brain.
Imagine now, how it moves still, both
sides, the tail dancing, the head dancing.
Believe it is the mother and the father.
Believe it is the mouth and the words.
Believe it is the sin and the sinner—
the tempting, the taking, the apple, the fall,
every one of us guilty, the story of us all.
But then return to the snake, poor dead
thing, forcefully denying the split of its being,
longing for life back as a whole, wanting
you to see it for what it is, something
that loves itself so much, it moves across
the boundaries of death, to touch itself
once more, to praise both divided sides
equally, as if it was almost easy.


Date: 2013

By: Ada Limón (1976- )

Thursday, 3 May 2018

The Angel of History by Theo Dorgan

In the great house on Kildare Street the lamps were burning.
It was a winter night, the usual slant rain falling.
I had paused to light up a cigarette, to watch the lone Guard
stamp her feet, blow uselessly into her cupped, gloved hands.
In the colonnade of the National Library a man was standing,
a man neither old nor young, his head bare, half turned towards
the lights in the parliament house, the high blank windows.
I saw him reach inside his long loose coat, take out a notebook.
I crossed the road, gathering my own long coat around me,
stood in behind him, looked over his shoulder. He took no notice.

One after another I saw him strike them out from a long list of names:
Senators, Deputies, Ministers. One after another the names
dissolved on the page, a scant dozen remaining. I watched him
ink in a question mark after each of these, neat and precise.
He put the book away, sliding it down carefully into a deep pocket;
he turned and looked at me, nothing like pity in those hollow eyes.
He sighed, then squared his shoulders, lifted his face to the rain
and was gone. Gone as if he had never been. But I saw him,
I know who he was, I witnessed that cold, exact cancellation;
walked on, walked home, thoughtful, afraid for my country.


Date: 2013

By: Theo Dorgan (1953- )

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Mattering by Patty Seyburn

My liege, my legion of
bad habits batters the
diminishing rank and
file of my decency.
What would you have me do?
I judge, curse, rue, malign,
run out of cereal.
Everyday world depends
hardly at all on the
details of atoms or
galaxies — a lesson
in stratification —
and the feeling, woe is
me, must be mutual.


Date: 2013

By: Patty Seyburn (1962- )

Friday, 25 August 2017

You Poem by Marianne Morris

you (walking up the road)
you, you (bird with a hole in its wing)
you you you (thought under pressure)
you you (didn’t see what I was) you you you
(now see what I was) you you (a space
opening up between me and myself)
you you (a breath I took through being alone)
you you you (thought reduced to doubling) you
(blatant reformulation of) you you you (and me,
me, reformulating) you (a praxis) you (not
singing exactly) you you (can be forgiven for
everything) you (absolutely everything) you
(draw the lines according to what) you
(forgive, arrive late to the games) you
(a staging of battles) you you (just wanting more)
you you (of a nonspecific bounty) you you
(more and then less of me) you (music rising)
you you (up the stairs my thoughts climb)
you you (impose a structure onto the impossible)
you you (eternal suspension).


Date: 2013

By: Marianne Morris (1981- )

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Canto XIII: Suiceder from “The Chomedy” by Ollie Evans

No none not nothing
is no thing thought
but nothingness.

Noting this he credits
me incrementally
with one caught

in knots in what
I thought could not
in noting nothing

be taught but torn
in truth from a twist
that saps and hurts.

From: Evans, Ollie, The Chomedy. Corrupted Canticles after Dante’s Commedia, 2013, Red Ceiling Press: London, p. 14.

Date: 2013

By: Ollie Evans (19??- )

Monday, 20 March 2017

Description of Rufo the Dragon from “The Life of Saint Margaret” by Wace

One day Margaret was saying her prayers,
As was her custom,
When from a corner she saw a dragon emerge;
It was black and horrible in appearance,
And it spewed forth burning fire through its nose.
Around its neck it bore an iron chain, completely black,
It had a beard of gold and teeth of silver,
And its eyes were sparkling like a serpent’s.
It gave off a great stench all around it
And in its hand it carried a sharp sword.

From: Blacker, Jean, Burgess, Glyn S. and Ogden, Amy V. (eds. and translators), Wace: The Hagiographical Works. The Conception of Notre Dame and the Lives of St Margaret and St Nicholas, 2013, Brill: Leiden and Boston, p. 201.

Date: c1135 (original in Norman French); 2013 (translation in English)

By: Wace (c1110-after 1174)

Translated by: Jean Blacker (1952- ), Glyn Sheridan Burgess (1943- ) and Amy Victoria Ogden (1970- )

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Raising the Alarm by Meleager of Gadara

Help! He is gone. That wild boy, Love, has escaped!
Just now, as day was breaking, he flew from his bed and was gone.
Description? Sweetly tearful, talks forever, swift, irreverent,
Slyly laughing, wings on his back, and carries a quiver.
His last name? I don’t know, for his father and mother,
Whoever they are, in earth or heaven, won’t admit it.
Everyone hates him, you see. Take care, take care,
Or even now he’ll be weaving new snares for your heart.
But hush—look there, turn slowly. You don’t deceive me, boy,
Drawing your bow so softly where you hide in Zenophile’s eyes.


Date: 1st century BCE (original in Greek); 2013 (translation in English)

By: Meleager of Gadara (1st century BCE)

Translated by: Thomas McEvilley (1939-2013)

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Radiocarbon Dating by Anja König

It’s no longer done,
comparing a woman’s body to a landscape –
buttock hillocks, dales and deltas –

politically incorrect. But I want you
in charge of manning up an expedition to undefined
white spaces on my map. I want you

to use your scientific training, evaluate
my forestation, measure the circumference of both
polar caps. You can examine drilling cores

to reconstruct my seismic history. The positions
of tectonic faults, degree of liquefaction
of the crust and mantle imply

tremors are possible and could be more
than modern settlements can handle.

You can still shift your paradigm, embrace
a post-colonial sentiment and keep your footprint light.


Date: 2013

By: Anja König (19??- )