Liu Xia: “June 2nd, 1989” (Two Excerpts)

This isn’t good weather
I said to myself
standing under the lush sun.

* * *

 

DSCN0234

I didn’t have a chance to say a word before you became a character
in the news, everyone looking up to you
as I was worn down
at the edge of the crowd
just smoking
and watching the sky.

(from the collection Empty Chairs, translated from the Chinese by Ming Di and Jennifer Stern, published by Graywolf Press in a bilingual edition in 2015)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Poetry Tuesday: St. John of the Cross

In self’s historical novel (so far, 291 pp), she incorporates poetry.

Here’s a poem she’s including in a chapter called Enigma.

The poem is by St. John of the Cross, in a translation by Catholic scholar Paul Mariani:

Everything about me

Sends word of your myriad graces.

And yet everything hurts,

everything leaves me dying,

stammering on about I don’t know

what’s what.

St. John of the Cross was born Juan de Yepes y Alvarez, in Fontiveros, Avila, Spain in 1542.  He became a Carmelite monk in 1563. His feast day is 14 December.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

 

Fourth From the Annaghmakerrig Book: Vona Groarke

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Excerpt from Maize, by Vona Groarke:

The Faber Castells ripen in your hand.
You’ve been drawing since breakfast:
sky after sky, face after face, but something
in yours says they’re not quite right.

The Annaghmakerrig Book: Melanie Almeder

There’s a copy in every cottage.

And every year self comes.

And every time she opens the Annaghmakerrig book, she ends up re-reading Melanie Almeder’s Mock Orange.

And, damn. That opening gets her every time. Every single time:

Mock Orange

Everything on the tongue goes stunned bird
Long past the hissy-fit thralls of April,
rashes of phlox, purple thistle snowing a little.
And then, like too much love,
there was altogether too much gardenia

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Poetry Saturday: “Trenarren, Autumn 1941”

An excerpt from Trenarren, Autumn 1941

by A. L. Rowse

The thunder-green sea
Brings nearer the Island
On which stood the chapel
Of Michael the Archangel.

Smoke from a chimney
In the V-shaped valley,
The voices of children,
A robin on the bough:

Familiar and cheerful
Domestic noises
Speak of contentment
About me now.

But what is to come?
I ask myself, waiting
In this burial-place
Of my ancient people.


from A. L. Rowse’s collection Poems, Chiefly Cornish (London: Faber and Faber), dedicated to Edward Sackville West, “in our common passion for Cornwall”

Stay tuned.

Poetry Friday: Wislawa Szymborska

from Utopia

For all its charms, the island is uninhabited,
and the faint footprints scattered on its beaches
turn without exception to the sea.

As if all you can do here is leave
and plunge, never to return, into the depths.

Into unfathomable life.


The poem can be read in its entirety here.

Stay tuned.

Alexandria, City of Memory: C. P. Cafavy, “In the Evening”

I picked up a letter again,
read it over and over till the light faded.

Then, sad, I went out on the balcony,
went out to change my thoughts at least by seeing
something of this city I love,
a little movement in the streets, in the shops.

(1916)

Poetry Sunday: J Journal, Fall 2012

First Time for Everything

by Marjorie Power

Lights flash
in my rear view
mirror. I pull over
thinking I must be in the way
But no.

I’ve done
a lot of things
a little bit wrong, so
I don’t argue. Besides, the cop
is cute.

Guilty
or no contest?
I check guilty, start my
written statement. I’ve always loved
to write.

Marjorie Power has had poems in Poet Lore, The Atlanta Review, Fault Lines, Living In Storms, and the Random House Treasure of Light Verse. She lives in Corvallis, Oregon.

Poetry Friday: St. John of the Cross

Everything about me
sends word of your myriad graces.
And yet everything hurts,
everything leaves me dying,
stammering on about I don’t know
what’s what.

— St. John of the Cross, translated from the Spanish by Paul Mariani

Poetry Saturday, September 2017: Joanne Diaz

Excerpt from “Pyrrhic”

from My Favorite Tyrants, winner of the Brittingham Prize in Poetry

Art can make war look wrong, but most of the time
it doesn’t. Consider this terracotta jar, once filled
with olive oil to anoint the dead, now a souvenir
of fire, clay, and spittle standing in the back
of the Ancient Wing. Look closer: some dancers
are clothed in robes, others are naked, and all
wear helmets while the musician plays a double flute
and taps his toe. First, they join hands, then the delicate,
ceremonious footwork begins.

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