Monday, April 30, 2012

Tuesday Poeom--A Song on the End of the World by Czesław Miłosz

On the day the world ends
A bee circles a clover,
A fisherman mends a glimmering net.
Happy porpoises jump in the sea,
By the rainspout young sparrows are playing
And the snake is gold-skinned as it should always be.
On the day the world ends
Women walk through the fields under their umbrellas,
A drunkard grows sleepy at the edge of a lawn,
Vegetable peddlers shout in the street
And a yellow-sailed boat comes nearer the island,
The voice of a violin lasts in the air
And leads into a starry night.
And those who expected lightning and thunder
Are disappointed.
And those who expected signs and archangels’ trumps
Do not believe it is happening now.
As long as the sun and moon are above,
As long as the bumblebee visits a rose,
As long as rosy infants are born
No one believes it is happening now.
Only a white-haired old man, who would be a prophet
Yet is not a prophet, for he’s much too busy,
Repeats while he binds his tomatoes:
There will be no other end of the world.
There will be no other end of the world.
Czesław Miłosz
Warsaw, 1944

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Tuesday Poem--Waiting for Evy by Melissa Green


                  in memory of EM
Across a cream-colored raw silk sky,
the deeply booming fog horn seems to mourn
the ending of the day, ribbons and veils
of chiffon blowing through October’s bloody leaves,
torn from laughing brides whose white limousines
have passed, fog streaming in my summer screens like gauze.
Beyond the church spires through the dusk
there is an answering campanile,
a lighthouse in Boston Harbor,
on an island, on a rock pile, with peeling shakes
and geraniums by the door without its beam alight.
I know all its windows are open.
A rag rug, a table, thickly-painted, beside
the trundle bed. On it are salt-scented,
surf-colored sheets, hemmed in scallop shells,
waiting for a woman to come back from the sea.
Let me tell you how it happened:
she put her palms together to pray, paused,
then plunged into the breakers,
learning to breathe underwater
though it came hard, her ear
turning abalone, the depths disheveling
her quicksilver nightdress as she kicked
in her diving down and vanishing.
She is going to lie on the Atlantic’s deepest altar--
to be unmade--to be colonized again with microscopic pearls,
to be reborn in the beating of the tides,
rhythms which will start up her burdened heart
when the metamorphosis is over.
Moon, keep track of her.
Pebbles chatter as the riptide pulls back stones,
gulls on the seawall pacing anxiously and muttering.
I’m here until darkfall, dawn, day--as long as it takes,
pressing my toes in her freezing Lethe underfoot.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Tuesday Poem--Earth by Czesław Miłosz

My sweet European homeland,
A butterfly lighting on your flowers stains its wings 
                                             with blood,
Blood gathers in the mouths of tulips,
Shines, star-like, inside a morning glory
And washes the grains of wheat.
Your people warm their hands
At the funeral candle of a primrose
And hear on the fields the wind howling
In the cannons ready to be fired.

You are a land where it’s no shame to suffer
For one is served here a glass of bitter liquor
With lees, the poison of centuries.
On your broken evening of wet leaves,
By the waters that carry the rust
Of centurions’ sunken armor,
At the foot of blasted towers,
In the shadow of the spans like aqueducts,
Under the quiet canopy of an owl’s wings.
A red poppy, touched by the ice of tears.
Czesław Miłosz
Washington, DC, 1949

Monday, April 9, 2012

Tuesday Poem--Last Things by Melissa Green

It passeth understanding, but the light will go. At the bedside, Memory will
rise, pure as an abbess, and escort her flesh and blood from the room. None
will look back, for they have already forgotten you. The abyss like a nurse
will press a gauze on your eyes to quench them, and they will be quenched. 
The bones that faithfully held you will be dismantled, surrender to sleep. 
Skin that was so sweet in life to kiss will unwrap its parchment cocoon, 
weightless as a spider’s gossamer the slightest breath of air will blow away. 
The ear’s tympanum by an angel’s whisper will eternally be sealed with wax.
The lips, having lost all its words, will fall open, unsewn, your very name 
now only a chimera. Somewhere the earth is waiting, holding its breath.
Will your beliefs buoy you on clouds? Your incandescent essence find the place
in a galaxy of stars in which to joyfully merge? What if the heart still fights
for one more minute, one more glimpse of day, and the self, the final priceless spark, 
which is laboring so hard not to be extinguished, is forever put out, put out


Don't forget to click on the Tuesday Poem quill link above in order to read
the beautiful birthday poem that is evolving in order to celebrate our second
year--poets from all over the world are adding line by line to this endeavor,
rather the way a gorgeous coral reef is made.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Tuesday Poem--To Poetry by Melissa Green

I have not forgotten you. You were taken. Suddenly, terribly, Eros kissed me
on the mouth, inhaled my simple songs, and from his throat roared out
a fusillade of black notes, crows that raced and pierced the thunderheads.
It left me mute, violent hoof prints to the heart as when one falls in love, 
passion filling me with thorns of light. Wildfires that blazed for no one.
My hands awoke. I could not stop their fury, their flurry, their hurried need,
a hurt and hunger so fierce, my hair turned white as weave of the pages
I drew to me, pristine except where I left my mark: pen, brushes, paint.
I hardly sleep now, night after night, and when mornings come, I reach up
and break off a piece of the sun to feed on, its taste a burning on my tongue,
of crimson, violet, viridian, ultramarine. Ask for me and you will find me 
changed, utterly new. My hands, now taloned, are sleek white birds in flight.

*     *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *
Tuesday Poem is celebrating its 2nd birthday this month. Please click on the feather quill at the top of this page to be brought to the hub of the blog, with a sidebar of poets and their poems on the right-hand side, and in the center of the page, appearing as if by magic, a poem written communally with each writer adding a fresh line to those that have come before it. Mid-month, this new Happy Birthday Tuesday Poem will be finished!