Posts tagged ‘ellen doré watson’

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- )

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.

From: http://bombmagazine.org/article/3056/four-poems

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

By: Adélia Luzia Prado Freitas (1935- )

Translated by: Ellen Doré Watson (1950- )