Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Aurelio Arturo / Song of the Quiet Night

By Aurelio Arturo

Translated by Raúl Jaime Gaviria
With the collaboration of
Edgardo Arturo and Nicolás Suescún  
In the balmy night, in the night,              
when the leaves rise until they are the stars,  
I hear the women grow in the mauve penumbra
and the falling of the shade from their lids, drop by drop.

I hear the broadening of their arms in the penumbra
and I could even hear the breaking of an ear of wheat in the field.     

A word sings in my heart, whispering  
green leaf  falling without end. In the balmy night,      
when the shade is the unrestrained growing of the trees,
a long dream of prodigious journeys kisses me     
and there is in my heart a great light of sun and marvel.

In the midst of a night with a murmur of forest  
like the very light noise of a falling star,
I woke in a dream of trembling golden ears of wheat
beside the nubile body of a sweet brunette,            
as at the edge of a sleeping valley.                     

And in the night of leaves and murmuring stars,          
I loved a country, and it is from its dark slime
a scarce portion the bitter heart;
I loved a country that for me is a maiden,
a deep murmur, an endless flow, a soft tree.

I loved a country and from it I brought a star
which is a wound in my side, and I brought
a woman’s scream from within my flesh.             

In the balmy night, young and soft night,
when the high leaves are already light, eternal . . .

But if your body is earth from where the shade grows,
if already in your eyes big stars fall endlessly,
what shall I find in the valleys that ruffle brief wings?
what fire shall I look for without days or nights?  

Saturday, November 26, 2011

William Blake / The Tyger

William Blake

Tyger Tyger, burning bright,
In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye,
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies.
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand, dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain,
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp,
Dare its deadly terrors clasp!

When the stars threw down their spears
And water'd heaven with their tears:
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger Tyger burning bright,
In the forests of the night:
What immortal hand or eye,
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Charles Tomlinson / Two Poems

Charles Tomlinson
Two Poems
Swifts do not sing:
what they do well
is sleep on the wing,
moving always higher and higher
in their almost entirely
aerial existence, alighting
only to nest, lay eggs,
rear their young and then
back to the airways
to teach them there
the art of high-speed darting
with narrow swept-back wings
and streamlined bodies:
when swifts descend
they cannot perch, they cling
by hook-shaped toes
to walls and so crawl
into sheltered cavities, into gaps
in eaves and church towers
where they can nest. Summer visitors
they seem always about to leave
and when they finally do
scream in their hundreds
that the time is now,
that the south awaits,
that he who procrastinates
has only the cold to explore
for those succulent insects
who are no longer there.

Trees in this landscape
signal the presence of a river.
A side road leads us on—
parched grass, a rock horizon—
and winds us towards
a town watched over by
the blind eyes of a ruined castle:
This is Chinchon.
December a week away,
the place is half-deserted.
The square that can be converted
into a bullring or a theater
awaits the arrival of actors
to perform the piece by Lope de Vega
promised on the playbills.
We sit in the bar of the parador
in the midst of a floral display
on blue tiles, over a drink
that creates a circle of warmth
in the growing chill
and is also called Chinchon.
Aniseed. Anise is
what these dry fields feed,
with its yellowish-white small flowers
and licorice-flavored seed:
we are drinking the distillation
of Spain—a certain pungency
which is not unsweet, like the heat
and tang in the Spanish aspirate.
The sky looks down on our departure
through each one of the blind eyes
of the castle. The car
is a lost beetle in the vast
spreading amplitude of Castile
expanding around us. Snowflakes
over the far Guadarrama
feel for the mountain spine
that reaches to the heights like a line
of surf suddenly breaking on the peaks. Below,
burning stubble in the fields
is turning the twilight blue
and losing the thread of the road we are on,
Chinchón lamplit behind us, Chinchón gone.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

William Shakespeare / Sonnet XXIX

William Shakespeare
By William Shakespeare

When in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself, and curse my fate,

Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,
Desiring this man's art, and that man's scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;

Yet in these thoughts my self almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising

From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate;
For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

Rufus Mainswright sings
Shakespeare's Sonnet XXIX
With images from "Pride and Prejudice" 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

William Blake / The Sick Rose

William  Blake 

O, Rose, thou are sick              
The invisible worm                    
That flies in the night
In the howling storm,             
Has found out thy bed         
Of crimson joy,                     
And his dark secret
Does thy life destroy         

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Anne Sexton / Bat

by Anne Sexton

His awful skin
stretched out by some tradesman
is like my skin, here between my fingers,
a kind of webbing, a kind of frog.
Surely when first born my face was this tiny
and before I was born surely I could fly.
Not well, mind you, only a veil of skin
from my arms to my waist.
I flew at night, too. Not to be seen
for if I were I'd be taken down.
In August perhaps as the trees rose to the stars
I have flown from leaf to leaf in the thick dark.
If you had caught me with your flashlight
you would have seen a pink corpse with wings,
out, out, from her mother's belly, all furry
and hoarse skimming over the houses, the armies.
That's why the dogs of your house sniff me.
They know I'm something to be caught
somewhere in the cemetery hanging upside down
like a misshapen udder.

Read also

Monday, November 14, 2011

Jacques Prevert / Autumn Leaves

By Jacques Prevert
Translated by Patrick Auzat-Magne

Oh! I would like as much as you remember
The happy days where we were friends.
In this time the life was more beautiful,
And the sun more burning than today.
The dead leaves collected with the shovel.
You see, I did not forget...
The dead leaves collected with the shovel,
The memories and the regrets also
And the wind of North carries them
In the cold night of the lapse of memory.
You see, I did not forget
The song that you sang me.

This is a song which resembles to us.
You, you loved me and I loved you
And we lived both together,
You who loved me, me who loved you.
But the life separate those which love themselves,
All softly, without making noise
And the sea erases on the sand
The Steps of  divided lovers.

The dead leaves collected with the shovel,
The memories and the regrets also
But my quiet and faithful love
Smiles always and thanks the life
I loved you so much, you was so pretty.
Why do you want that I forget you ?
In this time, the life was more beautiful
And the sun more burning than today.
You were my softer friend
But I don't have only to make regrets
And the song than you sang,
Always, always I will hear it !

Yves Montand
Les Feuilles Mortes

Jacques Prevert
Les Feuilles Mortes

Oh ! je voudrais tant que tu te souviennes
Des jours heureux où nous étions amis.
En ce temps-là la vie était plus belle,
Et le soleil plus brûlant qu'aujourd'hui.
Les feuilles mortes se ramassent à la pelle.
Tu vois, je n'ai pas oublié...
Les feuilles mortes se ramassent à la pelle,
Les souvenirs et les regrets aussi
Et le vent du nord les emporte
Dans la nuit froide de l'oubli.
Tu vois, je n'ai pas oublié
La chanson que tu me chantais.

C'est une chanson qui nous ressemble.
Toi, tu m'aimais et je t'aimais
Et nous vivions tous deux ensemble,
Toi qui m'aimais, moi qui t'aimais.
Mais la vie sépare ceux qui s'aiment,
Tout doucement, sans faire de bruit
Et la mer efface sur le sable
Les pas des amants désunis.

Les feuilles mortes se ramassent à la pelle,
Les souvenirs et les regrets aussi
Mais mon amour silencieux et fidèle
Sourit toujours et remercie la vie.
Je t'aimais tant, tu étais si jolie.
Comment veux-tu que je t'oublie ?
En ce temps-là, la vie était plus belle
Et le soleil plus brûlant qu'aujourd'hui.
Tu étais ma plus douce amie
Mais je n'ai que faire des regrets
Et la chanson que tu chantais,
Toujours, toujours je l'entendrai!



This song "Les Feuilles Mortes" was wrote by the french surrealist poet Jacques Prévert. In 1945, Prévert wrote the film script "Les Portes de la Nuit" (a film of Marcel Carné - 1946), from a ballet "Le Rendez-Vous" created by Roland Petit in 1945. The two first verses of a song give the title: "Les enfants qui s'aiment s'embrassent debout/contre les Portes de la Nuit".
Jean Gabin and Marlene Dietrich had acepted to play the two characters, but at last, they changed for another movie: "Martin Roumagnac".
A young french singer presented by Edith Piaf:  Yves Montand plays this very pessimist film and sung "Les Feuilles Mortes".
The music was created, before, by Joseph Kosma for the ballet "Le Rendez-Vous" in 1945, and Prévert wrote, after, the words for the movie.
The poem was published, after the death of Jacques Prévert, in the book "Soleil de Nuit" in 1980.
           Johnny Mercer had adapted the french words in the song "Autumn Leaves".

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Marilyn Monroe / If I had a little relief from this grief

Marilyn Monroe
Photo by Richard Avedon
Marilyn Monroe
If I had a little relief from this grief

I've got a tear hanging over my beer that I can't let go
It's too bad
I feel sad
when I got all my life behind me.
If I had a little relief
from this grief
I could find a drowning straw to hold on to.
It's great to be alive.
They say I'm lucky to be alive
It's hard to figure out
when everything I feel

Friday, November 4, 2011

Ban'ya Natsuishi / Poems



English translations by Ban'ya Natsuishi and Jim Kacian

Falling from a waterfall                
in the sky                                       
the Pope begins to fly                  
Out of an old pond                      
the Pope                                        
flies in the sky                               
The Flying Pope                           
stuck by                                          
a thousand needles                     
The Flying Pope                         
the ocean                                      
is a grave of pagan                      
Flying Pope                                    
visible only to children                
and a giraffe                                   
for the Flying Pope                       
on the cliff                                      
a long long letter                           
the Pope is flying                           
Flying Pope!                                 
The fire of war                             
is a jumping flea?                           
Aurora quakes                              
at the parting…                            
Flying Pope                                  
Spawning coral                         
in the sky                                       
the Pope flying                              
The Flying Pope’s                         
limestone caves                             
Flying Pope                                     
even coughs                                    
The Flying Pope                           
casts his shadow                           
on the White House                     
The Flying Pope                            
throwing gold coins                      
down to a wolf                                                                                                   

The Flying Pope                              
takes a transit                                  
on the whale’s back                        
the Pope flying                                 
with only one lung                           
the Pope flies                                    
faster than a bullet                         
by Arabic letters                               
the Pope flies on                             
Didn’t hear                                       
an explosion?                                    
Flying Pope!                                     
Barely touching the torch                
of the Statue of Liberty                     
the Pope flies                                       
In the sky                                           
between skyscrapers                        
the Pope flying                                   
Flying Pope!                                       
Your body almost turned                 
into a skeleton?                                  
Waving hands                                   
the Flying Pope                                   
The wind blows                                
Flying Pope                                       
looks like a fire                                  
The Pope                                         
flies to Iraq                                     
his head so enormous                    
Flying Pope!                                       
Are you a messenger                        
from the moon?                               
The Pope flies                                    
in the sky of the other world            
everybody forgets it                           
Flying Pope                                         
that cloud                                            
is your classmate?                               
Fallen asleep                                     
the Pope                                              
flying to the north                             
Fire on the back of                              
a gradeschoolboy                             
the Pope flying                                     
Never vanish                                        
the Pope is flying                                  
The reason why                                     
the Pope flies:                                        
a dewdrop                                              
His heart stopped
the Pope flying                                     
in the dark red sky                               
The Flying Pope’s                                  
best friend: an octopus                              
at the the bottom of the sea                
 “An election is an election”                 
The Pope flying                                       
In the gray sky                                          
In the palm of                                             
the Flying Pope                                           
a manhole                                                   
Tsunami toward an old woman               
deeply asleep                                                 
the Pope flying                                            
The Pope flying                                        
for all                                                           
the withered roses                                     
a sunspot                                                   
Flying Pope   

Tokyo Poetry Festival
Tokio, 2008

Ban'ys Natsuishi
Medellín, 2011
Photo by Triunfo Arciniegas


In 1955, born as Masayuki Inui, in Aioi, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan. He saw his first haiku selected by Tohta Kaneko in a monthly when he was fourteen. In 1975 met Avant-garde haiku poets Tohta Kaneko and Shigenobu Takayanagi in Tokyo. Studied French Literature and Culture at Tokyo University where he received an M.A. in Comparative Literature and Culture in 1981. In 1992 appointed Professor at Meiji University where he continues to teach. In the same year won the 38th Modern Haiku Association Prize. From 1996 to 1998 was a guest research fellow at Paris 7th University. In 1998 with Sayumi Kamakura, he founded international haiku magazine "Ginyu"(Troubadour), became its Editor-in-Chief. Secretary General and panelist of the 1st International Contemporary Haiku Symposium held in Tokyo, 1999. In 2000 co-founded the World Haiku Association with Jim Kacian and Dimitar Anakiev. Also he serves as Director of the Modern Haiku Association (Japan). Now he lives in Fujimi City near Tokyo.
             Published his 8 Haiku Collections including The Diary of Everyday Hunting (1983), Rhythm in the Vacuum (1986), The Fugue of Gods (1990), Opera in the Human Body (1990), Earth Pilgrimage (1998). English-language edition: A Future Waterfall (1999). Also edited Guide to 21st Century Haiku (1997), Multilingual Haiku Troubadours 2000 (2000) and Transparent Current (2000). Published many texts on haiku: Dictionary of Keywords for Contemporary Haiku (1990), Contemporary Haiku Manual (1996), Haiku is Our Friend (1997), etc.

               Ban'yaBlog (in Japanee only)