The Perceval Press Anthology of Verse 2006


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We've come a long way
said the Cigarette Scientist
as he destroyed a live rabbit
to show the students how it worked.

He took its heart out
plugged it into an electric pump
that kept it beating for nearly two hours.

I know rabbits who can keep their hearts
beating for nearly seven years.

And look at the electricity they save,
-Spike Milligan


The Discourse on Peace
Near the end of an extremely important discourse
the great man of state stumbling
on a beautiful hollow phrase
falls over it
and undone with gaping mouth
shows his teeth
and the dental decay of his peaceful reasoning
exposes the nerve of war
the delicate question of money
-Lawrence Ferlinghetti


Catching Hold
You awoke with your chin
tucked to your chest
like a locket, or the sorts
of flowers that lower
themselves at night, folding in.
Pressing your mouth against
her morning lips,
you eat every syllable,
the long vowels
sinking to your stomach like rocks.
-Charmaine Cadeau


Religion is a good thing for good people, and a bad thing for bad people.
- H. Richard Niebuhr


An empire founded by war has to maintain itself by war.
- Baron de Montesquieu


Remember, no one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
- Eleanor Roosevelt


Wherever books will be burned, men also, in the end, are burned.
- Heinrich Heine


See! The gleam
on my fishing line
of the summer moon.
- Fukuda Chiyo-Ni
(18th century)


Men are but children of a larger growth;
Our appetites as apt to change as theirs,
And full as craving too, and full as vain;
And yet the soul, shut up in her dark room,
Viewing so clear abroad, at home sees nothing;
But like a mole in earth, busy and blind,
Works all her folly up, and casts it outward
To the world's open view.
- John Dryden
from All For Love


Religion is the frozen thought of men,
out of which they build temples.
- Krishnamurti


cómo saber que las ciudades reservaban
una cuota de su amor más austero
para los que llegábamos
con el odio pisándonos la huella
cómo saber que nos harían sitio
entre sus escaseces más henchidas
y sin averiguarnos los fervores
ni mucho menos el grupo sanguíneo
abrirían de par en par sus gozos
y también sus catástrofes
para que nos sintiéramos
igualito que en casa
-Mario Benedetti
(de La Casa y el Ladrillo)


The Return
The souls of all my dears have flown to the stars.
Thank God there's no one left for me to lose --
so I am free to cry. This air was made
for the echoing of songs.

A silver willow by the shore
trails to the bright September waters.
My shadow, risen from the past,
glides silently towards me.

Though the branches here are hung with many lyres,
a place has been reserved for mine, it seems.
And now this shower, struck by sunlight,
brings me good news, my cup of consolation.
-Anna Akhmatova


Armed with the sight of the fine wasps
sucking at the earth's axis, the earth's axis,
I recall each thing that I've had to meet,
I remember it by heart, and in vain.

I do not draw or sing
or ply the dark-voiced bow.
I make a little hole in life. How I envy
the strength and cunning of the wasps!

Oh if only once the sting of the air and the heat
of summer could make me hear
beyond sleep and death
the earth's axis, the earth's axis.
-Osip Mandelstam
(translated by Clarence Brown and W.S. Merwin)


The atmosphere knows no boundaries,
and the wind carries no passports.
- Crispin Tickell


I should like to be able to love
my country and still love justice.
-Albert Camus


Ángelus porteño
Me he quedado junto al árbol
veterano y cordial en su sabiduría

un pibe alegre y andrajoso
corre y recorre el sendero sin nadie

en la gramilla blanda y celestina
dos adolescentes aprenden a besarse
y ya casi lo saben

abajo pasan autos
rojos verdes azules

en la tarde hay un pozo de silencios
y uno espera que hable el campanario

de pronto entre los grandes edificios
la bomba estalla como una desmentida

claro el pibe en andrajos se detiene
con un pie sorprendido en el aire

la pareja se desbesa de a poco
un auto verde frena como quejándose

el árbol
no se le mueve ni una hoja
-Mario Benedetti


I am tired of hearing it said that democracy doesn't work. Of course it doesn't work; we are supposed to work it.
-Alexander Woolcott


You can't teach an
old dogma new tricks.
-Dorothy Parker


The Template
was always there, its existence seldom
questioned or suspected. The poets of the future
would avoid it, as we had. An imaginary railing
disappeared into the forest. It was here that the old gang
used to gather and swap stories. It
was like the Amazon, but on a much smaller scale.

Afterwards, when some of us swept out into the world
and could make comparisons, the fuss seemed justified.
No two poets ever agreed on anything, and that amused us.
It seemed good, the clotted darkness that came every day.
- John Ashbery


Man With a Hook
This man I
Know (about a year
Ago,when he was young), blew
His arm off in the cellar
Making bombs
To explode the robins
On the lawns.

Now he has a hook
Instead of a hand;

It is an ingenious
Gadget, and comes
With various attachments:
Knife for meals,
Pink plastic hand for everyday
Handshakes, black stuffed leather glove
For social functions.

I attempt pity

But, Look, he says, glittering,
Like a fanatic, My hook
Is an improvement:
and to demonstrate
lowers his arm:the steel question-
mark turns and opens,
and from his burning
unscrews and holds the delicate
ash: a thing
my clumsy tender-
skinned pink fingers
couldn't do.
-Margaret Atwood


Upon my life, the tracks have vanished,
We've lost our way, what shall we do?
It must be a demon's leading us
This way and that around the fields.
- A.S. Pushkin
(from "Demons")

Last edited: 29 October 2007 10:34:38