I have news for you
(9th century Irish)
I have news for you:
The stag bells, winter snows, summer has gone
Wind high and cold, the sun low, short its course
The sea running high.
Deep red the bracken; its shape is lost;
The wild goose has raised its accustomed cry,
cold has seized the birds’ wings;
season of ice, this is my news
In the Green Wood from Mother Goose
(making the fire)
Oak-logs will warm you well,
That are old and dry;
Logs of pine will sweetly smell
But the sparks will fly.
Birch-logs will burn too fast,
Chestnut scarce at all;
Hawthorn-logs are good to last –
Catch them in the fall.
Holly-logs will burn like wax,
You may burn them green;
Elm-logs like to smoldering flax,
No flame to be seen.
Beech-logs for winter time,
Yew-logs as well;
Green elder-logs it is a crime
For any man to sell.
Pear-logs and apple-logs,
They will scent your room,
Cherry-logs across the dogs
Smell like flower of the broom.
Ash-logs, smooth and grey,
Burn them green or old,
Buy up all that come your way –
Worth their weight in gold.
The snow is melting
and the village is flooded
Looking at the clouds
blue in the ice-wind
no earth- even so
It Was A Weird Wall
It was a weird wall
Like the Mobius strip,
it had only one side,
the other one was unseen:
the far side of the Moon.
But some people would race
against bullets, to rip
the barbed finish tape
with their chests, to give
a push to the wrecking ball:
the pendulum of the invisible clock.
my diary says:
“Natasha lost a front tooth,
Liza for the first time
stood up in her crib
on her own.”
~Vera Pavlova, the author of the If There is Something to Desire. This poem was translated by Seven Seymour from the Russian.
The Missing Language
the cold days are counted up
the snow has stopped
into snow made of paper
I should finish
writing this story
but inside my head
is a snail
in its shell
its been sleeping there all winter
and hasn’t shown
maybe it’s dead by now
~Zafer Senocak, the author of Door Languages. This poem was translated by Elizabeth Oehlikers Wright from the German
We Have It All Now
We have it all now, dear Frau Schubert. The
borders’ invisible stitch. Impeccably tailored
fields. Close-cropped towns. A genetic crisis.
In the greenhouse, where I’m resting after
growing a novel, Newton’s orange ripens.
~Ewa Lipska, the author of The New Century and Pet Shops. This poem was translated by Barbara Bogoczek and Tony Howard from the Polish.
Berlin Wall Peddlers
History on sale
One chunk for only twenty dollars
Look at this one
it’s full of bullet holes
this one is stained with deserters’ blood
and see these two dark holes
they were burned by an anxious gaze
the remains of cold war on this one
still make you tremble
and what we have here
are the dancing footprints of the youth
and the shouting and clapping
when a heavy chain tore it down
~William Marr was an engineer by profession, working nearly thirty years at the Argonne National Laboratory. He now devotes himself to creating poetry and art.
The Berlin Wall
It was the day after,
John Kennedy had
shouted the unforgettable
and oft misquoted words
‘Ich bin ein Berliner’,
words that echoed back
from the remnants of
a wall that had been built
with capitalist materials
and communist anger.
in the Sauna of his datscha,
partaking liberally of
near-frozen Vodka, pure,
while sweating in the name
of the people and humanity.
The loudspeaker crackled to life,
and the hiss of the water Aufguss
could not drown them out,
these historical doves, so rare.
Later, when the actor turned prez
threw down the gauntlet, loudly,
with the flushed cheeks of anger
and righteous indignation,
‘Mr. Gorbatschov, tear down this wall’,
the entire world applauded,
though some did not mean it at all.
But I do think that the wall was torn
down in its entirety, that day in the Sauna.
~Dr. Herbert Nehrlich
A loose translation. There simply is no good translation that I can write. Most of the beautiful old Dutch is disappeared, even modern Dutch would not compare. I think if you yourself sail, you can maybe hear it in the English.
No deep meaning, only lovely description by the ship’s doctor…
The sea’s edge shifts cruel, the waves tumble wild,
From mild and green, abruptly broken, leaden and gray;
One night, there is the wind that shivers through open sky,
Next, akin to sudden death, the cold.
About rock islands without tree or grass,
Resting abandoned in time-worn space,
Blossoms only the fierce and unruly growth
Of rapidly rising, quickly wilting foam.
Aboard the ship on which no soothing fires burn,
The cold nestles itself in, for a long journey;
Against walls by night creaks awakened,
The floating ice grinds and shatters itself.
Winter op zee
De kim wordt wreed, de golven tuimlen wild,
Van mild en groen, spoorslags hardgrijs en grauw;
Eén nacht waarin de wind door ‘t luchtruim rilt,
Dan, als een plotselinge dood, de kou.
Om rotseilanden zonder boom en gras,
Liggend verlaten in het oeroud ruim,
Bloeit slechts ‘t onstuimig en verward gewas
Van ‘t snel opschietend, snel verwelkend schuim.
Op ‘t schip waarin geen vuren troostend branden,
Nestelt de kou zich voor een lange reis;
Tegen de ‘s nachts wakkergekraakte wanden
Kruit en verbrijzelt zich het drijvend ijs.
Een eerlijk zeemansgraf (1941)