Miracles Made Here   Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Photo by Andre Lamar



My photos this week were taken by my son, Chris, except for the one above which features Chris and was taking by his friend and fellow hiker. The pictures are three or four years old. Although he has not had much time for it since, when he was a fervent hiker and primitive camper when the pictures were taken. He hiked and camped frequently in the deserts and mountains of Big Bend National Park. These photos were taken in the Guadalupe Mountains National Park on the Texas - New Mexico Border. The only way into the park is to leave your car and hike in.

My anthology is Music While Drowning, a collection of early twentieth century German expressionist poems. The book was published Tate Publishing in 2003. It is beautifully bound hard cover book on slick paper and includes illustrations that perfectly fit the poetry.

In addition to  poems from my library, I also have a poem by my poet friend, Gary Blankenship, who you've read here before. He has a new book out and I'll tell you how to get it.

And my stuff, of course, new and  old.


The Mix:


Me
we are people who love our miracles

Hugo Ball
Cimio

Me
waterfront properties

Gary Blankenship
Song of Myself #2 - Carpenter  

Me
don't stink like a skunk if you don't  have  to

August Stramm
Rendez-Vous

Me
they'll know what we mean

Linda Rodriguez
Three O'clock in the Morning, Alone
How To Be Alone In Love

Me
too much too  long

Georg Traki
Grodek

Me
not even in Paris

Jimmy Santiago Baca
from As Life Was

Me
even the non-believer driven to morning prayer

Kurt Schwitters
For Franz marc

Me
these southern breezes

Rosemary Waldrop
Between

Me
just like my first girlfriend

Hans/Jean Arp
untitled

Me
try not to dream

Philippe Jaccottet
from Seedtime

Me
it rained

Else  Lasker-Shuler
The Blue Piano

Me
the rose

Mary Oliver
Mysteries, Four of the Simple Ones

Me
        another morning con               




Photo by Chris  Itz





                                                                              





This piece was meant to be a bit sarcastic so I  was surprised when some  people read it as a for real  appreciation of miracles. So let me be clear as to what I think a miracle is - a miracle is an accident that happens to favor your interests, usually contrary to the interests of someone else. So those of you who pray for miracles should know that most often what you are actually asking for is someone else's misfortune.










we are people who love our miracles

we are people who love our miracles,
believe  in them,
fervent in praying for them,  like,
in the middle of a drought, praying
that it won't  rain and ruin
the picnic planned
for the afternoon, and, through God's grace,
it doesn't

hallelujah, hallelujah
hosannas on the highest

 the subject came up yesterday
at a men's bible study group that meets here
at the restaurant every Thursday (usually
they meet in a separate room, but for reasons
unimportant to the poem, they met  in the main room
near me this week) about fifteen  or  so
middle-aged to older men, and the skinny old priest
I see here often  in the morning, whose call,apparently
is to have free breakfast  with boring people
a couple of times a week...

none of the men look particularly hard-up, though
I'm  sure each has his own personal challenges like
we all do, but all apparently are
21st century prosperous, business-types, mid-career
to retired, which made their  discussion of charity
interesting,they apparently never having any need
for that kind of stuff, certain that the $30 a week or so
they put in the collection plate could take care
of all the world's needs  if  the damn  government
would just get out of the way...

but, beside the  point

one of the fellas
from down at the end of the table
made an interesting point
about miracles...


what if Jesus' miracles never actually
happened? he asked,
what if that talk of miracles
was just a way to get  people to pony up
some of their  own resources
for a good cause, kind of like, lookee you,
at what Jesus did, surely you can help  him
by dropping an extra couple of bucks into the plate
next Sunday,  and, anyway, he said, those miracles weren't
really such big things,  like the loaves and fishes and water to wine
thing, big deal, he fed the multitudes for a day, a real miracle, he said,
betraying his main street  Republican bottom-line good sense,
would have been  if he had made a loaves and fishes, water-to-wine
machine that would feed the multitudes for years...

and I have to admit this comment led me to a whole new
understanding of miracles, reminding me
of the miracles of McCormick and his reaper, Morse
and his telegraph, Ford and his Model-T, Salk and his vaccine,
Jobs and his Apple...

all of a sudden  the theory of miracles makes sense to me... 




Photo by Chris Itz



                                                                          



Here's my first poem this week from the anthology, Music While Drowning, subtitled "German Expressionist Poems." The poet is Hugo Ball. Born in 1886, Ball was an author and poet and one of the leading Dada artists. He died in 1927.











Cimio

A red sky from Bucharest to Paris:
Your body is  dotted with black eyes.
We hold our palms against each other like big fans  whenever we make love.
Your  appendix is sick,  making you very yellow.

Bouquets off lilacs grow from your ears.
Your entire head is covered with lilac. You are bridled with lilac.
Your  eyelids twitch and flutter like  butterfly wings.
Your nose much resembles a piano key.

You have dancing hands, darling daughter.
Your narrow pelvis moves when you flutter beside me,
Gently yearning toward the wind. The great glowing women you love.
Your smiles murmurs Apache songs.

In  Constantsa the sea roared in your ears.
Your finger stab like daggers, clinking glissandos in the air.
Your tongue is a red-headed snake,  the burning wick of a lamp.
On your shadows, Cimio, small devils tumble
Like clicking fish emptied from a bucket onto  dry land.

(Translated by Erdmute Wenzel White)




Photo by Chris Itz




                                                                                    


Summer brings beach-thoughts. This collection of beach-thoughts from August, last year.

Just a note - I mention Boca Chica beach in the poem. It is on the Gulf of Mexico near Brownsville, and is soon to be the nation's first commercial space port. That's exciting.










waterfront properties

I grew up 30 miles from the southernmost tip
of South Padre Island, swam
there
on the white sand beaches
on the Gulf of Mexico
in the days
when only a long, rickety bridge
could get you there
and before the bridge,
on Boca Chica beach,
a few miles from Brownsville,
where the "little mouth"
of the Rio Grande River  emptied
into the
gulf

in later life,
I lived for fifteen years
within  sight
of Corpus Christi Bay,
a short causeway drive or ferry ride
to Mustang Island and the northern end
of Padre Island, the long and slender finger
that stretches along a third or so
of the Texas gulf coast

as a child
there was hardly a week
in the summer
that didn't include a drive to the beach...

in later years I came to hate
the intense sun and sand and salty wind
and would not go unless
I had to...

except in winter, on nights
when the beach
is lonely and bare and cold
and it was yours and mine
alone but for small creatures
that scuttle
across wet sand...

the stars overhead,
the dark tide coming in,
whitecaps rising and falling
in pale moonlight
like  foaming surrender flags,
the sound of surf on hard-packed  sand,
not a roar, not like the high surf
of Atlantic or Pacific beaches,
but a black and constant murmur
of Gulf waters
coming home to the lands
they once, so many million years ago,
covered with their salt and tiny
shells still found upon the highest mesas
to the west,
all of us, living on beach-front property,
not a matter of where,
but of when

southern beaches at night
when above the quiet surf,
the only sounds,
the quiet beat of my heart
in hushed rhythm
with yours

or,  in the winter times, sharing a blanket
when north winds
blow
and sand is pushed back
to the sea
and the island moves, gently driven
in tiny increments of sand
one direction
by day;
another by night




Photo by Chris Itz





Here's a short poem by Gary Blankenship, my poet-friend from the wet Northwest and frequent writing companion, mostly on the Blueline Forum, though we haven't seen him there for a while. The poem is from a book Gary is working on inspired by Whitman's Leaves of Grass. This  poem  from that  part of "Leaves" (which I used here a couple of  weeks ago) in which Whitman enumerated, beautifully, just about everyone alive in the United States in his time, Gary, finding a story in each of Whitman's characters

Gary has a new book just out, The Poetic States, and a drop of sunshine, about which more information is available at http://www.writers-and-lovers.com/poetic-states.html.

"Poetic States" is Gary's second book. His first, published several years ago, was inspired by Wang Wei, the Chinese poet  I included among the masters in my last post. I don't know  if  the book  is  still available, but I have a copy I still reread on occasion. If you can find it, it's full  of beautiful work.




Song of Myself #2 - Carpenter

2.  The carpenter dresses his plank...the tongue of his foreplane whistles its wild ascending lisp,

curls for pews thrown off my my plane
gathered in my daughter's skirt

sawdust thrown off by my saw
swept  into bags

red curls  adorn my daughter's hair
cedar sawdust fills eggshell  white sacks

her hope chest  empty
she elopes with a poet who stutters

hope fulfilled
she runs off with a tin whistle drummer




Photo by Chris  Itz



                                                                             


This is a complete ramble, a pile of words. Efforts to intuit any kind of meaning out of it will not be productive or satisfactory.

I did it; it's done. And that's all there is to it.

But here's a side-note: I've now been told that skunks in California don't stink until they spray.

Just what we need around here,  South Texas invaded by Hollywood skunks.











don't  stink like a skunk if you don't have to

I read a couple of new poems
at the coffeehouse last night,
the event their monthly
open-mike, open-mike being a practice
I don't usually do, the uncertainty
of who else might be reading
and who will be in the audience,
reminds me of a swamp full of potential
quicksand and crocodiles
and so I just don't
do it

except, since the coffeehouse
givers me a free (air conditioned) place
to  sit and work all day
and since they have bestowed upon me
the coveted title of Resident Poet
I  feel like I ought to  repay with a few poems
at the event, feeling kind of semi-official as I do it...

it's a music as well as a poetry event, usually,
mostly music, in fact,  leaving me, the rare poet, the
assignment of reading a poem or two while the musicians
are setting up their equipment and tuning their guitars,
and that's the way I like it...

last night, a family of guitar playing singers, middle-aged twins
and another fella who came  in off the street
to play and sing and the young woman assigned to organize
the even who sings "Where the Boys Are" as if
she was channeling Connie Francis - she would be great
doing Brenda Lee, as  I keep telling her - but  she's very good
at doing what she does and I get the feeling
she's satisfied with that...

a fun evening these events are, and the give me a reason
to stay up past 8 p.m. one night a month,
and I enjoy them...

~~~

no walk with Bella this a.m.

a skunk  crossing our front yard
as we came out the door -

maybe a skunk
maybe something else,  walked like a skunk,
ran like a skunk, tail held pointing straight up in the air
like a skunk,
but a kind of brown color
instead of skunk-standard black and white,
and most of  all,  didn't
stink

maybe some kind of  new animal
in the neighborhood,
or maybe just a juvenile skunk
too young to stink or not interested in stinking

satisfied with what it does, chasing people back
into their houses, and not interested
in doing anymore,
particularly
doesn't want to do anything new
that might leave it smelling like a skunk
the rest off its life...

nature's natural wisdom - don't stink like a skunk
if you don't have to...




Photo by Chris Itz



                                                                            


The next poet from this week's anthology of German expressionists is August  Stramm. Born in  1874, Stramm was a poet and playwright considered one of the first of the expressionists. He died in 1915, killed in action in World War I, a war that killed many of the best and brightest of  Europe, including poets, on both sides of the  fight.











Rendez-Vous

The doorway catches with stripe ribbons
my stick raps
tap
the straddled kerbstone
giggling
frights
through darkness
trickteasing
hastily
my thoughts
stumble
into
warm trembling.
A dark kiss
steals shyly out of the door
flicker
the street lamp
lights
after
it
up the street.

(Translated by Patrick Bridgewater)




Photo by Chris Itz




                                                                               



A political poem, from this month last year, demonstrating that nothing has changed, that the racist crazies keep pushing the same line of poison, day and night, month by month, year  to year.

Too bad, how sad.











they'll know what we mean

so now
the crazies are saying
they want to
IMPEACH
him

not so clear as to why...

possibly because
he's
a Kenyan...

or maybe because
he's a socialist, or maybe
a fascist...

or maybe
a Moslem,  possible, as are most of that kind,
a Jihadist...

not to mention,  of course, his war on
Christianity, burning  churches,
hanging Episcopal preachers from every high tree,
gotta stop this man,  they say,
before the collection plates run dry
and we have to put all the preachers to work
at daycare centers
to earn their daily bread and water...

maybe
because off his war-mongering ways...

(not sufficiently war-mongering for their taste -
hasn't started even one decent war
in five years)

could be because
of his budget-busting,  deficit reduction success,
a clear and present danger
to their pretensions...

or maybe because of that Obamacare
thing,
healthy Americans, babies, and mommas
and grandma and grandpa, the whole caboodle,
healthy and alive...

OUTRAGEOUS!!!

I imagine we'll hear all these reasons
even though
they haven't got around to tell them to us yet

but the real reason, the one  they'll never tell  us,
the truth of their deep, dark heart---

well, hell,
they won't say,
he's a NIGGER, man,
THE GODDAMN  PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
IS A GODDAMN NIGGER...

but can't be saying that,
they'll warn
their followers...

so let's just say he's a
Kenyan
Socialist/Fascist
Moslem-Anti-Christian-Jihadist
incompetent War-Monger
excessively competent Deficit-Buster
Socialized Medicalizer...

we don't need  to say the other
cause everyone  who
counts
will know what we really
mean
without saying  it

shhhh....




Photo by Chris Itz



                                                                            

Here are two poems by Linda Rodriguez from her book, Heart's Migration. The  book was published in 2009 by Tia Chucha Press of Los Angeles. A poet and mystery writer,  Rodriguez was born in Kansas in 1947 and moved  around frequently as a result of her father's military career. She earned a BA and an MA at the University of Missouri - Kansas City.











Three O'clock in the Morning, Alone

Coyote wails in the far field
beside his woods.
He runs yelping,
baying among the trees,
hot on your trail
across farms and  highways,
down city streets to prowl
outside your triple-locked doors.

Coyote could splinter
that wood, shatter
your windows, plunge
into your life, drag you
to his den.
He will be civilized instead,
phone you in the morning, pretend
he has left a book behind.

Coyote moves back
into his woods, voice
faint.
He dials your number
now, growls into your sleepy ear.


How To Be Alone In Love

Hold fast, first.
Continue to give,
even when no one wants
what you offer. The power, the wonder
is in the giving.
Call  yourself out of yourself,
shedding old skins.
Stripping bare to organ and bone,
open the heart's vein
and giver your blood. Commit
and continue to commit.
These choices are always yours.
Be love's fool.
Become God's.
He will understand.
He too loved immoderately.




Photo by Chris Itz




                                                                              


Seventy years old, most of my summers spent here in South Texas, and every summer I say, this is the worst ever, can't get any worse than this. And every new summer turns out worse than the last.

But this summer I'm absolutely certain, this is the worst ever and it can't possibly get any worse than this. I'm sure.














too much too long

an open-sky moon
flying full and dead-center
down the street

moon shadows
beneath the bushes &
limp drooping trees

moon ghosts  stir
in the shadows, Bella
wants to chase

each one
and I just want to go home
and have my coffee...

a beautiful morning
cool south wind
blowing

trickery in the damp breeze -
but I am not fooled
for I know what comes with the sun

a new day, and I'm not ready -
too many too hot, too many too dry days in a row,
too long until October...

~~~

I am an uncarved
pumpkin
yellow, limp & rotten under the sun

over-ripe -
the stink of dreams too long
deferred




Photo by Chris Itz




                                                                                 

Georg Trakl is another poet from the anthology of German expressionist poets. Born in 1887, Trakl is considered the most important of Austrian expressionists. His experience as a medical officer in World War I led him to suffer extreme bouts of depression. He died in 1914 of a cocaine overdose, following several earlier attempts at suicide.










Grodek

At nightfall the autumn woods cry out
With deadly weapons and the golden plains,
The deep blue lakes, above which more darkly
Rolls the sun; the night embraces
Dying warriors, the wild lament
Of their broken mouths.
But quietly there in the pastureland
Red clouds in which an angry god resides,
The shed blood gathers, lunar coolness.
All the roads lead to blackest carrion.
Under golden twigs of the night and stars
The sister's shade now sways though  he silent copse
To greet the ghosts of the heroes, the bleeding heads;
And softly the dark flutes of autumn sound in the reeds.
O prouder grief! You brazen altars,
Today a great pain feeds the hot flame of the spirit,
The grandsons yet unborn.

(Translated by Michael Hamburger)




Photo by Chris Itz




                                                   





This is another poem from August, last year.













not even in Paris

was thinking  about
writing a poem about
rain in Paris
and the wet reflections
of passing cars
on the Champs Elysee on a late afternoon
in April, 1967

but April,
my breakfast server,
who I often think of as Alice
because I know so many Alices
and she's the only April,
on this early morning in  the bone-dry August
of 2013
just brought my third pot of coffee...

too much coffee
or too little sleep
maybe both, countervailing winds
stirring my innards
left feeling
sickly...

canceled plans
for lunch with a friend -
lots of laughs
and good food
forsworn...

thinking
of  entering into a warm and lasting relationship
with my pillow
instead...

love my pillow...

today,
would marry my pillow
but not sure
if legal in
Texas

probably
not even  legal in Paris...




Photo by Chris Itz



                                                                        
From my library, here is a piece by Jimmy Santiago Baca, a poet whose work I have used here often.

The poem is from one of several long poems in his book Healing Earthquakes, published by Grove Press  in 2001.










from As Life Was

Eleven

Graffiti on walls. Large tablets of stone Moses Sedillo
scribbles on about freedom. Our Berlin walls
our Juarez border. Agents in helicopters, others
in green jeeps, insomniacs with yellow faces lit
by monitor screens, check buses, cars, trucks and pedestrians -

and Moses Sedillo scribbles on about freedom.

In October the freedom of leaves changing colors, burying
    themselves  in the
ground. Small golden coffins floating down the ditches.
     And then the
wiry, haggard branches become old men tottering behind
     the coffins,
fallen in the dirt road, leaning against fences. Moses
     throws himself
on  the park grass and smells the green grass, the black earth, the
fine,  thin coldness of the atmosphere.

He scribbles about freedom on walls.
No one knows what he means. The cops label him a vandal.
     The upper-middle-
class folks from the Heights are filled with fear, and the people
     in Santa Fe are angry
when they see his black letters on white adobe walls. Moses gives a
nondescript shrug of indifference and walks about the
     mountains and arroyos,
in the midst of aspens, thinking of beauty.

But Viviano from Nicaragua knows what  Moses is saying.
Karina from El Salvador reads the words to her children after she buys
                                                        tortillas from the store.
Perfecto Flores,  el viejo del barrio who goes to visit  his
                                            brother every month in Durango, understands
                                            the graffiti.

When the wall is painted over, the words  push through the paint
     like prisoners' hands
                                            through prison bars
                                            at strangers  passing on the streets.




Photo by Chris Itz




                                                                           








Beautiful morning, then,  you know, the sun comes up and starts another day.













even the non-believer driven to morning  prayer

I can see the moon
through the large window by my booth,
hanging low over the meadow
like a silver coin
on a black felt table, so bright and clear
in the dry, cloudless sky
I can see all its dark ridges and rills,
and the face, a president's
profile, eyes watching resolute
to the south, all clear and sharp,
the president's pigtail
on the disc's northern edge
"in God we  trust,"
it declares,
a declaration of dependence,
hopeful that he's paying attention,
that it's his moon
too
and that his fearsome eye
will not burn so  brightly in the coming day,
his fire banked
and fresh breezes blowing
instead




 Photo by Chris Itz




                                                                        

A cat poem by an expressionist poet. that's bound to be interesting. In this case, the poet is Kurt Schwitters, who was also an artist known for working in a variety of genres and media, including poetry, sound, painting, sculpture, graphic design, typography and what later came to be known as installation art.

Born in 1887, Schwitters died in 1948.









For Franz Marc

 cat
                   legs
catlegs humans joy
humans world the earth round out the cats
cats paws the grovelld grass
cross thready string
brains joys meows of twenty thousand cats
ink paws turn tail spaces cats
and spaces, spaces, spaces cats
and cats,, cats,, cats spaces
and paws, paws, pass lights
and human

(Translated by  Jerome Rothenberg)




Photo by Chris Itz




                                                                




There are some pleasures to be found in August. These from last year.













 these southern breezes

I have given  too  little notice
of the moon
lately
and the stars
and the sky with clouds,
like foam in a
blue-high river,
drifting
with the morning  wind,
a southern wind,
passing over the coastal  plains
from the  gulf
and as I  feel  it fan over me
in the early near-light
I can smell the salt, hear the gulls...

long ago now
I left that  place but on mornings like this
I can imagine
I'm still there, licking salty lips,
mine and yours,
brushing sand from your shoulders
and legs
and secret places
where no sand should ever  go

but it  does
and so there are the  pleasures
of the shower,
rubbing soap-slick against  each other

back to back
belly
to belly...

these southern breezes
in summer do
take me
back




Photo by Chris Itz





I don't remember ever using this next poet, Rosemary Waldrop, before. She is a poet, translator and published. Born in Germany in 1935, she has lived in the United States since 1958 and is author or co-author of 17 books of poetry, two novels and three books of criticism.

The poem is from her book, Another Language, published by Talisman House in 1997.








Between

I'm not quite at home
on either side of the Atlantic
I'm not irritated the fish
kept me
a home makes you forget
unaware
where you are
unless  you think you'd like
to be some other place
I can't think I'd like to be
some other place
places are much the same
aware
I'm nowhere
I stand securely in a liquid pane
touched on all sides
to change your country
doesn't make you
grow (a German doll
into an image of America?)
it doesn't make you change so much
you can't  remember
I remember
things are much the same
so much the same the
differences are barbed
I try out living at a distance
watching from a window
immobile
not all here
or there
a creature with gills and lungs
I live in shallow water
but
when it rains
I inherit the land




Photo by Chris Itz



                                                                               





Elsewhere I wrote a poem about how the box of routine I  keep  myself in, actually provides a kind of  liberation, freeing my mind from the trivialities of daily life, letting it  roam  where it wants without interference. But  sometimes the box gets too tight and I long for the trivialities I normally lock out.













just like my first girlfriend

my liberation box
is  tight around me today...

feel like I should be doing something
that isn't this...

a drive to the coast, or a slow dance on dusty country roads,
or a jaunt
out  west, Hondo, Uvalde
maybe all the way
to Del Rio ...

or stay at home,
do  those things I've been avoiding
all summer -

fence to repair,  the volunteer oak
up front, couple of feet tall now, too close
to the house, a perfect place
for it out back
with my other volunteers...

but I'm stuck in idle.
motor running
but going nowhere but here
in the parking garage of good
intentions...

dead time...

and I hate dead time,
too old for dead time, time too precious
to waste, but brain clogged
with not-now, not-today, next-week, maybe-tomorrow
to figure out what to do with it...

everything sounds great
until the first step
is called
for

and it's just too  damn
hot
to take the call...

but but that's  just an excuse

real reason
is my brain waves have gone  flat

like yesterday afternoon

black clouds on the horizon,
the calm before the
storm
except
the storm
told us to  fuck off
and went east
instead of south

a lot like my girlfriend
back in 1962,,,




Photo by Chris Itz



                                                                          



The next poet from the anthology is Hans/Jean Arp. Born in 1886, French-German or Alsatian, he lived until 1966. He was a poet, sculpture, painter, and abstract artist in other media such as torn and pasted paper.

He was "Hans" or "Jean" depending on whether he was speaking German or French.











(untitled)

the nightbirds carry burning lanterns in the cross-beams of their eyes.
they drive delicate ghosts and travel on tender-veined coaches.
the black  coach is harnessed before  the mountain.
the black bell is harnessed before the mountain.
the black rocking-horse is harnessed before the mountain.
the dead carry saws and tree-trunks across to the jetty.
out of the crops of the birds the harvests tumble on to the iron threshing-floors.
the angels land in baskets of air.
the fish put on their walking-shoes and roll in stars towards the exit.

(Translated by R.  W. Last)




Photo by Chris Itz




                                                                        






My day today was much like this day, a year ago.












try not to dream

this morning
my
brain
like an old haunted house,
spider webs
hanging everywhere in intricate natters
of an  arachnid's artistic passion,
creaky floors,
dust deep on covered furniture,
ghosts and little  ghostlings
peeking from
corners,
moaning  and groaning
the  afterlife's
sorrows

a fire flickers
green
in a fireplace
wide as midnight's darkest sky,
beneath a mantle
off rattle-
about bones, musical bones dancing,
playing Danse Macabre
cha-cha-cha
as a conga-line of putrefying
zombies
sing happy
happy
joy
joy
the wicked witch, arisen,
gonna party
tonight
ha
ha
in red ruby light,
gonna have some fun
cha-cha-cha...

and I'm  thinking
how the
unholy hell am I  supposed
to write the poem  of  the poetical  epoch
in  the midst
of all these dancing dead
clacking their bones on each other's white shining head

thinking
I should go back  to bed
instead

try not to dream




Photo by Chris Itz





                                                                                           The next poems are by   Philippe Jaccottet, from his book Seedtime, subtitled "Extracts from the Notebooks 1954-1967, published by New Directions in 1971. Born in Switzerland in 1925, the poet is described as a francophone poet and translator, who, though living for some time in France,  spent most of his life in his home country. He is known as well for his translations into French as for his poetry.

The book includes both prose and poetry sections. The  poetry was translated from French by Michael  Hamburger, the prose by Andre Lefevere. I'm not sure if the selections here fall under the category (as defined in the book) as poetry or prose.

The sections used here from 1964, late in the book.



from Seedtime

July, 1964

      Farm. Under the big oaks: harrow,  grindstone, well, blue
wheelbarrow, hoops of barrel. Shadow and wind.Farther
away, poplars in a circle of shadow at their feet (noon) before
wheat and lavender.

          *

A prisoner, only now one  lives, not while one is detached
In these sweating chains, smooth, gently
Wanting this chaining up, this blinding
In this dark and brilliance water, in this cage of sighs
Bath
As though inside a fruit

           *
Fig: fire is a wrapping of night, or else a kind of sponge,
     of spongy coral always on the point of decay.
Wood wasps frantically coupled.

          *


October, 1964

     Violent wind: yellow leaves suddenly fly up. Black, rapid
clouds, eclipsing he sun for a moment. Always white birds,
doves in the distance. Their colour, in the bed of the wind,
the bed of time, while you row older, while you worry, or
while you are afraid of catastrophes you cannot even bear to
think of. No truth beyond this?


November, 1964

     Seven in the morning: chestnut trees like a flame in the
fog;  the green of the grass between the roots of the  vine, in-
tense and clear.  Difficult to grasp  what evokes the strangeness
of those trees (where birds still cry). Aggressive car engines. A
hunter, bent and skinny,  passes quickly, engraved by Callot.




Photo  by Chris Itz




                                                                         








Beautiful rain, not a lot, didn't break the drought, but wonderful while it lasted.














it rained

the sound of it,
the platt, platt on the roof,
on the street outside
on the dry hard ground around the house;
and the smell of sun-burnt grass
like the sweet tang of a wet hayfield;
and the  sight of it, the beauty,
like a shining curtain falling,  silver streaming
from the gutters,  little streams and rivers
running downhill, breaking through, pushing
a month's power-fine dust ahead,
toward the little creek,
then to the big creek, and then the river, and finally
to linger  on the bottom of San Antonio Bay,
drifting with the outgoing tide
into the wide,  salty Gulf...

the great beauty of the rain, especially
when so rare, especially to senses
so long denied...

it rained,
and it will  pass
and all  will be powdered dust
again, but  for now,
the clear bright of a fresh-washed  day,
like laundry hung out to dry
under a beneficent
sun




Photo by Chris Itz



                                                 



The last piece from this week's anthology is by Else Lasker-Shuler.

The poet was a Jewish German poet and playwright, famous in her time for her Bohemian life style. Born in 1969, she fled Nazi Germany and lived in Jerusalem until her death in 1945. She was one of the few women associated with the expressionist movement.












The Blue Piano

I have a blue piano at home
yet I don't know a single tune.

It's been in the dark of the cellar door
since the world became so cruel.

It's played four-handed by the stars
- in her boat sang the woman-moon -
in the clanging  now the rats cavort.

The keyboard lies in shattered shards...
I weep for her, dead and blue.

Dear angels, oh please  open the door
- the bitter bread I chewed -
let me  come to heaven alive, although
it's what you're  forbidden to  do.

(Translated by Ester Kinsky)




Photo by Chris Itz




                                                             






A morning near the end of August last year, early signs  of  a  change in the weather coming.











 the rose

I  saw the sun
rise
this morning...

half of  a rose-colored disc
resting on the  horizon, clear in the soft morning light,
the contradiction
of  cold  flames roiling its pastel surface,
no suggestion
of heat, not like the burning orange-red
of most morning's rising,
soft
instead,
like the petals of a rose
rising round
to take the sky...

a sun
for a soft and easy
day,
a good  day for garden
dreamers




Photo by Chris Itz



                                                                      


 Last from my library this week, here's Mary Oliver, winner of both the National Book Award and  the Pulitzer Prize. The poem is from New and Selected Poems, Volume Two, published in 2005 by Beacon Press.

I try not to pick favorites each week, but I can't help it, this is by  far my favorite poem of the week.











Mysteries, Four of the Simple Ones

How does the seed-grain feel
when it  is just beginning to be wheat?

And how does the catbird feel
when the blue eggs break and become little catbirds,

maybe on midsummer night's eve,
and without fanfare?

And how does the turtle feel as she covers her eggs
with the sweep of her feet,
then leaves them for the world to care of?

Does she know her accomplishment?

And when the blue heron, beaking his long beast feathers,
sees one feather fall, does he know I will find it?
Will he see me holding it in my hand

as he opens his  wings
softly and without a sound -
as he rises and floats over the water?

And this is just any day at the edge of the pond,
a black and leafy pond without a name
until I named it.

And what else can we do when the mysteries present themselves
but hope to pluck from the basket the brisk words
that will applaud them,

the heron, the turtle, the catbird, the seed-grain
kneeling in the dark earth, its body
opening into the golden  world?




Photo by Chris Itz




                                                                         






Another fine-seeming morning turns sour with the rising of the sun. The last poem for the week.














another morning  con

2 a.m.

outside with the dog
while she does her dog  business

cool breeze
stirring the trees
whispering
as it basses, my bare body
open to it
like a wilting rose
open to a fresh-water promise

8 a.m.

reality
uncoils its ugly self
from the day's hard shell of unwanted
truth...

August
in South Texas...

it
ain't  
over yet




Photo by Chris Itz




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