Tuesday, December 31, 2013

One Insecure Bird

On my volcano grows the Grass
A meditative spot --
An acre for a Bird to choose
Would be the General thought --

How red the Fire rocks below --
How insecure the sod
Did I disclose -- Would populate
With awe my solitude.

--Emily Dickinson

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

One Wakeful Nightingale

They told me, Heraclitus, they told me you were dead,
They brought me bitter news to hear and bitter tears to shed.
I wept as I remember'd how often you and I
Had tired the sun with talking and sent him down the sky.

And now that thou art lying, my dear old Carian guest,
A handful of grey ashes, long, long ago at rest,
Still are thy pleasant voices, thy nightingales, awake;
For Death, he taketh all away, but them he cannot take.

--Callimachus, translated by William Johnson Cory

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

One Resilient Moon

Broken and broken
again on the sea, the moon
so easily mends

--Chosu, translated by Henry Behn

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

One Crumbling Citadel

Sightseers, take note
My heart crumbling

What a citadel
Sorrows have brought down

--Mir Taqi Mir, version by Laura Sheahen

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

One Cherished Cliff

I am the lord of the edge
I control this edge this edge is sacred to me
nothing goes over it I guard its correctness its silence
irregularities I observe and report to the highest authority
I take care of this edge it is everything to me
I repair where it tumbles or crumbles I add to, sweep up
I work hard on this edge
I do nothing else this edge

 --Marije Langelaar, translated by Diane Butterman

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

One Invisible Bull's-Eye

Talent hits the target no one else can hit; genius hits a target no one else can see.

--Arthur Schopenhauer

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

One Satiating Moon

Watching the full moon,
a small hungry boy forgets
to eat his dinner.

--Basho, translated by Henry Behn

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

One Recharted Course

By Olav Hauge

I was a boat becalmed,
You were wind.

South southwest
North or east
The direction I wanted to go
Is forgotten

Who cares about steering
With a wind like that!

--Version by Laura Sheahen

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

One Serviceable Prosthesis

from Mr. Cogito Meditates on Suffering 
By Zbigniew Herbert

All attempts to remove
the so-called cup of bitterness—
by reflection
frenzied actions on behalf of homeless cats
deep breathing

one must consent
gently bend the head
not wring the hands
make use of the suffering gently moderately
like an artificial limb
without false shame
but also without unnecessary pride

~Translated by John and Bogdana Carpenter | Book

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

One Ordinary Wedding

We both knew we could not do it
But she promised so I promised too

--Munir Niazi, translated by Anwar Dil

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

One Collapsed Hive

To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee,—
One clover, and a bee,
And revery.
The revery alone will do
If bees are few.

--Emily Dickinson

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

One Suffering Orchestra

from Definition of mutations
By Octavian Paler

When wood learns to suffer
And to dream as people do
It shall henceforth be called Violin...

~Translated by Ileana Stefanescu and S. D. Curtis | Book

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

One Artistic STD

from Philosophy of Autumn
By Miroslav Holub

...I ask myself if the prevailing
shortage of geniuses
may not be caused by the disappearance
of tertiary stages of syphilis.

--Translated by Ewald Osers | Book

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

One Keyless Door

from Secrecy 
By Margaret Atwood

 ...it's in you, secrecy.
Ancient and vicious, luscious
as dark velvet.
It blooms in you,
a poppy made of ink.

...Once you have it, you want more.
What power it gives you!
Power of knowing without being known,
power of the stone door,
power of the iron veil,
power of the crushed fingers,
power of the drowned bones
crying out from the bottom of the well.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

One Unapocalyptic War

It Bids Pretty Fair 
By Robert Frost

The play seems out for an almost infinite run.
Don't mind a little thing like the actors fighting.
The only thing I worry about is the sun.
We'll be all right if nothing goes wrong with the lighting.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

One Delightsome Tickling

Here are a list of facts on which I and 9,000,000 other poets have spieled endlessly:

1. Spring is a pleasant season. The flowers, etc. etc. sprout bloom etc. etc
2. Young man's fancy. Lightly, heavily, gaily etc. etc.
3. Love, a delightsome tickling. Indefinable etc. A) By day, etc. etc. etc B) By night, etc. etc. etc.
4. Trees, hills etc are by a provident nature arranged diversely, in diverse places.
5. Winds, clouds, rains, etc flop thru and over 'em.
6. Men love women. ...
7. Men fight battles, etc. etc.
8. Men go on voyages.

--Ezra Pound

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

One Restored Painting

from At Yale 
By Czeslaw Milosz

...There was once an artist
Faithful and hardworking. His workshop
Together with all he had painted, burned down,
He himself was executed. Nobody has heard of him.
Yet his paintings remain. On the other side of fire.