The Perceval Press Anthology of Verse 2007


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The End and the Beginning
After every war
someone has to clean up.
Things won't
straighten themselves up, after all.

Someone has to push the rubble
to the sides of the road,
so the corpse-laden wagons
can pass.

Someone has to get mired
in scum and ashes,
sofa springs,
splintered glass,
and bloody rags.

Someone must drag in a girder
to prop up a wall,
Someone must glaze a window,
rehang a door.
Photogenic it's not,
and takes years.
All the cameras have left
for another war.

Again we'll need bridges
and new railway stations.
Sleeves will go ragged
from rolling them up.

Someone, broom in hand,
still recalls how it was.
Someone listens
and nods with unsevered head.
Yet others milling about
already find it dull.

From behind the bush
sometimes someone still unearths
rust-eaten arguments
and carries them to the garbage pile.

Those who knew
what was going on here
must give way to
those who know little.
And less than little.
And finally as little as nothing.

In the grass which has overgrown
reasons and causes,
someone must be stretched out
blade of grass in his mouth
gazing at the clouds.
-Wislawa Szymborska


Look, how spry she still is,
how well she holds up:
hatred, in our century.
How lithely she takes high hurdles.
How easy for her to pounce, to seize.

She is not like the other feelings.
At once older and younger than they.
She alone gives birth to causes
which rouse her to life.
If she sleeps, it's never for eternity.
Insomnia doesn't take away but gives her strength.

Religion or no religion
-- as long as she's in the running
Motherland or no-man's land
-- as long as she's in the race.
Even justice suffices at first.
After that she speeds off on her own
Hatred. Hatred.
The grimace of love's ecstasy
twists her face.

Oh, those other feelings,
so sickly and sluggish.
Since when could brotherhood
count on milling crowds?
Was compassion ever first across the finish line?
How many followers does doubt command?
Only hatred commands, for hatred knows her stuff.

Smart, able, hard working.
Need we say how many songs she has written.
How many pages of history she has numbered.
How many human carpets she has unrolled,
over how many plazas and stadiums.

Let's be honest:
Hatred can create beauty.
Marvelous are her fire-glows, in deep night.
Clouds of smoke most beautiful, in rosy dawn.
It's hard to deny ruins their pathos
and not to see bawdy humor
in the stout column lording it over them.

She is a master of contrast
between clatter and silence,
red blood and white snow.
Above all the image of a clean-shaven torturer
standing over his defiled victim
never bores her.

She is always ready for new tasks.
If she has to wait, she waits.
They say hatred is blind. Blind?
With eyes sharp as a sniper's,
she looks bravely into the future
-- she alone.
-Wislawa Szymborska


If I walk the noisy streets,
Or enter a many thronged church,
Or sit among the wild young generation,
I give way to my thoughts.
I say to myself: the years are fleeting,
And however many there seem to be,
We must all go under the eternal vault,
And someone's hour is already at hand.
When I look at a solitary oak
I think: the patriarch of the woods.
It will outlive my forgotten age
As it outlived that of my grandfathers'.
If I dandle a young infant,
Immediately I think: farewell!
I will yield my place to you,
For I must fade while your flower blooms.
Each day, and every hour
I habitually follow in my thoughts,
Trying to guess from their number
The year which brings my death.
And where will fate send death to me?
In battle, in my travels, or on the seas?
Or will the neighbouring valley
Receive my chilled ashes?
And although to the senseless body
It is indifferent wherever it rots,
Yet close to my beloved countryside
I still would prefer to rest.
And let it be, beside the grave's vault
That young life forever will be playing,
And impartial, indifferent nature
Eternally be shining in beauty.


A Walk
My eyes already touch the sunny hill.
going far ahead of the road I have begun.
So we are grasped by what we cannot grasp;
it has inner light, even from a distance-
and charges us, even if we do not reach it,
into something else, which, hardly sensing it,
we already are; a gesture waves us on
answering our own wave...
but what we feel is the wind in our faces.
-Rainer Maria Rilke
(Translated by Robert Bly)


The Apes of Wrath
virus history flickers
inside my heart
& you are with me Walt Whitman
in every blade of grass
you are with me
on Brooklyn Bridge
crossing over
& you are here now
Woody Guthrie
as your sun comes shining
in redwood forest
& I too wonder if this land
is still made for you & me
Harriett Tubbman
Margaret Sanger
St. Caesar Chavez
Malik El-Shabazz
Dr. King
Blake's mystic vision
Baudelaire's flowers of evil
all here
& we are with you Leonard Peltier
locked down in your wounded theatre
built upon the blood of the native dead
brick upon brick of law
stars & stripes
you are here now
Abbie Hoffman & Mother Ginsberg
Rosa Parks
there is a seat for you
at the front of the freedom
show us the way
& what New Deal have we now?
what Great Society
conspires to steal the vote
& pimp our country
to the lowest
I was always schooled that America
was a refuge for genius
I cannot tell a lie
a sanctuary for the arts
above all
a champion of
science &
good time god
for everyone
w/in or
the genius
of the crippled
the god of the bird
that dreams
of flight
the insane
the predator dawn
& the peeling
knell of sunset
as any
flies away
whistling in the
five foot tall in your six foot dreams
invisible inside your ghetto conformity
& who will save you from yourself
America? where is your heaven
(you cannot shrug your shoulders
you have your hell in Iraq
& aborting democracy
isn't that murder?)
as you lamely lament your lost children
the avenging angel of childhood
all grown up
hammer high
upon his Philistine forehead
your patriot child erect before you now
armed with the Promethean rage of atomic fire
& the binary thunder of Zeus
your progeny unmoved
by the crush of corporate lions
& the giddy citizens
who give themselves gladly to the
blood sport democracy
pulsing thru their arterial cable networks
(let freedom ring
America slobbers
feed the nonconformists
to the hungry fat cats)
revolution once
a flower in the barrel of a gun
a closed fist
an open mind
& we shall overcome
give peace a chance
the revolution is being televised the revolution is being televised
the revolution is being televised
what you see
& what you
the ghosts of war
rising from the killing fields
of Wall Street
of Gettysburg
(the ghost dancers of Wounded Knee)
& Columbine
all rising like the phoenix of a bad acid nightmare
with the broke & broken babble of blind young soldiers
oiled by God the Destroyer
& the vengeful bark of hungry gun song
dipped in gold
somewhere between the
malignancy of thought we call
& the retarded universe of the
innocent & the sane
we exist
angels weep
fools parade
the universe is weary
& in the suicide swamp
of eager apocalypse
I look out
(born again
as gravity
I cannot help
but fall
head over
eternity's infinite kisses
to save me)
sweet revolution
catch me
I am yours
the revolution is being televised the revolution is being televised
the revolution is being televised
the gathering red clouds of revolt
descend like a ravenous locust upon the landscape
devouring waving wheat
& purple majesty
in its divine
history screams back
from inside the gulag of hope
& speaks to the virgin suicides
like time unlived in the wake of too much is never
& the pyrite promise of
heaven spent
beneath the shock & awe
of empire
you drank
& became
the revolution is being televised the revolution is being televised
the revolution is being televised
apocalypse rose
blooms in the thousand centuries
it takes to make a moment
there is no sweeter victory
-S. A. Griffin


Hay for the Horses
He had driven half the night
From far down San Joaquin
Through Mariposa, up the
Dangerous Mountain roads,
And pulled in at eight a.m.
With his big truckload of hay
behind the barn.
With winch and ropes and hooks
We stacked the bales up clean
To splintery redwood rafters
High in the dark, flecks of alfalfa
Whirling through shingle-cracks of light,
Itch of haydust in the
sweaty shirt and shoes.
At lunchtime under Black oak
Out in the hot corral,
---The old mare nosing lunchpails,
Grasshoppers crackling in the weeds---
"I'm sixty-eight" he said,
"I first bucked hay when I was seventeen.
I thought, that day I started,
I sure would hate to do this all my life.
And dammit, that's just what
I've gone and done."
-Gary Snyder


Sleeping together
Sleeping together... how tired you were...
How warm our room... how the firelight spread
On walls and ceiling and great white bed!
We spoke in whispers as children do,
And now it was I--and then it was you
Slept a moment, to wake--"My dear,
I'm not at all sleepy," one of us said....
Was it a thousand years ago?
I woke in your arms--you were sound asleep--
And heard the pattering sound of sheep.
Softly I slipped to the floor and crept
To the curtained window, then, while you slept,
I watched the sheep pass by in the snow.
O flock of thoughts with their shepherd Fear
Shivering, desolate, out in the cold,
That entered into my heart to fold!
A thousand years... was it yesterday
When we two children of far away,
Clinging close in the darkness, lay
Sleeping together?... How tired you were....
-Katherine Mansfield


War Profit Litany
To Ezra Pound
These are the names of the companies that have made
money from this war
nineteenhundredsixtyeight Annodomini fourthousand
eighty Hebraic
These are the Corporations who have profited by merchan-
dising skinburning phosphorous or shells fragmented
to thousands of fleshpiercing needles
and here listed money millions gained by each combine for
and here are gains numbered, index'd swelling a decade, set
in order,
here named the Fathers in office in these industries, tele-
phones directing finance,
names of directors, makers of fates, and the names of the
stockholders of these destined Aggregates,
and here are the names of their ambassadors to the Capital,
representatives to legislature, those who sit drinking
in hotel lobbies to persuade,
and separate listed, those who drop Amphetamine with
military, gossip, argue, and persuade
suggesting policy naming language proposing strategy, this
done for fee as ambassadors to Pentagon, consul-
tants to military, paid by their industry:
and these are the names of the generals & captains mili-
tary, who know thus work for war goods manufactur-
and above these, listed, the names of the banks, combines,
investment trusts that control these industries:
and these are the names of the newspapers owned by these
and these are the names of the airstations owned by these
and these are the numbers of thousands of citizens em-
ployed by these businesses named;
and the beginning of this accounting is 1958 and the end
1968, that static be contained in orderly mind,
coherent and definite,
and the first form of this litany begun first day December
1967 furthers this poem of these States.
-Allen Ginsberg


The Garden
LIKE a skein of loose silk blown against a wall
She walks by the railing of a path in Kensington Gardens,
And she is dying piece-meal
of a sort of emotional anemia.

And round about there is a rabble
Of the filthy, sturdy, unkillable infants of the very poor.
They shall inherit the earth.

In her is the end of breeding.
Her boredom is exquisite and excessive.

She would like some one to speak to her,
And is almost afraid that I
will commit that indiscretion.
-Ezra Pound


"The World's A Mess It's In My Kiss"
no one is united
all things are untied
perhaps we're boiling over inside
they've been telling lies
who's been telling lies?

there are no angels
there are devils in many ways
take it like a man

the world's a mess, it's in my kiss (x4)

you can't take it back
pull it out of the fire
pull it out in the bottom of the ninth
pull it out in chords of red-disease
drag on the system
drag on my head and body
there are some facts here
that refuse to escape
i could say it stronger
but it's too much trouble
i was wondering down at the bricks hectic
isn't it?
down we go
cradle and all

no one is united
all things are untied
perhaps we're boiling over inside
they've been telling lies
who's been telling lies?

there are no angels
there are devils in many ways
take it like a man

the world's a mess, it's in my kiss

go to hell,
see if you like it
then come home with me
tomorrow night may be too late
both moons are full dirty night dying
like a lovely wife goodbye my darling
how high the moon well i wish i was

the world's a mess, it's in my kiss

the world's a mess, it's in my kiss (x4)


The other two, slight air, and purging fire
Are both with thee, wherever I abide;
The first my thought, the other my desire,
These present-absent with swift motion slide.
For when these quicker elements are gone
In tender embassy of love to thee,
My life, being made of four, with two alone
Sinks down to death, oppress'd with melancholy;
Until life's composition be recured
By those swift messengers return'd from thee,
Who even but now come back again, assured
Of thy fair health, recounting it to me:
This told, I joy; but then no longer glad,
I send them back again, and straight grow sad.


Aus unendlichen Sehnsüchten steigen
endliche Taten wie schwache Fontänen,
die sich zeitig und zitternd neigen.
Aber, die sich uns sonst verschweigen,
unsere fröhlichen kräfte--zeigen
sich in diesen tanzenden Tränen

Out of infinite longings rise
finite deeds like weak fountains,
falling back just in time and trembling.
And yet, what otherwise remains silent,
our happy energies�show themselves
in these dancing tears.
-Rainer Maria Rilke
(tr. Cliff Crego)


Schon ist mein Blick am Hügel, dem besonnten,
dem Wege, den ich kaum begann, voran.
So fasst uns das, was wir nicht fassen konnten,
voller Erscheinung, aus der Ferne an--

und wandelt uns, auch wenn wirs nicht erreichen,
in jenes, das wir, kaum es ahnend, sind;
ein Zeichen weht, erwidernd unserm Zeichen . . .
Wir aber spüren nur den Gegenwind.


A Walk
My eyes already touch the sunny hill.
going far ahead of the road I have begun.
So we are grasped by what we cannot grasp;
it has inner light, even from a distance-

and charges us, even if we do not reach it,
into something else, which, hardly sensing it,
we already are; a gesture waves us on
answering our own wave...
but what we feel is the wind in our faces.
-Rainer Maria Rilke
(Translated by Robert Bly)


Soneto Amerosa
Más solitario pájaro ¿en cuál techo
se vio jamás, ni fiera en monte o prado?
Desierto estoy de mí, que me ha dejado
mi alma propia en lágrimas deshecho.

Lloraré siempre mi mayor provecho;
penas serán y hiel cualquier bocado;
la noche afán, y la quietud cuidado,
y duro campo de batalla el lecho.

El sueño, que es imagen de la muerte,
en mí a la muerte vence en aspereza,
pues que me estorba el sumo bien de verte.

Que es tanto tu donaire y tu belleza,
que, pues Naturaleza pudo hacerte,
milagro puede hacer Naturaleza
-Francisco de Quevedo y Villegas


The Danish Boy
BETWEEN two sister moorland rills
There is a spot that seems to lie
Sacred to flowerets of the hills,
And sacred to the sky.
And in this smooth and open dell
There is a tempest-stricken tree;
A corner-stone by lightning cut,
The last stone of a lonely hut;
And in this dell you see
A thing no storm can e'er destroy,
The shadow of a Danish Boy.

In clouds above, the lark is heard,
But drops not here to earth for rest;
Within this lonesome nook the bird
Did never build her nest.
No beast, no bird hath here his home;
Bees, wafted on the breezy air,
Pass high above those fragrant bells
To other flowers:--to other dells
Their burthens do they bear;
The Danish Boy walks here alone:
The lovely dell is all his own.

A Spirit of noon-day is he;
Yet seems a form of flesh and blood;
Nor piping shepherd shall he be,
Nor herd-boy of the wood.
A regal vest of fur he wears,
In colour like a raven's wing;
It fears not rain, nor wind, nor dew;
But in the storm 'tis fresh and blue
As budding pines in spring;
His helmet has a vernal grace,
Fresh as the bloom upon his face.

A harp is from his shoulder slung;
Resting the harp upon his knee,
To words of a forgotten tongue
He suits its melody.
Of flocks upon the neighbouring hill
He is the darling and the joy;
And often, when no cause appears,
The mountain-ponies prick their ears,
--They hear the Danish Boy,
While in the dell he sings alone
Beside the tree and corner-stone.

There sits he; in his face you spy
No trace of a ferocious air,
Nor ever was a cloudless sky
So steady or so fair.
The lovely Danish Boy is blest
And happy in his flowery cove:
From bloody deeds his thoughts are far;
And yet he warbles songs of war,
That seem like songs of love,
For calm and gentle is his mien;
Like a dead Boy he is serene.
-William Wordsworth (1799)


There was a Boy
There was a Boy; ye knew him well, ye cliffs
And islands of Winander!--many a time,
At evening, when the earliest stars began
To move along the edges of the hills,
Rising or setting, would he stand alone,
Beneath the trees, or by the glimmering lake;
And there, with fingers interwoven, both hands
Pressed closely palm to palm and to his mouth
Uplifted, he, as through an instrument,
Blew mimic hootings to the silent owls,
That they might answer him.--And they would shout
Across the watery vale, and shout again,
Responsive to his call,--with quivering peals,
And long halloos, and screams, and echoes loud
Redoubled and redoubled; concourse wild
Of jocund din! And, when there came a pause
Of silence such as baffled his best skill:
Then, sometimes, in that silence, while he hung
Listening, a gentle shock of mild surprise
Has carried far into his heart the voice
Of mountain-torrents; or the visible scene
Would enter unawares into his mind
With all its solemn imagery, its rocks,
Its woods, and that uncertain heaven received
Into the bosom of the steady lake.
This boy was taken from his mates, and died
In childhood, ere he was full twelve years old.
Pre-eminent in beauty is the vale
Where he was born and bred: the churchyard hangs
Upon a slope above the village-school;
And, through that church-yard when my way has led
On summer-evenings, I believe, that there
A long half-hour together I have stood
Mute--looking at the grave in which he lies!
-William Wordsworth (1799)


Masters of War
Come you masters of war
You that build the big guns
You that build the death planes
You that build all the bombs
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks

You that never done nothin'
But build to destroy
You play with my world
Like it's your little toy
You put a gun in my hand
And you hide from my eyes
And you turn and run farther
When the fast bullets fly

Like Judas of old
You lie and deceive
A world war can be won
You want me to believe
But I see through your eyes
And I see through your brain
Like I see through the water
That runs down my drain

You fasten all the triggers
For the others to fire
Then you set back and watch
While the death count gets higher
Then you hide in your mansion
While the young people's blood
Flows out of their bodies
And is buried in the mud

You've thrown the worst fear
That can ever be hurled
Fear to bring children
Into the world
For threatening my baby
Unborn and unnamed
You ain't worth the blood
That runs in your veins

How much do I know
To talk out of turn
You might say that I'm young
You might say I'm unlearned
But there's one thing I know
Though I'm younger than you
Even Jesus would never
Forgive what you do

Let me ask you one question
Is your money that good
Will it buy you forgiveness
Do you think that it could
I think you will find
When your death takes its toll
All the money you made
Will never buy back your soul

And I hope that you die
And your death'll come soon
I will follow your casket
In the pale afternoon
And I'll watch while you're lowered
Down to your deathbed
And I'll stand o'er your grave
'Til I'm sure that you're dead
-Bob Dylan


Rip them down
Hold them up
Tell them that
I'm your gun
Pull my trigger
I am bigger than-

Mr. Prez in his big White House
Listen he says we're comin' out
Infiltration-we're numbin' your minds
Concentration-we've done time

(repeat chorus)

Over there the Queen she says
Let's stamp them out and dry
those tears

Saturation-we want in taxes
Flagelation-we've got gashes

(repeat chorus)

In the cold, the czars claimin'
Just protectin', rockets aimin'
Alteration-Earth is changin'
Observation-we want action

(repeat chorus)

I the Emperor proclaim
Us the masters we rule the game
Inclination-somethin' to dream on
Deprivation-we are sons

(repeat chorus)
-The Germs


Agony River
Temperature has a headache
swears it won't rise to your occasion
Speeding patrol cars out of fashion
find enough time to spotlight your cold skin
Agony River just called collect
promises to flow to the front door in a few hours
Strange faces from the ongoing confusion
only make the decision that much harder
Pull the plug or mop up the bleeding deck one last time
in hope it will never show up again
Pain aches for you and it calls me over and
wants to know the secret of reaching you
Idiot, I tell it, the only secret is in
the sunlight, how it still finds a way to bathe you
when all the experts have run off to the airport
for their red eye flights home
Agony River winds its way to the sea
and we are nothing more than
belligerent fish
waiting for some omnipresent hook
to call on us for some kind of sustaining belief
-Scott Wannberg


In the park there was an area of such rich and diverse flowers that it was often referred to as a garden. Every day it bloomed more and more in the joy of its beauty and the pretty scent of its perfumes. One evening, a furious storm tore up and carried away all the flowers. Then a torrential rain fell, frosting the bruised soil; everything that it loved the most was gone, torn from its very heart. Now it is all one, but this cold without respite, this senseless deluge, was the final cruelty. Meanwhile the wind took up the light earth in handfulls and scattered it before. Soon the last unyielding bed was stripped bare, the wind had no hold over it, but the water, being unable to cross it, and it was such an imprudently hilly garden that there was nowhere for it to drain off, remained there. And still it fell in torrents, drowning the ransacked garden in tears. In the morning it was still falling, then stopped; the garden was now no more than a devastated field covered by muddy water. But then it all subsided when, at about five o' clock,, the garden felt its waters become calm, pure, pervaded with infinite extasy, pink and blue, divine and sickly, the afternoon, celestial, came to rest in its bed. And the water neither veiled it nor stirred it in any way but with all its love deepened further perhaps its vague and sad look and contained, retained in its entirety, tenderly embraced its luminous beauty. And henceforth those who love the vast spectacles of the sky often go to look at them in the pond.
Happy the heart thus stripped of flowers, ransacked, if now full of tears it can also reflect the sky in itself.
-Marcel Proust
(translated by Chris Taylor)
An unused fragment from Plaisirs et les jours, 1893-1895.


Du spørger forsigtigt
for ikke at
vække anstød,
du spørger forsigtigt
om nogen vil hjælpe,
om nogen vil hjælpe med
den ekstra indsats
det ligesom lå i luften
man gerne så udført i dag
De knyttede rygge fortæller dig uden ord
at du er hjemfalden til timers
ensomt besvær
fordi du et sted i bagagen
har medbragt en æske
en sirligt indpakket
æske med skyld du
altid husker
at pakke -
for tilfældets
-Søren Ulrik Thomsen


Ich ging im Walde
So für mich hin,
Und nichts zu suchen,
Das war mein Sinn.
Im Schatten sah ich
Ein Blümchen stehn,
Wie Sterne leuchtend
Wie Äuglein schön.
Ich wollt es brechen,
Da sagt' es fein:
Soll ich zum Welken,
Gebrochen sein?
Ich grubs mit allen
Den Würzeln aus,
Zum Garten trug ichs
Am hübschen Haus.
Und pflanzt es wieder
Am stillen Ort;
Nun zweigt es immer
Und blüht so fort.

I was walking in the woods
Just on a whim of mine,
And seeking nothing,
That was my intention.
In the shade I saw
A little flower standing
Like stars glittering
Like beautiful little eyes.
I wanted to pick it
When it said delicately:
Should I just to wilt
Be picked?
I dug it out with all
Its little roots.
To the garden I carried it
By the lovely house.
And replanted it
In this quiet spot;
Now it keeps branching out
And blossoms ever forth.
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
(translation by Hyde Flippo)


Sound, Sweet Song
SOUND, sweet song, from some far land,
Sighing softly close at hand,
Now of joy, and now of woe!
Stars are wont to glimmer so.
Sooner thus will good unfold;
Children young and children old
Gladly hear thy numbers flow.
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


Wandrers Nachtlied II
Über allen Gipfeln
Ist Ruh,
In allen Wipfeln
Spürest du
Kaum einen Hauch;
Die Vögelein schweigen in Walde.
.Warte nur, balde
Ruhest du auch.
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Wayfarer's Night Song II
Over all the hilltops
is calm.
In all the treetops
you feel
hardly a breath of air.
The little birds fall silent in the woods
Just wait... soon
you'll also be at rest.
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
(Translation by Hyde Flippo)


Human Form
Fate and Destiny take the human form,
Just as Light and Dark.
Destiny brought them together,
Fate may tear them apart.
-Aeris Gainsborough


Insomnia. Homer. Taut canvas.
Insomnia. Homer. Taut canvas.
Half the catalogue of ships is mine:
that flight of cranes, long stretched-out line,
that once rose, out of Hellas.

To an alien land, like a phalanx of cranes ?
Foam of the gods on the heads of kings ?
Where do you sail? What would the things
of Troy, be to you, Achaeans, without Helen?

The sea, or Homer ? all moves by love?s glow.
Which should I hear? Now Homer is silent,
and the Black Sea thundering its oratory, turbulent,
and, surging, roars against my pillow.
-Osip Mandelstam


You are sweating
in your sleep on
our rented bed,
a lost summer
cloud pierced by
a jet heard only
when it's gone.
-Viggo Mortensen


The birds they sang
at the break of day
Start again
I heard them say
Don't dwell on what
has passed away
or what is yet to be.
-Leonard Cohen


All All and All
All all and all the dry worlds lever,
Stage of the ice, the solid ocean,
All from the oil, the pound of lava.
City of spring, the governed flower,
Turns in the earth that turns the ashen
Towns around on a wheel of fire.
How now my flesh, my naked fellow,
Dug of the sea, the glanded morrow,
Worm in the scalp, the staked and fallow.
All all and all, the corpse's lover,
Skinny as sin, the foaming marrow,
All of the flesh, the dry worlds lever.

Fear not the waking world, my mortal,
Fear not the flat, synthetic blood,
Nor the heart in the ribbing metal.
Fear not the tread, the seeded milling,
The trigger and scythe, the bridal blade,
Nor the flint in the lover's mauling.
Man of my flesh, the jawbone riven,
Know now the flesh's lock and vice,
And the cage for the scythe-eyed raver.
Know, O my bone, the jointed lever,
Fear not the screws that turn the voice,
And the face to the driven lover.

All all and all the dry worlds couple,
Ghost with her ghost, contagious man
With the womb of his shapeless people.
All that shapes from the caul and suckle,
Stroke of mechanical flesh on mine,
Square in these worlds the mortal circle.
Flower, flower the people's fusion,
O light in zenith, the coupled bud,
And the flame in the flesh's vision.
Out of the sea, the drive of oil,
Socket and grave, the brassy blood,
Flower, flower, all all and all.
-Dylan Thomas


License to Kill
Man thinks 'cause he rules the earth he can do with it as he please
And if things don't change soon, he will.
Oh, man has invented his doom,
First step was touching the moon.

Now, there's a woman on my block,
She just sit there as the night grows still.
She say who gonna take away his license to kill?

Now, they take him and they teach him and they groom him for life
And they set him on a path where he's bound to get ill,
Then they bury him with stars,
Sell his body like they do used cars.

Now, there's a woman on my block,
She just sit there facin' the hill.
She say who gonna take away his license to kill?

Now, he's hell-bent for destruction, he's afraid and confused,
And his brain has been mismanaged with great skill.
All he believes are his eyes
And his eyes, they just tell him lies.

But there's a woman on my block,
Sitting there in a cold chill.
She say who gonna take away his license to kill?

Ya may be a noisemaker, spirit maker,
Heartbreaker, backbreaker,
Leave no stone unturned.
May be an actor in a plot,
That might be all that you got
'til your error you clearly learn.

Now he worships at an altar of a stagnant pool
And when he sees his reflection, he's fulfilled.
Oh, man is opposed to fair play,
He wants it all and he wants it his way.

Now, there's a woman on my block,
She just sit there as the night grows still.
She say who gonna take away his license to kill?
-Bob Dylan


El Soneto de Rigor
Tal vez haya un rigor para encontrarte
el corazón de rosa rigurosa
ya que hablando en rigor no es poca cosa
que tu rigor de rosa no te harte.

Rosa que estás aquí o en cualquier parte
con tu rigor de pétalos, qué sosa
es tu fórmula intacta, tan hermosa
que ya es de rigor desprestigiarte.

Así que abandonándote en tus ramos
o dejándote al borde del camino
aplicarte el rigor es lo mejor.

Y el rigor no permite que te hagamos
liras ni odas cual floreros, sino
apenas el soneto de rigor.
-Mario Benedetti


El Buen Momento
Aquel momento que flota
nos toca con su misterio.
Tendremos siempre el presente
roto por aquel momento.

Toca la vida sus palmas
y tañe sus instrumentos.
Acaso encienda su música
sólo para que olvidemos.

Pero hay cosas que no mueren
y otras que nunca vivieron.
Y las hay que llenan todo
nuestro universo.

Y no es posible librarse
de su recuerdo.
-Jose Hierro


Un Patio
Con la tarde
se cansaron los dos o tres colores del patio.
Esta noche, la luna, el claro círculo,
no domina su espacio.
Patio, cielo encauzado.
El patio es el declive
por el cual se derrama el cielo en la casa.
la eternidad espera en la encrucijada de estrellas.
Grato es vivir en la amistad oscura
de un zaguán, de una parra y de un aljibe.
-Jorge Luis Borges


Keep On Rockin' In The Free World
There's colors on the street
Red, white and blue
People shufflin' their feet
People sleepin' in their shoes
But there's a warnin' sign
on the road ahead
There's a lot of people sayin'
we'd be better off dead
Don't feel like Satan,
but I am to them
So I try to forget it,
any way I can.

Keep on rockin' in the free world,
Keep on rockin' in the free world
Keep on rockin' in the free world,
Keep on rockin' in the free world.

I see a woman in the night
With a baby in her hand
Under an old street light
Near a garbage can
Now she puts the kid away,
and she's gone to get a hit
She hates her life,
and what she's done to it
There's one more kid
that will never go to school
Never get to fall in love,
never get to be cool.

Keep on rockin' in the free world,
Keep on rockin' in the free world
Keep on rockin' in the free world,
Keep on rockin' in the free world.

We got a thousand points of light
For the homeless man
We got a kinder, gentler,
Machine gun hand
We got department stores
and toilet paper
Got styrofoam boxes
for the ozone layer
Got a man of the people,
says keep hope alive
Got fuel to burn,
got roads to drive.

Keep on rockin' in the free world,
Keep on rockin' in the free world
Keep on rockin' in the free world,
Keep on rockin' in the free world.
-Neil Young


Long thin dawn
That long thin dawn
That long thin dawn
Is comin on again
Ive seen the hills of frisco and the streets of montreal
In every town Ive been to Ive had someone to call
From winnipeg to edmonton, vancouver to st. paul
Ive had so many good friends I couldnt miss them all

And that long thin dawn
That long thin dawn
Is comin on again

Last night I came to denver beneath the snow-capped ridge
I thought about my darlin as I stood beneath the bridge
And there were times I made her cry but I guess by now shes learned
That any time Ive wandered I always have returned

And that long thin dawn
That long thin dawn
Is comin on again

Right now Im on a highway just east of omaha
Riding shotgun on the biggest rig you ever saw
With forty tons of pig iron and a trucker known as bill
All the way to windsor, weve got some miles to kill

And that long thin dawn
That long thin dawn
Is comin on again

While climbin up a hillside, bill drops er down a gear
And the engine sings so sweetly tis music to my ear
I tell him how I long to be just like him if I can
Drivin like the restless wind across this precious land
Says bill the air is clean tonight as he puffs a big cigar
And if this rig keeps rollin, my boy youll travel far
But when you are a trucker youll come to realize
The only thing a man can do is watch the world go by

And that long thin dawn
That long thin dawn
Is comin on again

That long thin dawn
That long thin dawn
Is comin on again
-Gordon Lightfoot


A case of you
Just before our love got lost you said
I am as constant as a northern star
And I said, constant in the darkness
Wheres that at?
If you want me Ill be in the bar

On the back of a cartoon coaster
In the blue tv screen light
I drew a map of canada
Oh canada
And your face sketched on it twice

Oh you are in my blood like holy wine
Oh and you taste so bitter but you taste so sweet
Oh I could drink a case of you
I could drink a case of you darling
And I would still be on my feet
Oh Id still be on my feet

Oh I am a lonely painter
I live in a box of paints
Im frightened by the devil
And Im drawn to those ones that aint afraid
I remember that time that you told me, you said
Love is touching souls
Surely you touched mine
Cause part of you pours out of me
In these lines from time to time

Oh you are in my blood like holy wine
And you taste so bitter but you taste so sweet
Oh I could drink a case of you
I could drink a case of you darling
Still Id be on my feet
And still be on my feet

I met a woman
She had a mouth like yours
She knew your life
She knew your devils and your deeds
And she said
Color go to him, stay with him if you can
Oh but be prepared to bleed
Oh but you are in my blood youre my holy wine
Oh and you taste so bitter, bitter and so sweet
Oh I could drink a case of you darling
Still Id be on my feet
Id still be on my feet
-Joni Mitchell


Song of the Open Road
(first part)
Afoot and light-hearted, I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me, leading wherever I choose.

Henceforth I ask not good-fortune�I myself am good fortune;
Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing,

Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms,
Strong and content, I travel the open road.

The earth�that is sufficient;
I do not want the constellations any nearer;
I know they are very well where they are;
I know they suffice for those who belong to them.

(Still here I carry my old delicious burdens;
I carry them, men and women�I carry them with me wherever I go;
I swear it is impossible for me to get rid of them;
I am fill�d with them, and I will fill them in return.)
-Walt Whitman


War Of Man
The little creatures run in from the cold
Back to the nest just like the days of old
There in the safety of a mother's arms
The warmth of ages, far away from harm again.

Ears ringin' from the battle fire
The tired warrior aims a little higher
The black falcon or the little sparrow
The healing light or the flash of the barrel.

No one wins
It's a war of man,
No one wins
It's a war of man.

Silver mane flyin' in the wind
Down through the planets on the run again
No one knows where they're runnin' to
But every kind is comin' two by two.

Out on the delta where the hoofbeats pound
The daddy's runnin' on the frozen ground
Can't smell the poison as it follows him

Can't see the gas and machines, it's a war of man.

No one wins
It's a war of man,
No one wins
It's a war of man.

The windows open and the little girl dreams
The sky's her playground as she mounts her steed
Across the heavens to the other side
On wings of magic does the little girl ride.

The baby creatures run in from the cold
Back to the nest just like the days of old
There in the safety of a mother's arms
The warmth of ages, far away from harm again.

No one wins
It's a war of man,
No one wins
It's a war of man,
No one wins.
-Neil Young


It's coming from the sorrow in the street,
the holy places where the races meet;
from the homicidal bitchin'
that goes down in every kitchen
to determine who will serve and who will eat.
From the wells of disappointment
where the women kneel to pray
for the grace of God in the desert here
and the desert far away:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.
- excerpt of "Democracy",
-Leonard Cohen


Flying Inside Your Own Body
Your lungs fill & spread themselves,
wings of pink blood, and your bones
empty themselves and become hollow.
When you breathe in you'll lift like a balloon
and your heart is light too & huge,
beating with pure joy, pure helium.
The sun's white winds blow through you,
there's nothing above you,
you see the earth now as an oval jewel,
radiant & seablue with love.
It's only in dreams you can do this.
Waking, your heart is a shaken fist,
a fine dust clogs the air you breathe in;
the sun's a hot copper weight pressing straight
down on the think pink rind of your skull.
It's always the moment just before gunshot.
You try & try to rise but you cannot.
-Margaret Atwood


Variations on the Word Sleep
I would like to watch you sleeping,
which may not happen.
I would like to watch you,
sleeping. I would like to sleep
with you, to enter
your sleep as its smooth dark wave
slides over my head.

and walk with you through that lucent
wavering forest of bluegreen leaves
with its watery sun & three moons
towards the cave where you must descend,
towards your worst fear

I would like to give you the silver
branch, the small white flower, the one
word that will protect you
from the grief at the center
of your dream, from the grief
at the center. I would like to follow
you up the long stairway
again & become
the boat that would row you back
carefully, a flame
in two cupped hands
to where your body lies
beside you, and you enter
it as easily as beathing in

I would like to be the air
that inhabits you for a moment
only. I would like to be that unnoticed
& that necessary.
-Margaret Atwood


Petit matin
Je te reconnaîtrai aux algues de la mer
Au sel de tes cheveux aux herbes de tes mains
Je te reconnaitrai au profond des paupières
Je fermerai le yeux tu me prendras la main

Je te reconnaîtrai quand tu viendras pieds nus
Sur les sentier brûlants d'odeurs et de soleil
Les cheveux ruisselants sur tes épaules nus
Et les seins ombragés des palmes du sommeil

Je laisserai alors s'envoler les oiseaux
Les oiseaux long-courriers qui traversent les mers
Les étoile aux vents courberont leurs fuseaux
Les oiseaux très préssés fuiront dans le ciel clair

Je t'attendrai en haut de la plus haute tout
Où pleurent nuit et jour les absents dans le vent
Quand les oiseaux fuiront je saurai le jour
Est là marqué despas de celle que j'attends

Complice du soleil je sens mon corps mûrir
De la patience aveugle et laiteuse de fruits
Ses froides mains de ciel lentement refleurir
Dans le matin léger qui jaillit de la nuit.
-Claude Roy


Arc en ciel
La jolie fête des grenouilles,
La pluie qui pleut, la pluie qui mouille,
La petite pluie abat le grand vent,

Débarbouille le ciel, débarbouille les gens.
Tout le monde est mouillé comme Gribouille
Et les prés sont tous luisants.

Le ciel après la pluie
Nous en fait voir de toutes les couleurs:
Violet, Indigo, Bleu, Vert, Jaune, Orange, Rouge.
-Claude Roy


Those blessèd structures, plot and rhyme--
why are they no help to me now
I want to make
something imagined, not recalled?
I hear the noise of my own voice:
The painter's vision is not a lens,
it trembles to caress the light.
But sometimes everything I write
with the threadbare art of my eye
seems a snapshot,
lurid, rapid, garish, grouped,
heightened from life,
yet paralyzed by fact.
All's misalliance.
Yet why not say what happened?
Pray for the grace of accuracy
Vermeer gave to the sun's illumination
stealing like the tide across a map
to his girl solid with yearning.
We are poor passing facts,
warned by that to give
each figure in the photograph
his living name.
-Robert Lowell



New books of poetry will be written
New books and unheard of manuscripts
will come wrapped in brown paper
and many and many a time
the postman will bow
and sidle down the leaf-plastered steps
thumbing over other men's business.

But we ran ahead of it all.
One coming after
could have seen her footprints
in the wet and followed us
among the stark chestnuts.

Anemones sprang where she pressed
and cresses
stood green in the slender source--
And new books of poetry
will be written, leather-colored oakleaves
many and many a time.
-William Carlos Williams


A Curse For A Nation

I heard an angel speak last night,
And he said "Write!
Write a Nation's curse for me,
And send it over the Western Sea."

I faltered, taking up the word:
"Not so, my lord!
If curses must be, choose another
To send thy curse against my brother.

"For I am bound by gratitude,
By love and blood,
To brothers of mine across the sea,
Who stretch out kindly hands to me."

"Therefore," the voice said, "shalt thou write
My curse to-night.
From the summits of love a curse is driven,
As lightning is from the tops of heaven."

"Not so," I answered. "Evermore
My heart is sore
For my own land's sins: for little feet
Of children bleeding along the street:

"For parked-up honors that gainsay
The right of way:
For almsgiving through a door that is
Not open enough for two friends to kiss:

"For love of freedom which abates
Beyond the Straits:
For patriot virtue starved to vice on
Self-praise, self-interest, and suspicion:

"For an oligarchic parliament,
And bribes well-meant.
What curse to another land assign,
When heavy-souled for the sins of mine?"

"Therefore," the voice said, "shalt thou write
My curse to-night.
Because thou hast strength to see and hate
A foul thing done within thy gate."

"Not so," I answered once again.
"To curse, choose men.
For I, a woman, have only known
How the heart melts and the tears run down."

"Therefore," the voice said, "shalt thou write
My curse to-night.
Some women weep and curse, I say
(And no one marvels), night and day.

"And thou shalt take their part to-night,
Weep and write.
A curse from the depths of womanhood
Is very salt, and bitter, and good."

So thus I wrote, and mourned indeed,
What all may read.
And thus, as was enjoined on me,
I send it over the Western Sea.

The Curse

Because ye have broken your own chain
With the strain
Of brave men climbing a Nation's height,
Yet thence bear down with brand and thong
On souls of others, -- for this wrong
This is the curse. Write.

Because yourselves are standing straight
In the state
Of Freedom's foremost acolyte,
Yet keep calm footing all the time
On writhing bond-slaves, -- for this crime
This is the curse. Write.

Because ye prosper in God's name,
With a claim
To honor in the old world's sight,
Yet do the fiend's work perfectly
In strangling martyrs, -- for this lie
This is the curse. Write.

Ye shall watch while kings conspire
Round the people's smouldering fire,
And, warm for your part,
Shall never dare -- O shame!
To utter the thought into flame
Which burns at your heart.
This is the curse. Write.

Ye shall watch while nations strive
With the bloodhounds, die or survive,
Drop faint from their jaws,
Or throttle them backward to death;
And only under your breath
Shall favor the cause.
This is the curse. Write.

Ye shall watch while strong men draw
The nets of feudal law
To strangle the weak;
And, counting the sin for a sin,
Your soul shall be sadder within
Than the word ye shall speak.
This is the curse. Write.

When good men are praying erect
That Christ may avenge His elect
And deliver the earth,
The prayer in your ears, said low,
Shall sound like the tramp of a foe
That's driving you forth.
This is the curse. Write.

When wise men give you their praise,
They shall praise in the heat of the phrase,
As if carried too far.
When ye boast your own charters kept true,
Ye shall blush; for the thing which ye do
Derides what ye are.
This is the curse. Write.

When fools cast taunts at your gate,
Your scorn ye shall somewhat abate
As ye look o'er the wall;
For your conscience, tradition, and name
Explode with a deadlier blame
Than the worst of them all.
This is the curse. Write.

Go, wherever ill deeds shall be done,
Go, plant your flag in the sun
Beside the ill-doers!
And recoil from clenching the curse
Of God's witnessing Universe
With a curse of yours.
This is the curse. Write.
-Elizabeth Barret Browning


There is nothing more animal-like
Than a clear conscience
On the third planet of the Sun.
Wislawa Szymborska

In Praise of Self-Deprecation
The buzzard has nothing to fault himself with.
Scruples are alien to the black panther.
Piranhas do not doubt the rightness of their actions.
The rattlesnake approves of himself without reservations.

The self-critical jackal does not exist.
The locust, alligator, trichina, horsefly
Live as they live and are glad of it.

The killer-whale's heart weighs one hundred kilos
But in other respects it is light.

There is nothing more animal-like
Than a clear conscience
On the third planet of the Sun.
(trans. By M. Krynski and R. Maguire, in Sounds, Feelings, Thoughts: Seventy Poems by Wislawa Szymborska, 1981, Princeton University Press.)
Last edited: 30 July 2007 17:52:54