Sep 222016
 

When I was ruined by Love, I took a vow
that if I love again, I’d love the less;
so when I spoke love, spoke it to excess,
as love will make its mirror anyhow.
But I talk to myself, and late one day
Love heard me crowing of my secret share
and taxed me all the false love I’d declared.

Now I feel nothing but her stream away
the way she does, dead slow and fast as light
like a galaxy that leaves behind one spark
too low and dull to catch her silent drift;
though somewhere out there in my turning dark
they know each sunrise falling like a lift
and the white curve of her arm gone from the night.

-from 40 Sonnets

 Comments Off on Don Paterson: A Vow
Sep 142016
 

Sorrow is a stubborn piece of land
through which, darkling, the blessed mind
sends down roots so as to bloom.
Whereas, in you, my resting heart,
all thing stay nameless.
It’s from the outside things are named:

named for doubt, named for the moment;
but see how quick
we set bliss amongst the names.
And then, the speckless hind steps out,
and, over her, the strongest star,
fulfilled within the frame.

-translated from the German by Paul Eprile, with Alfred Corn

 Comments Off on Rainer Maria Rilke: Inward Gaze
Sep 122016
 

On a poet’s lips I slept
Dreaming like a love-adept
In the sound his breathing kept;
Nor seeks nor finds he mortal blisses,
But feeds on the aërial kisses
Of shapes that haunt thought’s wildernesses.
He will watch from dawn to gloom
The lake-reflected sun illume
The yellow bees in the ivy-bloom,
Nor heed nor see what things they be;
But from these create he can
Forms more real than living man,
Nurslings of immortality!
One of these awakened me,
And I sped to succor thee.

 Comments Off on Percy Bysshe Shelly: from Prometheus Unbound
Aug 232016
 

When that I was and a little tiny boy,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
A foolish thing was but a toy,
For the rain it raineth every day.

But when I came to man’s estate,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
’Gainst knaves and thieves men shut their gate,
For the rain it raineth every day.

But when I came, alas! to wive,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
By swaggering could I never thrive,
For the rain it raineth every day.

But when I came unto my beds,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
With toss-pots still had drunken heads,
For the rain it raineth every day.

A great while ago the world begun,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
But that’s all one, our play is done,
And we’ll strive to please you every day.

-from Twelfth Night

 Comments Off on William Shakespeare: When that I was and a little tiny boy (With hey, ho, the wind and the rain)
Jun 252016
 

Music to hear, why hear’st thou music sadly?
Sweets with sweets war not, joy delights in joy:
Why !oat thou that which thou receiv’st not gladly.
Or else receiv’st with pleasure thine annoy?
If the true concord of well-tuned sounds,
By unions married, do offend thine ear.
They do but sweetly chide thee, who confounds
In singleness the parts that thou shouldst bear.
Mark how one string, sweet husband to another,
Strikes each in each by mutual ordering;
Resembling sire and child and happy mother,
Who, all in one, one pleasing note do sing:
Whose speechless song, being many, seeming one,
Sings this to thee: “Thou single wilt prove none.” 

 Comments Off on William Shakespeare: Sonnet 8