Rainer Maria Rilke |
Enchanted thing: how can two chosen words
ever attain the harmony of pure rhyme
that pulses through you as your body stirs?
Out of your forehead branch and lyre climb
and all your features pass in simile through
the songs of love whose words as light as rose-
petals rest on the face of someone who
has put his book away and shut his eyes:
to see you: tensed as if each leg were a gun
loaded with leaps but not fired while your neck
holds your head still listening: as when
while swimming in some isolated place
a girl hears leaves rustle and turns to look:
the forest pool reflected in her face.
Mahmoud Darwish |
Here on the slopes of hills, facing the dusk and the cannon of time
Close to the gardens of broken shadows,
We do what prisoners do,
And what the jobless do:
We cultivate hope.
A country preparing for dawn.
We grow less intelligent
For we closely watch the hour of victory:
No night in our night lit up by the shelling
Our enemies are watchful and light the light for us
In the darkness of cellars.
Here there is no "I".
Here Adam remembers the dust of his clay.
On the verge of death, he says:
I have no trace left to lose:
Free I am so close to my liberty.
My future lies in my own hand.
Soon I shall penetrate my life,
I shall be born free and parentless,
And as my name I shall choose azure letters.
You who stand in the doorway, come in,
Drink Arabic coffee with us
And you will sense that you are men like us
You who stand in the doorways of houses
Come out of our morningtimes,
We shall feel reassured to be
Men like you!
When the planes disappear, the white, white doves
Fly off and wash the cheeks of heaven
With unbound wings taking radiance back again, taking possession
Of the ether and of play.
Higher, higher still, the white, white doves
Ah, if only the sky
Were real [a man passing between two bombs said to me].
Cypresses behind the soldiers, minarets protecting
The sky from collapse.
Behind the hedge of steel
Soldiers piss—under the watchful eye of a tank—
And the autumnal day ends its golden wandering in
A street as wide as a church after Sunday mass.
[To a killer] If you had contemplated the victim’s face
And thought it through, you would have remembered your mother in the
Gas chamber, you would have been freed from the reason for the rifle
And you would have changed your mind: this is not the way
to find one’s identity again.
The siege is a waiting period
Waiting on the tilted ladder in the middle of the storm.
Alone, we are alone as far down as the sediment
Were it not for the visits of the rainbows.
We have brothers behind this expanse.
They love us.
They watch us and weep.
Then, in secret, they tell each other:
"Ah! if this siege had been declared.
" They do not finish their sentence:
"Don’t abandon us, don’t leave us.
Our losses: between two and eight martyrs each day.
And ten wounded.
And twenty homes.
And fifty olive trees.
Added to this the structural flaw that
Will arrive at the poem, the play, and the unfinished canvas.
A woman told the cloud: cover my beloved
For my clothing is drenched with his blood.
If you are not rain, my love
Sated with fertility, be tree
If you are not tree, my love
Saturated with humidity, be stone
If you are not stone, my love
In the dream of the beloved woman, be moon
[So spoke a woman
to her son at his funeral]
Oh watchmen! Are you not weary
Of lying in wait for the light in our salt
And of the incandescence of the rose in our wound
Are you not weary, oh watchmen?
A little of this absolute and blue infinity
Would be enough
To lighten the burden of these times
And to cleanse the mire of this place.
It is up to the soul to come down from its mount
And on its silken feet walk
By my side, hand in hand, like two longtime
Friends who share the ancient bread
And the antique glass of wine
May we walk this road together
And then our days will take different directions:
I, beyond nature, which in turn
Will choose to squat on a high-up rock.
On my rubble the shadow grows green,
And the wolf is dozing on the skin of my goat
He dreams as I do, as the angel does
That life is here.
not over there.
In the state of siege, time becomes space
Transfixed in its eternity
In the state of siege, space becomes time
That has missed its yesterday and its tomorrow.
The martyr encircles me every time I live a new day
And questions me: Where were you? Take every word
You have given me back to the dictionaries
And relieve the sleepers from the echo’s buzz.
The martyr enlightens me: beyond the expanse
I did not look
For the virgins of immortality for I love life
On earth, amid fig trees and pines,
But I cannot reach it, and then, too, I took aim at it
With my last possession: the blood in the body of azure.
The martyr warned me: Do not believe their ululations
Believe my father when, weeping, he looks at my photograph
How did we trade roles, my son, how did you precede me.
I first, I the first one!
The martyr encircles me: my place and my crude furniture are all that I have changed.
I put a gazelle on my bed,
And a crescent of moon on my finger
To appease my sorrow.
The siege will last in order to convince us we must choose an enslavement that does no harm, in fullest liberty!
Resisting means assuring oneself of the heart’s health,
The health of the testicles and of your tenacious disease:
The disease of hope.
And in what remains of the dawn, I walk toward my exterior
And in what remains of the night, I hear the sound of footsteps inside me.
Greetings to the one who shares with me an attention to
The drunkenness of light, the light of the butterfly, in the
Blackness of this tunnel!
Greetings to the one who shares my glass with me
In the denseness of a night outflanking the two spaces:
Greetings to my apparition.
My friends are always preparing a farewell feast for me,
A soothing grave in the shade of oak trees
A marble epitaph of time
And always I anticipate them at the funeral:
Who then has died.
Writing is a puppy biting nothingness
Writing wounds without a trace of blood.
Our cups of coffee.
Birds green trees
In the blue shade, the sun gambols from one wall
To another like a gazelle
The water in the clouds has the unlimited shape of what is left to us
Of the sky.
And other things of suspended memories
Reveal that this morning is powerful and splendid,
And that we are the guests of eternity.
A R Ammons |
You'll rejoice at how many kinds of shit there are:
gosling shit (which J.
Williams said something
was as green as), fish shit (the generality), trout
shit, rainbow trout shit (for the nice), mullet shit,
sand dab shit, casual sloth shit, elephant shit
(awesome as process or payload), wildebeest shit,
horse shit (a favorite), caterpillar shit (so many dark
kinds, neatly pelleted as mint seed), baby rhinoceros
shit, splashy jaybird shit, mockingbird shit
(dive-bombed with the aim of song), robin shit that
oozes white down lawnchairs or down roots under roosts,
chicken shit and chicken mite shit, pelican shit, gannet
shit (wholesome guano), fly shit (periodic), cockatoo
shit, dog shit (past catalog or assimilation),
cricket shit, elk (high plains) shit, and
tiny scribbled little shrew shit, whale shit (what
a sight, deep assumption), mandril shit (blazing
blast off), weasel shit (wiles' waste), gazelle shit,
magpie shit (total protein), tiger shit (too acid
to contemplate), moral eel and manta ray shit, eerie
shark shit, earthworm shit (a soilure), crab shit,
wolf shit upon the germicidal ice, snake shit, giraffe
shit that accelerates, secretary bird shit, turtle
shit suspension invites, remora shit slightly in
advance of the shark shit, hornet shit (difficult to
assess), camel shit that slaps the ghastly dry
siliceous, frog shit, beetle shit, bat shit (the
marmoreal), contemptible cat shit, penguin shit,
hermit crab shit, prairie hen shit, cougar shit, eagle
shit (high totem stuff), buffalo shit (hardly less
lofty), otter shit, beaver shit (from the animal of
alluvial dreams)—a vast ordure is a broken down
cloaca—macaw shit, alligator shit (that floats the Nile
along), louse shit, macaque, koala, and coati shit,
antelope shit, chuck-will's-widow shit, alpaca shit
(very high stuff), gooney bird shit, chigger shit, bull
shit (the classic), caribou shit, rasbora, python, and
razorbill shit, scorpion shit, man shit, laswing
fly larva shit, chipmunk shit, other-worldly wallaby
shit, gopher shit (or broke), platypus shit, aardvark
shit, spider shit, kangaroo and peccary shit, guanaco
shit, dolphin shit, aphid shit, baboon shit (that leopards
induce), albatross shit, red-headed woodpecker (nine
inches long) shit, tern shit, hedgehog shit, panda shit,
seahorse shit, and the shit of the wasteful gallinule.
Audre Lorde |
An upright abutment in the mouth
of the Willis Avenue bridge
a beige Honda leaps the divider
like a steel gazelle inescapable
sleek leather boots on the pavement
rat-a-tat-tat best intentions
going down for the third time
stuck in the particular
You cannot make love to concrete
if you care about being
non-essential wrong or worn thin
if you fear ever becoming
diamonds or lard
you cannot make love to concrete
if you cannot pretend
concrete needs your loving
To make love to concrete
you need an indelible feather
white dresses before you are ten
a confirmation lace veil milk-large bones
and air raid drills in your nightmares
no stars till you go to the country
and one summer when you are twelve
Con Edison pulls the plug
on the street-corner moons Walpurgisnacht
and there are sudden new lights in the sky
stone chips that forget you need
to become a light rope a hammer
a repeatable bridge
garden-fresh broccoli two dozen dropped eggs
and a hint of you
caught up between my fingers
the lesson of a wooden beam
propped up on barrels
across a mined terrain
between forgiving too easily
and never giving at all.
Robert William Service |
It was the steamer Alice May that sailed the Yukon foam.
And touched in every river camp from Dawson down to Nome.
It was her builder, owner, pilot, Captain Silas Geer,
Who took her through the angry ice, the last boat of the year;
Who patched her cracks with gunny sacks and wound her pipes with wire,
And cut the spruce upon the banks to feed her boiler fire;
Who headed her into the stream and bucked its mighty flow,
And nosed her up the little creeks where no one else would go;
Who bragged she had so small a draft, if dew were on the grass,
With gallant heart and half a start his little boat would pass.
Aye, ships might come and ships might go, but steady every year
The Alice May would chug away with Skipper Silas Geer.
Now though Cap geer had ne'er a fear the devil he could bilk,
He owned a gastric ulcer and his grub was mostly milk.
He also owned a Jersey cow to furnish him the same,
So soft and sleek and mild and meek, and Kathleen was her name.
And so his source of nourishment he got to love her so
That everywhere the captain went the cow would also go;
And though his sleeping quarters were ridiculously small,
He roped a section of them off to make Kathleen a stall.
So every morn she'd wake him up with mellifluous moo,
And he would pat her on the nose and go to wake the crew.
Then when he'd done his daily run and hitched on to the bank,
She'd breath above his pillow till to soothing sleep he sank.
So up and down the river seeded sourdoughs would allow,
They made a touching tableau, Captain Silas and his cow.
Now as the Captain puffed his pipe and Kathleen chewed her cud,
There came to him a poetess, a Miss Belinda Budd.
"An epic I would write," said she, "about this mighty stream,
And from your gallant bark 'twould be romantic as a dream.
Somewhat amazed the Captain gazed at her and shook his head;
"I'm sorry, Miss, but we don't take she passengers," he said.
"My boat's a freighter, we have no accommodation space
For women-folk - my cabin is the only private palce.
It's eight foot small from wall to wall, and I have, anyhow,
No room to spare, for half I share with Kathleen, That's my cow.
The lady sighed, then soft replied: "I love your Yukon scene,
And for its sake your room I'll take, and put up with Kathleen.
Well, she was so dead set to go the Captain said: "By heck!
I like your spunk; you take my bunk and I'll camp on the deck.
So days went by then with a sigh she sought him so anew:
"Oh, Captain Geer, Kathleen's a dear, but does she have to moo?
In early morn like motor horn she bellows overhead,
While all the night without respite she snores above my bed.
I know it's true she dotes on you, your smile she seems to miss;
She leans so near I live in fear my brow she'll try to kiss.
Her fond regard makes it so hard my Pegasus to spur.
Oh, please be kind and try to find another place for her.
Bereft of cheer was captain Geer; his face was glazed with gloom:
He scratched his head: "There ain't," he said, "another inch of room.
With freight we're packed; it's stowed and stacked - why even on the deck.
There's seven salted sourdoughs and they're sleeping neck and neck.
I'm sorry, Miss, that Kathleen's kiss has put your muse to flight;
I realize her amber eyes abstract you when you write.
I used to love them orbs above a-shining down on me,
And when she'd chew my whickers you can't calculate my glee.
I ain't at all poetical, but gosh! I guess your plight,
So I will try to plan what I can fix up for to-night.
Thus while upon her berth the wan and weary Author Budd
Bewailed her fate, Kathleen sedate above her chewed her cud;
And as he sought with brain distraught a steady course to steer,
Yet find a plan, a worried man was Captain Silas Geer.
Then suddenly alert was he, he hollerred to his mate;
"Hi, Patsy, press our poetess to climb on deck and wait.
Hip-hip-hooray! Bid her be gay and never more despair;
My search is crowned - by heck, I've found an answer to her prayer.
To Patsy's yell like glad gazelle came bounding Bardess Budd;
No more forlorn, with hope new-born she faced the foaming flood;
While down the stair with eager air was seen to disappear,
Like one inspired (by genius fired) exultant Captain Geer.
Then up he came with eye aflame and honest face aglow,
And oh, how loud he laughed, as proud he led her down below.
"Now you may write by day or night upon our Yukon scene,
For I," he cried, "have clarified the problem of Kathleen.
I thought a lot, then like a shot the remedy I found:
I jest unhitched her rope and switched the loving creature round.
No more her moo will trouble you, you'll sleep right restful now.
Look, Lady, look! - I'm giving you.
the tail end of the cow.
Aleister Crowley |
TO LAYLAH EIGHT-AND-TWENTY
Lamp of living loveliness,
Maid miraculously male,
Rapture of thine own excess
Blushing through the velvet veil
Where the olive cheeks aglow
Shadow-soften into snow,
Breasts like Bacchanals afloat
Under the proudly phallic throat!
Be thou to my pilgrimage
Light, and laughter sweet and sage,
Till the darkling day expire
Of my life in thy caress,
Thou my frenzy and my fire,
Lamp of living loveliness!
Thou the ruler of the rod
That beneath thy clasp extends
To the galaxies of God
From the gulph where ocean ends,
Cave of dragon, ruby rose,
Heart of hell, garden-close,
Hyacinth petal sweet to smell,
Split-hoof of the glad gazelle,
Be thou mine as I am thine,
As the vine's ensigns entwine
At the sacring of the sun,
Thou the even and I the odd
Being and becoming one
On the abacus of God!
Thou the sacred snake that rears
Death, a jewelled crest across
The enchantment of the years,
All my love that is my loss.
Life and death, two and one,
Hate and love, moon and sun,
Light and darkness, never swerve
From the norm, note the nerve,
Name the name, exceed the excess
Of thy lamp of loveliness,
Living snake of lazy love,
Ithyphallic that uprears
Its Palladium above
The enchantment of the years!
William Butler Yeats |
The light of evening, Lissadell,
Great windows open to the south,
Two girls in silk kimonos, both
Beautiful, one a gazelle.
But a raving autumn shears
Blossom from the summer's wreath;
The older is condemned to death,
Pardoned, drags out lonely years
Conspiring among the ignorant.
I know not what the younger dreams -
Some vague Utopia - and she seems,
When withered old and skeleton-gaunt,
An image of such politics.
Many a time I think to seek
One or the other out and speak
Of that old Georgian mansion, mix
pictures of the mind, recall
That table and the talk of youth,
Two girls in silk kimonos, both
Beautiful, one a gazelle.
Dear shadows, now you know it all,
All the folly of a fight
With a common wrong or right.
The innocent and the beautiful.
Have no enemy but time;
Arise and bid me strike a match
And strike another till time catch;
Should the conflagration climb,
Run till all the sages know.
We the great gazebo built,
They convicted us of guilt;
Bid me strike a match and blow.
John Clare |
Poem by Anne-Marie Derése, translated by Judith Skillman.
I am the red brand
on the shoulder of the condemned,
the gallows and the rope,
the ax and the block,
the whip and the cross.
I am the lion's tooth
in the flesh of the gazelle.
In my veins I have
the blood of the slave trader.
I have deserved the hunger of the wolves.
My victims have left me nothing
but their deaths.
Lewis Carroll |
I never loved a dear Gazelle--
Nor anything that cost me much:
High prices profit those who sell,
But why should I be fond of such?
To glad me with his soft black eye
My son comes trotting home from school;
He's had a fight but can't tell why--
He always was a little fool!
But, when he came to know me well,
He kicked me out, her testy Sire:
And when I stained my hair, that Belle
Might note the change and this admire
And love me, it was sure to dye
A muddy green, or staring blue:
Whilst one might trace, with half an eye,
The still triumphant carrot through
Thomas Moore |
"How sweetly," said the trembling maid,
Of her own gentle voice afraid,
So long had they in silence stood,
Looking upon that tranquil flood--
"How sweetly does the moon-beam smile
To-night upon yon leafy isle!
Oft in my fancy's wanderings,
I've wish'd that little isle had wings,
And we, within its fairy bow'rs,
Were wafted off to seas unknown,
Where not a pulse should beat but ours,
And we might live, love, die alone!
Far from the cruel and the cold,--
Where the bright eyes of angels only
Should come around us, to behold
A paradise so pure and lonely.
Would this be world enough for thee?"--
Playful she turn'd, that he might see
The passing smile her cheek put on;
But when she mark'd how mournfully
His eyes met hers, that smile was gone;
And, bursting into heart-felt tears,
"Yes, yes," she cried, "my hourly fears
My dreams have boded all too right--
We part--for ever part--to-night!
I knew, I knew it could not last--
'Twas bright, 'twas heav'nly, but 'tis past!
Oh! ever thus, from childhood's hour,
I've seen my fondest hopes decay;
I never lov'd a tree or flow'r,
But 'twas the first to fade away.
I never nurs'd a dear gazelle
To glad me with its soft black eye,
But when it came to know me well
And love me, it was sure to die!
Now too--the joy most like divine
Of all I ever dreamt or knew,
To see thee, hear thee, call thee mine,--
Oh misery! must I lose that too?
Yet go--on peril's brink we meet;--
Those frightful rocks--that treach'rous sea--
No, never come again--though sweet,
Though heav'n, it may be death to thee.
Farewell--and blessings on thy way,
Where'er thou goest, beloved stranger!
Better to sit and watch that ray,
And think thee safe, though far away,
Than have thee near me, and in danger!"