Sarah Kirsch, “Pictures” …

•May 25, 2016 • Leave a Comment

sarah kirsch 220px-Bundesarchiv_Bild_183-R0531-0325,_Sarah_KirschSarah Kirsch


My mother drives the goat
never has she owned her
over the green leaf-tops
my father’s clocks strike
one after another in the night
my brother died very young
his flowers grow wild
since he no longer counts
My city went up in flames
people ran into the churches
and burned up with the pictures
unafraid I saw them lying
I was small and morning gleaned
ears of grain from the fields
when the midday hot was over
I practiced on the bike
or sat in our garden
wound jasmine to circular wreaths
laid them on the pretty
raised mounds of drowned birds
clatters the garden door now barks
this wandering dog
ah the father of my mother
drives me out of the full trees
and I stand before the rows
where the cold asters glisten
trample their late heads
under my postwar shoes

       Trans. Wayne Kvam

Blue and Red, from Four Colors

•May 17, 2016 • 1 Comment

Krzysztof Kieślowski bw
I once wrote in a blog entry – commenting on films … “I was recently asked to name my three favorite directors, and without thinking said Kieslowski, Dreyer, and Kubrick. I name those three because I think they’re flawless.” I’ll stand by those words – although unprovable and impossible – and especially believe them in relation to Krzysztof Kieslowski.

Kieslowski’s so-called, yet non-existent tetralogy is… La double vie de Véronique and Trois couleurs: Bleu, Blanc, Rouge. Four magnificent films that, in their own way – or at least in my head – function as one story.


– from Four Colors, parts 2 and 4


The sugar cube is soaked
with coffee before it’s plopped.
You could use a long, steady cry,
but the mice in your rooms are too loud,
the voices along the stair, too intimate,
and those who love you – if
3 colors bluethat is even the word – too lost
in the refraction of miserable silences.

It’s the music that haunts,
the missing lines of ink on paper,
the flute with no streets to fill.
A stone wall on which the hand bleeds
beneath a numbed and empty heaven
with its long hollows of disconnection.



This is a poem about what is heard, not what is seen
A poem about pity, about an ache for such a loss
Lines for risk, for luck, for wager, for cherry cherry cherry
       for the one gift a coin should bring
       for random pages in a book
       the dusky strings of Van den Brudenmeyer
       a stumbled walk across an unlikely stage
       for unreal, pretend, ersatz
The reader must never forget: it’s a life made up of many lives
       a fraternal order of should have been
These lines are against indifference, are lines to make you commit
Lines to make you angry, to make you cry
If asked if you have loved, you will answer – no
If asked about grief – and say it with me : no
       an immaculate no
The connections are broken, the window, broken, the battery, dead
There’s no laughter here, but there will be smiles
can’t you feel it, even now, tugging at your mouthTrois_couleurs_rouge_01
A smirk perhaps
An epiphany to be sure
Or breath of life, or second chance
Someone should have told you

        – Blue and Red were originally published in Poets / Artists, and then were included in Cinéma Vérité (A-Minor Press)

Laura Riding Jackson, “Voices” …

•May 13, 2016 • Leave a Comment

laura riding jacksonLaura Riding Jackson


Are there words thin enough for such thin lips?
Smiles are more tenuous than laughter,
And their only echo is pain.
       – from “The City of Cold Women”

Bei Dao, [Stretch out your hands to me] …

•April 26, 2016 • Leave a Comment

A poem I first read in Against Forgetting, a powerful anthology by Carolyn Forché…also included in The Rose of Time: New and Selected Poems

Bei Dao

[Stretch out your hands to me]

Stretch out your hands to me
don’t let the world blocked by my shoulder
bei-dao-articleInlinedisturb you any longer
if love is not forgotten
hardship leaves no memory
remember what I say
not everything will pass
if there is only one last aspen
standing tall at the end of the road
like a gravestone without an epitaph
the falling leaves will also speak
fading paling as they tumble
slowly they freeze over
holding our heavy footprints
of course, no one knows tomorrow
tomorrow begins from another dawn
when we will be fast asleep
      [Trans. Bonnie S. McDougall]

[A heavy cart] by Yosa Buson …

•April 20, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Yosa Buson

      A heavy cart rumbles by
and the peonies
yosa buson img-davidson-japense-screens-_113041660205

[Landscape in Mi Style,, screen / ink on paper; (Trans. Robert Hass)]

“Conversation with a Ladybug” by Doris Davenport

•April 14, 2016 • Leave a Comment

doris davenport (1)Doris Davenport

“Conversation with a Ladybug (Good luck if you see one, if one lights on you.)”

an orange-red tinyspot of comatosity,
on my airless desk in this
sunbaked, stale aired classsroom,
she seemed unconscious, dead

until I prodded her, politely, with a left index finger. then tiny black
feeler feet emerged, moved,
weakly she pulled herself up my finger

like it was a rubber raft lifesaver in a rough ocean
floating wood in the debris
of her own mini Titanic, like
my finger was a lost & feared

gone forever friend she’d waited so long for,
she clung tenaciously to my
finger, roamed slowly its
surface as i lifted her tenderly

outside to air but
she held tight had to
prise her off & onto the
shrub-tree deep orange autumn
leaf outside Holley Hall suddenly
she flew. away.

      – from Ascent, Davenport’s collection of poetry

“Hum” by Ann Lauterbach … “Here is the hate / That does not travel.”

•March 22, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Ann Lauterbach Lauterbach-Ann-Ch-Bernstein_12-08_NYC-smlAnn Lauterbach


The days are beautiful
The days are beautiful.

I know what days are.
The other is weather.

I know what weather is.
The days are beautiful.

Things are incidental.
Someone is weeping.

I weep for the incidental.
The days are beautiful.

Where is tomorrow?
Everyone will weep.

Tomorrow was yesterday.
The days are beautiful.

Tomorrow was yesterday.
Today is weather.

The sound of the weather
Is everyone weeping.

Everyone is incidental.
Everyone weeps.

The tears of today
Will put out tomorrow.

The rain is ashes.
The days are beautiful.

The rain falls down.
The sound is falling.

The sky is a cloud.
The days are beautiful.

The sky is dust.
The weather is yesterday.

The weather is yesterday.
The sound is weeping.

What is this dust?
The weather is nothing.

The days are beautiful.
The towers are yesterday.

The towers are incidental.
What are these ashes?

Here is the hate
That does not travel.

Here is the robe
That smells of the night

Here are the words
Retired to their books

Here are the stones
Loosed from their settings

Here is the bridge
Over the water

Here is the place
Where the sun came up

Here is a season
Dry in the fireplace.

Here are the ashes.
The days are beautiful.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 306 other followers