Posts tagged ‘maxine chernoff’

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.


Date: 2008

By: Maxine Chernoff (1952- )

Friday, 15 January 2021

Hyperion’s Fate Song by Johann Christian Friedrich Hölderlin

You walk above in the light,
Soulful genius, on a yielding floor!
God’s shining breezes
Gently touch you
As the fingers of a musician
Play on otherworldly strings

Fateless, like a nursing infant asleep,
The gods draw breath;
As chastely preserved
As modest buds,
Their minds are always
In flower,
And their soulful eyes
Gaze calmly and eternally
In silent clarity.

But it’s our fate
To have no place to rest,
As suffering mortals
Blindly fall and vanish
From one hour
To the next,
Like water falling
From cliff to cliff, downward
For years to uncertainty.


Date: c1800 (original in German); 2005 (translation in English)

By: Johann Christian Friedrich Hölderlin (1770-1843)

Translated by: Paul Hoover (1946- ) and Maxine Chernoff (1952- )