Intercity by Margarida Vale de Gato #sex #poem #love

Intercity

we ride down the backs of hills inside
the earth eating eucalyptus eating haystacks
spitting out the wind spitting out time spitting out
time
time the trains gulp the opposite way going
the opposite way stealing our time my love

I need you who are flying
to me
but you fly unfurling sails over the sea
you have wing-space you hover you drift while I
keep crawling towards you along the rails
with occasional sparks I write to you my love
cheating your absence the claustrophobia of the mustard
coloured curtains you walk on water and now
I know
words are less worthy than boats

I need you my love in this loneliness this forsakenness
of thick curtains preventing the sun preventing my
flight and nevertheless on the opposite side
the sky boasts little lamb clouds hopping
hopping on oats and wheat fields there are none here
we eat eucalyptus eucalyptus and whitewashed churches
leaning over level-crossing whitewashed churches
my love
I smoke a cigarette in between two stops I read
Lobo Antunes I think people are sad people
are so sad people are pathetic my
love just as well you hide me from the world you hide
me from the world’s patronising smiles the world’s
self-righteous consent
by night on your loins my love I
am also a boat sitting on top of your body
I am a mast

I need you my love I am tired I ache
close to where my eyes are set I feel like crying still I
desire you but before before you touch me before you say
I want you my love you shall let me sleep a hundred years
a hundred years from today we’ll be boats again
I am lonely
Portugal is everlasting we eat eucalyptus
everlasting eucalyptus lean and green
we eat eucalyptus interspersed with shrubs
we eat eucalyptus the ache of your absence my love
we eat this heat and the railtracks and anguish
set ablaze inside Lobo Antunes’ novel
we eat eucalyptus and Portugal is everlasting Portugal
is huge and I need you and in the opposite way they are stealing
time it’s our time they are stealing my love it’s time
time for us to be boats and sail through walls inside rooms
my love to be boats at night
at night to blow oh sweetly blow into full sail

boats.

 

Intercidades

galopamos pelas costas dos montes no interior
da terra a comer eucaliptos a comer os entulhos de feno
a cuspir o vento a cuspir o tempo a cuspir
o tempo
o tempo que os comboios do sentido contrário engolem
do sentido contrário roubam-nos o tempo meu amor

preciso de ti que vens voando
até mim
mas voas à vela sobre o mar
e tens espaço asas por isso vogas à deriva enquanto eu
vou rastejando ao teu encontro sobre os carris faiscando
ocasionalmente e escrevo para ti meu amor
a enganar a tua ausência a claustrofobia de cortinas
cor de mostarda tu caminhas sobre a água e agora
eu sei
as palavras valem menos do que os barcos

preciso de ti meu amor nesta solidão neste desamparo
de cortinas espessas que impedem o sol que me impedem
de voar e ainda assim do outro lado
o céu exibe nuvens pequeninas carneirinhos a trotar
a trotar sobre searas de aveia e trigais aqui não há
comemos eucaliptos eucaliptos e igrejas caiadas
debruçadas sobre os apeadeiros igrejas caiadas
meu amor
eu fumo um cigarro entre duas paragens leio
o Lobo Antunes e penso as pessoas são tristes as
as pessoas são tão tristes as pessoas são patéticas meu
amor ainda bem que tu me escondes do mundo me escondes
dos sorrisos condescendentes do mundo da comiseração
do mundo
à noite no teu corpo meu amor eu
também sou um barco sentada sobre o teu ventre
sou um mastro

preciso de ti meu amor estou cansada dói-me
em volta dos olhos tenho vontade de chorar mesmo assim
desejo-te mas antes antes de me tocares de dizeres quero-te
meu amor hás-de deixar-me dormir cem anos
depois de cem anos voltaremos a ser barcos
eu estou só
Portugal nunca mais acaba comemos eucaliptos
eucaliptos intermináveis longos e verdes
comemos eucaliptos entremeados de arbustos
comemos eucaliptos a dor da tua ausência meu amor
comemos este calor e os caminhos de ferro e a angústia
a deflagrar combustão no livro do Lobo Antunes
comemos eucaliptos e Portugal nunca mais acaba Portugal
é enorme eu preciso de ti e em sentido contrário roubam-nos
o tempo roubam-nos o tempo meu amor tempo
o tempo para sermos barcos e atravessar paredes dentro dos quartos
meu amor para sermos barcos à noite
à noite a soprar docemente sobre as velas acesas

barcos.

© Translation by Margarida Vale de Gato and Ana Hudson, 2010

in Mulher ao Mar, 2010http://www.poemsfromtheportuguese.org/Margarida__Vale_de_Gato

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Creation story

God’s child kept blocks in his apron’s pocket,
which it had been playing with in the clouds.
But when she, tired, bored, then wished to clear the decks
She saw into the box and could not fathom

how ever to fit them, neatly ordered stacked.
Because God was stern, but slept, so was no danger.
She let them drop, without a further glance
and made straight for a pretty sculpted angel.

The blocks fellthrough stark empty skies,
And reached an empty world, where
They remained as thrown.

Most shattered into hills and dales;
And those, whole, in one piece, formed here and there
the far wide cities and the smallest towns.

Translating, I departed from the rhymes and the almost rhymes out of necessity when the english words don’t rhyme and also because I want to show that Slauerhoff played with leaving out parts of speech, much like Joss Whedon encouraged in Buffy and Firefly. I think his play works especially well because the poem is about creating a world that is not there there and which has holes. Some of the loss of almost rhymes is sad because his choice of words was lovely. Learn Dutch!

“They remained as thrown” was the most difficult to translate because in Dutch part of the verb (“waren”=were) is left out but the last word of this line (geworpen=thrown) rhymes with the last word of the poem (dorpen). Anyway. It is a different poem in English. I love how Slauerhoff stops the story. Leaving the rest to our imagination. The whole poem stops and start and restarts at odd moments. How to play with language. When you read it aloud you need to leave space between inside some of the lines. Where depends on how you speak. The alliterations in the poem and inner rhymes are beautiful.

Also: I like he puts down the answer before we ask the question in the second stanza. He makes the lines work for him. Doesn’t let the mind dictate how he tells his story. Pay attention because G-d isn’t.

Third stanza is funny: you expect more but no.

Creation story

God’s child kept blocks in his apron’s pocket,
which it had been playing with in the clouds.
But when she, tired, bored, then wished to clear the decks
She saw into the box and could not fathom

how ever to fit them, neatly ordered stacked.
Because God was stern, but slept, so was no danger.
She let them drop, without a further glance
and made straight for a pretty sculpted angel.

The blocks fellthrough stark empty skies,
And reached an empty world, where
They remained as thrown.

Most shattered into hills and dales;
And those, whole, in one piece, formed here and there
the far wide cities and the smallest towns.

Dutch: Scheppingsverhaal.

Gods kind had blokken in zijn boezelaar,
Waarmee het in de wolken had gespeeld.
Maar toen zij op wou bergen, moe, verveeld,
Zag ze in de doos en wist niet hoe ze daar

In passen moesten, keurig ingedeeld.
Want God was streng, maar sliep – dus geen gevaar.
Zij liet ze vallen, zag er niet meer naar
Om en ging vlug naar een mooi engelbeeld.

De blokken vielen door een leeg heelal
En kwamen op een leege wereld, waar
Ze bleven zooals ze er heen geworpen.

De meeste sprongen stuk tot berg en dal.
En die heel bleven vormden hier en daar
De groote steden en de kleine dorpen.

© 1998, Erven J. Slauerhoff / K. Lekkerkerker / Uitgeverij Nijgh & Van Ditmar
From: Verzamelde gedichten
Publisher: Nijgh & Van Ditmar, Amsterdam, 1990.

Michael Ondaatje: To Colombo.

Michael-Ondaatje-640x520

Returning from Sigiriya hills
in their high green the grey
animal fortress rock claws of stone
rumors of wild boar

           pass


paddy terraces
bullocks brown men
who rise knee deep like the earth
out of the earth…”

Sunlight sunlight

stop for the cool kurumba
scoop the half formed white
into our mouths
                   remove
tarpaulin walls of the jeep
to receive lowland air
                                    on a bench behind sunlight
                                    the woman the coconuts the knife

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Breasts, beautiful breasts. Quiet. Heaving. Black, brown, yellow, pink. Strong breasts! 1/2

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Adapted for Aviva!

Spring is short
what is there that has eternal life
I said and
made her hands seek out
my powerful breasts
[trans. Janine Beichman] Akiko

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Willa Cather. The Hawthorn Tree

ACROSS the shimmering meadows–
Ah, when she came to me!
In the spring-time,
In the night-time,
In the starlight,
Beneath the hawthorn tree.

Up from the misty marsh-land–
Ah, when she climbed to me!
To my white bower,
To my sweet rest,
To my warm breasts,
Beneath the hawthorn tree.

Ask of me what the birds sang,
High in the hawthorn tree;
What the breeze tells,
What the rose smells,
What the stars shine–
Not what she said to me!

 

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Song 2 by Anne Bronte

But I would rather press the mountain heath,
With naught to shield me from the starry sky,
And dream of yet untasted victory —
A distant hope — and feel that I am free!

O happy life! To range the mountains wild,
The waving woods — or Ocean’s heaving breast,
With limbs unfettered, conscience undefiled,
And choosing where to wander, where to rest!

.

.

Buy poetry at Indie booksellers!!

Established in 1970, Glad Day Bookshop is the world’s oldest LGBTQ bookstore and Toronto’s oldest surviving bookstore. In 2012, a group of 23 community members pooled their funds and bought Glad Day Bookshop to save it from closing.

“Our best strategy for survival is adding new revenues streams like food and drink – which means a larger space.
We’ve picked out a great spot on Church Street that would allow us to be a bookstore & coffee shop during the day and a bar at night.
It is wheelchair accessible, with an accessible washroom.

It has a cute patio, a small space for performances and walls for art.

We will be a space where everyone feels welcome, sexy and celebrated.

We will be a queer-owned, indie place on Church Street. We will amplify the love, creativity, sexuality, diversity & liberation that Glad Day Bookshop is known for.”

Every land is the holy land– Watch where the branches of the willows bend! And some haikus… Black Elk, Le Guin, Issa on Friday!

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Every land is the holy land by Ursula K. Le Guin (November 2006)

From a saying of Black Elk
Watch where the branches of the willows bend
See where the waters of the rivers tend
Graves in the rock, cradles in the sand
Every land is the holy land
Here was the battle to the bitter end
Here’s where the enemy killed the friend
Blood on the rock, tears on the sand
Every land is the holy land
Willow by the water bending in the wind
Bent till it’s broken and it will not stand
Listen to the word the messengers send
Life like the broken rock, death like the sand
Every land is the holy land

.

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And some haikus for Friday by Issa:

The distant mountains
are reflected in the eye
of the dragonfly

Frog and I,
eyeball
to eyeball.

A sheet of rain.
Only one man remains among
cherry blossom shadows

What good luck!
Bitten by
this year’s mosquitoes too.

Dickinson on sleeplessness.

Dickinson on sleeplessness.

Will there really be a morning?
Is there such a thing as day?
Could I see it from the mountains
If I were as tall as they?

Has it feet like water-lilies?
Has it feathers like a bird?
Is it brought from famous countries
Of which I have never heard?

Oh, some scholar! Oh, some sailor!
Oh, some wise man from the skies!
Please to tell a little pilgrim
Where the place called morning lies!