Monday, February 27, 2012

Tuesday Poem--Sonnet XVII by Pablo Neruda


Sonnet XVII
I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.
I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.
I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or 
                                    pride;
so I love you because I know no other way
than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.
Pablo Neruda   (1950)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Tuesday Poem--Penniless Lovers by Eugenio de Andrade


PENNILESS LOVERS
They had faces open to whoever passed.
They had legends and myths
and a chill in the heart.
They had gardens where the moon strolled
hand in hand with the water.
They had an angel of stone for a brother.
They had like everyone
the miracle of the every day
dripping from the roofs;
and golden eyes
glowing with
a wilderness of dreams.
They were hungry and thirsty like animals,
and there was silence
around their steps.
But at every gesture they made,
a bird was born from their fingers
and, dazzled, vanished into space.
Eugenio de Andrade
(trans. from the Portuguese by Alexis Levitin)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Tuesday Poem--A Blessing by James Wright

This is probably James Wright's most well-known poem.

 A BLESSING
Just off the highway to Rochester, Minnesota,
Twilight bounds softly forth on the grass.
And the eyes of those two Indian ponies
Darken with kindness.
They have come gladly out of the willows
To welcome my friend and me.
We step over the barbed wire into the pasture
Where they have been grazing all day, alone.
They ripple tensely, they can hardly contain their happiness
That we have come.
They bow shyly as wet swans. They love each other.
There is no loneliness like theirs.
At home once more,
They begin munching the young tufts of spring in the darkness.
I would like to hold the slenderer one in my arms,
For she has walked over to me
And nuzzled my left hand.
She is black and white,
Her mane falls wild on her forehead,
And the light breeze moves me to caress her long ear
That is delicate as the skin over a girl’s wrist.
Suddenly I realize
That if I stepped out of my body I would break
Into blossom.
James Wright

Monday, February 6, 2012

Tuesday Poem--Incantation by Czeslaw Miłosz


INCANTATION
Human reason is beautiful and invincible.
No bars, no barbed wire, no pulping of books,
No sentence or banishment can prevail against it.
It establishes the universal idea in language,
And guides our hand so we write Truth and Justice
With capital letters, lie and oppression with small.
It puts what should be above things as they are,
Is an enemy of despair and a friend of hope.
It does not know Jew from Greek or slave from master,
Giving us the estate of the world to manage.
It saves austere and transparent phrases
From the filthy discord of tortured words.
It says that everything is new under the sun.
Opens the congealed fist of the past.
Beautiful and very young are Philo-Sophia
and poetry, her ally in the service of the good.
As late as yesterday Nature celebrated their birth,
The news was brought to the mountain by a unicorn and an echo.
Their friendship will be glorious, their time has no limit.
Their enemies have delivered themselves to destruction.
Czeslaw Miłosz
Berkeley, 1969