Tuesday, August 26, 2008

One Sincere Crocodile

Crocodile Tears
By Kay Ryan

The one sincere
crocodile has
gone dry eyed
for years. Why
bother crying
crocodile tears.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

One Worthy Patron

from What Mr. Cogito Thinks About Hell
By Zbigniew Herbert

The lowest circle of hell. Contrary to prevailing opinion it is inhabited neither by despots nor matricides, nor even by those who go after the bodies of others. It is the refuge of artists, full of mirrors, musical instruments, and pictures. At first glance this is the most luxurious infernal department, without tar, fire, or physical tortures.

...Beelzebub supports the arts. He provides his artists with calm, good board, and absolute isolation from hellish life.

Translated by Bogdana and John Carpenter

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

One Inattentive River

By Branko Miljkovic

While the river banks are quarreling,
The waters flow quietly.

Translated by Charles Simic

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

One Burning City

The Bell Zygmunt
By Jane Hirshfield

For fertility, a new bride is lifted to touch it with her left hand,
or possibly kiss it.
The sound close in, my friend told me later, is almost silent.

At ten kilometers, even those who have never heard it know what it is.

If you stand near during thunder, she said,
you will hear a reply.

Six weeks and six days from the phone's small ringing,
replying was over.

She who cooked lamb and loved wine and wild mushroom pastas.
She who when I saw her last was silent as the great Zygmunt mostly is,
a ventilator's clapper between her dry lips.

Because I could, I spoke. She laid her palm on my cheek to answer.
And soon again, to say it was time to leave.

I put my lips near the place a tube went into
the back of one hand.
The kiss - as if it knew what I did not yet - both full and formal.

As one would kiss the ring of a cardinal, or the rim
of that cold iron bell, whose speech can mean "Great joy,"
or - equally - "The city is burning. Come.”