The day walks in circles around me

I need to start reading more poems in translation. And probably from writers more obscure than the great Spanish writer Federico GarcĂ­a Lorca (1898-1936)….but for tonight, this piece by him is too moving to keep to myself.


“Song of the Barren Orange Tree”

Cut my shadow from me.
Free me from the torment
of seeing myself without fruit.

Why was I born among mirrors?
The day walks in circles around me,
and the night copies me
in all its stars.

I want to live without seeing myself.
And I will dream that ants
and thistleburrs are my
leaves and my birds.

Cut my shadow from me.
Free me from the torment
of seeing myself without fruit.

translated by W.S. Merwin


I am still listening to the pipes

Gerald Stern (1925-) knows how to age gracefully. Yes.


After thirty years
I am still listening to the pipes,
I am still enchanted
with the singing and moaning of the dry boards.

I am lying there night after night
thinking of water.
I am joining palms, or whistling Mozart
and early Yeats.

I am living without savagery,
stretching my body and turning on my left side
for music,
humming to myself and turning on my right side
for words.

love was suddenly remembering us

A deceptively simple one from Yaedi Ignatow (1956-), about whom there is little information except that her father was the poet David Ignatow, whose work I will post soon.

“We Were Love”

We were love
or love was suddenly remembering us
the way two lines cross
and the nearest necessity
you know nothing about, finds you.
The way two people meeting
can suddenly slice through the fabric of an evening
revealing the fabric of another evening in another world.
The way
we don’t have to know everything;
we just have to want to let everything know us.

I am writing to you all the time

Love this short poem from Franz Wright (1953-) via his Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Walking to Martha’s Vineyard. Here’s a fun fact for you: He and his father, the poet James Wright (1927-1980), whom I featured here a few years ago, are the only child/parent pair to have won the Pulitzer Prize in the same category.




I close my eyes and see
a seagull in the desert,
high, against unbearably blue sky.

There is hope in the past.

I am writing to you
all the time, I am writing

with both hands,
day and night.