Posts tagged ‘peter cole’

Friday, 10 September 2021

[141] by Yoel Hoffmann

We owe nothing to no one. Certainly not a story. If we like we could write a single word 7,387 times. A word is as cheap as a stick. Or we could compose our sentences along the lines of Japanese syntax (that is, from the end to the beginning). Or insist that the publisher burn the bottom edge of the book so that the reader’s hand will be blackened by the charcoaled page . . .

From: Hoffmann, Yoel and Cole, Peter (transl.), Moods, 2015, New Directions Publishing: New York, pp. [unnumbered].
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=DfT8CAAAQBAJ)

Date: 2015 (original in Hebrew); 2015 (translation in English)

By: Yoel Hoffmann (1937- )

Translated by: Peter Cole (1957- )

Monday, 25 February 2019

Send Your Spirit by Solomon ibn Gabirol

Send your spirit
to revive our corpses,
and ripple the longed-for
land again.

The crops come from you;
you’re good to all—
and always return
to restore what has been.

From: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/146848/send-your-spirit

Date: c1035 (original in Hebrew); 2007 (translation in English)

By: Solomon ibn Gabirol (c1021-c1070)

Translated by: Peter Cole (1957- )

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Quatrains for a Calling by Peter Cole

Why are you here?
Who have you come for
and what would you gain?
Where is your fear?

Why are you here?

You’ve come so near,
or so it would seem;
you can see the grain
in the paper — that’s clear.

But why are you here

when you could be elsewhere,
earning a living
or actually learning?
Why should we care

why you’re here?

Is that a tear?
Yes, there’s pressure
behind the eyes —
and there are peers.

But why are you here?

At times it sears.
The pressure and shame
and the echoing pain.
What do you hear

now that you’re here?

The air’s so severe.
It calls for equipment,
which comes at a price.
And you’ve volunteered.

Why? Are you here?

What will you wear?
What will you do
if it turns out you’ve failed?
How will you fare?

Why are you here

when it could take years
to find out — what?
It’s all so slippery,
and may not cohere.

And yet, you’re here    …

Is it what you revere?

How deep does that go?
How do you know?
Do you think you’re a seer?

Is that why you’re here?

Do you have a good ear?
For praise or for verse?
Can you handle a curse?
Define persevere.

Why are you here?

It could be a career.

From: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poem/245792

Date: 2013

By: Peter Cole (1957- )

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Gazing Through the Night by Samuel Hanagid

Gazing through the
night and its stars,

or the grass and its bugs,

I know in my heart these swarms
are the craft of surpassing wisdom.
Think: the skies
resemble a tent,
stretched taut by loops
and hooks;

and the moon with its stars,
a shepherdess,
on a meadow
grazing her flock;

and the crescent hull in the looser clouds

looks like a ship being tossed;

a whiter cloud, a girl
in her garden
tending her shrubs;

and the dew coming down is her sister
shaking water
from her hair onto the path;

as we
settle in our lives,

like beasts in their ample stalls—

fleeing our terror of death,
like a dove
its hawk in flight—

though we’ll lie in the end like a plate,
hammered into dust and shards.

From: http://www.medievalhebrewpoetry.org/poets/samuel-hanagid/

Date: 11th century (original); 1996 (translation)

By: Samuel Hanagid (993-1056)

Translated by: Peter Cole (1957- )