Saturday, April 20, 2013

Why call water my sister if water isn't my sister? PESSOA v ST. FRANCIS

Don't get carried away, St. Francis. Pessoa has some words for you.

Today someone read me St. Francis of Assisi.
I listened and couldn’t believe my ears.
How could a man who was so fond of things
Never have looked at them or understood what they were?

Why call water my sister if water isn’t my sister?
To feel it better?
I feel it better by drinking it than by calling it something –
Sister, or mother, or daughter.
Water is beautiful because it’s water.
If I call it my sister,
I can see, even as I call it that, that it’s not my sister
And that it’s best to call it water, since that’s what it is,
Or, better yet, not to call it anything
But to drink it, to feel it on my wrists, and to look at it,
Without any names.

Translation: 2006, Richard Zenith
From: A Little Larger Than the Entire Universe: Selected PoemsPublisher: Penguin, New York, 2006, 0-14-303955-5

Photo from: Rivanna Writer Blogspot

Monday, April 15, 2013

an incendiary sweetness . . . scheduler of passions . . . 2 poems

I had a great time on Saturday at the Rainbow Book Fair, in its eighth year.

In its seventh year was Come Hear ! -- the marathon reading organized by Nathaniel Siegal and Regie Cabico, and this year hosted by Nathaniel. As did most of the others in the line-up, I read three poems; am posting two of them below. (The third's a soon-to-be-published.)

Confused Words 

Woman, you show your lover your worst 
girlish passivity, an incendiary sweetness
teasing her libido each time you approach.  
And your petulance at boyish bumbling -
where the  evenness and patience offered 
those of us who ramble of our importance?
You have such good insights - friends 
admire your well-spoken depths - they do.
For her you show no depth and would she
spot it as she flexes a loud brash rendition 
of the woman she becomes seated across
a table where you pause for caffeine before
a rayon jacket-sheltered run to the place
you two tumble.  You are a couple –
you lapping at cream - her filling the
          chipped saucer as it overflows.

by Sarah Sarai / from Emily Dickinson’s Coconut Face (my Dusie Kollektiv chapbook, distributed at AWP)

Pillow Book

A train steaming out from between your thighs,
the locomotive intensity of its
exit and expressively oriental loss of your forested regions.

We pray for a layover, schedulers of passions:
hear us.

Oh, grant me a boarding pass for where
I want to visit so I can be a passenger,
a tourist in your underground,
eager for an infinity of pinks.

by Sarah Sarai / published in Gobshite Quarterly, Issue 12, 2012

Image from

Thursday, April 4, 2013

From Ms. Rukeyser: "Song for Dead Children" {a poem}

It turns out I could learn to love the word poignant. Enough said.  This unrelated image, by the way, is from an article in The Daily Mail about the "new face of grief" in England and how politicians are trying to eliminate it.  So, two offerings.  The article's url follows the poem. I hope I'm not confusing with independent yet related things.

We set great wreaths of brightness on the graves of the passionate
who required tribute of hot July flowers—
for you, O brittle-hearted, we bring offering
remembering how your wrists were thin and your delicate bones
not yet braced for conquering.

The sharp cries of ghost-boys are keen above the meadows,
and little girls continue graceful and wondering.
Flickering evening on the lakes recalls those young
heirs whose developing years have sunk to earth,
their strength not tested, their praise unsung.

Weave grasses for their childhood—who will never see
love or disaster or take sides against decay
balancing the choices of maturity.
Silent and coffined in silence while we pass
loud in defiance of death, the helpless lie.
 October 1935

BY Muriel Rukeyser, from The Collected Poems of Muriel Rukesyer. 

The Daily Mail article is here: "Modern face of mourning: The colourful 'poundland' shrines across Britain that councils are trying to wipe out"