Sunday, December 24, 2017
My son brings me a stone and asks
which star it fell from,
he is serious
and so I must be careful, even though
I know he will place it
among those things that will leave him
someday, and he
will go on gathering. For this
is one of those moments
that turns suddenly towards you, opening
as it turns, as if for a moment
we paused on the edge
of a heart beat, conscious
of the fear that runs beside us
and how lovely it is to be with each other
in the long resilient mornings.
Sunday, December 10, 2017
Poema by Maria Teresa Horta
Translated from the Portuguese by Lesley Saunders
I let him come.
He sneaks on tiptoe
right up to my ear;
under its ribs my heart
as the excitement mounts:
first the forest appears,
then the woodland-sequel,
more mist than snow to the touch –
from the new poem’s
very first line the paper sucks up
and an ugliness steals in,
a cunning hungry thing
crouching there incognito,
pretending to be tame and yet so wolfish
that he’s the kernel of light
and then the noise of its cracking;
he’s lithe on the path,
doubling back on himself,
running with the pack, loping alone;
pussy-footing through the night
he trails moonlight behind him
like a mink coat.
I feel him when the hairs on my skin
lift, and in the delicious dizziness
of my private pulse –
in the midst of my writing, in my dream-life,
I slip all his clothes slowly off
and slide him down beside me.
Monday, November 06, 2017
My husband gives me an A
for lasts nights’s supper
an incomplete for my ironing,
a B plus in bed.
My son says I am average,
an average mother, but if
I put my mind to it
I could improve.
My daughter believes
in Pass/Fail and tells me
I pass. Wait ‘till they learn
I’m dropping out.
Friday, October 27, 2017
“I, infinite silence, will grant you words”
[God Contemplates Man] —Jules Supervielle
When I was born
I was nameless
like a water molecule
But right away I was fed vowels mouth-to-mouth
consonants tickled my ears
I was called and
pulled away from the cosmos
Oscillating the atmosphere
carved onto clay tablets
inscribed on bamboo
recorded on sand
words are onion skins
If I keep on peeling
I will not find the cosmos
I would have loved to lose words
to be a tree singing in the wind
I would have loved to be a cloud from a hundred thousand years ago
I would have loved to be a whale’s song
Now I go back to being nameless
with dirt over my eyes, my ears and my mouth
with stars leading me by the fingers
Wednesday, September 27, 2017
Translated from the Spanish by Stephen Kessler
From the beginning to your early death
a terrible beauty lay in wait for you
as good or bad luck lay in wait for others.
That beauty waited for you in the dawns
of London, or by chance in the pages of
a dictionary of mythology,
in the ordinary gifts of a normal day,
or in a face, a voice, the mortal lips
of Fanny Brawne. O posthumous Keats
snatched away from earth, blinded by time,
the nightingale on high and the Greek urn
are your eternity, o fleeting one.
You were the fire. In panic memory
you are not ashes now. You are glory.
Wednesday, September 13, 2017
The long red flats stretch open to the sky,
Breathing their moisture on the August air.
The seaweeds cling with flesh-like fingers where
The rocks give shelter that the sands deny;
And wrapped in all her summer harmonies
St Andrews sleeps beside her sleeping seas.
The far-off shores swim blue and indistinct,
Like half-lost memories of some old dream.
The listless waves that catch each sunny gleam
Are idling up the waterways land-linked,
And, yellowing along the harbour’s breast,
The light is leaping shoreward from the west.
And naked-footed children, tripping down,
Light with young laughter, daily come at eve
To gather dulse and sea clams and then heave
Their loads, returning laden to the town,
Leaving a strange grey silence when they go,
The silence of the sands when tides are low.
Tuesday, August 15, 2017
We think of her hidden in a white dress
among the folded linens and sachets
of well-kept cupboards, or just out of sight
sending jellies and notes with no address
to all the wondering Amherst neighbors.
Eccentric as New England weather
the stiff wind of her mind, stinging or gentle,
blew two half-imagined lovers off.
Yet legend won’t explain the sheer sanity
of vision, the serious mischief
of language, the economy of pain.