Tuesday, June 30, 2015



New York Review of Books
translated from the Swedish by Thomas Teal 

Monday, June 29, 2015


R S Thomas and Mildred Eldridge at Tallarn Vicarage 1940

That Day

Stopped the car, asked a man the way

To some place; he rested on it

Smiling, an impression of charm

As of ripe fields; talking to us

He held a reflection of the sky

In his brushed eyes. We lost interest

In the way, seeing him old

And content, feeling the sun's warmth

In his voice, watching the swallows

Above him — thirty years back

To this summer. Knowing him gone,

We wander the same flower-bordered road,

Seeing the harvest ripped from the land,

Deafened by the planes' orchestra;

Unable to direct the lost travellers

Or convince them this is a good place to be.


R.S. Thomas


Macmillan London, 1972


Friday, June 26, 2015


J A M E S   K O L L E R

A River I Couldn't Find

Jan De Meyer, 2015

Monday, June 22, 2015


And Forgive Us Our Trespasses

Of which the first is love. The sad, unrepeatable fact

that the loves we shouldn't foster burrow faster and linger longer

than sanctioned kinds can. Loves that thrive on absence, on lack

of return, or worse, on harm, are unkillable, Father.

They do not die in us. And you know how we've tried.

Loves nursed, inexplicably, on thoughts of sex,

a return to touched places, a backwards glance, a sigh —

they come back like the tide. They are with us at the terminus

when cancer catches us. They have never been away.

Forgive us the people we love — their dragnet influence.

Those disallowed to us, those who frighten us, those who stay

on uninvited in our lives and every night revisit us.

Accept from us the inappropriate

by which our dreams and daily scenes stay separate.

This Century, The Next, The Last

My husband requests a sky burial

he wishes to be

as carrion sequestered by leopards

strung up in a desert tree

Back to the familiar corridor he

may choose any opening

but all the rooms contain me

dressed for a wedding


My father's in my fingers, but my mother's in my palms.

I lift them up and look at them with pleasure —

I know my parents made me by my hands.

They may have been repelled to separate lands,

to separate hemispheres, may sleep with other lovers,

but in me they touch where fingers link to palms.

With nothing left of their togetherness but friends

who quarry for their image by a river,

at least I know their marriage by my hands.

I shape a chapel where the steeple stands.

And when I turn it over,

my father's by my fingers, my mother's by my palms

demure before a priest reciting psalms.

My body is their marriage register.

I re-enact their wedding with my hands.

So take me with you, take up the skin's demands

for mirroring in bodies of the future.

I'll bequeath my fingers, if you bequeath your palms.

We know our parents make us by our hands.


And it's happening yet again:

vandals set loose in the tapestry room

with pin-sharp knives. Such lovely scenes

as this day's scrubbed-white clouds

and shock of scarlet blooms

across the wasteground

looking abruptly damaged —

stabbed-through from the back

so that a dozen shining pin-sized

holes appear at random. Then widen.

Soon even the grass has been unpicked,

the gorse hacked open.

I can no longer see your face.

Posed in unravelling sleeves

and disappearing lace,

I have given up all hope for what was whole —

the monkey under the orange tree,

the tatterdemalion nightingale.


I don't have girlfriends but I do have sex

with a different woman about three times a month.

Sometimes more. Sometimes less. I rarely ask.

They'll stop to talk to me in the supermarket

or on the bus. Off-handedly at first.

They're not made-up or drunk. We don't flirt

or analyse it. There's this tiny electrical thrill

gets passed like an egg-yolk slipping

between the cups of its own split shell.

They take me home. It happens. I leave. Simple.

They don't invite me to dinner or text.

It's easy and clean and consensual.

Then it happens again. Loneliness's overblown —

unless I'm just one of the unnaturally blessed.

My good friend Jack told me to write this down.


and Selected Poems
Farrar 2015

Born in 1972 in Belfast Northern Ireland, Sinead Morrissey is the
author of five poetry collections. She teaches creative writing at the
Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry, Queen's University, Belfast.

Friday, June 19, 2015


Robert Lax
Hermit's Guide to Home Economics
New Directions poetry pamphlet #17
edited by Paul Spaeth
New Directions 2015

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Wednesday, June 17, 2015


Long Ago

That tiny toy instrument

Shaped like a French horn

Displayed with a dozen others

We both gave it a squeeze —

But for some reason this

One sounded the best

With its familiar sound

More than a horn

And it took your breath away

And close to tears

At how its cry

Was like our geese

On a little farm

From long ago


© Bob Arnold

from  DUO
Longhouse 2015 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015




In the lonely hours of the ghost

There is beauty walking in the sun

Along the yellow walls of the summer.

The footsteps fall quietly in the grass; yet ever sleeps

The son of Pan in the grey marble.

Evenings on the terrace we drank ourselves drunk on brown wine.

The red glow of the peach amid the leaves;

A soft sonata, mirthful laughter.

Beautiful is the stillness of night.

On the dark plain

We meet together with the herdsmen and white stars.

When it becomes autumn

A stark clarity reveals itself in the grove.

We wander calmly along red walls

And our wide eyes follow the flight of birds.

With evening the white water dwindles in the grave urns.

The sky freezes in bare branches.

The peasant brings bread and wine in immaculate hands

And the fruit ripens tranquilly in a sunny room.

O how solemn are the faces of those precious dead.

But it does the soul good by how it does them justice.


translated by James Reidel
Seagull Books, 2015


Monday, June 15, 2015


Alejandra Pizarnik

Possible Unions


     A field of flowers stung beneath my dress, giddy as children at

     A gust of light in my bones when I write the word earth. A word or
presence, followed by perfumed animals — as sad as itself, as beautiful
as suicide — and it soars over me like a dynasty of suns.


      Everything is making love to the silence.

     They had promised me a silence like fire — a house of silence.

     Suddenly, the temple is a circus and the light is a drum.


     You had to write without a for what, without a for whom.

     The body remembers love like the lighting of a lamp.

     If silence is temptation and promise.  


     Like sand sifting through an hourglass, so music falls into music.

     I am sad on this night made of wolf fangs.

     Music falls into music the way my voice falls into my voices.


     A single thought cast out words like lifelines at sea. Making love
inside our embrace implied a black light: a darkness that started
gleaming. A rediscovered light, twice extingusihed already, yet more
vibrant than a thousand suns. The color of a mausoleum for infants,
the deadened hues of repressed desire, opened up in the savage
room. The rhythm of our bodies disguised the flight of the ravens.
The rhythm of our bodies carved out a space of light inside that light.

from The Shapes of Absence


     While waiting for a world to be unearthed by language, someone
is singing about the place where silence is formed. Later it'll be
shown that just because it displays its fury doesn't mean the sea — or
the world — exists. In the same way, each word says what it says —
and beyond that, something more and something else.


     Before words can run out, something in the heart must die.

     The light  of language covers me like music, like a picture ripped
to shreds by the dogs of grief. And winter reaches for me like a woman
who has fallen in love with a wall.

     Just when I'd hoped to give up hoping, your fall takes place within
me. Now I am only but this within.


     Listening to the sounds of falling water in my dream. The words
fall like the water — I fall. Drawing the shape of my eyes in my eyes;
swimming in my waters and telling myself of my silences. All night
long, waiting for language to configure me, I am thinking of the
wind that whirls toward me and stays in me. All night long, I have
been walking in an anonymous rain. I was given a silence filled with
shapes and apparitions (you say). And you keep running, an unconsoled
as a bird alone in the wind.


     Numb time, time like a glove upon a drum.

     The three who compete in me remain on a shifting point and we
neither are nor is.

     My eyes used to find rest in humiliated, forsaken things. Nowadays
I see with them; I've seen and approved of nothing.      


     The splendid paper palace of the wanderings of childhood.

     When the sun sets, they will lock up the tightrope-walker in a cage
and take her to the temple ruins and leave her there.



to sing sweet and die soon.
to bark.

like Rousseau's sleeping gypsy:
this is how you sing, plus the lessons in terror.

you have to cry until you break
in order to make or utter a small song,
to scream so much to fill the holes of absence
that's what you did, what I did.
I wonder if that didn't make the error worse.

you did well to die.
that's why I speak to you,
why I confide in a girl monster.


Alejandra Pizarnik
Extracting the Stones of Madness:
Poems 1962-1972
translated by Yvette Siegert
New Directions, 2015


Sunday, June 14, 2015


 Carson Arnold w/ Layla

 Flag Day

Che Guevara

Photo: Julio Robles