April 15, 2008
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: “More light!”
Voltaire: “Let me die in peace.”
Saki: “Put that bloody cigarette out.”
Lady Mary Montague: “It has all been most interesting.”
O. Henry: “Turn up the lights; I don’t want to go home in the dark.”
somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond any experience,your eyes have their silence: in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me, or which i cannot touch because they are too near your slightest look will easily unclose me though i have closed myself as fingers, you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens (touching skilfully,mysteriously)her first rose or if your wish be to close me, i and my life will shut very beautifully ,suddenly, as when the heart of this flower imagines the snow carefully everywhere descending; nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals the power of your intense fragility:whose texture compels me with the color of its countries, rendering death and forever with each breathing (i do not know what it is about you that closes and opens;only something in me understands the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
March 20, 2008
Spring is like a perhaps hand
(which comes carefully
out of Nowhere)arranging
a window,into which people look(while
arranging and changing placing
carefully there a strange
thing and a known thing here)and
changing everything carefully
spring is like a perhaps
Hand in a window
and fro moving New and
people stare carefully
moving a perhaps
fraction of flower here placing
an inch of air there)and
without breaking anything.
March 5, 2008
The tragedy of love is indifference.
February 28, 2008
Teeth of flowers, hairnet of dew,
hands of herbs, you, perfect wet nurse,
prepare the earthly sheets for me
and the down quilt of weeded moss.
I am going to sleep, my nurse, put me to bed.
Set a lamp at my headboard;
a constellation; whatever you like;
all are good: lower it a bit.
Leave me alone: you hear the buds breaking through . . .
a celestial foot rocks you from above
and a bird traces a pattern for you
so you’ll forget . . . Thank you. Oh, one request:
if he telephones again
tell him not to keep trying for I have left . . .
February 21, 2008
February 20, 2008
He told his life story to Mrs. Courtly
Who was a widow. “Let us get married shortly,”
He said. “I am no longer passionate,
But we can have some conversation before it is too late.”
February 19, 2008
Such things I remember now it is spring and you are gone!
like air or heart’s beating –
words that would pass neither for wit nor wisdom… or acts for grace,
pebbles underfoot the polishing of years makes jewels of.
You might as well be here.
After the sterile loneliness of winter
he sunned earth has flowered out with dark Paleozoic fertility.
Remember the longstemmed tiger
and lemon lilies in the regenerated stripmined backyards of Joplin,
the ever wilting daisies and violets we vowed never to pick,
the barbed lavender thistles you loved … but I had to carry –
the dew the blossoms and the leaves
imparted to your arms, emphasizing their pubescent softness?
You were wary of bees, mostly…I, of ivy and sumac,
as we trespassed, field to field, until you tired and grew gently
glad of my arms each time a fence or an excavation challenged us.
Then I was strong… and always held you longer than it took
to help you over.
O it was good feeling you mine completely… certain that all was yes
and no was inarticulate in your lips and limbs.
February 15, 2008
Who translates a poet badly
Plays a lackey’s role
In his master’s clothes.
Translated from the Spanish
by William M. Davis
February 14, 2008