Monday, February 24, 2014

Richard Eberhart / The Eclipse

The Eclipse 
by Richard Eberhart

I stood out in the open cold
To see the essence of the eclipse
Which was its perfect darkness.

I stood in the cold on the porch
And could not think of anything so perfect
As mans hope of light in the face of darkness.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Octavio Paz / Touch

by Octavio Paz
Octavio Paz / Palpar
Translated by Eliot Weinberger

My hands
open the curtains of your being
clothe you in a further nudity
uncover the bodies of your body
My hands
invent another body for your body

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Jaime Sabines / The Lovers

The Lovers 
by Jaime Sabines
Translated by W.S. Merwin

The lovers say nothing.
Love is the finest of the silences,
the one that trembles most and is hardest to bear.
The lovers are looking for something.
The lovers are the ones who abandon,
the ones who change, who forget.
Their hearts tell them that they will never find.
They don't find, they're looking.

The lovers wander around like crazy people
because they're alone, alone,
surrendering, giving themselves to each moment,
crying because they don't save love.
They worry about love. The lovers
live for the day, it's the best they can do, it's all they know.
They're going away all the time,
all the time, going somewhere else.
They hope,
not for anything in particular, they just hope.
They know that whatever it is they will not find it.
Love is the perpetual deferment,
always the next step, the other, the other.
The lovers are the insatiable ones,
the ones who must always, fortunately, be alone.

The lovers are the serpent in the story.
They have snakes instead of arms.
The veins in their necks swell
like snakes too, suffocating them.
The lovers can't sleep
because if they do the worms ear them.

They open their eyes in the dark
and terror falls into them.

They find scorpions under the sheet
and their bed floats as though on a lake.

The lovers are crazy, only crazy
with no God and no devil.

The lovers come out of their caves
trembling, starving,
chasing phantoms.
They laugh at those who know all about it,
who love forever, truly,
at those who believe in love as an inexhaustible lamp.

The lovers play at picking up water,
tattooing smoke, at staying where they are.
They play the long sad game of love.
None of them will give up.
The lovers are ashamed to reach any agreement.

Empty, but empty from one rib to another,
death ferments them behind the eyes,
and on they go, they weep toward morning
in the trains, and the roosters wake into sorrow.

Sometimes a scent of newborn earth reaches them,
of women sleeping with a hand on their sex, contented,
of gentle streams, and kitchens.

The lovers start singing between their lips
a song that is not learned.
And they go on crying, crying
for beautiful life.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Jaime Sabines / The Moon

The Moon 

Jaime Sabines 
Translated by W. S. Merwin 

You can take the moon by the spoonful
or in capsules every two hours.
It's useful as a hypnotic and sedative
and besides it relieves
those who have had too much philosophy.
A piece of moon in your purse
works better than a rabbit's foot.
Helps you find a lover
or get rich without anyone knowing,
and it staves off doctors and clinics.
You can give it to children like candy
when they've not gone to sleep,
and a few drops of moon in the eyes of the old
helps them to die in peace.

Put a new leaf of moon
under your pillow
and you'll see what you want to.
Always carry a little bottle of air of the moon
to keep you from drowning.
Give the key to the moon
to prisoners and the disappointed.
For those who are sentenced to death
and for those who are sentenced to life
there is no better tonic than the moon
in precise and regular doses.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

José Emilio Pacheco / High Treason

Lagunilla, México, 2013
Photo by Triunfo Arciniegas

By José Emilio Pacheco 

I do not love my country. Its abstract splendor
is beyond my grasp.
But (although it sounds bad) I would give my life
for ten places in it, for certain people,
seaports, pinewoods, fortresses,
a run-down city, gray, grotesque,
various figures from its history
(and three or four rivers).

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Jose Emilio Pacheco / The best poet

José Emilio Pacheco
by José Emilio Pacheco
(1939 - 2014)

I’m not the best poet in Mexico, not even of my neighborhood.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Yoko Tawada / The Flight of the Moon



Translated by Bruno navaski
I was singing on the toilet
when the moon
came rolling in

bare naked
on a bicycle
racing through a forest of metaphor
the moon came to meet me.

Along the road outside
a beautiful woman walks by, brushing her teeth.
On a park bench
a man in a maternity dress is drinking apple juice.
At the end of the century health is always in full phase.

A hole in the sky drops open.
Distress like the moon, a gloom like the moon are gone
and the likes
fly brightly round and round that hole.

The deep folds of the abyss smooth.
Across the now-blank suffering face
poets start to skate.

The moon... mine... another.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Naomi Shihab Nye / Daily

Photo by Irving Penn

by Noami Shihab Nye

These shriveled seeds we plant,
corn kernel, dried bean,
poke into loosened soil,
cover over with measured fingertips
These T-shirts we fold
into perfect white
These tortillas we slice and fry to crisp strips
This rich egg scrambled in a gray clay bowl
This bed whose covers I straighten
smoothing edges till blue quilt fits brown blanket
and nothing hangs out
This envelope I address
so the name balances like a cloud
in the center of the sky
This page I type and retype
This table I dust till the scarred wood shines
This bundle of clothes I wash and hang and wash again
like flags we share, a country so close
no one needs to name it
The days are nouns: touch them
The hands are churches that worship the world

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Julia Hartwig / Poetry

Julia Hartwig

My way poetry is a long way.

“My way of poetry is a long way,” Julia Hartwig told me on a hot August night in her Warsaw apartment.

Her comment is at once enigmatic and precise. Precise because the poet, who turns ninety this year, has been writing for eight decades, since she was ten. She has been publishing collections of her poems since the 1956 thaw over half a century ago. Yet her long career is still in glorious late flower.

Enigmatic, too: her range of vision roams through centuries, continuing a conversation with her recently dead colleagues, literary forebears, and friends throughout time. All great poetry does that, really—but in Hartwig’s case the search is direct and unambiguous.