New Year’s poems. Happy 2015!! 1/3

and to the start of one new year…

Welcoming in plenty
of new year’s rain
Rackety house!

old blue pine
embarking on a new year
how many spring mists?

New Year’s Day–
everything is in blossom!
I feel about average

After this night
a new year dawns
children

Year’s end,
all corners
of this floating world, swept

warmly
I greet the new year
temple verandah

Issa
.

Goodnight to the Season
(Thus runs the world away.—Hamlet) and slightly changed for my own fun.

Goodnight to the Season!—another
Will come, with its trifles and toys,
And hurry away, like its brother,
In sunshine, and scents, and noise.
Will it come with a rose or a briar?
Will it come with a blessing or curse?
Will its jeans be lower or higher?
Will its morals be better or worse?
Will it find me grown thinner or fatter,
Or fonder of wrong or of right,
Or married—or buried?—no matter:
Goodnight to the Season, Goodnight!

By Winthrop Mackworth Praed

Auld Lang Syne
“the song that nobody knows.”

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne!

Chorus.-For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne.
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

Written down by Robert Burns

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Obi Nwakanma- four seasons!! And now it is so so very cold here. Nigeria!

image_column-one

Favourite lines:

Icicles fall from trees,...they limber
like the gods terrified into silence,
like tall brooding deities looming out of the fog:

The cypress -whitening-
...;wearing her best habit,
a pale green in the forest of ghosts-

And so I walk through this windless night
through the narrow imponderable road
through the silence - the silence of trees- 

I hear not even the gust of wind
I hear only the quiet earth, thawing underneath;
I hear the slow silent death of winter-

when the sun is yellowest

...to every good, to every
flicker of stars along the pine
shadows;
to every tussle with lucid dusk,
to every moonlit pledge, to
every turn made to outleap
silvery pollen, 

I have desired to listen,...


USED and NEW: http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=2685567879
NEW through independent bookstores, book on Nigerian lyrical poet: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9781847010131

“Obi Nwakanma is one of the Nigerian literary awards winning troika invited by Harvard University to represent New Voices From Nigeria at a recent Africa Events Reading (the other two being Maik Nwosu and Akin Adesokan also featured on this site).

Poet and journalist, he featured at the Poetry International Festival in 1995.

Holder of a BA degree from the University of Jos in Nigeria, Nwakanma was a visiting scholar at one of the pre-eminent universities in Nigeria, UN at Nsukka. Formerly an Assistant Editor at the Sunday Vanguard, he is currently a visiting scholar at The Meeting School, Rindge, NH, where he teaches Literature, Creative Writing and Journalism.”

http://www.poetrysoup.com/biography/obi_nwakanma

“Thirsting for Sunlight, his biography of the tragic modernist poet, Christopher Okigbo, was published by James Currey (UK) in 2010.
His collection of poems, The Horsemen & Other Poems, was published by Africa World Press (New Jersey) in 2007. Nwakanma’s first collection of poems, The Roped Urn, was awarded the Cadbury Prize in 1996 by the Association of Nigerian Authors, and he received the Walter J. Ong Award for Distinguished Achievement in 2008 from Saint Louis University.
His poetry, fiction and essays have appeared in various anthologies and publications including Okike, Vanguard Review, Callaloo, and Wasafiri. His poetry has been translated into Spanish, Dutch, German, and Turkish.
Obi Nwakanma has also worked as a professional journalist, reporting internationally for Newsweek, Neue Zurcher Zeitung, and as Group Literary editor for the Vanguard,one of the major national newspapers in Nigeria, for which he continues to write a weekly column, “The Orbit” in the Sunday Vanguard.
5474688568_2a1f5c5b3b_b He is currently working on a novel, a new collection of poems, and a book on The Mbari Movement, Transnationalism and Modern African Literature.”
In FULL:
ICICLES fall from trees, molten with age, 
without memory - they stand aloof in their 
nakedness - they limber; 
like the gods terrified into silence, 
like tall brooding deities looming out of the 
fog: 

The forest hugs them 
carves them into stones, 
Etches them into the slow 
eastern landscape: rivers, hills 
the slow running water, 
times broken inscapes…

The willows are burdened with ice 
the white shrouds of burial spread 
upon the earth's ravaged face; the eyes 
unseeing, the mouth unspeaking, 
a gust of wind proclaims the anger of 
immemorial ages; the cycle, the 
eternal ritual of mystical returns - 

The cypress - whitening -
boneless; wearing her best habit, 
a pale green in the forest of ghosts -

And so I walk through this windless night 
through the narrow imponderable road 
through the silence - the silence of trees -

I hear not even the gust of wind
I hear only the quiet earth, thawing underneath; 
I hear the slow silent death of winter -

where the sun is yellowest.
 
But above, Monadnock looms 
like some angry Moloch, her 
white nipple seizing the space

drained of all milk.
.
.
 

A she-devil beckoning to worshippers 
seductive - her arm stretching outwards -
to this lonely pilgrim
lost in the mist: 

Behold the school of wild bucks 
Behold the meeting of incarnate 
spirits -
Behold the lost souls bearing tapers 
in rags of rich damask, 
Down Thomas - the saint of 
unbelievers - down the road to bliss 
Down to the red house, uncertain 
like a beggar's bowl hanging unto the cliff 
of withdrawn pledges, where the well is 
deepest.
.
.
 

I have dared to live 
beneath the great untamed.
 

To every good, to every 
flicker of stars along the pine 
shadows; 
To every tussle with lucid dusk, 
To every moonlit pledge, to 
every turn made to outleap 
silvery pollen, 

I have desired to listen - to listen -
to the ripening of seasons.
.
.
.
 

Winter 2001
This is ONE of a continuing sequence.

“Reconciling Life With Death,” Early Verses by Jan Jacob Slauerhoff, ship’s doctor.

Early Verses by Jan Jacob Slauerhoff, ship’s doctor. Loose translation by me.

Autumn comes with storm and gusts of wind around the forests
Those, moaning, shake their leafage loose,
Make bunched-up-fruits cascade from branches,
Over-ripe summer fruit plop down to earth,
In moist soil-layers silently forming,
Composting into elemental matter:
All life obeys the seasons.
 
This then is reconciling life with death:
That all harvests are rooted in decaying matter;
That drab gray grounds paint roses blushing red;
That out of moulding thickets; out of the unwanted,
A Freedom will arise, a blossoming laden with fruit.

— Eerste Verzen. J.J. Slauerhoff

Herfst komt met storm en floersen om de bosschen
Die van hun loover kreunend zich verlossen,
Doet vruchtentrossen uit de takken storten,
Het vooze zomerooft ten gronde ploffen,
In vochtige bodemlagen stil verworden,
Verteren tot oorspronkelijke stoffen:
Het leven is gehoorzaam aan seizoenen.
 .

Dit is het leven met den dood verzoenen:
Dat alle oogsten wortlen in het doode,
Dat grauwe gronden rozen overrooden;
Uit de vermolmde woeker, het verfoeisel,
Zal Vrijheid stijgen, een volvruchtig bloeisel.