Nov 202010

This urge, wrestle, resurrection of dry sticks,
Cut stems struggling to put down feet,
What saint strained so much,
Rose on such lopped limbs to a new life?
I can hear, underground, that sucking and sobbing,
In my veins, in my bones I feel it —
The small waters seeping upward,
The tight grains parting at last.
When sprouts break out,
Slippery as fish,
I quail, lean to beginnings, sheath-wet.

 Comments Off on Theodore Roethke – Cuttings
Nov 202010

This is the moment when you see again
the red berries of the mountain ash
and in the dark sky
the birds’ night migrations.

It grieves me to think
the dead won’t see them –
these things we depend on,
they disappear.

What will the soul do for solace then?
I tell myself maybe it won’t need
these pleasures anymore;
maybe just not being is simply enough,
hard as that is to imagine.

 Comments Off on Louise Gluck – The Night Migrations
Nov 202010

I ASK no kind return of love,
No tempting charm to please;
Far from the heart those gifts remove,
That sighs for peace and ease.

Nor peace nor ease the heart can know,
That, like the needle true,
Turns at the touch of joy or woe,
But turning, trembles too.

Far as distress the soul can wound,
‘Tis pain in each degree:
‘Tis bliss but to a certain bound,
Beyond is agony.

 Comments Off on Fanny Greville – Prayer for Indifference (1750s)
Nov 202010

Five or nine times over in a night
the god exalted me and mine, and now
he comes one measly time from early dark
till dawn: I get it up a little, if
at all, and feel half dead. The god of thieves
pickpocketed the purse he used to fill,
leaving the useless part to me, and age,
and now he leads my soul toward hell.

 Comments Off on Philodemos – Hermes, God of This and That
Nov 202010

What thou lovest well remains,
the rest is dross
What thou lov’st well shall not be reft from thee
What thou lov’st well is thy true heritage
Whose world, or mine or theirs
or is it of none?
First came the seen, then thus the palpable
Elysium, though it were in the halls of hell,
What thou lovest well is thy true heritage
What thou lov’st well shall not be reft from thee

 Comments Off on Ezra Pound – Pisan Canto LXXXI