Posts tagged ‘poetry’

Monday, 19 August 2019

Excerpt from “Satyrus peregrinans” [Westminster Hall] by William Rankins

By this time long-gownd Lumen walkt abroad,
Under his girdle greene-waxt labels hung,
Although his pace was slow, gold was his goad,
And as the Petifogger went, he sung,
His greas’d belt and the waxe together clung:
He sware a mighty oath his writs were spoyld,
And by that meanes his client should be foyld.

I tract his steps, and followed him alloofe,
Weary with those Mecanicke meane deceipts,
At last he entred to a spatious roofe,
Where greatmen sat in high judiciall seates,
And iuglers play at even and odde with feates:
As (now sir it shall goe with you to day,
To morrow tis against you, you must pay.)

This hall they say is builded of such wood,
That cobwebs on the rafters are not spun,
By right the nature of these trees are good,
Yet there be held I mighty spyders run,
And by their sucking little flyes undone:
A thing most strange, that poysoned things must dwell,
Where nature scarce alloweth them a cell.

There stoode Briarius1 with a hundred hands,
And every one was ready to receive,
As many sundry toongs2, as seas have sands:
And when he sayd, the truth I do conceive,
Then meant the hell-hound soonest to deceive.
There saw I twelve good fellowes cald together,
That would for-sweare their father for a feather.

I saw the widdow in a mourning weede,
Wringing her painefull hands to get her right,
Th’oppressed soule tormented with more neede,
And cruelty with scarlet cloth’d in spight,
As who should say, in bloud is my delight.
Then thought I (ôh there is a Judge above)
Will all this wrong with one true sentence move.

Such sweating for base pelfe3, I did behold,
Such perjuries to get the upper hand,
The innocent with falshood bought and sould,
Such circumstance before the truth was scand,
Such scorched conscience markt with Sathans brand,
That straight bereft of my Satyrick wit,
I was possessed with a frantick fit.

So leaving this vast rumor of mans voyce,
I made my run unto a river side,
Where, sinke or swim, I tooke no better choyce,
With desperate leape in, headlong did I glide,
And for I would no more repeate this pride,
I did imagine I was in a dreame,
And so concluded my unorder’d theame.

1.         Briarius (more commonly Briareus, also known as Aegaeon): one of the three gigantic sons of Uranus and Gaia (Heaven and Earth, respectively). All three have a hundred arms and fifty heads.
2.         Toongs: Tongues.
3.         Pelfe: Money, wealth.

From: Rankins, William, Seaven satyres applyed to the weeke including the worlds ridiculous follyes. True fælicity described in the phoenix. Maulgre. Whereunto is annexed the wandring satyre. By W. Rankins, Gent., 2005, Text Creation Partnership: Ann Arbor, Michigan and Oxford, pp. 33-36.

Date: 1587

By: William Rankins (fl. 1587)

Sunday, 18 August 2019

Harbinger by Helen Dunmore

Small, polished shield-bearer
abacus of early days
and harbinger of life’s happiness

that the world offers
things scarlet and spotted
to alight, hasping and unhasping
unlikely wings,

that there can be three or thousands
but not a plague of ladybirds
no, a benediction of ladybirds
to enamel the weeds.

Small, polished shield-bearer
abacus of early days,
harbinger of life’s happiness.

From: Dunmore, Helen, The Malarkey, 2012, Bloodaxe Books: Northumberland, p. 35.

Date: 2012

By: Helen Dunmore (1952-2017)

Saturday, 17 August 2019

Flies Like Thoughts by Innokenty Annensky

Flies, like black thoughts, have not quit me all day …
                                                                   A. N. Apukhtin (1840–1893)

I’ve grown weary of sleeplessness, dreams.
Locks of hair hang over my eyes:
I would like, with the poison of rhymes,
to drug thoughts I cannot abide.

I would like to unravel these knots …
Or is the whole thing a mistake?
In late autumn the flies are such pests –
their cold wings so horribly sticky.

Fly-thoughts crawl about, as in dreams,
they cover the paper in black …
Oh, how dead, and how dreadful they seem …
Tear them up, burn them up – quick!

From: Chandler, Robert, Dralyuk, Boris and Mashinski, Irina (eds.), The Penguin Book of Russian Poetry, 2015, Penguin Random House UK: London, p. 122.

Date: 1904 (original in Russian); 2015 (translation in English)

By: Innokenty Annensky (1855-1909)

Translated by: Boris Dralyuk (19??- )

Friday, 16 August 2019

Journey by Patricia Bamurangirwa

Always journey, which always hard
Journey is hard for us
This journey has no mercy to anyone
Except those who are lucky.
Let me call this journey
Journey of struggle
This journey has no respect, no fear of us.
It does not mind if you are a scholar,
Rich, young, wise, beautiful, just hold your breath.
It will take you up and down.
Many times to reach the end of it, you need to be still.
Hoping and waiting, what tomorrow brings.
Say tomorrow and wait for tomorrow
Sometimes the more you try,
The more you are disappointed
Then you ask yourself.
Why me? Why me?
The journey seems cruel
Cruel and painful
Especially when the journey carries you faraway
Away from your people,
When you lose your loved one
When you think that no one cares about you
Some few people are lucky ones
So lucky because they
Have everything needed in the world
The four important things in life
Good health, happy family, love and money
True enough, this journey.
Is the journey of life?
Journey of life means journey of struggle.

From: Bamurangirwa, Patricia, Patriotism, 2015, Matador: Leicestershire, p. 78.

Date: 2015

By: Patricia Bamurangirwa (1949- )

Thursday, 15 August 2019

Hawk in a Tree, Roadside by Kristen Lindquist

Fields assume
their contours as long, furred bodies,
rise to meet the mist.
Already oak’s bare branches skein across
the bright wash of this strange winter mist
like tangled hairs upon sheets.
Already these simple roadside epiphanies
of driving alone, fast, on a raw
December morning, having just left
the bed of a new lover,
this heightened attention to detail,
like an extra sense, somehow awakened
through the skin.
The hawk’s chest bears dark arrows
of brown feathers on white.
It flies away slowly
over the blueberry barrens, unafraid,
losing itself in the simple reality of air.


Date: 2001

By: Kristen Lindquist (19??- )

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

What Happened to My Anger? by Janice Gould

What happened to my anger?
It was rounded up
and removed
to a camp, or
it went into self-exile,
it painted itself white.
Now it goes into the world
with a happy face.

What happened to my anger?
It turned itself into a worm
coiled in my belly.
It formed into a mass of cold cells
attached to my spleen.
It became this wound
in my hand.

What happened to my anger?
It became a eunuch
and laid itself down on the divan
before the flickering t.v.
It drowned its sorrow in vacuity,
went to the kitchen in search of food,
prepared many meals,
cleaned the toilet
the catbox, the car,
the carpet.
It has not
worn itself out.

It has not become obedient,
but dumb.

From: Gould, Janice. “What Happened to My Anger?” Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies, vol. 12, no. 3, 1992, pp. 152–153. JSTOR,

Date: 1992

By: Janice Gould (1949-2019)

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

I And by Tridib Mitra

Autumn’s phantasmagorical tempest
I at the door of 1964
wooden knocks–who are you wood pecker?
What is this?
Shocked vision
chances dreams haha reality’s become more dense
still boozed in love?
another revolt squanders like 1857 thrashes
Fire in Shantiniketan, fire here at Calcutta
In Midnapore Shyambazar Khalasitola
Fire in eyes face heart cock
This fireball gnarling
in happiness hatred pain intellect dream reality
All—junk–ho ho smoke net—
tinsel like groundnut
all around chirping
afar angry shadows roar, flounder on earth…


Date: ?1964 (original in Bengali); ?2009 (translation in English)

By: Tridib Mitra (1940- )

Translated by: Tridib Mitra (1940- )

Monday, 12 August 2019

Elegy for the Bully by Bruce Snider

You have always been nosebleed
and nail-bite, the spit-shined halls
where you harvested us with your tribal
clang. Too long we saw your face
in every shadow, felt the whole forest
await your arrival like a nagging frost.
We hid from you in toilet stalls,
quit band to avoid the music
room where you waited near your
locker. Back then, there was nothing
we could say. In death we greet you
now as brothers, your dark
silence wailing from those glittering
trumpets we never learned to play.


Date: 2016

By: Bruce Snider (19??- )

Sunday, 11 August 2019

The Children’s Ball by Maria Smith Adby

Brilliant and gay was the lighted hall,
‘Twas the night of an infant festival;
There were sylph-like forms in the mazy dance,
And there were the tutored step and glance,
And the gay attire, and the hopes and fears
That might well bespeak maturer years;
The sight might to common eyes seem glad,
But I own that it made my spirit sad.

I saw not in all that festive scene.
The cloudless brow, and the careless mien;
But vanity sought the stranger’s gaze,
And envy shrunk from another’s praise,
And pride repelled with disdainful eye,
The once-loved playmate of days gone by;
Alas ! that feelings so far from mild,
Should enter the breast of a little child.

And how, thought I, on the morrow’s rise,
Will these fair young sleepers ope their eyes;
Will their smiles the freshness of morning speak,
And the roses of health suffuse their cheek?
No, with a wearied mind and look,
They shall turn from the pencil, the globe, and book,
A longing and feverish glance to cast,
On the joys and pains of the evening past.

Parents! ’tis all too soon to press
The glittering fetters of worldliness,
On those tender years, to which belong
The merry sport, and the bird-like song;
What fruit can the trees of autumn bring,
If the fragile blossoms be nipt in spring?
Such stores shall meridian life impart,
If ye spoil the bloom of the infant heart!

From: Abdy, Mrs., Poems, J. Robins and Sons: London, 1834, pp. 29-30.

Date: 1834

By: Maria Smith Abdy (1797-1867)

Saturday, 10 August 2019

A Withered Rose by Muhammad Iqbal

How shall I call you now a flower—
Tell me, oh withered rose!
How call you that beloved for whom
The nightingale’s heart glows?
The winds’ soft ripples cradled you
And rocked your bygone hours,
And your name once was Laughing Rose
In the country of flowers;
With the dawn breezes that received
Your favours you once played,
Like a perfumer’s vase your breath
Sweetened the garden glade.

These eyes are full, and drops like dew
Fall thick on you again;
This desolate heart finds dimly its
Own image in your pain,
A record drawn in miniature
Of all its sorry gleaming;
My life was all a life of dreams,
And you—you are its meaning.
I tell my stories as the reed
Plucked from its native wild
Murmurs; oh Rose, listen! I tell
The grief of hearts exiled.

From: Iqbal, Muhammad and Kiernan, V. G. (ed. and transl.), Poems from Iqbal, 1955, John Murray: London, p. 1.

Date: before 1905 (original in Urdu); 1955 (translation in English)

By: Muhammad Iqbal (1877-1938)

Translated by: Edward Victor Gordon Kiernan (1913-2009)