Thursday, March 29, 2012

Little Lost Followers

I'm sorry--I seem to have lost my Followers. I didn't toss you out, rest assured. How does one fix these damned things?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Tuesday Poem--Gift by Czesław Miłosz

A day so happy.

Fog lifted early, I worked in the garden.

Hummingbirds were stopping over honeysuckle flowers.

There was no thing on earth I wanted to possess.

I knew no one worth my envying him.

Whatever evil I had suffered, I forgot.

To think that once I was the same man did not embarrass me.

In my body I felt no pain.

When straightening up, I saw the blue sea and sails.
Czesław Miłosz

Monday, March 19, 2012

Tuesday Poem--Statue of a Couple by Czesław Miłosz

I seem to be so in love with Miłosz these days, I can't help but keep posting. This poem moved me almost to tears when I first read it twenty years ago, and I haven't forgotten a bit of it.

Your hand, my wonder, is now icy cold.
The purest light of the celestial dome
has burned me through. And now, we are
as still still plains lying in darkness,
as two black banks of a frozen stream
in the chasm of the world.
Our hair combed back is carved in wood,
the moon walks over our ebony shoulders.
A distant cockcrow, the night goes by, silent.
Rich is the rime of love, withered the dowry.
Where are you, living in what depths of time,
love, stepping down into what waters,
now, when the frost of our voiceless lips
does not fend off the divine fires?
In a forest of clouds, of foam, and of silver
we live, caressing lands under our feet.
And we are wielding the might of a dark scepter
to earn oblivion.
My love, your breast cut through by a chisel
knows nothing anymore of what it was.
Of clouds at dawn, of angers at daybreak,
of shadows in springtime it has no remembrance.
And you have led me, as once an angel led
Tobias, onto the rusty marshes of Lombardy.
But a day came when a sign frightened you,
a stigma of golden measure.
With a scream, with immobile fear in your thin hands
you fell into a pit that ashes lie over,
where neither northern firs nor Italian yews
could protect our ancient bed of lovers.
What was it, what is it, what will it be--
we filled the world with our cry and calling.
The dawn is back, the red moon set,
do we know now? In a heavy ship
A helmsman comes, throws a silken rope
and binds us tightly to each other,
then he pours on friends, once enemies,
a handful of snow.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Tuesday Poem--To the River by Zbigniew Herbert

River--hourglass of water metaphor of eternity

I enter you more and more changed

so I could be a cloud a fish or rock

while you are the same like a clock that measures

the metamorphoses of the body and descents of the spirit

slow disintegration of tissues and love

I who am born of clay

want to be your pupil

and learn the spring the Olympian heart

o cool torch rustling column

bedrock of my faith and my despair

river teach me stubbornness and endurance

so in the last hour I become worthy

of rest in the shade of the great delta

in the holy triangle of the beginning and of the end.

Zbigniew Herbert
(translated by John and Bogdana Carpenter)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Tuesday Poem--After Paradise by Czesław Miłosz

Don’t run anymore. Quiet. How softly it rains
On the roofs of the city. How perfect
All things are. Now, for the two of you
Waking up in a royal bed by a garret window.
For a man and a woman. For one plant divided
Into masculine and feminine which longed for each other
Yes, this is my gift to you. Above ashes
On a bitter, bitter earth. Above the subterranean
Echo of clamorings and vows. So that now at dawn
You must be attentive: the tilt of a head,
A hand with a comb, two faces in a mirror
Are only forever once, even if unremembered,
So that you watch what is, though it fades away,
And are grateful every moment for your being.
Let that little park with greenish marble busts
In the pearl-gray light, under a summer drizzle,
Remain as it was when you opened the gate.
And the street of tall peeling porticoes
Which this love of yours suddenly transformed.
Czesław Miłosz