Is this what dying is for? Jaime Sabines, ¿Para esto morir? #mexico #poetryisjustawesome

From: A Few Words On The Death of Major Sabines by Jaime Sabines. Rest in peace Tommie.

Is this what dying is for?
To invent the soul,
God’s frock, eternity, the water
in the fountain of death, hope?
To die so one can fish?
To trap the spider in a web?

The wind blew past. The uncovered well and the blighted root
were all that remained of the house.
And there’s no point in crying. And if you pound
on the walls of God, and if you pull out
your hair or rip your shirt,
no one will ever hear you, no one will see you.
No one, nothing comes back. The golden
dust of life will not return.

Algo Sobre la Muerte de Mayor Sabines

¿Para esto morir?
¿para inventar el alma,
el vestido de Dios, la eternidad, el agua
del aguacero de la muerte, la esperanza?,
¿morir para pescar?
¿para atrapar con su red a la araña?

Pasó el viento. Quendaron de la casa
el pozo abierto y la raíz en ruinas.
Y es en vano llorar. Y si golpeas
las paredes de Dios, y si te arrancas
el pelo o la camisa,
nadie te oye jamás, nadie te mira.
No vuelve nadie, nada. No retorna
el polvo de oro de la vida.

From: Pinholes in the Night, essential poems from Latin America. Selected by Raul Zurita, edited by Forrest Gander.

USED and NEW: Pinholes in the Night at Abebooks.com.

Making cow eyes. For the love of cows. Cowscowscows “Cows” by Peter Kocan! #Valentines #poetryisjustawesome

Cows by Peter Kocan

Cows graze across the hill,
Measuring the day
As their shadows tell
Irrelevant time. Their gait is half-way
Between moving and standing still.

The sun is gentle on the green
Of their meadow, their mouths deep
In its heavy warmth,
A watcher could fall asleep
In the depth
Of that untroubled scene.

From each dewdrop morning
To every day’s end
They follow the cycle
Of the rhythm of the world turning
In its season. A miracle
Of normalcy is a cow’s mind.

Beyond thought’s prickling fever
They dwell in the grace
Of their own true concerns,
And in that place
Know they will live forever
With butterflies around their horns.

More about Kocan:http://evidenceanecdotal.blogspot.ca/2013/05/a-miracle-of-normalcy-is-cows-mind.html

“There is a field near the main kitchen where cows from the hospital dairy graze. There’s a peacefulness about cows.

At weekends you take a book and sit under the tree near the field and read a little and listen to music on your transistor and watch the cows.

Sometimes you lean on the fence and click your tongue at the cows and they will wander close and sniff at you and

examine you with big peaceful eyes but with a dubious look also, as if they’re wondering what your game is.

You don’t stay leaning on the fence too long.             It’s a bit too visible there.

It might look odd.

Other people don’t spend their time looking at cattle. Looking at cattle is

probably a symptom of something. ”

The New Oxford Book of Australian Verse, chosen by Les A. Murray.
USED: http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=14144434264

Love built of a long marriage: “Tongues” by Philip Martin. #Valentines #poetryisjustawesome

Tongues
(The speaker is a woman whose husband has died after a long illness)

Three days before he died the hospital called me:
He was unconscious, sinking. I went at once.
His face was closed, remote against the pillows.
I sat by the window.The leaves outside were moving
Suddenly he began to speak. I thought
He was asking me for something, but before
I could cross the room I saw have fixed his eyes were,
And then I realized: he was speaking verse,
But in a language neither of us knew.
Not English certainly, not German, and not Russian,
His family’s language from the thirteenth century,
Though he had never learnt it.
.                                              He continued
For a full minute, measured, authoritative.
I picked up the rhythm: four stresses to each line.
I recall only the opening words of one:
Alléndam tatsú…
.                         He seemed to be speaking
Past me, his eyes directed to the window,
Yet also to me. For thirty lines or more
He spoke, and then, as if the poem was finished,
Fell silent and lay back.
.                                   Two hours after,
He spoke once more, in German, using my name.
His eyes were soft and and again familiar.
We did not refer to the poem, then or later.
But though he was conscious almost until he died
He took no leave of me. And I think now
The poem was his taking-leave.
.                                                His doctor,
Who speaks German fluently, believes
That what I heard was German, much distorted.
I’m certain it was not: the voice was too
Distinct, unfaltering.
.                              His father said,
‘Ah, yes. Of course I need not remind you, we
Are an old family. It was our forbears speaking.’

Philip Martin

The New Oxford Book of Australian Verse, chosen by Les A. Murray.

USED: http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=14144434264

 

When You Love What Do You Love? ¿Qué se ama cuando se ama? Gonzales Rojas. #Valentines #poetryisjustawesome

When You Love What Do You Love?

When you love what do you love, my God: terrible light of life
or death’s delight? What do you look for, what uncover, what
is it: love? And who? Woman with her depths, her roses, her volcanoes,
or this flushed sun, my furious blood
as I enter into her last roots?

Or is it all a great game, God, with no woman
or man but just one body: yours,
shared out in beauty-stars, in brief grains
of visible eternity?

It kills me, oh God, this war
of going and coming among them in the streets, unable to love
three hundred at a time, condemned as I am to one,
this one, this one alone, you gave me in that old paradise.

 

¿Qué se ama cuando se ama?

¿Qué se ama cuando se ama, mi Dios: la luz terrible de la vida
o la luz de la muerte? ¿Qué se busca, qué se halla, qué
es eso: amor? ¿Quién es? ¿La mujer con su hondura, sus rosas, sus volcanes,
o este sol colorado que es mi sangre furiosa
cuando entro en ella hasta las últimas raíces?

¿O todo es un gran juego, Dios mío, y no hay mujer
ni hay hombre sino un solo cuerpo: el tuyo,
repartido en estrellas de hermosura, en particular fugaces
de eternidad visible?

Me muero en esto, oh Dios, en esta guerra
de ir y venir entre ellas por las calles, de no poder amar
trescientas a la vez, porque estoy condenado siempre a una,
a esa una, a esa única que me diste en el viejo paraíso.

De Contra la muerte, 1964.

From: Pinholes in the Night, essential poems for Latin America. Selected by Raul Zurita, edited by Forrest Gander.

USED and NEW: Pinholes in the Night at Abebooks.com.

J.C. Bloem, “How notably stiller death is compared to sleep.” #inmemoriam

The rhythm is slightly off, but I think it conveys the mood better.

From: In memoriam

And this stayed with me forever,
How notably stiller death is     comparedto sleep,
That it is a daily marvel to live,
And that we, with every ‘wakeningawaken     as if from death.

Another ending, bit more awkward:

And this stayed with me forever:
How notably stiller death is compared to sleep,
That it is a daily marvel to be alive,
And that we with every ‘wakening    are       resurrected.

“En voor altijd is mij bijgebeleven:
hoe zeer veel stiller dood dan slapen is;
dat het een daaglijks wonder is, te leven,
en elk ontwaken een herrijzenis.”

J.C. Bloem

Geheel:
De blaren vallen in de gele grachten;
Weer keert het najaar en het najaarsweer
Op de aarde, en de donkre harten smachten
Der levenden. Hij ziet het nimmermeer

Hoe had hij dit bemind, die duistre straten
Die atmosfeer van mist en zaligheid,
Wanneer het avond wordt en het verlaten
Plaveisel vochtig is en vreemd en wijd.

Hij was geboren voor de stille dingen,
Waarmee wij leven—maar niet even lang—
waarvan wij ‘t wezen slaken in ons zingen,
Totdat wij zinken, en met ons de zang.

Het was een herfst als nu: de herfsten keren,
maar niet de harten, na hun korten dag;
Wij stonden, wreed van menselijk begeren,
In de ademlooze kamer waar hij lag

En voor altijd is dit mij bijgebleven:
Hoe zeer veel stiller dood dan slapen is;
dat het een dag’lijks wonder is, te leven,
en elk ontwaken een herrijzenis.

Nu weer hervind ik mij in het gewijde
Seizoen, waar de gevallen blaren zijn
Als het veeg zonlicht van een dood getijde
En denk: hoe lang nog leef ik in die schijn?

Wat blijft ons over van dit lange derven,
Dat leven is? Wat dat ik nog begeer?
voor hem en mij een herfst die niet kan sterven;
zon, mist en stilte, en dan voor immermeer.

 

The Subway Piranhas by Edwin Morgan! And The Loch Ness Monster’s Song. Recorded at #LochNess: real sounds!!

The Subway Piranhas

Did anyone tell you
that in each subway train
there is one special seat
with a small hole in it
and underneath the seat
is a tank of piranha-fish
which have not been fed
for quite some time.
The fish become quite agitated
by the shoogling of the train
and jump up through the seat.
The resulting skeletons
of unlucky passengers
turn an honest penny
for the transport executive,
hanging far and wide
in medical schools.

From: Poems on the Underground, edited by Chernaik, Herbert and Benson.
Buy NEW and USED at abebooks: Poems on the Underground!!!

The Loch Ness Monster’s Song

Sssnnnwhuffffll?
Hnwhuffl hhnnwfl hnfl hfl?
Gdroblboblhobngbl gbl gl g g g g glbgl.
Drublhaflablhaflubhafgabhaflhafl fl fl –
gm grawwwww grf grawf awfgm graw gm.
Hovoplodok – doplodovok – plovodokot-doplodokosh?
Splgraw fok fok splgrafhatchgabrlgabrl fok splfok!
Zgra kra gka fok!
Grof grawff gahf?
Gombl mbl bl –
blm plm,
blm plm,
blm plm,
blp.

Buy NEW and USED at abebooks: Collected Poems by Edwin Morgan!

 

A mother’s yearning/love: “Your clear eye is the one absolutely beautiful thing…” Sylvia Plath #Valentines #poetryisjustawesome

Child by Sylvia Plath

Your clear eye is the one absolutely beautiful thing.
I want to fill it with color and ducks,
The zoo of the new

Whose names you meditate —
April snowdrop, Indian pipe,
Little

Stalk without wrinkle,
Pool in which images
Should be grand and classical

Not this troublous
Wringing of hands, this dark
Ceiling without a star.

.

.

From: Poems on the Underground. Illlustrated edition. Edited by Judith Chernaik, Gerard Benson and Cicely Herbert.