Posts tagged ‘poetry’

Sunday, 24 June 2018

On Death by William Winstanley

The death of all men is the total sum,
The Period unto which we all must come.
He lives but a short life that lives the longest
And he is weak in death, in life was strongest.
Our life’s like Cobwebs be we ne’re so gay,
And death the Broom which sweeps us all away.

From: Winstanley, William, The new help to discourse or, Wit, mirth, and jollity. intermixt with more serious matters consisting of pleasant astrological, astronomical, philosophical, grammatical, physical, chyrurgical, historical, moral, and poetical questions and answers. As also histories, poems, songs, epitaphs, epigrams, anagrams, acrosticks, riddles, jests, poesies, complements, &c. With several other varieties intermixt; together with The countrey-man’s guide; containing directions for the true knowledge of several matters concerning astronomy and husbandry, in a more plain and easie method than any yet extant. By W. W. gent., 2006, Text Creation Partnership: Ann Arbor, Michigan and Oxford, p. 197.

Date: 1680

By: William Winstanley (c1628-1698)

Saturday, 23 June 2018

Lines 1-14 from “A dutiful invective, against the moste haynous treasons of Ballard and Babington with other their adherents, latelie executed” by William Kempe

What madnes hath so mazd mens minds, that they cānot forsée,
The wretched ends of catives vile, which work by treacherie?
To overthrowe the blessed state, of happie common wealth,
or to deprive their soveraigne prince, of her long wished health.
If feare of God and of his lawes, were clearelie out of minde,
If feare of death (by Princes lawes) might not their dueties binde?
If vtter ruine of the Realme, and spoile of guiltlesse blood?
Might not suffice to stay the rage, of traitors cruell moode?
Yet, might they well consider, howe treasons come to nought,
And alwaies worke their overthrowe, by whom they first were wrought
And what they have pretended, that should on others light,
Hath happened on their cursed corpes, and them confounded quight.
Examples many have bene shewen, which plainly doe expresse,
How never traitor could prevaile, in that his wickednesse.

From: Kempe, William, A dutiful invective, against the moste haynous treasons of Ballard and Babington with other their adherents, latelie executed. Together, with the horrible attempts and actions of the Q. of Scottes and the sentence pronounced against her at Fodderingay. Newlie compiled and set foorth, in English verses: for a New yeares gifte to all loyall English subiects, 2003, Text Creation Partnership: Ann Arbor, Michigan and Oxford, p. [unnumbered].

Date: 1587

By: William Kempe (d. 1603)

Friday, 22 June 2018

In the Summer by Nizar Tawfiq Qabbani

In the summer
I stretch out on the shore
And think of you
Had I told the sea
What I felt for you,
It would have left its shores,
Its shells,
Its fish,
And followed me.


Date: 19?? (original in Arabic); 1996 (translation in English)

By: Nizar Tawfiq Qabbani (1923-1998)

Translated by: Bassam Frangieh (1949- ) and Clementina R. Brown (19??- )

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Rain by Donald (Don) Paterson

I love all films that start with rain:
rain, braiding a windowpane
or darkening a hung-out dress
or streaming down her upturned face;

one long thundering downpour
right through the empty script and score
before the act, before the blame,
before the lens pulls through the frame

to where the woman sits alone
beside a silent telephone
or the dress lies ruined on the grass
or the girl walks off the overpass,

and all things flow out from that source
along their fatal watercourse.
However bad or overlong
such a film can do no wrong,

so when his native twang shows through
or when the boom dips into view
or when her speech starts to betray
its adaptation from the play,

I think to when we opened cold
on a rain-dark gutter, running gold
with the neon of a drugstore sign,
and I’d read into its blazing line:

forget the ink, the milk, the blood—
all was washed clean with the flood
we rose up from the falling waters
the fallen rain’s own sons and daughters

and none of this, none of this matters.


Date: 2008

By: Donald (Don) Paterson (1963- )

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

In the Mid-Midwinter by Elizabeth (Liz) Anne Lochhead

after John Donne’s ‘A Nocturnal on St Lucy’s Day’

At midday on the year’s midnight
into my mind came
I saw the new moon late yestreen
wi the auld moon in her airms
though, no,
there is no moon of course—
there’s nothing very much to speak of anything to speak of
in the sky except a gey dreich greyness
rain-laden over Glasgow and today
there is the very least of even this for us to get
the light comes back
the light always comes back
and this begins tomorrow with
however many minutes more of sun and serotonin.

there will be the winter moon for us to love the longest,
fat in the frosty sky among the sharpest stars,
and lines of old songs we can’t remember
why we know
or when first we heard them
will aye come back
once in a blue moon to us

and bless us with their long-travelled light.


Date: 2016

By: Elizabeth (Liz) Anne Lochhead (1947- )

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Mother’s Day by David Young

 —for my children

I see her doing something simple, paying bills,
or leafing through a magazine or book,
and wish that I could say, and she could hear,

that now I start to understand her love
for all of us, the fullness of it.

It burns there in the past, beyond my reach,
a modest lamp.


Date: 2011

By: David Young (1936- )

Monday, 18 June 2018

Poems for Parting: 2 by Du Mu

Too much love
somehow became
no love at all

over this farewell bottle
we can’t manage
even a friendly smile

only the candle
seems to be able
to generate some feeling

all night
it weeps
little wax tears.


Date: c840 (original); 2005 (translation)

By: Du Mu (803-852)

Translated by: David Young (1936- ) and Jiann I. Lin (19??- )

Sunday, 17 June 2018

On Seeing a Dead Man When Crossing the Pass of Ashigara by Tanabe no Sakimaro

Your loving wife
No doubt spread out and bleached the threads
For your white hempen robe
Upon the brushwood fence that stood about
Your modern eastern home.
Perhaps she wove that robe for you to wear
In your labors for the court.
You must have toiled long, not stopping to untie
Your hempen belt for sleep,
But winding it more tightly round your waist
Girded yourself not once but thrice.
And then at last you earned a few brief days,
Time to set out for your home,
Thinking to see your parents and your wife.
At last you reached the east—
Land of crowing cocks—you reached this pass,
Awesome abode of gods.

But in such rugged mountains
Your softly woven robe
Could not have kept your wasted body warm;
For you look cold,
With your hair as lustrous black
As jewels of jet
Lying loose and tangled round about you.
Though I speak to you
To ask about your native land,
You do not reply;
And though I ask you of your home,
You do not speak,
But lie outstretched, courageous man,
Asleep forever on your journey home.

From: Miner, Earl, An Introduction to Japanese Court Poetry, 1968, Stanford University Press: Stanford, California, p. 57.

Date: c740 (original in Japanese); 1968 (translation in English)

By: Tanabe no Sakimaro (fl. 740s)

Translated by: Earl Roy Miner (1927-2004)

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Upon a Small Bath by Damocharis the Grammarian

Why should little things be blamed?
Little things for grace are famed.
Love, the winged and the wild,
Love is but a little child.

From: Wellesley, Henry, Anthologia Polyglotta. A Selection of Versions in Various Languages, Chiefly from the Greek Anthology, 1849, John Murray: London, p. 259.

Date: c6th century (original in Greece); c1845 (translation in English)

By: Damocharis the Grammarian (c6th century)

Translated by: Thomas Percival Rogers (1821-1888)

Friday, 15 June 2018

What Now? by Gary Anthony Soto

Where did the shooting stars go?
They flit across my childhood sky
And by my teens I no longer looked upward—
My face instead peered through the windshield
Of my first car, or into the rearview mirror,
All the small tragedies behind me,
The road and the road’s curve up ahead.

The shooting stars?
At night, I now look upward—
Jets and single-prop planes.
No brief light, nothing to wish for,
The neighbor’s security light coming on.

Big white moon on the hill,
Lantern on gravestones,
You don’t count.


Date: 2016

By: Gary Anthony Soto (1952- )