Morgaine

Archive for March, 2006|Monthly archive page

Extinction of Silence

In Too lazy to assign a category on March 11, 2006 at 7:55 pm
That it was shy when alive goes without saying.
We know it vanished at the sound of voices

Or footsteps. It took wing at the slightest noises,
Though it could be approached by someone praying.

We have no recordings of it, though of course
In the basement of the Museum, we have some stu­ffed

Moth-eaten specimens—the Lesser Ruffed
And Yellow Spotted—filed in narrow drawers.

But its song is lost. If it was related to
A species of Quiet, or of another feather,

No researcher can know. Not even whether
A breeding pair still nests deep in the bayou,

Where legend has it some once common bird
Decades ago was first not seen, not heard.

by A.E. Stallings

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The Changing Light

In Too lazy to assign a category on March 11, 2006 at 12:18 pm
   The changing light

at San Francisco

is none of your East Coast light

none of your

pearly light of Paris

The light of San Francisco

is a sea light

an island light

And the light of fog

blanketing the hills

drifting in at night

through the Golden Gate

to lie on the city at dawn

And then the halcyon late mornings

after the fog burns off

and the sun paints white houses

with the sea light of Greece

with sharp clean shadows

making the town look like

it had just been painted



But the wind comes up at four o'clock

sweeping the hills



And then the veil of light of early evening



And then another scrim

when the new night fog

floats in

And in that vale of light

the city drifts

anchorless upon the ocean

From How to Paint Sunlight by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

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Mirabeau Bridge

In Too lazy to assign a category on March 10, 2006 at 10:36 pm
Under Mirabeau Bridge the river slips away

And lovers

Must I be reminded

Joy came always after pain



The night is a clock chiming

The days go by not I



We're face to face and hand in hand

While under the bridges

Of embrace expire

Eternal tired tidal eyes



The night is a clock chiming

The days go by not I



Love elapses like the river

Love goes by

Poor life is indolent

And expectation always violent



The night is a clock chiming

The days go by not I



The days and equally the weeks elapse

The past remains the past

Love remains lost

Under Mirabeau Bridge the river slips away



The night is a clock chiming

The days go by not I



From Alcools by Guillaume Apollinaire, translated by Donald Revell.

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Lotus

In Too lazy to assign a category on March 10, 2006 at 10:08 pm

Lotus

I have spent many tranquil and desireless nights
Sitting, my legs crossed in meditation.
I breathe a human's breath— in and out—
eh, world? It hardly exists.

Another world exists…
Other winds, other sacrificial lambs,
other faces, not necessarily lively…
In other words, they belong to another space.

I spread my hands,
the only two lotus I own.
You say they are growing— but in what direction?
You say they are traveling/on their way— but where?

I'm merely learning to forget—
that huge university not seen by eyes of flesh.

— Shu Cai
Translated by Zhang Er and Leonard Schwartz

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No entry for minors

In Too lazy to assign a category on March 10, 2006 at 10:06 pm

Clasping a liquid hand, drifting.
The sea water doesn't know I'm sea water too
Its nakedness pushing my nakedness
Trying to wash me up on shore.

I drift from one self
Into another, I clasp
My own hand. I haven't forgotten the liquid path
That winds around a submerged reef
From Shanghai to Inner Mongolia.

I'm stranded on the beach. Waves break
Lapping at my face, as if to extinguish a candle
Beneath the water. The beach seems too young.
I remember an unmarked fork in the road.

— Han Bo, No Entry For Minors
Translated by Jason Pym and Mark Wallace

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La Figlia che Piange

In Too lazy to assign a category on March 10, 2006 at 9:50 pm

O quam te memorem virgo…

STAND on the highest pavement of the stair—
Lean on a garden urn—
Weave, weave the sunlight in your hair—
Clasp your flowers to you with a pained surprise—
Fling them to the ground and turn
With a fugitive resentment in your eyes:
But weave, weave the sunlight in your hair.

So I would have had him leave,
So I would have had her stand and grieve,
So he would have left
As the soul leaves the body torn and bruised,
As the mind deserts the body it has used.
I should find
Some way incomparably light and deft,
Some way we both should understand,
Simple and faithless as a smile and shake of the hand.

She turned away, but with the autumn weather
Compelled my imagination many days,
Many days and many hours:
Her hair over her arms and her arms full of flowers.
And I wonder how they should have been together!
I should have lost a gesture and a pose.
Sometimes these cogitations still amaze
The troubled midnight and the noon’s repose.

— T.S. Eliot

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A “Thank You” Note

In Too lazy to assign a category on March 10, 2006 at 9:43 pm

There is much I owe
to those I do not love.

The relief in accepting
they are closer to another.

Joy that I am not
the wolf to their sheep.

My peace be with them
for with them I am free,

and this, love can neither give,
nor know how to take.

I don't wait for them
from window to door.

Almost as patient
as a sun dial,
I understand
what love does not understand.
I forgive
what love would never have forgiven.

Between rendezvous and letter
no eternity passes,
only a few days or weeks.

My trips with them always turn out well.
Concerts are heard.
Cathedrals are toured.
Landscapes are distinct.

And when seven rivers and mountains
come between us,
they are rivers and mountains
well known from any map.

It is thanks to them
that I live in three dimensions,
in a non-lyrical and non-rhetorical space,
with a shifting, thus real, horizon.

They don't even know
how much they carry in their empty hands.

"I don't owe them anything",
love would have said
on this open topic.

— Wislawa Szymborska, translated by Joanna Maria Trzeciak

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