The Perceval Press Anthology of Verse 2011

January 2011

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Forced March
You're crazy. You fall down, stand up and walk again,
your ankles and your knees move pain that wanders around,
but you start again as if you had wings.
The ditch calls you, but it's no use you're afraid to stay,
and if someone asks why, maybe you turn around and say
that a woman and a sane death a better death wait for you.
But you're crazy. For a long time now
only the burned wind spins above the houses at home,
Walls lie on their backs, plum trees are broken
and the angry night is thick with fear.
Oh, if I could believe that everything valuable
is not only inside me now that there's still home to go back to.
If only there were! And just as before bees drone peacefully
on the cool veranda, plum preserves turn cold
and over sleepy gardens quietly, the end of summer bathes in the sun.
Among the leaves the fruit swing naked
and in front of the rust-brown hedge blond Fanny waits for me,
the morning writes slow shadows--
All this could happen! The moon is so round today!
Don't walk past me, friend. Yell, and I'll stand up again!
September 15, 1944
-Miklós Radnóti


Without commas,
one line touching the other
I write poems the way I live, in darkness,
blind, crossing the paper like a worm.
Flashlights, books - the guards took everything.
There's no mail, only fog drifts over the barracks.
-Miklós Radnóti
(from 'Eclogue VII,' trans. by Steven Polgár)


Borrowed Tongue
Maybe I'm a fool
holding two threads,
one black, one white,
waiting for dawn
to tell them apart.
But I'm only practicing
my religion which
I neither borrowed
nor stole.
Maybe I'm a fool
thinking of a better answer
than the transplant patient
who said I'm sorry
someone had to die.
No, I haven't outgrown
my tongue. It's a coat
your mother gives you,
crimson or cobalt blue,
satin inside, the collar
wide enough to cover
your whole neck.
All winter you wear it
then spring comes
but never goes.
That's Arabic to me.
I wear a white shirt now--
thin gray stripes,
top button gone--
and it fits.
-Khaled Mattawa


Ayer Vendrá
La tarde va a morir; en los caminos
se ciega triste o se detiene un aire
bajo y sin luz; entre las ramas altas,
mortal, casi vibrante,
queda el último sol; la tierra huele,
empieza a oler; las aves
van rompiendo un espejo con su vuelo;
la sombra es el silencio de la tarde.
Te he sentido llorar: no sé a quién lloras.
Hay un humo distante,
un tren, que acaso vuelve, mientras dices:
Soy tu propio dolor, déjame amarte.
-Luis Rosales

in spite of everything
which breathes and moves,since Doom
(with white longest hands
neatening each crease)
will smooth entirely our minds

-before leaving my room
i turn,and(stooping
through the morning)kiss
this pillow,dear
where our heads lived and were.
-e.e. cummings


BodyThe body of a bird in your mouth
breathing songs.
Raw light spills from your eyes,
utterly naked.
You must breach the horizon, once,
in order to wake up.
You must open window after window.
You must support the walls.
I let alphabets cling to me
as I climb the thread of language
between myself and the world.
I muster crowds in my mouth:
suspended between language and the world,
between the world and the alphabets.
I let my head
listen to the myth,
to all sides praising each other.
And I shout at the winds from the top of a mountain.
Why does my tongue tell me to climb this far?
What is the distance between my voice and my longing?
What is there?
A body transcending my body.
A body exiled by desire.
A body sheltered by the wind.
-Al-Saddiq Al-Raddi
(The literal translation of this poem was made by Atef Alshaer.
The final translated version of the poem is by The Poetry Translation Workshop)


Den, som har levet
Den, som har levet en Dag i Sorg
og atter fundet sin Glæde,
smykker sit Hus og finder med Fryd,
at det var herligt at græde.

Den, som har levet et Aar i Kval
og sent Befrielsen vejrer,
smiler ad Dagens Regn og Rusk
og drømmer, at Lykken sejrer.

Den, som fik bygget sit hele Liv,
af triste, nagende Dage,
ham falder Graaden som letkøbt Smil
og Smilet som bitterlig Klage.

Aldrig skabtes en Lykke fuldt
og aldrig en skyggeløs Morgen,
fuldbaarne lister i Verden om
alene Savnet og Sorgen.
-Viggo Stuckenberg

Last edited: 27 February 2012 13:15:23