Arkiv för maj 2012

W. H. Auden – The Shield of Achilles   Leave a comment

Wystan Hugh Auden reads his poem The Shield of Achilles.

The Shield of Achilles
She looked over his shoulder
For vines and olive trees,
Marble well-governed cities
And ships upon untamed seas,
But there on the shining metal
His hands had put instead
An artificial wilderness
And a sky like lead.

A plain without a feature, bare and brown,
No blade of grass, no sign of neighborhood,
Nothing to eat and nowhere to sit down,
Yet, congregated on its blankness, stood
An unintelligible multitude,
A million eyes, a million boots in line,
Without expression, waiting for a sign.

Out of the air a voice without a face
Proved by statistics that some cause was just
In tones as dry and level as the place:
No one was cheered and nothing was discussed;
Column by column in a cloud of dust
They marched away enduring a belief
Whose logic brought them, somewhere else, to grief.

She looked over his shoulder
For ritual pieties,
White flower-garlanded heifers,
Libation and sacrifice,
But there on the shining metal
Where the altar should have been,
She saw by his flickering forge-light
Quite another scene.

Barbed wire enclosed an arbitrary spot
Where bored officials lounged (one cracked a joke)
And sentries sweated for the day was hot:
A crowd of ordinary decent folk
Watched from without and neither moved nor spoke
As three pale figures were led forth and bound
To three posts driven upright in the ground.

The mass and majesty of this world, all
That carries weight and always weighs the same
Lay in the hands of others; they were small
And could not hope for help and no help came:
What their foes like to do was done, their shame
Was all the worst could wish; they lost their pride
And died as men before their bodies died.

She looked over his shoulder
For athletes at their games,
Men and women in a dance
Moving their sweet limbs
Quick, quick, to music,
But there on the shining shield
His hands had set no dancing-floor
But a weed-choked field.

A ragged urchin, aimless and alone,
Loitered about that vacancy; a bird
Flew up to safety from his well-aimed stone:
That girls are raped, that two boys knife a third,
Were axioms to him, who’d never heard
Of any world where promises were kept,
Or one could weep because another wept.

The thin-lipped armorer,
Hephaestos, hobbled away,
Thetis of the shining breasts
Cried out in dismay
At what the god had wrought
To please her son, the strong
Iron-hearted man-slaying Achilles
Who would not live long.

From The Shield of Achilles (1955)


	

Jim Morrison – An American Prayer   Leave a comment

 

Jim Morrison reads his poem An American Prayer.
Music by Ray Manzarek, Robby Krieger and John Densmore.

An American Prayer

Do you know the warm progress
under the stars?
Do you know we exist?
Have you forgotten the keys
to the Kingdom?
Have you been borne yet
& are you alive?

Let’s reinvent the gods, all the myths
of the ages
Celebrate symbols from deep elder forests
[Have you forgotten the lessons
of the ancient war]

We need great golden copulations

The fathers are cackling in trees of the forest
Our mother is dead in the sea

Do you know we are being led to
slaughters by placid admirals
& that fat slow generals are getting
obscene on young blood

Do you know we are ruled by T.V.
The moon is a dry blood beast
Guerilla bands are rolling numbers
in the next block of green vine
amassing for warfare on innocent herdsmen
who are just dying

O great creator of being
grant us one more hour to
perform our art
& perfect our lives

The moths & atheists are doubly divine
& dying
We live, we die
& death not ends it
Journey we more into the
Nightmare
Cling to life
our passion’d flower
Cling to cunts & cocks
of despair
We got our final vision
by clap
Columbus’ groin got
filled w/ green death
(I touched her thigh
& death smiled)

We have assembled inside this ancient
& insane theatre
To propagate our lust for life
& flee the swarming wisdom
of the streets
The barns are stormed
The windows kept
& only one of all the rest
To dance & save us
W/ the divine mockery
of words
Music inflames temperament

(When the true King’s murderers
are allowed to roam free
a 1000 magicians arise
in the land)

Where are the feasts
we were promised
Where is the wine
The New Wine
(dying on the vine)

resident mockery
give us an hour for magic
We of the purple glove
We of the starling flight
& velvet hour
We of arabic pleasure’s breed
We of sundome & the night

Give us a creed
To believe
A night of Lust
Give us trust in
The Night

Give of color
hundred hues
a rich Mandala
for me & you

& for your silky
pillowed house
a head, wisdom
& a bed

Troubled decree
Resident mockery
has claimed thee

We used to believe
in the good old days
We still receive
In little ways

The Things of Kindness
& unsporting brow
Forget & allow

Did you know freedom exists
in a school book
Did you know madmen are
running our prison
w/in a jail, w/in a gaol
w/in a white free protestant
Maelstrom

We’re perched headlong
on the edge of boredom
We’re reaching for death
on the end of a candle
We’re trying for something
That’s already found us

We can invent Kingdoms of our own
grand purple thrones, those chairs of lust
& love we must, in beds of rust

Steel doors lock in prisoner’s screams
& muzak, AM, rocks their dreams
No black men’s pride to hoist the beams
while mocking angels sift what seems

To be a collage of magazine dust
Scratched on foreheads of walls of trust
This is just jail for those who must
get up in the morning & fight for such

unusable standards
while weeping maidens
show-off penury & pout
ravings for a mad
staff

Wow, I’m sick of doubt
Live in the light of certain
South

Cruel bindings
The servants have the power
dog-men & their mean women
pulling poor blankets over
our sailors
(& where were you in our
lean hour)
Milking your moustache?
or grinding a flower?
I’m sick of dour faces
Staring at me from the T.V.
Tower. I want roses in
my garden bower;  dig?
Royal babies, rubies
must now replace aborted
Strangers in the mud
These mutants, blood-meal
for the plant that’s plowed

They are waiting to take us into
the severed garden
Do you know how pale & wanton thrillful
comes death on strange hour
unannounced, unplanned for
like a scaring over-friendly guest you’ve
brought to bed
Death makes angels of us all
& gives us wings
where we had shoulders
smooth as raven’s
claws

No more money, no more fancy dress
This other Kingdom seems by far the best
until its other jaw reveals incest
& loose obedience to a vegetable law

I will not go
Prefer a Feast of Friends
To the Giant family

from the album An American Prayer (1978)



Seamus Heaney – The Railway Children   Leave a comment

 

Seamus Heaney reads his poem The Railway Children.

The Railway Children
When we climbed the slopes of the cutting

We were eye-level with the white cups

Of the telegraph poles and the sizzling wires.

Like lovely freehand they curved, for miles

East and miles west beyond us, sagging

Under their burden of swallows.

We were small and thought we knew nothing

Worth knowing.  We thought words travelled the wires

In the shiny pouches of raindrops,

Each one seeded full with the light

Of the sky, the gleam of the lines, and ourselves

So infinitesimally scaled

We could stream through the eye of a needle.

from Wintering Out (1972)


Seamus Heaney – Death of a Naturalist   Leave a comment

 

Seamus Heaney reads his poem Death of a Naturalist.

Death of a Naturalist
All year the flax-dam festered in the heart
Of the townland; green and heavy headed
Flax had rotted there, weighted down by huge sods.
Daily it sweltered in the punishing sun.
Bubbles gargled delicately, bluebottles
Wove a strong gauze of sound around the smell.
There were dragon-flies, spotted butterflies,
But best of all was the warm thick slobber
Of frogspawn that grew like clotted water
In the shade of the banks. Here, every spring
I would fill jampotfuls of the jellied
Specks to range on window-sills at home,
On shelves at school, and wait and watch until
The fattening dots burst into nimble-
Swimming tadpoles. Miss Walls would tell us how
The daddy frog was called a bullfrog
And how he croaked and how the mammy frog
Laid hundreds of little eggs and this was
Frogspawn. You could tell the weather by frogs too
For they were yellow in the sun and brown
In rain.
Then one hot day when fields were rank
With cowdung in the grass the angry frogs
Invaded the flax-dam; I ducked through hedges
To a coarse croaking that I had not heard
Before. The air was thick with a bass chorus.
Right down the dam gross-bellied frogs were cocked
On sods; their loose necks pulsed like sails. Some hopped:
The slap and plop were obscene threats. Some sat
Poised like mud grenades, their blunt heads farting.
I sickened, turned, and ran. The great slime kings
Were gathered there for vengeance and I knew
That if I dipped my hand the spawn would clutch it.

from Death of a Naturalist (1966)


Wisława Szymborska – Urodziny   Leave a comment

Wisława Szymborska reads her poem Urodziny.

Urodziny
Tyle naraz świata ze wszystkich stron swiata:
moreny, mureny i morza, i zorze,
i ogień, i ogon, i orzeł, i orzech –
jak ja to ustawię, gdzie ja to położę?
Te chaszcze i paszcze, i leszcze, i deszcze,
bodziszki, modliszki – gdzie ja to pomieszczę?
Motyle, goryle, beryle i trele –
dziękuję, to chyba o wiele za wiele,
Do dzbanka jakiego tam łopian i łopot,
i łubin, i popłoch, i przepych, i kłopot?
Gdzie zabrać kolibra, gdzie ukryć to srebro,
co zrobić na serio z tym żubrem i zebrą?
Już taki dwutlenek rzecz ważna i droga,
a tu ośmiornica i jeszcze stonoga!
Domyślam się ceny, choć cena z gwiazd zdarta –
dziekuję, doprawdy nie czuję się warta.
Nie szkoda to dla mnie zachodu i słońca?
Jak ma się w to bawić osoba żyjąca?
Na chwilę tu jestem i tylko na chwilę:
co dalsze, przeoczę, a resztę pomylę.
Nie zdążę wszystkiego odróżnić od próżni.
Pogubię te bratki w pośpiechu podróżnym.
Jużc hoćby najmniejszy – szalony wydatek:
fatyga łodygi i listek, i płatek
raz jeden w przestrzeni, od nigdy, na oślep,
wzgardliwie dokładny i kruchy wyniośle.

                                        *

Birthday
So much world all at once – how it rustles and bustles!
Moraines and morays and morasses and mussels,
The flame, the flamingo, the flounder, the feather –
How to line them all up, how to put them together?
All the tickets and crickets and creepers and creeks!
The beeches and leeches alone could take weeks.
Chinchillas, gorillas, and sarsaparillas –
Thanks do much, but all this excess of kindness could kill us.
Where’s the jar for this burgeoning burdock, brooks’ babble,
Rooks’ squabble, snakes’ quiggle, abundance, and trouble?
How to plug up the gold mines and pin down the fox,
How to cope with the linx, bobolinks, strptococs!
Tale dioxide: a lightweight, but mighty in deeds:
What about octopodes, what about centipedes?
I could look into prices, but don’t have the nerve:
These are products I just can’t afford, don’t deserve.
Isn’t sunset a little too much for two eyes
That, who knows, may not open to see the sun rise?
I am just passing through, it’s a five-minute stop.
I won’t catch what is distant: what’s too close, I’ll mix up.
While trying to plumb what the void’s inner sense is,
I’m bound to pass by all these poppies and pansies.
What a loss when you think how much effort was spent
perfecting this petal, this pistil, this scent
for the one-time appearance, which is all they’re allowed,
so aloofly precise and so fragilely proud.

translated from Polish by Stanislaw Baranczak
and Clare Cavanagh

Nelly Sachs – Geschirmt sind die Liebenden   Leave a comment

 

Nelly Sachs reads her poem Geschirmt sind die Liebenden.

Geschirmt sind die Liebenden
Geschirmt sind die Liebenden
unter dem zugemauerten Himmel.
Ein geheimes Element schafft ihnen Atem
und sie tragen die Steine in die Segnung
und alles was wächst
hat nur noch eine Heimat bei ihnen.

Geschirmt sind die Liebenden
und nur für sie schlagen noch die Nachtigallen
und sind nicht ausgestorben in der Taubheit
und des Waldes leise Legenden, die Rehe,
leiden in Sanftmut für sie.

Geschirmt sind die Liebenden
sie finden den versteckten Schmerz der Abendsonne
auf einem Weidenzweig blutend –
und üben in den Nächten lächelnd das Sterben,
den leisen Tod
mit allen Quellen, die in Sehnsucht rinnen

Pablo Neruda – Pido silencio   Leave a comment

 

Pablo Neruda reads his poem Pido silencio.

 

Pido silencio

Ahora me dejen tranquilo.
Ahora se acostumbren sin mí.

Yo voy a cerrar los ojos

Y sólo quiero cinco cosas,
cinco raices preferidas.

Una es el amor sin fin.

Lo segundo es ver el otoño.
No puedo ser sin que las hojas
vuelen y vuelvan a la tierra.

Lo tercero es el grave invierno,
la lluvia que amé, la caricia
del fuego en el frío silvestre.

En cuarto lugar el verano
redondo como una sandía.

La quinta cosa son tus ojos,
Matilde mía, bienamada,
no quiero dormir sin tus ojos,
no quiero ser sin que me mires:
yo cambio la primavera
por que tú me sigas mirando.

                 *

I ask for silence

Now leave me in peace
and learn to do without me.

I am going to close my eyes.

And I want five things only,
five chosen roots.

Once is an endless love.

The second is to see the autumn.
I cannot be if the leaves
don’t fly and fall to earth.

The third is the solemn winter,
the rain I loved, the caress
of fire on the wild coldness.

In fourth place, summer
plump as a watermelon.

The fifth thing is your eyes.
Matilde, my dear love,
I will not sleep without your eyes,
I do not want to be if you’re not looking at me:
I’d give up spring
for you to keep on looking at me.

Translated to English by Heidi Fischbach

Postat maj 23, 2012 av estraden i Latin American poets