Tag: Poetry

Foundations – Leopold Staff

This poem was written immediately after World War Il, in Poland, among the ruins, of which those in the figurative sense were even more oppressive than the physical ones. There was literally nothing. How could a poet react to that situation? What was left was to do what a child does, who when trying to draw a house often starts with the smoke from the chimney, then draws a chimney, and then the rest. So this is a poem of naked faith.

FOUNDATIONS
I built on the sand
And it tumbled down,
I built on a rock
And it tumbled down.
Now when I build, I shall begin
With the smoke from the chimney.

LEOPOLD STAFF 1878 – 1957
Translated from the Polish by Czeslaw Milosz

A Book Of Luminous Things: An International Anthology of Poetry

Music of Spheres – Jean Follain

JEAN FOLLAIN 1903 – 1971
It seems nothing peculiar happens when somebody walks on a road and kicks an empty can. But here, in French poet Jean Follain, this movement, like an immobilized frame of a film, suddenly opens into the cold of the cosmos. Because it is winter, the road is frozen, the keys are iron, the shoe is pointed, and the can itself is cold, empty.

MUSIC OF SPHERES
He was walking a frozen road
in his pocket iron keys were jingling
and with his pointed shoe absent-mindedly
he kicked the cylinder
of an old can
which for a few seconds rolled its cold emptiness
wobbled for a while and stopped
under a sky studded with stars.

Translated from the French by Czeslaw Milos and Robert Hass
A Book Of Luminous Things: An International Anthology of Poetry
Czeslaw Milosz

Marginalia – Selection of, Auden

The palm extended in welcome:
Look! for you 
I have unclenched my fist.

Everyone thinks:
“I am the most important
Person at present.”
The sane remember to add:
“important, I mean, to me.”

True Love enjoys
twenty-twenty vision,
but talks like a myopic.

Once having shat
in his new apartment,
he began to feel at home.

When Chiefs of State
prefer to work at night,
let the citizens beware.

Marginalia
1965 – 1968
Collected Poems
W.H. Auden

Remembering Youth from a Distance – Proust Quote

But for a little while now, I have begun to hear again very clearly, if I take care to listen, the sobs that I was strong enough to contain in front of my father and that broke out only when I found myself alone again with Mama. They have never really stopped; and it is only because life is now becoming quieter around me that I can hear them again, like those convent bells covered so well by the clamor of the town during the day that one would think they had ceased altogether but which begin sounding again in the silence of the evening.

Swann’s Way
Marcel Proust

Anthropomorphization Example, Anthropomorphized Variables

Noun. anthropomorphization (countable and uncountable, plural anthropomorphizations) endowing with human qualities. attributing human characteristics to something that is nonhuman.

I thought of the countless hours I had spent in math classes determining how long it took those three musketeers of math pedagogy, A, B and C, rowing at different speeds, to reach a certain bend in the river. No suspense about the outcome relieved the monotony of those races, for the three rowers were as foreordained as figures in a morality play to finish in the same order. It was a matter of character. A was strong and handsome, honest and decent, patriotic and God-fearing; B was plucky but flawed, fated to catch his oar on a rock just when victory seemed possible; and C was the amiable bumbler who is every one of us, capsizing in the stream. I always hoped for an upset—for C to redeem the best dreams of life’s losers, or at least for B to redeem the best dreams of life’s runners-up. It was not to be; in algebra textbooks, life’s races were rigged.

Zinsser, William. Writing to Learn 

Ithaka, C. P. Cavafy

Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you’re destined for.
But don’t hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you’re old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you’ve gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.

Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you wouldn’t have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you’ll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.

Poetry Foundation

People Get Ready – Curtis Mayfield

People get ready, there’s a train comin’
You don’t need no baggage, you just get on board
All you need is faith to hear the diesels hummin’
You don’t need no ticket you just thank the lord

People get ready, there’s a train to Jordan
Picking up passengers coast to coast
Faith is the key, open the doors and board them
There’s hope for all among those loved the most
There ain’t no room for the hopeless sinner whom would hurt all mankind
Just to save his own
Have pity on those whose chances grow thinner
For there is no hiding place against the kingdoms throne

People get ready there’s a train comin’
You don’t need no baggage, just get on board
All you need is faith to hear the diesels hummin’
You don’t need no ticket, just thank the lord.

Límites / Boundaries – Borges Poetry

Límites
Hay una línea de Verlaine que no volveré a recordar,
Hay una calle próxima que está vedada a mis pasos,
Hay un espejo que me ha visto por última vez,
Hay una puerta que he cerrado hasta el fin del mundo
Entre los libros de mi biblioteca (estoy viéndolos)
Hay alguno que ya nunca abriré,
Este verano cumpliré cincuenta años;
La muerte me desgasta, incesante.
—de Inscripciones (Montevideo, 1923), de Julio Platero Haedo

Boundaries
There is a line by Verlaine that I will not remember again.
There is a street nearby that is off limits to my feet.
There is a mirror that has seen me for the last time.
There is a door I have closed until the end of the world.
Among the books in my library (I’m looking at them now)
Are some I will never open.
This summer I will be fifty years old.
Death is using me up, relentlessly.
—from Inscriptions (Montevideo, 1923) by Julio Platero Haedo

Poems of the Night: A Dual-Language Edition with Parallel Text (Penguin Classics)
Jorge Luis Borges