Poetry is the Oldest Art   Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Though it's probably not  apparent to most, often when collecting photos for each post I try to  select a group the might suggest a narrative or mood. That's not true this time. Instead, I started at the end of one of my photo files and moved forward, picking along the way pictures that I like or that seem interesting to me with no connection each to the others.

Since my last post was very short and all me, I have a longer post this week, with more poems from my library. About half the poems from my library this week are from one book, World Poetry, an Anthology of Verse from Antiquity To Our Time.The book was published by Quality Paperback Book Club in 1998.

It is a huge (yuge) book, over 1,200 pages of  poetry, with another 100 pages of related material. Given the limitation of space, I will probably not get much past "antiquity" this week.

I also have a few of my new poems and older  poems from my first book, Seven Beats a Second, poems I rarely read when I do  readings.

As to my title this week, people have been storytellers since they learned to talk and their stories were poetry. It wasn't until later that they learned to paint their poems on the walls of their caves and a second art was born.

I hate summer (except for...)

Prayer to the Gods of the Night

Ani Defranco
Four short pieces

the dreams of Mary Quemada

The Cannibal Hymn

Admiel Kosman
Song for Jerusalem

almost mid-July

Psalm 137

John Guzlowski
My Father Dying

photo album

from The  Rig Veda
Creation Hymn

David Ray Vance
XIV [Theorem for a New Millennium]

she's probably heard it all before

from The Book of Songs
The Bamboos Grow Well Under Good Rule

Charles Bukowski
In Transit

olden times

May He Lose  His Way on a Cold  Sea


Mary Rose O'Reilley     
Two Biker Chicks

Texas rancher talk

By Strangers' Coasts and Waters

Death Plucks My Ear

You are a Stool Pigeon
You Sold a Slave Just Yesterday

Eric Funkhouser
6. The Fox

my kind of people

from The Gathasaptasati
Even He Was Abashed
Those Women
Lone Buck
The Newly Wed Girl

Yoifumi Yaguchi
A Skater
After My Prolonged Prayer


Liu Chi-hsun

Ivy Alvarez
a memory of bread

eyes of Sister Jude

A Man May Tear a Jewel
While His Body's Vigor is Whole   


My first new poem from last week. Says it all

I  hate summer (except...)

I hate summer

except for the babies
in the park 
with ice cream-drooly chins  

and the kid
doing the cannonball
that splashes me as I walk past the pool

and the young women
in short shorts
and tiny tops at the supermarket

and the birds,
they do sing their sweet summer songs
in the morning
as I sit on my patio
and listen

that's what I don't hate about summer,
just about every thing 
I don't hate
about summer, except well,
there's also
being able to drive downtown
without slowing to 20 mph for six
school zones

I like that 

for the rest...

you can have

Part I of the world poetry anthology  is devoted to "Poets of the Bronze and Iron Ages (2200 -  250 B.C.)

The first poem  is Old Babylonian. The poet is unknown; the translator is David Ferry.

Prayer to the Gods of the Night (c. 1500 B.C.)

The gates of the town are closed.  The princes
Have gone to sleep. The chatter of voices

Has quieted down. Door bolts are fastened.
Not until morning will they be  opened.

The gods of the place, and the goddess,
Ishtar, Sin, Adad, and Shamash,

Have gone into the quiet of the sky,
Making no judgments Only

The voice of a lone wayfarer
Calls out the name of Shamash or Ishtar .

Now house and field are entirely silent.
The night is veiled. A sleepless client

In the still  night waits  for the morning.
Great Shamash has gone into sleeping

Heavenly; the father of the poor,
the judge has gone into his chamber.

May the gods of the night come forth - the Hunter,
The Bow, the Wagon, the Yoke, the Viper,

Irra the valiant, the Goat, the Bison,
Girra the shining,the Seven, the Dragon -

May the stars come  forth in the high heaven.

Establish the truth in the ritual omen;
In the offered lamb establish the truth.

 Some very short pieces by singer/songwriter Ani Defranco, from her book Verses, published by Seven Stories Press in 2007.


earth moving down  into night
like it too was his  slow whisper


swallow my tongue
think into wishing
and give it my kiss
what pleasure you please


make like some anonymous need
came down there too  fast again
and be  it love  or just this dance
only you would satisfy


oh,great stroke of bare emotional night and unbelievable  suck!
i should remember him
as if i don't

Here's the first  poem this week from Seven Beats a Second.

 the dreams of Mary Quemada

her long hair flowing
like a dark tide gathering
across her satin pillow,
she dreams of times past
and places she loved
long gone

while I,
yearn to dream with her

Another from the World Poetry anthology, still in the first section, "Poets of the Bronze and Iron Age, this anonymous Egyptian poet (c. 2180 B.C.) The poem was translated by Tony Barnstone and Willis Barnstone.

From The Cannibal Hymn

The sky is a dark bowl, the stars die and fall.
The celestial bows quiver,
the bones of the earth-gods shake and planets come to a halt
when they sight the king in all his power,
the god who feeds on his father and eats his mother.
The king is such a tower of wisdom
even his mother can't discern his name.
His glory is in the sky, his strength lies in the horizon
like that of his father the sun-god Atum who conceived him.
Atum conceived the king,
but the dead king has greater dominion.
His vital spirits surround him,
his qualities lie below his feet,
he is cloaked in gods and cobras coil on his forehead.
His guiding snakes decorate his brow
and peer into souls,
ready to spit fire  against his enemies.
The king's head is on his torso.
He is the bull of the sky
who charges and vanquishes.
He lives on the stuff of the gods,
he feeds on their limbs and entrails,
even when they have bloated their bodies with magic
at Nesisi, the island of fire.


He cooks the leftover gods into a bone soup.
Their souls belong to him
and their shadows as well.
In his pyramid among those who live on the earth of Egypt,
the dead king ascends and appears
forever and forever.

The next poem is by Admiel Kosman, taken from Poetry International, Issue IV 2000. The poem was translated from Hebrew by Lisa Katz.

Born in 1957,  Kosman is  an Israeli poet and Talmud scholar. Since relocating to Berlin, he is a professor of Religious and Jewish studies at Potsdam University.

Song for Jerusalem

Question: Where is my sexual energy rolling?
My sexual energy is an old truck.

It climbs up hills, descends valleys, climbs up hills,
that is, an old truck. My sexual
energy, thin and fragile,
a carton of breakable eggs sent from the farms,
all poetry and sensitivity, dwelling,
in the hills, the high ones, sanding, thrusting
guarding! Around the capital!!

Oh God,  where is my sexual energy rolling?
My sexual energy powers a truck, pffffffffffffff,
blowing warm and pleasant  air around its wheels now.

My truck once married
a rented car (in a story). And copulated for days
in the clean spiritual air above the hilltops, in
the blue, and wore a crown and recited poetry, and ran around like a crazy person
on the purple road.
In the hills, that is to say, the high hills around the capital.

Here's another, complaining about summer, which is easy to do where I live.

almost mid-July

nearing mid-July,
it's hot 
and mostly quiet around town

people typically don't go al fresco
into the heat,
those having a choice
where to go and what to do
stay in the air conditioned 
of home, thermostats set low,
enjoying a day
of  Law & Order reruns
or maybe NCIS or The Big Bang,
crime-fighting and humor
in cool air,
the best way there is to deal with July

but that's not  everyone,
of course...

there are some who actually prefer
to be out when it's this hot,
joggers, and just now, a platoon
of bicyclists pedaling by
panting and sweat-drenched

one of the reasons people
who stay in
stay in
is to avoid these outside people,
they being obviously
mentally deranged and possibly

it being clear
that, while in a pleasantly cool room,
dealing with insane serial killers on TV,
working alongside the FBI Behavioral Unit
heroically portrayed  in Criminal Minds
is better than dealing with gangs
of them
on bicycles
in the sweltering outside

so I'll be spending
July and August
and most of September
with all my doors
and windows

that'll make a great summer

in my refrigerated den
with Andy and Opie and Barnie
and Aunt Bee and Floyd  the Barber
and whatshisname
the town
(at least they say he's drunk, 
I thing he's just brain addled from being
outside too much in the

Still in Part I of the World Poetry anthology, Poets of the Bronze and Iron Ages, this is by a Hebrew poet (c.  530 B.C.) It was translated by Miles Coverdale.

Psalm 137

By the waters of Babylon we sat down and wept:
when we remembered thee,  O Sion.

As for our harps, we hanged them up:
upon the trees that are therein.

For they that led us away captive
required of us then a song,
and melody, in our heaviness:
Sing us one of the songs of Sion.

How shall we sing the Lord's song
in a strange land?

If I forget thee, O Jerusalem:
let my right hand forget her cunning.

If I do not  remember thee,
let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth:
yea, if I prefer not Jerusalem in my mirth.

Remember the children of Edom, O Lord,
in the day of Jerusalem:
how they said, Down with it, down with it,
even to the ground.

O daughter of Babylon, wasted with misery:
yea, happy shall he be that rewardeth thee,
as thou hast served us.

Blessed shall he be that taketh thy children:
and throweth them against the stones.

The next poem is by John Guzlowski, taken from The Spoon River Poetry Review,  Winter/Spring 2007.

Guzlowski is a Polish-American author and poet, born in 1948 to parents who met in a  Nazi slave labor camp in Germany. He earned his Ph.D in English at Purdue University and is now retired from Eastern Illinois University where he taught contemporary American literature and poetry writing.

My Father Dying

His death like all death
is hard. there is no  peace
in the darkness. His right eye,

the one that sees, is looking
for someone to comfort him.
He knows his mother is dead

but he whispers for her still,
the way he did as a boy
crying at her deathbed.

In his Polish, the word
is three long, pleading
syllables: "Mamusha."

The second syllable
is stressed, the third
falls off into silence.

Just yesterday, he talked
a little, asked for water,
smiled when I gave him some.

But today, he can only
call for his mother. Hope is
the cancer no drug can cure.

Another from Seven Beats a Second.

photo album

I'd give a year of my life to have that day again...

not that  last awful year we all face,
the drooling-in-the meal year, not  that
mind-blank-body-broken-spirit-gone year

I'll give that year away for free...

no, I'm talking about next year,
while I still have  prospects,
next year, when there might still be time
for a little more rock and roll
under a summer moon,
a little more time for snuggling
on the back porch, watching a winter storm
blow through leafless trees, listening
to the clickity-clatter of dry branches,
time for  a weekend at the beach,
time to read, time to write,
time for all those things I know
will some day slip away

that's the year I would give up
to live that day again

Skipping the so very long-winded Greeks, I move on to "India: The Vedas to the Ghazvanid-Gita with this from the Vedas, a large body of text from the ancient Indian subcontinent, composed in Vedic Sanskrit, composing the oldest layer of Sanskrit literature and the oldest scriptures in Hinduism.

The translation is by Fredrick Morgan.

From The Rig Veda (c. 1500 - 1200 B.C.)

Creation Hymn

No thing existed, nor did nothing exist.
What held it all? And where? And who secured it?
Was  water  all there was, deep beyond measure?

There was no death, nor anything immortal -
no sign by which to mark off night and day.
Self-moved where no wind blew, one Being breathed:
other  than i no thing had  being then.

All was obscure at first, darkness in darkness,
and endless ocean - featureless, unlit:
there, at the heart of nothingness, the One
took on its being, born of the austere heat.

Desire came over it in the beginning -
first seed of all, engendered by the mind.
Wise thinkers who had searched their own hearts
found where what is is bound to what is not,

and stretched their measuring-cord across the void.
Did a "below" exist then, did an "above"?
There were seed-casters, there were primal forces -
power below, strong urgency above.

But who can  know for certain, who proclaim it?
Who can explain the birth of this various world?
The gods themselves came into existence later -
who knows the source  of this great  tangled world?

How it all came about, or was created -
whether or not he fashioned it himself -
he who surveys it from the highest heaven,
he of all beings knows - or perhaps not.

Another from my library, poet David Ray Vance, from his book, 2005 Del Sol Press Poetry Prize winner, Vitreous.

Vance earned his Ph.D. in Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Houston. He is currently Associate Professor at the University of Texas - San Antonio.

XIV. [Theorem for a New Millennium]

    For Bob Uptain and Amy England

 You will never find what your are  looking for
when you are looking for it. You will find it a
week/month/year  later in precisely the place you
looked before. Pretend to be astonished.

 Presume knowledge more than the sum of
memory, those bits of invisible electric  light
flung between dendrites. Another category or
order can be  imagined - if not named - intuition
run against the grain.

 It is a trick of light that you appear beautiful,
a trick having to  do with how mirrors reflect
and the inevitable angle of incidence. Otherwise
you are ghastly even in your mother's eyes.
Especially in your mother's eyes.

 While you were gone,, I replaced everything,
every goddamn relic and knick-knack,  every
bit of bric-a-brac, each dish and spoon,
every floorboard, the bricks themselves, the dog,
the  books, the piles of newspapers, even the
dust. And in their places substituted exact
replicas: doppelgangers, shadows and all.

 For every formula there exists  a counter-formula,
a means to return to primary components any
incident or action,  every mislaid plan. Even as
I type this, I'm taking it back.

This poem probably as close as I'm going to come to  respond to the news of the day.

she's probably heard it all before

black girl,
barista at the Starbucks
where I go when my regular coffeehouse is closed

beautiful hands
I notice
as she gives me my change,
and dark, deep eyes...

as  she waits
for the next customer,
thinking, I don't know what,
probably what every pretty young girl 
smiles about
and on this young girl
it is
especially fetching...

I'm looking at her as I stir my coffee
at the sugar and everything else bar
and she sees me
and comes over, thinking I want something...

how do I tell her how much I want back
at least some of  the years
and how much I enjoyed
watching her smile

but I don't  even try
to  tell her,
it's the way it is,
she's a pretty young black girl
and I'm an old white man, probably,
in her mind, if I say anything,
a dirty old white man
and she's heard it all 

Still  from the anthology's "Bronze and Iron Age", this is from "China: The Chou Dynasty and the Warring States Period," translated by Ezra Pound.

 From The Book of Songs (c. 800-500 B.C.)

 The Bamboos Grow Well Under Good Rule

Dry in the sun by corner of K'i
green bamboo, bole over bole:
Such subtle prince is ours
to grind and file his powers
as jade is ground by wheel;
he careth his people's weal,
stern in attent,
steady as sun's turn bent
on his folk's betterment

                                   nor will he fail.

Look ye here on the overs of the K'i:
green bamboo glitteringly!
Of as fine grain our prince appears
as the jasper plugs in his ears
ground bright as the stars in his cup of state;
his acumen in debate
splendid, steadfast in judgement-hall
he cannot fail us

                         nor fall.

In covers of K'i,
bamboo in leaf abundantly.
As metal tried is fine
or s scepter of jade is clean;
stern in his amplitude,
magnanimous to enforce true laws, or lean
over chariot rail in humor
as he were a tiger

                           with velvet paws.

 I haven't used anything by Charles Bukowski in a while, which is strange, considering how many of his books I have in my bookcase.  This  book, New Poems, Book 2, is from an archive of poems unpublished at the time of  his death. It was published by Virgin Books in 2003.

Rarely deep, but he tells great stories.

In Transit

the French border guard had a black waxed
mustache and an ivory face with pimples
for eye.
he stank of perfume and his uniform
was wrinkled but his boots were
new and shiny; the overhead
lights reflected in them and made
me dizzy.
he was frosty, he  was filled with a
strange cold  rage.

it was only 15 degrees outside
but in the building
with too much heating and all the hot
it must have been

the heat
only maddened the
little drops of sweat  ran down  his nose
and dripped  off.
he looked  dangerous.

"PASSPORT!" he screamed.

I handed it over, smiling blandly at him.

he poked at the photo.


"yes, sir"


"I was ill when  the photo was


"the flu..."


I didn't reply.

he opened my suitcase and
began  to take the contents
he flung them all about, then




"I painted them."

he glared at me, his wax mustache


I went to work  gathering up  my

next in line was a voluptuous
young lady.
the guard snatched her
passport, looked at  it,, then smiled
at her.

I had  my suitcase put together
and was leaving
when I heard him:

"he said he was a painter!"

then I was out of here and soon
I was out of the building
and into the 15
and it was so fine and lovely
out there, truly

 And again, Seven Beats a Second.

olden times

another new year comes
and everyone slows down,
takes a breath, pauses
to let the last year settle

all  the hours of joy and pain
that abide through  out time,
they all fade together

so much they meant
when they were fresh,
already they begin to fade,
just a part of the past now,
so far away from us
as the day we were born,
untouchable and ancient
as the day the walls of Jericho
fell to the trumpets of the Lord,
yesterday already as lost as the day
warrior ships sailed to he sieve of Troy,
unreachable as the day our ancestors ten
thousand generations gone swung
from the safety of the highest branches
to walk  upright on the ground...

past is past, all  beyond our touch,
fading in the  dim corners of memory...

it's all olden times,
your life from today and mine

Moving on in the World Poetry anthology to "Part II - The Classical Empires, East and West (750 B.C. - A.D. 500." First in that section is "Greek Poetry From the Lyric Age Through the Hellenistic Period," and from that period, are two  poems by Archilochus (c. 650 B.C.). The first poem was translated by Guy Davenport and the second by Stuart Silverman.

May He Lose His Way on the Cold Sea

May he lose his way on the cold sea
and swim to the heathen Salmydessos,
May the ungodly Thracians with their hair
Done up in a fright on the top of their heads
Grab him, that he knows what it is to be alone
Without friend or family. May he eat slave's bread
And suffer the plague and freeze naked,
Laced about with nasty trash of the sea.
May his teeth knock the top on the bottom
As he lies on his face, spitting brine,
At the edge of the cold sea, like a dog.
And all this it would be a privilege to watch,
Giving me great satisfaction as it would,
For he took  back from the word he gave in honor,
Over the salt and table at a friendly meal.


I don't give a damn if some Thracian ape strut
Proud of the first-rate shield the bushes got.
Leaving it was hell, but in a tricky spot
I kept my hide intact. Good shields can be bought.

Also from the same period, this short piece from Sappho (c. 612 B.C.), translated by Paul Roche. Most of what we have of Sappho are fragments. This appears, or at least can be read as, complete.

                             you bring
                      home everything
which light by of day dispersed:
               home the sheep  herds
                   home the goat
                 home the mother's darling

Mary Rose O'Reilley is the next poet from my library, with this poem from  her book,  Half Wild, published by Louisiana State  University Press in 2006, winner of thev2005  Walt  Whitman  Award
of the Academy of American Poets.

O'Reilley, born in Pampa, Texas, in 1944 was born a Catholic but is now  a Quaker as well as having practiced Buddhism. Until 2006,  she taught English and Environmental  Studies at the University of Thomas.

Two Biker Chicks
   (after Andrew  Marvell)

The body likes it here
and wants the soul
to vacation at least
on the Oregon coast.

These two get  along
like old biker chicks
who don't make love anymore
but still fight over the road maps
zip their bags together at night.

I'll tell you whose side I'm on
in this ruckus,
watching the green  rain
slide down the glass:

the one who makes dinner
and stands with binoculars at the door,
waiting for herons,
the one whose big dog
is slapping his tail on the floor.

Another coffeehouse observational that brings back memories.

Texas rancher  talk

he speaks slowly,
in the Texas drawl
to hill country ranchers,
this  fellow two  tables over from me
as  I have my bacon and egg

a little old south  in his accent,
(but not  much), a little
Scot-Irish, since  they, in
their immigrant spread left traces of  their voice
everywhere, and maybe a  Comanche phrase
here and there, because in the hills
they were first enemies,  then

but mostly German, 
immigrant German 150 years
from the  boat that brought them, mid-nineteenth century,
the language isolated, separated
by a wide deep ocean from its origin,
surviving apart from the evolution of language 
in its native home...

husky voiced, with their rough language,
those ranchers
as they claimed  
the rough, stone hillside pastures
through cold nights and hot  afternoons...

my father was from there,
didn't learn English until  he was in  school,
and though never a rancher himself, his uncles were
and most of  the  people he grew up with
and their accent was his accent
until  the day he died,
a squarehead Texas German,
that's what they were called in his day
as they lay quiet through two wars
with the country of their origin,
he, finding his own way as a young man,
still always more at home in the hills
than ever in on the flat Texas borderlands
where life had taken him until his  

Next, Latin Poetry: From Its Origins Through the Late Roman Empire, Catullus (84-54 B.C.) which appears to be a poem of mourning on the death of his brother. The poem was translated by Robert Fitzgerald.

By Strangers' Coasts and  Waters

By strangers' coasts and waters, many days at sea,
       I come here for the rites of your unworlding,
Bringing for you, the dead  these last gifts of the living
     And my words - vain sounds for the man of dust.
              Alas, my brother,
You have been taken from me. You have been taken from me,
     By cold chance turned a shadow, and my pain.
Here are the foods of the old ceremony, appointed
      From the starvelings under the earth:
Take them: you brother's tears have made them wet; and take
       Into eternity my hail and my farewell.

Still with the Romans, this tiny bit of wisdom from Virgil (70 -19 B.C.), translated by Oliver Wendell Holmes.

Death Plucks My Ear

Death plucks my ear and says,
"Live - I am coming."

One of the things I like about many of the Roman writers, especially during the later "decadent" period was their sly, sarcastic sense of humor. Here are two examples by Martial (A.D. 40-104), the first translated by Kenneth Rexroth and the second by William Matthews.

You Are a Stool Pigeon

You are a stool pigeon and
A slanderer, a pimp and
A cheat, a pederast and
A troublemaker.  I can't
Understand, Vacerra, why
You don't have more money.

You Sold a Slave Just Yesterday

You sold a slave just yesterday
for twelve hundred sesterces, Cal;
at last the lavish dinner you've
long dreamed about is in the pan.
Tonight! Fresh mullet, four full pounds!

You know I'll not complain, old pal,
about the food. But that's no fish
we'll eat tonight:; that was a man.

This short poem is by Erica Funkhouser. It is from her book Earthly, published by Houghton Mifflin in 2008.

Born in 1949, Funkhouser graduated  from Vassar with a BA and from Stanford with an MA. She teaches at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

6. The Fox

His walk  is more of a stroll  than a march.
He's too open to incident to poach chickens:
I've watched him twiddling the woodbine
while a pair of grouse  waddled out of  sight.

He's more in the weather than in the river.
Mid-current,  he'll reach for the sunlight
as if it were ripe fruit, and he'll remain there,
grinning, as he straddles two wobbly boulders,
nothing falling into his  arms but gnats.

I decided sometime in the early 2000s that I would try to write a poem to offend everyone. This is as close as I could come.

my kind of people

fat girls
need not apply

no skinny
bucktoothed boys
who masturbate
wile reading historical
romance novels

no krinkly, wrinkly
old people,
with foul smelling 
no bankers
who count their money
in a dark little room
at midnight

no judges, no fire chiefs,
no social workers,
no grocery store clerks,
barbers, bakers
or used car salesmen

also, no candlestick makers
if they're still around

none of the above

no blonds
with dimples
and no swarthy skinned
men with mustaches

no bald headed men
with beards
nor women
with brittle hair
piled higher than
six and one half inches

none too short
none too tall
none too big
and none too small

and none too

no men in tangerine
bermuda shorts
and no women
in pedal pushers
(any color)

no arabs, no blacks,
no wops or jews

no  russians, maldavians,
limeys, frogs, krauts,
poles, czechs, hunkies
greeks, swedes
irish sots
nor tight-fisted scots

they just need no apply

and no chinamen, either,
and none of their oriental

no  africans
no egyptians
and damn sure no  siyrians

no  mexicans
peruvians, chilians,
and canadians, too

and kansans, califorians,
new yorkers, iowa
porkers, nevadans
or any of the rest

all of them
just need not apply

all that riffraff
just need not apply
cause now we're 
getting down to
the right kind of people

my kind of people


and maybe


Still in Section II of the World Poetry anthology "The Classical Empires, East and West," "Path 3, India: The Mauryan Dynasty and the Dravidian Kingdoms," here are four short poems. Written in "Prakrit" term for a number of regional dialects that existed before and later along side Sanskrit, the poems were collected by King Hala (First Century AD) for The Gathasaptasati, the oldest extant anthology of poetry from South Asia.

Martha Ann Selby translated the first two pieces, Andrew Schelling did the third and  David  Ray, the fourth.

Even He Was Abashed

Even he was abashed
and I laughed
and held him close
when he went for the knot
of my underclothes
and I'd already untied it.

Those Women

Those women
who can see  their lovers
in dreams
are lucky

but without him,
sleep won't come
so  who can dream?

Lone Buck

Lone buck
in the clearing
nearby doe
eyes him with such
that there
in the trees the hunter
seeing his own girl
lets the bow drop

The Newly Wed Girl

The newly wed girl, pregnant already,
asked  what she liked about the honeymoon,
cast a glance at her husband
but not at his face

Next from my library, I have two short poem by Japanese  poet Yorifumi Yaguchi, one of  three poets in the collection, Three Mennonite Poets. The book was published by Good Books in 1986.
Yaguchi is a leading Mennoite poet both in English and Japanese. Though best known in the West for his poems in this book, his poetry in English includes 300 poems in five books. As a witness as a child to the horrors of World War II, his poetry often concerns the evils of militarism and his his practice of Buddhism.

A Skater

Somebody crossed
The icy-field in me
By the sharpest edge,
Just now!
I turned my head
Into it quickly
But it's too  late,
And only two lines
Were left continuous
Beyond the horizon on
The ice on which nobody
Had ever passed.

After My Prolonged Prayer

After my prolonged prayer I lifted my eyes...
And find, to my confusion, a fat,
Pig-like beast standing just in  front of me;
It peels its eyes red toward me in a familiar manner.
- Ah, unmistakably, it is the incarnation
Of what had secretly been hiding deep within me,
Which quickly jumped out of my mouth
In the form of  a prayer a moment  ago.
Because of its ugliness, I try hard to turn
My eyes from that, which approaches me most
Affectionately, trying hard to touch me
with its long red organ dangling like a bell.

A memory from a photograph on the refrigerator door.


rocking my baby...

his small head
on my chest he sleeps

so small
and breakable

love and hope,
protective as if he was a treasure
requiring  a constant

I had never before experienced such  intensity
of emotion

such a wash
off emotion was likely
or or even possible

even such

Moving back to China now, to the Han Dynasty. This poem is by Liu Chi-hsun (c. 100 B.C.), translated by Tony Barnstone and Chou Ping


My family married me off
to the King of the Wusun,
and I live in an alien land
a million miles from nowhere.
My house is a tent.
My walls are of felt.
Raw flesh is all I eat,
with horse milk to drink.
I always think of home
and my heart stings.
O to be a yellow snow-goose
floating home again!

These  two poems are by Ivy Alvarez, taken from her book, Mortal. The book was published in 2006 by Red  Morning Press.

Born in the Philippines, Alvarez is an award winning Filipino Australian poet, editor and  reviewer currently living in New Zealand.

a memory of bread

There was to be bread in the house: pandesal. Dee had
the recipe, the tools and ingredients.  The smell of yeast
was kneaded into  the air, knuckled into roundness and
skin-tightness. Oil made the dough-surface glisten as it
swelled,, a living thing. A dust of crumbs  and then a
handful of warm  bread, smell and taste bound together
- sweetening on the tongue.


rain is always soft  here
you'd never feel its spite
know how hard it can drive
stronger than fingers

know that rain can choke you
send you mad
with its constancy
its bitchy everlastingness

Here's the last piece  for  the week  from my book Seven Beats a Second.

eyes of Sister Jude

sharp eyes
like tempered blades
that cut  clean through when angry

guarded eyes
that weigh and judge
and stand ever  alert for betrayal

dark eyes, deep,
softened once for love,
then moistened by a long night's weeping

but only once,
and it was  long ago

And finally, last from the World Poetry anthology this week (I'll come back to it next week) I get to Part III - The Post-classical World (A.D. 250 - 1200), starting with India: The Golden Age of Courtly Verse.

The first piece from the period, how appropriate for the election season. And the second, well, it just makes sense. Both are by Bhartrihari (c. 650), translated by Barbara Stoler Miller.

A Man May Tear a Jewel

A man may tear a jewel
From a sea monster's jaws,
Cross a tumultuous sea
Of raging tides,
Or twine garland-wise
A wrathful serpent on his head.
But no man can alter
the thoughts of an obstinate fool.

While His Body's Vigor Is Whole

While his body's vigor is whole
And old age is remote;
While his sensuous powers are unimpaired
An life not  yet exhausted;
Only then would a wise man
Strive to perfect his soul.
Why attempt to dig a well
When the house is already burning?

From last week, a morning poem about the end of day, appropriate for the last poem  for this week.


that blows in
as the sun goes down

that whisper as they drift
across the moon

that winks behind the trees

cicadas and creek frogs
that welcome
the dark,

announcing its coming

of day banished 

bringing peace
to the day-worn
and restive

continues her slow dance,

As usual, everything belongs to who made it. You're welcome to use my stuff, just, if you do, give appropriate credit to "Here and Now" and to me

Also as usual, I am Allen Itz owner and producer of this blog, and a not so diligent seller of books, specifically these and specifically here:

Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBookstore, Sony eBookstore, Copia, Garner's, Baker & Taylor, eSentral, Scribd, Oyster, Flipkart, Ciando and Kobo (and, through Kobo,  brick and mortar retail booksellers all across America and abroad


New Days & New Ways

Places and Spaces

Always to the Light

Goes Around Comes Around

Pushing Clouds Against the Wind

And, for those print-bent, available at Amazon and select coffeehouses in San Antonio

Seven Beats a Second


Sonyador - The Dreamer


  Peace in Our Time

at 9:24 AM Blogger davideberhardt said...

2nd photo, 9th, 10th down- i think-

at 5:22 PM Blogger Here and Now said...


Post a Comment

May 2006
June 2006
July 2006
August 2006
September 2006
October 2006
November 2006
December 2006
January 2007
February 2007
March 2007
April 2007
May 2007
June 2007
July 2007
August 2007
September 2007
October 2007
November 2007
December 2007
January 2008
February 2008
March 2008
April 2008
May 2008
June 2008
July 2008
August 2008
September 2008
October 2008
November 2008
December 2008
January 2009
February 2009
March 2009
April 2009
May 2009
June 2009
July 2009
August 2009
September 2009
October 2009
November 2009
December 2009
January 2010
February 2010
March 2010
April 2010
May 2010
June 2010
July 2010
August 2010
September 2010
October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
January 2011
February 2011
March 2011
April 2011
May 2011
June 2011
July 2011
August 2011
September 2011
October 2011
November 2011
December 2011
January 2012
February 2012
March 2012
April 2012
May 2012
June 2012
July 2012
August 2012
September 2012
October 2012
November 2012
December 2012
January 2013
February 2013
March 2013
April 2013
May 2013
June 2013
July 2013
August 2013
September 2013
October 2013
November 2013
December 2013
January 2014
February 2014
March 2014
April 2014
May 2014
June 2014
July 2014
August 2014
September 2014
October 2014
November 2014
December 2014
January 2015
February 2015
March 2015
April 2015
May 2015
June 2015
July 2015
August 2015
September 2015
October 2015
November 2015
December 2015
January 2016
February 2016
March 2016
April 2016
May 2016
June 2016
July 2016
August 2016
September 2016
October 2016
November 2016
December 2016
January 2017
February 2017
March 2017
April 2017
May 2017
June 2017
July 2017
August 2017
September 2017
October 2017
November 2017
December 2017
January 2018
February 2018
March 2018
April 2018
May 2018
June 2018
July 2018
August 2018
September 2018
October 2018
November 2018
December 2018
January 2019
February 2019
March 2019
April 2019
May 2019
June 2019
July 2019
August 2019
September 2019
October 2019
November 2019
December 2019
January 2020
February 2020
March 2020
April 2020
May 2020
June 2020
July 2020
August 2020
September 2020
October 2020
Loch Raven Review
Mindfire Renewed
Holy Groove Records
Poems Niederngasse
Michaela Gabriel's In.Visible.Ink
The Blogging Poet
Wild Poetry Forum
Blueline Poetry Forum
The Writer's Block Poetry Forum
The Word Distillery Poetry Forum
Gary Blankenship
The Hiss Quarterly
Thunder In Winter, Snow In Summer
Lawrence Trujillo Artsite
Arlene Ang
The Comstock Review
Thane Zander
Pitching Pennies
The Rain In My Purse
Dave Ruslander
S. Thomas Summers
Clif Keller's Music
Vienna's Gallery
Shawn Nacona Stroud
Beau Blue
Downside up
Dan Cuddy
Christine Kiefer
David Anthony
Layman Lyric
Scott Acheson
Christopher George
James Lineberger
Joanna M. Weston
Desert Moon Review
Octopus Beak Inc.
Wrong Planet...Right Universe
Poetry and Poets in Rags
Teresa White
Camroc Press Review
The Angry Poet