Tuesday, November 28, 2006

One Puzzling Newborn

Birth of a New Poem
By Tadeusz Rosewicz

Two poems
rush through the night
at each other

the shapes of these poems
are modern
the interiors lit up
comfortable and experimental

they fall upon each other

expiring forms
break the line
stifle breaths
wrench away words
dissolve features

a collision
a new poem
a third poem
born in agony
flows through
the fetal waters
of humanity

the newborn
with a puzzling smile

poised for sudden

~Translated by Magnus Krynski and Robert Maguire

Monday, November 27, 2006

One Unstable Pyramid

Lime Light
By Kay Ryan

One can't work
by lime light.

A bowlful
right at
one's elbow

produces no
more than
a baleful
glow against
the kitchen table.

The fruit purveyor's
whole unstable

doesn't equal
what daylight did.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

One Transparent Church

By W.S. Merwin

The church in the forest
was built of wood

the faithful carved their names by the doors
same names as ours

soldiers burned it down

the next church where the first had stood
was built of wood

with charcoal floors
names were written in black by the doors
same names as ours

soldiers burned it down

we have a church where the others stood
it’s made of ash

no roof no doors

nothing on earth
says it’s ours

One Deaf Chamber

from Astrophel and Stella
By Sir Philip Sidney

Come Sleep! O Sleep, the certain knot of peace,
The baiting place of wit, the balm of woe,
The poor man's wealth, the prisoner's release,
Th' indifferent judge between the high and low;
With shield of proof, shield me from out the prease
Of those fierce darts Despair at me doth throw;
O make in me those civil wars to cease;
I will good tribute pay, if thou do so.
Take thou of me smooth pillows, sweetest bed,
A chamber deaf to noise and blind to light,
A rosy garland and a weary head:
And if these things, as being thine by right,
Move not thy heavy grace, thou shalt in me,
Livelier than elsewhere, Stella's image see.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

One Cramped Sheep

Laser Palmistry: The Early Days
By Sarah Lindsay

Determined not to ask too much,
the chiromantic surgeon's very first client
passed up the lottery-winning star along the Apollo line,
the peacock's eye on the Mercury finger for
luck and protection.

But, given the discount for scientific advancement,
she made four choices: erase the ring of Saturn
that circled her left middle finger and kept
her melancholy;
build up her mount of Apollo, to make her
lively and creative; lengthen her heart line --
she would be discriminating and faithful in love;
and draw her a good strong fate line, because
she had none.
What kind? "Surprise me," she said,
and opened her hands, and felt so naked
she had to close her eyes.

Who knew that while his meticulous lasers worked,
the tea leaves in her mug in the kitchen sink
shifted before they dried? or that three counties over,
a sheep suffered cramps as its entrails readjusted?

Meanwhile, no fewer than nine unrelated people
felt tickles like ants in their palms as their
own lines moved.
That night, while the patient's unexpected headache
accompanied minor changes in the protuberances
of her skull,
a few widely scattered astronomers frowned
at anomalies in their data,
and on Floreana, in the Galápagos Islands,
an as yet undiscovered vein
of perfectly aligned crystals disappeared.
And that was just the beginning.

One True Gaze

from Requiem
By Rainer Maria Rilke

And at last, you saw yourself as a fruit, you stepped
out of your clothes and brought your naked body
before the mirror, you left yourself inside
down to your gaze; which stayed in front, immense,
and didn't say: I am that; no: this is.
So free of curiosity your gaze
had become, so unpossessive, of such true
poverty, it had no desire even
for you yourself; it wanted nothing: holy.

--Translated by Stephen Mitchell ~ Book

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

One Crafty Burglar

from Be Melting Snow
By Jelaluddin Rumi

My friends and I go running out into the street.
I'm in here, comes a voice from the house, but we aren't listening.
We're looking up at the sky.
My pet nightingale sobs like a drunk in the garden.
Ringdoves scatter with small cries, Where, Where.
It's midnight. The whole neighborhood is up and out
in the street thinking, The cat burglar has come back.
The actual thief is there too, saying out loud,
Yes, the cat burglar is somewhere in this crowd.
No one pays attention.

Lo, I am with you always means when you look for God,
God is in the look of your eyes,
in the thought of looking, nearer to you than your self,
or things that have happened to you
There's no need to go outside.     ...more

--Translated by Coleman Barks

One Deep Hell

from Paradise Lost
By John Milton

Me miserable! Which way shall I fly
Infinite wrath and infinite despair?
Which way I fly is Hell; myself am Hell;
And in the lowest deep, a lower deep
Still threatening to devour me opens wide,
To which the Hell I suffer seems a Heaven.