Saturday, July 30, 2011

Chirag Bangdel / Everything Has A Reason

Starry Night
Vincent Van Gogh
By Chirag Bangdel

....everything has a reason,
even darkness.
If it was not for the night,
would you see the stars?

Friday, July 29, 2011

Chirag Bangdel / Two Poems



A flickering diyo light
is all that remains.
A dark night
and a lonely temple.
No pilgrims,
no priests,
no devotees.

The deity finally rests
among fermenting flowers


perfect white.
Like silence of the night,
and nervous.
as if frozen.
Virgin and flawless.
The white sheet of paper.

Is my poetry really good enough for this?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Raymond Carver / Happiness

By Raymond Carver

So early it's still almost dark out.
I'm near the window with coffee,
and the usual early morning stuff
that passes for thought.

When I see the boy and his friend
walking up the road
to deliver the newspaper.

They wear caps and sweaters,
and one boy has a bag over his shoulder.
They are so happy
they aren't saying anything, these boys.

I think if they could, they would take
each other's arm.
It's early in the morning,
and they are doing this thing together.

They come on, slowly.
The sky is taking on light,
though the moon still hangs pale over the water.

Such beauty that for a minute
death and ambition, even love,
doesn't enter into this.

Happiness. It comes on
unexpectedly. And goes beyond, really,

Friday, July 22, 2011

Raymond Carver / Your Dog Dies

Your Dog Dies
By Raymond Carver

 it gets run over by a van.
you find it at the side of the road 
and bury it.
you feel bad about it.
you feel bad personally, 
but you feel bad for your daughter 
because it was her pet, 
and she loved it so.
she used to croon to it 
and let it sleep in her bed.
you write a poem about it.
you call it a poem for your daughter, 
about the dog getting run over by a van 
and how you looked after it, 
took it out into the woods 
and buried it deep, deep, 
and that poem turns out so good 
you're almost glad the little dog 
was run over, or else you'd never 
have written that good poem.
then you sit down to write 
a poem about writing a poem 
about the death of that dog, 
but while you're writing you 
hear a woman scream 
your name, your first name, 
both syllables, 
and your heart stops.
after a minute, you continue writing.
she screams again.
you wonder how long this can go on.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Chirag Bangdel / Load Shedding

By Chirag Bangdel
Translated by Susan Schwartz Senstad

that unifies all.
cold but just.
No shapes
An equal black.

Vain beauty
you are but  for the light!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Ezra Pound / Alba

by Ezra Pound

As cool as the pale wet leaves
of lily-of-the-valley
She lay beside me in the dawn.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Elizabeth Bishop / One Art

Photography by Alejandro Zenker

by Elizabeth Bishop

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.
Lose something every day.  Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.
Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel.  None of these will bring disaster.
I lost my mother’s watch.  And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.
I lost two cities, lovely ones.  And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.
-Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan’t have lied.  It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

Elizabeth Bishop

One Art is another villanelle. It was written by Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979) after the death of her partner Lota de Macedo Soares. The two women lived together in Brazil for 15 years, and Soares committed suicide after Bishop left her and returned to America.
Bishop was a slow, meticulous writer, and some poems took more than 20 years to finishI’ve seen the original drafts of this poem (by a professor who snuck photocopies out of Vassar’s library where Bishop’s papers are kept). The first draft was a journal entry. By the second draft, it was beginning to take shape as a villanelle. The final product came 22 drafts later.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Triunfo Arciniegas / Grandfather

El señor del sombrero
Medellín, 2011
Photography by Triunfo Arciniegas

Triunfo Arciniegas
Translated from Spanish by C.D. Hernández

In his old age
he washed his eyes
with rose petal water.

Took naps
under the shade of a tree
and he would tell us stories
about horses lost in the fog
of deer trembling in water
of a house that burned all night.

"Time passes
like a ball of fire "
he once said.

The shadow of
his hat on his face
the ember of snuff,
the palm of his hand on my shoulder.

With a dry blow on the neck
he would send rabbits
to another world.

Garlic fasting
and a chair in the patio,
the secrets of my old man.

For my birthday
he opened the trunk,
his world,
he chose something
and judging by the way he held it
I understood that it was something he loved
a colorful top
which I still I have.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Carlos de Oliveira / An Instant

Karina Marandjian

An Instant
By Carlos de Oliveira

This column
of firmer syllables,
this flame
on the summit of the dunes
for just a moment,
this balance
so close to beauty,
this poem
just before
the wind.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Carlos de Oliveira / Chilhood

By Carlos de Oliveira

as large as cedars
that must
be brought from afar
on shoulders
to find
in the winter of memory
this crackle
of a flame:
your fragrance,
of melancholy.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Lucía Estrada / The Mask of Bone

By Lucía Estrada

The mask of bone
refuses to reveal

                             if the features it hides
                             are those of a god

or of a beast

                             or of both, which, after death,
                             continue fighting
                             for the same crown

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Derek Walcott / Sea Canes

By Derek Walcott


Half my friends are dead.
I will make you new ones, said earth.
No, give me them back, as they were, instead,
with faults and all, I cried.
Tonight I can snatch their talk
from the faint surf's drone
through the canes, but I cannot walk
on the moonlit leaves of ocean
down that white road alone,
or float with the dreaming motion
of owls leaving earth's load.
O earth, the number of friends you keep
exceeds those left to be loved.
The sea canes by the cliff  flash green and silver;
they were the seraph lances of my faith,
but out of what is lost grows something stronger
that has the rational radiance of stone,
enduring moonlight,  further than despair,
strong as the wind, that through dividing caves
brings those we love before  us as they were,
with faults and all, not nobler, just there.

Collected Poems 1948-1984
originally published in Sea Grapes

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Orlando Gallo / Goodbye

Madre e hijo
Gustav Klimt

By Orlando Gallo


Today my daughter drew with her finger in the air
an incipient goodbye
towards me over her mother’s shoulder.

We celebrated I for a long while
that first real gesture she made
even though it  provides evidence of a harsh reality:

Life trains us early
for farewells.