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Sig’s “Poems I like”

Every Volunteer Editor is asked to submit three poems from different authors, on different subjects.  The intent is for this exercise to fulfill two key purposes:

  1. To establish a context for themselves as the people whose efforts will hone and enrich the range of material this site presents to it’s readers
  2. To open the possibility of level, lively dialog between them and our readers.

So, to that end, I am starting the process by sharing the poems that follow:

It is your turn now

It is your turn now,
you waited, you were patient.
The time has come,
for us to polish you.
We will transform your inner pearl
into a house of fire.
You’re a gold mine.
Did you know that,
hidden in the dirt of the earth?
It is your turn now,
to be placed in fire.
Let us cremate your impurities.

Jalāl ad-Dīn Muammad Rūmī
(Persia 1207 –1273)

I love Rumi’s work.  For me, his ecstatic affair with the spirit is a beacon; a lamp that illuminates my own spiritual path.

  

There’s no one who loves me.

(Não tenho ninguém que me ame.)
There’s no one who loves me.
Hold on, yes there is;
But it’s hard to feel certain
About what you don’t believe in.

It isn’t out of disbelief
That I don’t believe, for I know
I’m well liked. It’s my nature
Not to believe, and not to change.

There’s no one who loves me.
For this poem to exist
I have no choice
But to suffer this grief.

How sad not to be loved!
My poor, forlorn heart!
Et cetera, and that’s the end
Of this poem I thought up.

What I feel is another matter…

 Fernando Pessoa
(Portugal, 1888 – 1935)

Via Poetry International Web 

Fernando Pessoa is a new discovery for me.  This poem shows only one side of this complex man.  I particularly enjoy his wry wit.



Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird

I
Among twenty snowy mountains,
The only moving thing
Was the eye of the blackbird.

II
I was of three minds,
Like a tree
In which there are three blackbirds.

III
The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds.
It was a small part of the pantomime.

IV
A man and a woman
Are one.
A man and a woman and a blackbird
Are one.

V
I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling
Or just after.

VI
Icicles filled the long window
With barbaric glass.
The shadow of the blackbird
Crossed it, to and fro.
The mood
Traced in the shadow
An indecipherable cause.

VII
O thin men of Haddam,
Why do you imagine golden birds?
Do you not see how the blackbird
Walks around the feet
Of the women about you?

VIII
I know noble accents
And lucid, inescapable rhythms;
But I know, too,
That the blackbird is involved
In what I know.

IX
When the blackbird flew out of sight,
It marked the edge
Of one of many circles.

X
At the sight of blackbirds
Flying in a green light,
Even the bawds of euphony
Would cry out sharply.

XI
He rode over Connecticut
In a glass coach.
Once, a fear pierced him,
In that he mistook
The shadow of his equipage
For blackbirds.

XII
The river is moving.
The blackbird must be flying.

XIII
It was evening all afternoon.
It was snowing
And it was going to snow.
The blackbird sat
In the cedar-limbs.

Wallace Stevens
(USA 1879 – 1955)

I consider Wallace Stevens to be the great American Poet of the Early Twentieth Century.  I could fill many pages of this site with his work  – but space is limited.  If you do not know him – go and read him – preferably aloud and slowly.  You will not be disappointed.  This poem shows his unique way pf seeing ordinary things in myriad extraordinary ways; all of them different, all of them equally true.

Duas Lágrimas de Orvalho

Two tears of dew
Fell into my hands
When I caressed your face

Poor me, that is worth nothing
To help you in disgrace,
to help you in sorrow

Why do you cry, won’t you tell me?
There’s no need of saying it,
don’t say, I can guess

Unhappy lovers
should have courage
To change their way

For love we give our soul,
give our body, give everything
Until we get tired in the journey

But when life ends
What was love is longing
And life is nothing anymore

If you still can, keep your distance
silence your heart,
kill the past, and smile too.

But if you can’t, carry on.
So said my mother to me
upon seeing me cry for you

Carlos Do Carmo
(Portugal 1939 – )

This “Poem” is actually the lyrics to a famous Fado – a Portuguese song form most recently personified by the singer “Mariza”.  I love this music and this song in particular.  It is heart-rendingly sad in it’s native Portuguese – and loses none of that sadness in this translation.

 

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