Tuesday, March 29, 2011

One Thin Stream

At the Water Fountain

Just as with eyes raised
The traveler at the well
Drinking water that she pours
Lets it run through his fingers
To make her go on pouring
So she pours the thin stream


One Particular Merit

To Generalize is to be an Idiot; To Particularize is the Alone Distinction of Merit.

--William Blake

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

One Ephemeral Hue

Nothing Gold Can Stay
By Robert Frost

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

One Acid Obol

from Nike Who Hesitates
By Zbigniew Herbert

a solitary youth
he goes down the long tracks
of a war chariot
on a grey road in a grey landscape
of rocks and scattered juniper bushes

right now the scale containing his fate
abruptly falls
towards the earth

....Nike hesitates
and at last decides
to remain in that position
which sculptors taught her

she understands
that tomorrow at dawn
this boy must be found
with an open breast
closed eyes
and the acid obol of his country
under his numb tongue

--Translated by Czeslaw Milosz

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

One Bottled Message

Poetry is the great S.O.S. of loneliness.

--Anna Kamienska

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

One Incomprehensible Name

from When I Was a Boy
By Friedrich Holderlin

When I was a boy
A god often rescued me
From the shouts and the rods of men
And I played among trees and flowers
Secure in their kindness

....you delighted the heart in me

Father Helios, and like Endymion
I was your favourite,
Moon. O all

You friendly
And faithful gods
I wish you could know
How my soul has loved you.

Even though when I called to you then
It was not yet with names, and you
Never named me as people do
As though they knew one another

I knew you better
Than I have ever known them.
I understood the stillness above the sky
But never the words of men.

--Translated by David Constantine