Jan 102017

Daylight leaks in, and sluggishly I surface
from my own dreams into the common dream
and things assume again their proper places
and their accustomed shapes. Into this present
the Past intrudes, in all its dizzying range–
the centuries-old habits of migration
in birds and men, the armies in their legions
all fallen to the sword, and Rome and Carthage.

The trappings of my day also come back:
my voice, my face, my nervousness, my luck.
If only Death, that other waking-up,
would grant me a time free of all memory
of my own name and all that I have been!
If only morning meant oblivion!

 Comments Off on Jorge Luis Borges: Waking up
Nov 082016

What would it be like
to live in a library
of melted books?
With sentences streaming over the floor
and all the punctuation
settled to the bottom as residue.

-from Float

 Comments Off on Anne Carson: What would it be like…
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