Tuesday, October 28, 2008

One Bitten Eyeball

Spirit Song

spirit in the sky
come down here
right away
bite the world to death

I rise
up to the spirits
magician friends help me
reach the spirits

child child child
that can bite evil
come to us

and spirit at the bottom of the
earth I'm calling you I
live near you on top
bite our enemies

join your brother from the sky
each bite an eye out
of evil's face
so it can't see us

--Inuit, translated by Stephen Berg

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

One Dark Silk

Slowly quietly gold is collected under your command
            slowly quietly
Slowly quietly wheat is distributed under your command
          slowly quietly
Slowly quietly people's bread is served out under your command
slowly quietly.

With you rapidly silk darkens spoils with you rapidly
Water is tied in knots becomes turbid rapidly with you
With you rapidly is atrophied the history of labor
And with you slowly slowly the name of pain written extensively
comes out on the copper quartz bronze.

-Ilhan Berk, translated by Suat Karantay

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

One Deep Burrow

By Wislawa Szymborska

"Woman, what's your name?" "I don't know."
"How old are you? Where are you from?" "I don't know."
"Why did you dig that burrow?" "I don't know."
"How long have you been hiding?" "I don`t know."
"Why did you bite my finger?" "I don't know."
"Don't you know that we won't hurt you?" "I don't know."
"Whose side are you on?" "I don't know."
"This is war, you've got to choose." "I don't know."
"Does your village still exist?" "I don't know."
"Are those your children?" "Yes."

~Translated by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

One Venomed Dart

from Endymion
By John Keats

There lies a den,
Beyond the seeming confines of the space
Made for the soul to wander in and trace
Its own existence, of remotest glooms.
Dark regions are around it, where the tombs
Of buried griefs the spirit sees, but scarce
One hour doth linger weeping, for the pierce
Of new-born woe it feels more inly smart:
And in these regions many a venom'd dart
At random flies: they are the proper home
Of every ill: the man is yet to come
Who hath not journeyed in this native hell.
But few have ever felt how calm and well
Sleep may be had in that deep den of all.
There anguish does not sting; nor pleasure pall:
Woe-hurricanes beat ever at the gate,
Yet all is still within and desolate.