[1] A Winter Shrub by William Bronk

 

Only bones are as bare as sumach

with its leaves gone. Every leaf was a branch.

 

Remember sumach in summer with its leaves

fern-soft, and its high fruit

 

Blood-warm in color. Sumach in autumn

was a sustained intensity, purple-red.

 

Winter defines the frame of color.

Here are the antlered bones.


 

[2] Nothing to Save by D.H. Lawrence

There is nothing to save, now all is lost,

But a tiny core of stillness in the heart

Like the eye of a violet.

 

[3] Lines for Winter by Mark Strand

Tell yourself

as it gets cold and gray falls from the air

that you will go on

walking, hearing

the same tune no matter where

you find yourself—

inside the dome of dark

or under the cracking white

of the moon's gaze in a valley of snow.

Tonight as it gets cold

tell yourself

what you know which is nothing

but the tune your bones play

as you keep going. And you will be able

for once to lie down under the small fire

of winter stars.

And if it happens that you cannot

go on or turn back

and you find yourself

where you will be at the end,

tell yourself

in that final flowing of cold through your limbs

that you love what you are.



[4] Februarizon/February Sun by Paul Rodenko (translated by James S. Holmes)

 

Februarizon

February Sun

Weer gaat de wereld als een meisjeskamer open

het straatgebeuren zeilt uit witte verten aan

arbeiders bouwen met aluinen handen aan

een raamloos huis van trappen en piano's.

De populieren werpen met een schoolse nijging

elkaar een bal vol vogelstemmen toe

en héél hoog schildert een onzichtbaar vliegtuig

helblauwe bloemen op helblauwe zijde.

 

De zon speelt aan mijn voeten als een ernstig kind.

Ik draag het donzen masker van

de eerste lentewind.

Again the world goes open like a girl’s room

from white remotenesses street scenes come sailing up

workers with alum hands are building

a windowless house of stairways and pianos.

The poplars with a schoolboy inclination

toss each other a ball full of bird voices

and way up high an invisible airplane

paints bright blue flowers on bright blue silk.

 

The sun plays at my feet like a serious child.

 I wear the downy mask of

 the first spring breeze.

 



[5] Tadeusz Dabrowski

 

****

 ****

czym różni się milczenie
puste od znaczącego

głębokie od pustego
jasne od ciemnego 

milczenie celne od milczenia
jak kulą w płot 

tobą

what distinguishes empty
silence from meaningful

profound from shallow
bright from dark

silence on target
from silence off key 

is you


 

[6Nazajutrz - bez nas / The Day After — Without Us by Wisława Szymborska (translated by Clare Cavanagh and Stanislaw Barańczak)

 

Nazajutrz - bez nas

The Day After — Without Us

Poranek spodziewany jest chłodny i mglisty.

Od zachodu

zaczną przemieszczać się deszczowe chmury.

Widoczność będzie słaba.

Szosy śliskie.

 

Stopniowo, w ciągu dnia,

pod wpływem klina wyżowego od północy

możliwe już lokalne przejaśnienia.

Jednak przy wietrze silnym i zmiennym w porywach

mogą wystąpić burze.

 

W nocy

rozpogodzenie prawie w całym kraju,

tylko na południowym wschodzie

niewykluczone opady.

Temperatura znacznie się obniży,

za to ciśnienie wzrośnie.

 

Kolejny dzień

zapowiada się słonecznie,

choć tym, co ciągle żyją

przyda się jeszcze parasol.

The morning is expected to be cool and foggy.

Rainclouds

will move in from the west.

Poor visibility.

Slick highways.

 

Gradually as the day progresses

high pressure fronts from the north

make local sunshine likely.

Due to winds, though, sometimes strong and gusty,

sun may give way to storms.

 

At night

clearing across the country,

with a slight chance of precipitation

inly in the southeast.

Temperatures will drop sharply,

while barometric readings rise.

 

Tpe next day

Promises to be sunny,

although those still living

should bring umbrellas.

 

[7] Myśli nawiedzające mnie na ruchliwych ulicach / Thoughts That Visit Me on Busy Streets by Wisława Szymborska (Translated by Clare Cavanagh and Stanislaw Barańczak)

 

Myśli nawiedzające mnie na ruchliwych ulicach

 Thoughts That Visit Me on Busy Streets

Twarze.

Miliardy twarzy na powierzchni świata.

Podobno każda inna

od tych, co były i będą.

Ale Natura - bo kto ją tam wie -

może zmęczona bezustanną pracą

powtarza swoje dawniejsze pomysły

i nakłada nam twarze

kiedyś już noszone.

 

Może cię mija Archimedes w dżinsach,

caryca Katarzyna w ciuchu z wyprzedaży,

któryś faraon z teczką, w okularach.

 

Wdowa po bosym szewcu

z malutkiej jeszcze Warszawy,

mistrz z groty Altamiry

z wnuczkami do zoo,

kudłaty Wandal w drodze do muzeum

pozachwycać się trochę.

 

Jacyś polegli dwieście wieków temu,

pięć wieków temu

i pół wieku temu.

 

Ktoś przewożony tędy złoconą karetą,

ktoś wagonem zagłady.

 

Montezuma, Konfucjusz, Nabuchodonozor,

ich piastunki, ich praczki i Semiramida,

rozmawiająca tylko po angielsku.

 

Miliardy twarzy na powierzchni świata.

Twarz twoja, moja, czyja -

nigdy się nie dowiesz.

Może Natura oszukiwać musi,

i żeby zdążyć, i żeby nastarczyć

zaczyna łowić to, co zatopione

w zwierciadle niepamięci.

Faces.

Billions of faces on the earth’s surface.

Each different , so we’re told,

from those that have been and will be.

But Nature—and who really understands her?—

may grow tired from her ceaseless labors

and so repeats earlier ideas

by supplying us

with preworn faces.

 

Those passerby might be Archimedes in jeans,

Catherine the Great in resale,

some pharaoh with briefcase and glasses.

 

A unshod shoemaker’s widow

from a still pint-sized small Warsaw,

the master from the cave of Altamira

taking his grand kids to the zoo,

a shaggy Vandal en route to a museum

to gasp at past masters.

 

The fallen from two hundred centuries ago,

five centuries ago

half a century ago.

 

One brought here in a golden carriage,

Another conveyed by extermination transport,

 

Montezuma, Confucius, Nebuchadnezzar,

their nannies, their laundresses and Semiramida

who only speaks English.

 

Billions of faces on the earth’s surface.

My face, yours, whose—

you’ll never know.

Maybe Nature has to shortchange us,

and to keep up, meet demand

she fishes up what’s been sunk

in the mirror of oblivion.

 

 

[8] Przykład/ Example by Wisława Symborska (translated by Clare Cavanagh and Stanislaw )

 

Przykład

Example

Wichur
zdarła nocą wszystkie liście z drzewa
oprócz listka jednego
pozostawionego,
zeby się kiwał solo na gołej gałęzi.


Na tym przykładzie
Przemoc demonstruje,
że owszem –
pożartować sobie czasem lubi

A gale
stripped all the leaves from the trees last night
except for one leaf
left
to sway solo on a naked branch.

With this example
Violence demonstrates
That yes of course —
it like its little joke from time to time.

 

 

[9] Niebo / Sky  by Wisława Symborska (translated by Clare Cavanagh and Stanislaw Barańczak)

 

Niebo

Sky

 Od tego trzeba było zacząć: niebo.

Okno bez parapetu, bez futryn, bez szyb.

Otwór i nic poza nim, 

Ale otwarty szeroko.

 

 Nie muszę czekać na pogodną noc,

ani zadzierać głowy, 

żeby przyjrzeć się niebu. 

Niebo mam za plecami, pod ręką i na powiekach. 

Niebo owija mnie szczelnie 

i unosi od spodu.

  

Nawet najwyższe gory 

nie są bliżej nieba 

niż najgłębsze doliny. 

Na żadnym miejscu nie ma go więcej 

niż w innym. 

Obłok równie bezwzględnie 

przywalony jest niebem co grób. 

Kret równie wniebowzięty 

jak sowa chwiejąca skrzydłami. 

Rzecz, która spada w przepaść, 

spada z nieba w niebo. 

 

Sypkie, płynne, skaliste, 

rozpłomienione i lotne 

połacie nieba, okruszyny nieba, 

podmuchy nieba i sterty. 

Niebo jest wszechobecne 

nawet w ciemnościach pod skórą. 
 

Zjadam niebo, wydalam niebo. 

Jestem pułapką w pułapce,

 zamieszkiwanym mieszkańcem, 

obejmowanym objęciem, 

pytaniem w odpowiedzi na pytanie. 

 

Podzial na ziemię i niebo 

to nie jest właściwy sposób 

myślenia o tej całości. 

Pozwala tylko przeżyć 

pod dokładniejszym adresem, 

szybszym do znalezienia do znalezienia, 

jeślibym była szukana. 

Moje znaki szczególne 

to zachwyt i rozpacz

 

I should have begun with this: the sky.

A window minus sill, frame, and panes.

An aperture, nothing more,

but wide open.

 

I don’t have to wait for a starry night,

I don’t have to crane my neck

to get a look at it.

I’ve got the sky behind my back, at hand, and on my eyelids.

The sky binds me tight

and sweeps me off my feet.

 

Even the highest mountains

are not closer to the sky

than the deepest valleys.

There’s no more of it one place

than another.

It crushes clouds as ruthlessly

as graves.

A mole is no less in seventh heaven

than an owl spreading her wings.

The object that falls in an abyss

falls from sky to sky.

 

Grainy, gritty, liquid,

inflamed, or volatile

patches of sky, specks of sky,

gusts and heaps of sky.

The sky is everywhere,

even in the dark beneath your skin.

 

I eat the sky, I excrete the sky,

I’m a trap within a trap,

an inhabited inhabitant,

an embrace embraced,

a question answering a question.

 

Division into sky and earth —

it’s not the proper way

to contemplate this wholeness.

It simply lets me go on living

at a more exact address

where I can be reached promptly

if I’m sought.

My identifying features

are rapture and despair.

 

 

[10]   San Martino del Carso by Giuseppe Ungaretti

 

 

 

Di queste case

non è rimasto

che qualche

brandello di muro

Di tanti

che mi corrispondevano

non è rimasto

neppure tanto

Ma nel cuore

nessuna croce manca

E’ il mio cuore

il paese più straziato

 

 

Nothing is left

of these houses

but a few

tatters of wall

 

Out of the many people

who used to be like me

not even

that much is left

 

But in my heart

there is no shortage of crosses

 

My heart is the village

most smashed to pieces

 

[11] Blaue Hortensie / Blue Hydrangea by Rainer Maria Rilke (translated by William Gass)

 

Blaue Hortensie

Blue Hydrangea

So wie das letzte Grün in Farbentiegeln

sind diese Blätter, trocken, stumpf und rauh,

hinter den Blütendolden, die ein Blau

nicht auf sich tragen, nur von ferne spiegeln.

 

Sie spiegeln es verweint und ungenau,

als wollten sie es wiederum verlieren,

und wie in alten blauen Briefpapieren

ist Gelb in ihnen, Violett und Grau;

 

Verwaschnes wie an einer Kinderschürze,

Nichtmehrgetragnes, dem nichts mehr geschieht:

wie fühlt man eines kleinen Lebens Kürze.

 

Doch plötzlich scheint das Blau sich zu verneuen

in einer von den Dolden, und man sieht

ein rührend Blaues sich vor Grünem freuen

Like the green that cakes in a pot of paint,

these leaves are dry, dull and rough

behind this billow of blooms whose blue

is not their own but reflected from far away

 

in a mirror dimmed by tears and vague,

as if it wished them to disappear agin

the way in old blue writing paper,

yellow shows, then violet and gray;

 

A washed-out color as in children’s clothes

which, no longer worn, no more can happen to:

how much it makes you feel a small life’s brevity.

 

But suddenly the blue shines quite renewed

within one cluster, we can see

a touching blue rejoice before the green

 

[12Eternal Beginner by Alma Aquilino

Each year

he makes resolutions,

alcoholically earnest.

He errs

and turns over a new leaf

until,

in retrospect,

he see his life

a vision of pages

thumbed slightly

turned idly

torn and

blank.


[13] Crumbling is not an instant's Act by Emily Dickinson


Crumbling is not an instant's Act

A fundamental pause

Dilapidation's processes

Are organized Decays.

 

'Tis first a Cobweb on the Soul

A Cuticle of Dust

A Borer in the Axis

An Elemental Rust—

 

Ruin is formal—Devil's work

Consecutive and slow—

Fail in an instant, no man did

Slipping—is Crash's law.



[14] Tomorrow Will Be the Same Day by Abdellatif Laàbi (translated by Pierre Joris)

 

Demain sera le même jour  

 Tomorrow Will Be the Same Day

Demain
sera le même jour
Je n’aurai vécu que quelques instants
le front collé à la vitre
pour accueillir le carrousel du crépuscule
J’aurai étouffé un cri
car personne ne l’aura entendu
en ce désert
Je me serai mis
dans la position du fœtus
sur le siège de ma vieille solitude
J’aurai attendu
que mon verre se vide à moitié
pour y déceler le goût du fiel
Je me serai vu
le lendemain
me réveillant et vaquant
Atrocement semblable
Tomorrow
will be the same day
I will have lived but a few instants
forehead glued to the window pane
to welcome dusk's merry-go-round
I will have stifled a cry
because nobody will have heard it
in this desert
I will have curled up
in fetal position
on the seat of my old solitude
I will have waited
for my heart to be half empty

to detect there a taste of bile
I will have seen myself
the next day
waking up and going about
atrociously similar

 

 

[15] Not What Was by Langston Hughes

 

By then the poetry is written

And the wild rose of the world

Blooms to last so short a time

Before its petals fall.

The air is music

And its melody a spiral

Until it widens

Beyond the tip of  time

And so is lost

To poetry and the rose —

Belongs instead to vastness beyond form,

To universe that nothing can contain,

To unexplored space

Which sends no answers back

To fill the vase unfilled

Or spread in lines

Upon another page —

That anyhow was never written

Because the thought could not escape

The place in which it bloomed

Before the rose had gone.

 

 

[16] In July by Giuseppe Ungaretti

 

Di luglio

 

Quando su ci si butta lei,

Si fa d'un triste colore di rosa

Il bel fogliame.

 

Strugge forre, beve fiumi,

Macina scogli, splende,

È' furia che s'ostina, è l'implacabile,

Sparge spazio, acceca mete,

E' l'estate e nei secoli

Con i suoi occhi calcinanti

Va della terra spogliando lo scheletro.

In July

 

When she hurls herself at it headlong,

The lovely foliage

Turns a sad shade of rose.

 

She liquefies ravines, drinks rivers,

Crushes crags, shines,

She’s fury that won’t let up, she’s unappeasable,

She scatters space, blinds purpose,

She’s summer and over centuries

With calcining eyes

She goes about stripping the earth’s skeleton.

 

 

[17]  Floating by Eugenio Montale

 

A Galla

 

Chiari mattini

quando l'azzurro è inganno che non illude,

crescere immenso di vita,
fiumana che non ha ripe né sfocio
e va per sempre,
e sta - infinitamente.


Sono allora i rumori delle strade

l'incrinatura nel vetro
o la pietra che cade
nello specchio del lago e lo corrùga.
E il vocìo dei ragazzi
e il chiacchiericcio liquido dei passeri
che tra le gronde svolano
sono tralicci d'oro
su un fondo vivo di cobalto,
effimeri...

Ecco, è perduto nella rete di echi,

nel soffio di pruina
che discende sugli alberi sfoltiti
e ne deriva un murmure
d'irrequieta marina,
tu quasi vorresti, e ne tremi,
intento cuore disfarti,
non pulsar più! Ma sempre che lo invochi,
più netto batti come
orologio traudito in una stanza
d'albergo al primo rompere dell'aurora.
E senti allora,
se pure ti ripetono che puoi
fermarti a mezza via o in alto mare,
che non c'è sosta per noi,
ma strada, ancora strada,

e che il cammino è sempre da ricominciare.

Floating

 

Bright mornings,

when the blue is a deceit that doesn’t fool,

immense expansion of life,

torrent with no banks, no mouth

that runs forever

and stays—unendingly.

 

Now there are the noises in the streets

the crack in the glass

or the rock that falls

in the mirror of the lake and furrows it.

And the shouting of the boys

and the liquid chatter of the sparrows

fluttering in the eaves

are trellises of gold

on a living cobalt ground,

ephemeral…

 

Look, and lost in the net of echoes,

in  the breath of frost

that falls on the thinned trees

and draws from them

a murmur of restless shore

you could almost, and it makes you quiver,

fervent heart, dissolve,

and not go on!  But always when you plead for this

you beat stronger,

like a clock misheard in a hotel room

at the first breaking of dawn.

And you feel then,

even if they keep saying you can halt

halfway, or on the sea,

that there’s no rest for us,

only street, more street,

 

and always the journey to begin again.

 

 

[18]  Mar/Ocean by Federico García Lorca

 

 Mar

 

El mar es

el Lucifer del azul.

El cielo caído

por querer ser la luz.

 

¡Pobre mar condenado

a eterno movimiento,

habiendo antes estado

quieto en el firmamento!

 

Pero de tu amargura

te redimió el amor.

Pariste a Venus pura,

y quedose tu hondura

virgen y sin dolor.

 

Tus tristezas son bellas,

mar de espasmos gloriosos.

Mas hoy en vez de estrellas

tienes pulpos verdosos.

 

Aguanta tu sufrir,

formidable Satán.

Cristo anduvo por ti,

mas también lo hizo Pan.

 

La estrella Venus es

la armonía del mundo.

¡Calle el Eclesiastés!

Venus es lo profundo del alma...

 

...Y el hombre miserable

es un ángel caído.

La tierra es el probable

Paraíso Perdido.

Ocean

The ocean is

the Lucifer of blue.

The sky fallen

for wanting to be light.

 

Poor ocean, damned

to endless movement,

who once stood still

in the firmament!

 

But love redeemed you

from your bitterness.

You bore pure Venus,

and your depths were virgin

and felt no pain.

 

Your sadness is beautiful,

ocean of glorious spasms.

But today you have green octopi

instead of stars.

 

Suffer in patience,

formidable Satan.

Christ walked on you

but so did Pan.

 

Venus, the star,

is the world’s harmony

(Silence, Ecclesiates!),

the depth of the soul…

 

…and wretched man

is a fallen angel.

The earth is probably

paradise lost

 

 

[19]  Ornières / Ruts  by Arthur Rimbaud (translation by John Ashbery)

 

À droite l'aube d'été éveille les feuilles et les vapeurs et les bruits de ce coin du parc, et les talus de gauche tiennent dans leur ombre violette les mille rapides ornières de la route humide. Défilé de féeries. En effet : des chars chargés d'animaux de bois doré, de mâts et de toiles bariolées, au grand galop de vingt chevaux de cirque tachetés, et les enfants, et les hommes, sur leurs bêtes les plus étonnantes ; —vingt véhicules, bossés, pavoisés et fleuris comme des carrosses anciens ou de contes, pleins d'enfants attifés pour une pastorale suburbaine. — Même des cercueils sous leur dais de nuit dressant les panaches d'ébène, filant au trot des grandes juments bleues et noires. 

On the right summer dawn wakens the leaves and vapors and sounds of this corner of the park, and the embankments on the left hold within their purple shadows the thousand rapid ruts of the damp road.  Parade of enchantments.  Indeed: parade floats covered with gilded wooden animals, masts and multicolored canvas backdrops, drawn by twenty dappled circus horses at full gallop,  and children and men on the most amazing beasts; —- twenty vehicles, embossed, flag-draped and decked with flowers like old-fashioned or fairy-tale coaches, filled with children costumed for a suburban pastoral: — Even coffins under their canopy of night brandishing ebony plumes, fleeing to the sound of huge blue and black mares’ hooves.

 

 

[20]  Illalle,  by Auksti Valdemar (Forsman) Koskiemies

 

Illalle

Oi, terve! tumma,
vieno tähti-ilta,

sun haaveellista
hartauttas lemmin
ja suortuvaisi yötä
sorjaa hemmin,
mi hulmuaapi
kulmais kuulamilta.

Kun oisit, ilta,
oi, se tenhosilta,
mi sielun multa
siirtäis lentoisammin
pois aatteen maille
itse kun ma emmin,
ja siip' ei kanna aineen kahlehilta!


Ja itse oisin miekkoinen
se päivä,
mi uupuneena saisin
luokses liitää,

kun tauonnut on yö

ja puuha räivä,

kun mustasiipi yö jo silmään siitää
ja laaksot, vuoret
verhoo harmaa häivä -
oi, ilta armas,
silloin luokses kiitää!

 

To Evening

Come, gentle evening,

Come in starlit splendour!

Your fragrant hair so soft

And darkly gleaming!

Oh, let me feel it round
My forehead streaming!

Let me be wrapped in silence,

Warm and tender!

Across your bridge of maic,

Smooth and slender.
My soul would travel towards
A land of dreaming.

No longer burdened,

Sad or heavy seeming.
The care of life I'd willingly surrender!

 

The light itself whose bonds

You daily sever,

Would flee, exhaused,
Seeking out those places

Where your soft hand all toil

And strain erases.

 

And, weary of life's clamour

And endeavour

I too have greatly yearned

For your embraces

Oh, quiet evening, let me rest foever.

 

 
[21]  Without Colors by Gerrit Kouwenaar (translated by Koos Schuur)

 

zonder kleuren

 

Kleuren -- het komt nog zo ver

dat ik ze afzweer:

het mannelijk blauw, bet vrouwelijk rood

het kinderlijk geel

het gezonde luidruchtige groen

het verongelijkt paars, het sluipende rose

dat zijn vader en moeder bedriegt

met tedere leugens en zich ongevraagd

in het mokkende zwart uitstrekt

het zwart dat domweg voor nacht speelt

en het wit, behaarde

illusie van niets

 

het komt nog zo ver

dat ik met een pen met kleurloze inkt

de man en de vrouw en het kind

het gezonde seizoen en de schoppende grafrand

het sluipende vlees en de weerzijds

elkander slopende raven en nevels

openleg meng en vereeuwig

 

zoals een blinde

 

zoals een blinde niet ziet

wat men zegt dat er is

maar zegt wat hij tast en betwijfelt --

Without Colors 


Colors—the time will come

that I’ll abjure them:

masculine blue, feminine red

childlike yellow

healthy boisterous green

aggrieved purple, creeping pink

deceiving its father and mother

with gentle lies and unrequested

stretching into sulking black

black simply playing the part of night

and white, hairy

illusion of nothing


the time will come

that with pen and colorless ink

I shall lay open mix and immortalize

the man the woman the child

the healthy season and the shoveling grave’s edge

the creeping flesh and mutual

demolition of ravens and mists


as a blind man


as a blind man does not see

what is said to be there

but says what he touches and doubts

 

 

[22] The Idea of Order at Key West  by Wallace Stevens

 

She sang beyond the genius of the sea.

The water never formed to mind or voice,

Like a body wholly body, fluttering

Its empty sleeves; and yet its mimic motion

Made constant cry, caused constantly a cry,

That was not ours although we understood,

Inhuman, of the veritable ocean.

Ramon Fernandez, tell me, if you know,

Why, when the singing ended and we turned

Toward the town, tell why the glassy lights,

The lights in the fishing boats at anchor there,

As night descended, tilting in the air,

Mastered the night and portioned out the sea,

Fixing emblazoned zones and fiery poles,

Arranging, deepening, enchanting night.

 

 

The sea was not a mask.  No more was she.

The song and water were not medleyed sound

Even if what she sang was what she heard.

Since what she sang was uttered word by word.

It may be that in all her phrases stirred

The grinding water and the gasping wind;

But it was she and not the sea we heard.

Oh!  Blessed rage for order, pale Ramon,

The maker's rage to order words of the sea,

Words of the fragrant portals, dimly-starred,

And of ourselves and of our origins,

In ghostlier demarcations, keener sounds.

 

 

 

For she was the maker of the song she sang.

The ever-hooded, tragic-gestured sea

Was merely a place by which she walked to sing.

Whose spirit is this?  we said, because we knew

It was the spirit that we sought and knew

That we should ask this often as she sang.

 

 

If it was only the dark voice of the sea

That rose, or even colored by many waves;

If it was only the outer voice of sky

And cloud, of the sunken coral water-walled,

However clear, it would have been deep air,

The heaving speech of air, a summer sound

Repeated in a summer without end

And sound alone.  But it was more than that,

More even than her voice, and ours, among

The meaningless plungings of water and the wind,

Theatrical distances, bronze shadows heaped

On high horizons, mountainous atmospheres

Of sky and sea.

                     It was her voice that made

The sky acutest at its vanishing.

She measured to the hour its solitude.

She was the single artificer of the world

In which she sang.  And when she sang, the sea,

Whatever self it had, became the self

That was her song, for she was the maker.  Then we,

As we beheld her striding there alone,

Knew that there never was a world for her

Except the one she sang and, singing, made.

 

 

 

[23]  There is Rain in Me by DH Lawrence

 

There is rain in me

running down, running down, trickling

away from memory.

 

There is ocean in me

swaying, swaying O, so deep

so fathomlessly black

and spurting suddenly up, snow-white, like snow leopards

rearing

high and clawing with rage at the cliffs of the soul

then disappearing back with a hiss

of eternal salt rage; angry is old ocean within a man.

 

 

 

[24]  Man Carrying Thing by Wallace Stevens

 

The poem must resist the intelligence

Almost successfully. Illustration:

 

A brune figure in winter evening resists

Identity. The thing he carries resists

 

The most necessitous sense. Accept them, then,

As secondary (parts not quite perceived

 

Of the obvious whole, uncertain particles

Of the certain solid, the primary free from doubt,

 

Things floating like the first hundred flakes of snow

Out of a storm we must endure all night,

 

Out of a storm of secondary things),

A horror of thoughts that suddenly are real.

 

We must endure our thoughts all night, until

The bright obvious stands motionless in cold.



[25]   Pieces by Wallace Stevens

 

 

Tinsel in February, tinsel in August.

There are things in a man besides his reason.

Come home, wind, he kept crying and crying.

 

Snow glistens in its instant in the air,

Instant of the millefiori bluely magnified—

Come home, wind, he said as he climbed the

      stair —

 

Crystal on crystal until crystal clouds

Become an over-crystal out of ice,

Exhaling these creations of itself.

 

There is a sense in sounds beyond their meaning.

The tinsel of August falling was like a flame

That breathed on ground, more blue than red,

     more red

 

Than green, fidgets of all-related fire.

The wind is like a dog that runs away.

But it is like a horse.  It is like motion

 

That lives in space.  It is a person at night,

A member of the family, a tie,

An ethereal cousin, another milleman

 

 
[26]  From CXXXVI proverbs and cantos by Antonio Machado

 

Caminante, son tus huellas

el camino y nada más;

Caminante, no hay camino,

se hace camino al andar.

Al andar se hace el camino,

y al volver la vista atrás

se ve la senda que nunca

se ha de volver a pisar.

Caminante no hay camino

sino estelas en la mar.

Wanderer, your footsteps are

the road, and nothing more;

wanderer, there is no road,

the road is made by walking.

By walking one makes the road,

and upon glancing behind

one sees the path

that never will be trod again.

Wanderer, there is no road—

Only wakes upon the sea.

 


[27]  See Pensées sous les nuages/Clouded Skies by Philippe Jaccottet in Caws, 2004 (translation by Mark Treharne and David Constantine).
 

 

[28]  There was a man who lived a life of fire by Stephen Crane

 

There was a man who lived a life of fire.

Even upon the fabric of time,

Where purple becomes orange

And orange purple,

This life glowed,

A dire red stain, indelible;

Yet when he was dead,

He saw that he had not lived.  

 


[29] 
Each Small Gleam Was a Voice by Stephen Crane

 

Each small gleam was a voice,

A lantern voice –

In little songs of carmine, violet, green, gold.

A chorus of colours came over the water;

The wondrous leaf-shadow no longer wavered,

No pines crooned on the hills,

The blue night was elsewhere a silence,

When the chorus of colours came over the water,

Little songs of carmine, violet, green, gold.

Small glowing pebbles

Thrown on the dark plane of evening

Sing good ballads of God

And eternity, with soul's rest.

Little priests, little holy fathers,

None can doubt the truth of your hymning,

When the marvellous chorus comes over the water,

Songs of carmine, violet, green, gold.

 

 

[30]   In the Steps of the Moon by Philippe Jaccottet (translation by Edward Lucie-Smith)

 

Sur les pas de la lune

 

M'étant penché en cette nuit à la fenêtre,
je vis que le monde était devenu léger
et qu'il n'y avait plus d'obstacles. Tout ce qui
nous retient dans le jour semblait plutôt devoir
me porter maintenant d'une ouverture à l'autre
à l'interieur d'une demeure d'eau vers quelque chose
de très faible et de très lumineux comme l'herbe :
j'allais entrer dans l'herbe sans aucune peur,
j'allais rendre grâce à la fraîcheur de la terre,
sur les pas de la lune je dis oui et je m'en fus...

In the Steps of the Moon

 

Tonight, leaning at the window,

I saw that the world was weightless,

and its obstacles were gone.

All that holds us back in the daytime

seemed  bound to carry me now

from one opening to the other,

from within a house of water

towards something weak and bright

as the grass I was about to enter,

fearless, giving thanks for earth’s freshness,

in the steps of the moon I said

yes and then off I went..

 

 

[31]  Rain by Jorge Luis Borges (translation by Alastair Reid)

 

Lluvia

Rain 

 

Bruscamente la tarde se ha aclarado

Porque ya cae la lluvia minuciosa.

Cae o cayó. La lluvia es una cosa

Que sin duda sucede en el pasado.

 

Quien la oye caer ha recobrado

El tiempo en que la suerte venturosa

Le reveló una flor llamada rosa

Y el curioso color del colorado.

 

Esta lluvia que ciega los cristales

Alegrará en perdidos arrabales

Las negras uvas de una parra en cierto

 

Patio que ya no existe. La mojada

Tarde me trae la voz, la voz deseada,

De mi padre que vuelve y que no ha muerto.

 

Quite suddenly the evening clears at last

as now outside the soft small rain is falling.

Falling or fallen.  Rain itself is something

undoubtedly which happens in the past.

 

Whoever hears it falling has remembered

a time in which a curious twist of fate

brought back to him a flower whose name was “rose”

and the perplexing redness of its red.

 

This rain which spreads it blind across the pane

must also brighten in forgotten suburbs

the black grapes on a vine across a shrouded

 

patio no more.  The evening’s rain

brings me the voice, the dear voice of my father,

who comes back now, who never has been dead.

 

 

[32]  Green  by DH Lawrence 

 

The dawn was apple-green,

The sky was green wine held up in the sun,

The moon was a golden petal between

 

She opened her eyes, and green

They shone, clear like flowers undone

For the first time, now for the first time seen

 

 

[33]  Hollow of Light by Hans Andreus (translated by James S. Holmes)

 

Holte van licht

 

Tegen het lege praten.

 

Holte van licht.

 

Essentie die

het stralend gebrek

aan vorm en omtrek

blijft verhullen

 

voor ogen die willen

zien en niet kunnen.

 

Maar ik praat met mijn mond en

handen en hele

lijf er op in

 

totdat het spreekt,

antwoord

er uit losbreekt.

Hollow of Light

 

Talking to emptiness.

 

Hollow of light.

 

Essence that hides

and keeps on hiding

the radiant lack

of form and circumference

 

for eyes that want to

see and can’t.

 

But I talk to it

with my mouth and hands,

my entire body

 

until it speaks,

answers and

breaks free.

 

 

[34]  Beginning of Summer by Robert Melançon (translation by Philip Stratford)

 

Le Début de l’été

 

L’aurore se dissoudra

dans le bleu où tournera

le soleil.  Tu écoutes

les rumeurs de l’espace qui s’ébauche,

tu parcours des yeux l’arc visible,

les saccades de la claret rose

que fouille le vent.  Voici

juin: une lyre d’herbe.

Beginning of Summer

 

Dawn will dissolve

in the blue where the sun

turns.  Listen

to hints of space taking shape,

your eyes rove over the visible

arc and shock of the rosy light

sifted by the wind.  This is

June: a grass harp.

 

 

[35]  Rune 39 in The Kalevala 

 

 

[36]  Storm in the Black Forest by DH Lawrence

 

Now it is almost night, from the bronzey soft sky

jugfull after jugfull of pure white liquid fire, bright white

tipples over and spills down,

and is gone

and gold-bronze flutters beat through the thick upper air.

 

And as the electric liquid pours out, sometimes

a still brighter white snake wriggles among it, spilled

and tumbling wriggling down the sky :

and then the heavens cackle with uncouth sounds.

 

And the rain won’t come, the rain refuses to come!

 

This is the electricity that man is supposed to have mastered

chained, subjugated to his own use!

supposed to! 

 

 

[37]  Forecasting Spring by Rainer Maria Rilke

 

Hardness vanished.  Sudden sprigs are stealing

Through the meadows’ uninterrupted grey,

Little waters change their accent singing

Tiny tendernesses — inaccurately.

Reaching out of space, toward the earth, touching

Lanes that lead far into county — see

Unexpected, subtly mounting,

Expression in the empty tree.

  

 

[38]  Willow Poem by William Carlos Williams

  

It is a willow when summer is over,

a willow by the river

from which no leaf has fallen nor

bitten by the sun

turned orange or crimson.

The leaves cling and grow paler,

swing and grow paler

over the swirling waters of the river

as if loth to let go,

they are so cool, so drunk with

the swirl of the wind and of the river –

oblivious to winter,

the last to let go and fall

into the water and on the ground. 

 

 

[39]  Moving Forward by Rainer Maria Rilke 

 

The deep parts of my life pour onward,

as if the river shores were opening out.

It seems that things are more like me now,

That I can see farther into paintings.

I feel closer to what language can't reach.

With my senses, as with birds, I climb

into the windy heaven, out of the oak,

in the ponds broken off from the sky

my falling sinks, as if standing on fishes.

 

 

[40] There Was Set Before Me a Mighty Hill  by Stephen Crane

 

There was set before me a mighty hill,

And long days I climbed

Through regions of snow.

When I had before me the summit-view,

It seemed that my labour

Had been to see gardens

Lying at impossible distances.

 

 

[41]  Aube / Dawn by Arthur Rimbaud (translation by John Ashbery)

 

J’ai embrassé l’aube d’été.

 

Rien ne bougeait encore au front des palais. L’eau était morte. Les camps d’ombre ne quittaient pas la route du bois. J’ai marché, réveillant les haleines vives et tièdes, et les pierreries regardèrent, et les ailes se levèrent sans bruit.

 

La première entreprise fut, dans le sentier déjà empli de frais et blêmes éclats, une fleur qui me dit son nom.

 

Je ris au wasserfall blond qui s’échevela à travers les sapins : à la cime argentée je reconnus la déesse.

 

Alors je levai un à un les voiles. Dans l’allée, en agitant les bras. Par la plaine, où je l’ai dénoncée au coq. A la grand’ville elle fuyait parmi les clochers et les dômes, et courant comme un mendiant sur les quais de marbre, je la chassais.

 

En haut de la route, près d’un bois de lauriers, je l’ai entourée avec  ses voiles amasses, et j’ai senti un peu son immense corps.  L’aube et l’enfant tombèrent au bas du bois.

 

Au réveil il était midi.

 

I embraced the summer dawn.

 

Nothing was moving yet on the façades of palaces.  The water was still.  Encampments of shadows still lingered along the road through the woods. I walked, waking living and warm breaths, and jewels looked on, and wings arose noiselessly.

 

The first undertaking, in the pathway already filled with fresh, pale sparkles, was a flower which told me its name.

 

I laughed at the blond wasserfall disheveling itself through the pines: at its silver summit, I recognized the goddess.

 

Then I lifted the veils one by one.  In the pathway, gesticulating.  On the plain, where I denounced her to the cock.  In the great city, she fled among the steeples and domes, and running like a beggar along the marble quays, I chased her.

 

Farther up the road, near the laurel grove, I wrapped her in the veils I had collected, and I felt, a little, her immense body.  Dawn and child fell to the bottom of the wood.

 

When I awoke it was noon.

 


[42]  Sunset by Rainer Maria Rilke (translation by Robert Bly) 

 

Abend 

 

Der Abend wechselt langsam die Gewänder,  

die ihm ein Rand von alten Bäumen hält;  

du schaust: und von dir scheiden sich die Länder,  

ein himmelfahrendes und eins, das fällt;  

  

und lassen dich, zu keinem ganz gehörend,  

nicht ganz so dunkel wie das Haus, das schweigt,  

nicht ganz so sicher Ewiges beschwörend  

wie das, was Stern wird jede Nacht und steigt –  

  

und lassen dir (unsäglich zu entwirrn)  

dein Leben bang und riesenhaft und reifend,  

so dass es, bald begrenzt und bald begreifend,  

abwechselnd Stein in dir wird und Gestirn.  

Sunset  

  

Slowly the west reaches for clothes of new colours 

which it passes to a row of ancient trees. 

You look, and soon these two worlds both leave you, 

one part climbs toward heaven, one sinks to earth, 

  

leaving you, not really belonging to either, 

not so helplessly dark as that house that is silent, 

not so unswervingly given to the eternal as that thing 

that turns to a star each night and climbs —

 

leaving you (it is impossible to untangle the threads)

your own life, timid and standing high and growing,

so that, sometimes blocked in, sometimes reaching out,

one moment your life is a stone in you, and the next, a star.

 


[43]  See Sea Surface Full of Clouds by Wallace Stevens