Wednesday, December 28, 2005

'Is there anybody there?' said the Traveller,
Knocking on the moonlit door;
And his horse in the silence champed the grasses
Of the forest's ferny floor:
And a bird flew up out of the turret,
Above the Traveller's head
And he smote upon the door again a second time;
'Is there anybody there?' he said.
But no one descended to the Traveller;
No head from the leaf-fringed sill
Leaned over and looked into his grey eyes,
Where he stood perplexed and still.
But only a host of phantom listeners
That dwelt in the lone house then
Stood listening in the quiet of the moonlight
To that voice from the world of men:
Stood thronging the faint moonbeams on the dark stair,
That goes down to the empty hall,
Hearkening in an air stirred and shaken
By the lonely Traveller's call.
And he felt in his heart their strangeness,
Their stillness answering his cry,
While his horse moved, cropping the dark turf,
'Neath the starred and leafy sky;
For he suddenly smote on the door, even
Louder, and lifted his head:-
'Tell them I came, and no one answered,
That I kept my word,' he said.
Never the least stir made the listeners,
Though every word he spake
Fell echoing through the shadowiness of the still house
From the one man left awake:
Ay, they heard his foot upon the stirrup,
And the sound of iron on stone,
And how the silence surged softly backward,
When the plunging hoofs were gone.

-- Walter De La Mare

Monday, December 19, 2005

Perspective by Yannis Ritsos

Our houses are built on other,
straight lined houses, made of marble,
and these on other houses.
Their foundations are supported
on the heads of upright armless statues.
And so, no matter how much lower
our huts roost in the fields
under the olive trees,
small, grimy with smoke,
with only a water pitcher by the door,
you imagine you are living high up,
that all about you the air shines,
or at times you imagine you are outside
the houses, that you have no house at all,
that you are walking naked, alone,
under a sky startlingly azure or white,
and a statue, now and then,
leans his hand lightly on your shoulder.

(‘Perspective’, from Testimonies, translated by Kimon Friar.)

wbrant said... Hey, you have a great blog here! I'm definitely going to bookmark you!I have a macbeth by william shakespeare site/blog. It pretty much covers macbeth by william shakespeare related stuff.

Paulo Uccello: St George and the Dragon (oil on canvas) National Gallery

NOT MY BEST SIDE by U.E. Fanthorpe

Not my best side, I'm afraid.
The artist didn't give me a chance to
Pose properly, and as you can see,
Poor chap, he had this obsession with
Triangles, so he left off two of my
Feet. I didn't comment at the time
(What, after all, are two feet
To a monster?) but afterwards
I was sorry for the bad publicity.
Why, I said to myself, should my conqueror
Be so ostentatiously beardless, and ride
A horse with a deformed neck and square hoofs?
Why should my victim be so
Unattractive as to be inedible,
And why should she have me literally
On a string? I don't mind dying
Ritually, since I always rise again,
But I should have liked a little more blood
To show they were taking me seriously.
It's hard for a girl to be sure if
She wants to be rescued. I mean,I quite
Took to the dragon. It's nice to be
Liked, if you know what I mean. He was
So nicely physical, with his claws
And lovely green skin, and that sexy tail,
And the way he looked at me,
He made me feel he was all ready to
Eat me. And any girl enjoys that.
So when this boy turned up, wearing machinery,
On a really dangerous horse, to be
Honest I didn't much fancy him. I mean,
What was he like underneath the hardware?
He might have acne, blackheads or even
Bad breath for all I could tell, but the dragon--
Well, you could see all his equipment
At a glance. Still, what could I do?
The dragon got himself beaten by the boy,
And a girl's got to think of her future.


I have diplomas in Dragon
Management and Virgin Reclamation.
My horse is the latest model, with
Automatic transmission and built-in
Obsolescence. My spear is custom-built,
And my prototype armour
Still on the secret list. You can't
Do better than me at the moment.
I'm qualified and equipped to the
Eyebrow. So why be difficult?
Don't you want to be killed and/or rescued
In the most contemporary way
Don't You want to carry out the roles
That sociology and myth have designed for you?
Don't you realize that, by being choosy,
You are endangering job prospects
In the spear- and horse-building industries?
What, in any case, does it matter what
You want? You're in my way.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

I touch God in my song
as the hill touches the far-away sea
with its waterfall.
The butterfly counts
not months but moments,
and has time enough.
Let my love, like sunlight,
surround you
and yet give you illumined freedom
.Love remains a secret
even when spoken,
for only a lover truly knows
that he is loved.
from the bondage of the soi
lis no freedom for the tree.
In love I pay
my endless debt to thee
for what thou art.

This woman can be found in Piccadilly.
Huddled on the pavement
Perilously close
To the tramping feet of passers-by,
She clutches her son to her.
A ragged cup is waved listlessly.
Her eyes are downcast.
She neither talks to
Nor accosts those who stride past.
Her cup becomes no heavier.
The sleeping child, hardly visible
Beneath a blanket seems less beggar's prop
Than tired mite. Is this woman,
headscarfed and olive-skinned,
A genuine "gypsy"? .
Does she need to have the message
that begging is unacceptable
"brought home" to her?

The house with wooden staircase
And orange trees,
Looks out towards the azure mountains.
The countryside wanders nonchalantly around the rooms.
Two mirrors reflect the singing of the birds.
And in the the bedroom
Lie abandoned two slippers made of cloth
The type used by the elderly.
So, when night falls,
The departed visit the house once more,
In order to collect something they left behind,
A scarf, a vest, a shirt, two socks
And then, possibly due to forgetfulness
Or carelessness,
Take along something of ours.
Next day, the postman passes our door
Without stopping

Les Oranges by Fabrice de Villeneuve
Poem by Yannis Ritsos

by Arthur Hughes


Sur l'onde calme et noire où dorment les étoiles
La blanche Ophélia flotte comme un grand lys,
Flotte très lentement, couchée en ses longs voiles ...
- On entend dans les bois lointains des hallalis.
Voici plus de mille ans que la triste Ophélie
Passe, fantôme blanc, sur le long fleuve noir;
Voici plus de mille ans que sa douce folie
Murmure sa romance à la brise du soir.
Le vent baise ses seins et déploie en corolle
Ses grands voiles bercés mollement par les eaux;
Les saules frissonnants pleurent sur son épaule,
Sur son grand front rêveur s'inclinent les roseaux.
Les nénuphars froissés soupirent autour d'elle;
Elle éveille parfois, dans un aune qui dort,
Quelque nid, d'où s'échappe un petit frisson d'aile:
- Un chant mystérieux tombe des astres d'or.

O pâle Ophélia! belle comme la neige!
Oui, tu mourus, enfant, par un fleuve emporté
- C'est que les vents tombant des grands monts de Norwège
T'avaient parlé tout bas de l'âpre liberté;
C'est qu'un souffle, tordant ta grande chevelure,
A ton esprit rêveur portait d'étranges bruits;
Que ton coeur écoutait le chant de la Nature
Dans les plaintes de l'arbre et les soupirs des nuits;
C'est que la voix des mers folles, immense râle,
Brisait ton sein d'enfant, trop humain et trop doux;
C'est qu'un matin d'avril, un beau cavalier pâle,
Un pauvre fou, s'assit muet à tes genoux!
Ciel! Amour! Liberté! Quel rêve, ô pauvre Folle!
Tu te fondais à lui comme une neige au feu:
Tes grandes visions étranglaient ta parole-
Et l'Infini terrible effara ton oeil bleu!

- Et le Poète dit qu'aux rayons des étoiles
Tu viens chercher, la nuit, les fleurs que tu cueillis
,Et qu'il a vu sur l'eau, couchée en ses longs voiles
,La blanche Ophélia flotter, comme un grand lys.

Arthur Rimbaud (1854 - 1891), Poésies (1895), Ophélie (1870).

The Con Job
by Charles Bukowski

The ground war began today at dawn
In a desert land far from here.
The U.S. ground troops
Were largely made up of Blacks,
Mexicans and poor whites
Most of whom had joined the military
Because it was the only job they could find.

The ground war began today at dawn
In a desert land far from here
And the Blacks, Mexicans and poor whites
Were sent there to fight and win

As on tv and on the radio
The fat white rich newscasters
First told us all about it and then
The fat rich white analysts told us why
Again and again and again
On almost every tv and radio station
Almost every minute day and night
Because the Blacks, and Mexicans
And poor whites
Were sent there to fight and win
At dawn in a desert land
Far enough away from here.

(I found this poem on Blog!
painting by Crovetto

The drama of a soldier: Piero is young, inexpert, and for this pays with his life when he hesitates to kill another young enemy soldier.

Dormi sepolto in un campo di grano
Non è la rosa non è il tulipano
Che ti fan veglia dall'ombra dei fossi
Ma son mille papaveri rossi
Lungo le sponde del mio torrente
Voglio che scendano i lucci argentati
Non più i cadaveri dei soldati
Portati in braccio dalla corrente
Così dicevi ed era inverno
E come gli altri verso l'inferno
Te ne vai triste come chi deve
Il vento ti sputa in faccia la neve
Fermati Piero , fermati adesso
Lascia che il vento ti passi un po' addosso
Dei morti in battaglia ti porti la voce
Chi diede la vita ebbe in cambio una croce
Ma tu no lo udisti e il tempo passava
Con le stagioni a passo di giava
Ed arrivasti a varcar la frontiera
In un bel giorno di primavera
E mentre marciavi con l'anima in spalle
Vedesti un uomo in fondo alla valle
Che aveva il tuo stesso identico umore
Ma la divisa di un altro colore
Sparagli Piero , sparagli ora
E dopo un colpo sparagli ancora
Fino a che tu non lo vedrai ilsangue
Cadere in terra a coprire il suo sangue
E se gli sparo in fronte o nel cuore
Soltanto il tempo avrà per morire
Ma il tempo a me resterà per vedere
Vedere gli occhi di un uomo che muore
E mentre gli usi questa premura
Quello si volta , ti vede e ha paura
Ed imbraccia l'artiglieria
Non ti ricambia la cortesia
Cadesti in terra senza un lamento
E ti accorgesti in un solo momento
Che il tempo non ti sarebbe bastato
A chiedere perdono per ogni peccato
Cadesti interra senza un lamento
E ti accorgesti in un solo momento
Che la tua vita finiva quel giorno
E non ci sarebbe stato un ritorno
Ninetta mia crepare di maggio
Ci vuole tanto troppo coraggio
Ninetta bella dritto all'inferno
Avrei preferito andarci in inverno
E mentre il grano ti stava a sentire
Dentro alle mani stringevi un fucile
Dentro alla bocca stringevi parole
Troppo gelate per sciogliersi al sole
Dormi sepolto in un campo di grano
Non è la rosa non è il tulipano
Che ti fan veglia dall'ombra dei fossi
Ma sono mille papaveri rossi.

By Jules

A house sketched inky black
Against a moonlit sky.
Velvet roses dark and sultry
Flatter the arum lilies, candle glowing,
Near the pond. And jasmin
Scatters a million phosphorescent stars
Whilst frogs croak, and giddy moths
Inebriated in the perfumed night
Flirt With the blushing honeysuckle
Clinging to the mossy wall.
Then a cat, pale and ghostlike
Leaping From the ferns
Like a phantom ballerina,
Dances and twirls with fireflies
And moonbeams
In the dew drenched grass.

Then all at once,
There is a hush...
Frogs mute.
Cat scampers...
A gate creaks.
Footsteps sound along the path.
A lamp lights up in an upstairs room.
A flimsy curtain flutters
On a new born breeze
A face appears.
From who knows where
A sweet voice whispers very close,'
Welcome Home, my dear'.

© 2000 Jules

Antonio Machado

Antonio Machado was born in Seville in 1875.
His poems are full of Mediterranean atmosphere.
I especially like this one

"A Labyrinth of Narrow Streets,"

A labyrinth of narrow streets converges
on the deserted plaza.

On one side the old big wall in shadow
of a church in ruin; on the other
the whitish adobe wall of an orchard

with cypresses and palms,
and before me the house,
and on the house the iron grille
outside the window
that light blurs her placid
and smiling face.

I will go away.
I don't want to call at your window...

Spring comes,
her white dress floats in the wind
of the dead plaza.
She comes to burn the red roses
of your bushes
... I want to see her...

From Border of a Dream: Selected Poems ,
translated by Willis Barnstone.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Fair Rosamund
by Jules
Fierce Albion
Born on the hostile plain
Son of ferocious migrants from northern swamps;
Lord of the Lombards with piercing eyes of keenest blue
And skin scorched hard and brown by relentless summer rays,
And winter's bitter wrath:
Did you not see on the banks of the Danube
The fair child Rosamunda
Flaxen haired and sweet as a windflower
In her home-spun dress tinged with the juices of wìld berries?
And did you not for desire of her
Sweep down with your fearless warriors like a crashing tidal wave,
Engulfing the Gepidae settlements 0f her fore-fathers,
Killing her beloved father and uncle
And humiliating her grandfather
The king?
How triumphantly you carried her away
Lashing your coal black steed,
Followed by your warriors galloping up behind
With their precious plundered trophies
And decapitated heads,
Riding through the thick forests 0f the towerering snow-capped Alps
Back to your kingdom at sunset.
Alboin. Did you not see in the pining sky,
Bleeding violets and roses mourning the fate of your sweet bride,
A breathing premonition of your own
Dark death?

My Favourite Tree by D. Bowden

Summer's End

by D: Bowden
All the leaves are falling round
Drifting, piling on the ground.
Red and gold and purple hues,
Hiding any summer clues
That are left from yesterday
When all the children were at play,
Cheering with voices merry
Amongst the strong green willow trees.
Days grow shorter, evenings cool,
The children are all back in school.
With their noses in their books,
Out the windows stealing looks,
Longing for those summer days
And for endless, carefree ways.
They have a long time to await
Till winter winds and snows abate
And springtime flowers bloom anew
A new season starts for me, and you