Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Denise Levertov / Fear of the Blind

Fear of the Blind
by Denise Levertov
The blind tap their way from stone to stone feel from shadow to shadow, suncaressed between the plane-trees. I listen with closed eyes to the dry autumnal sound of their searching. Whom the tree grows in, whom clouds compel, green enter, red, blue of a bell of a ringing sky; whom wings delight or waving weed on frayed sleeves of the sea, I fear the blind: they cannot share my world but stop its spinning with their heavy shadows. Paris, 1947
Early Poems

Monday, March 24, 2014

Denise Levertov / The Innocent

The Innocent
by Denise Levertov

The cat has his sport
and the mouse suffers
but the cat
 is innocent
   having no image of pain in him
 an angel
 dancing with his prey

carries it, frees it, leaps again
with joy upon his darling plaything

 a dance, a prayer!
   How cruel the cat is to our guilty eyes

Friday, March 21, 2014

Denise Levertov / Interim

by Denise Levertov
for K.S.
A black page of night flutters: dream on or waken, words will spring from darkness now, gold-bright, to fill the hollow mind laid still to hear them, as an iron cup laid on the window-ledge, would fill with rain. Not more alone waking than sleeping, in darkness than in light, yet it is now we can assume an attitude more listening than longing, extend invisible antennae towards some intimation, echo, emanation falling slowly like a destined feather that lights at last before the feet of hesitating fear. Not less alone in city than in solitude, at least this time--an hour or minute?--left between dreaming and action, where the only glitter is the soft gleam of words, affording intimacy with each submerged regret, awakes a new lucidity in pain, so that with day we meet familiar angels that were lately tears and smile to know them only fears transformed. London, 1946
Early Poems

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Denise Levertov / The Earthwoman and the Waterwoman

Le trani episode, 1972
Louise Bourgeois
Palacio de Bellas Artes, México DF, 2013
Photo by Triunfo Arciniegas

The Earthwoman and the Waterwoman
by Denise Levertov

 The earthwoman by her oven
       tends her cakes of good grain.
The waterwoman’s children 
are spindle thin.
    The earthwoman
    has oaktree arms. Her children
full of blood and milk
       stamp through the woods shouting.
   The waterwoman
       sings gay songs in a sad voice
               with her moonshine children.
When the earthwoman
has had her fill of the good day
      she curls to sleep in her warm hut
      a dark fruitcake sleep
but the waterwoman
    goes dancing in the misty lit-up town
      in dragonfly dresses and blue shoes.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Denise Levertov / The Dreamers

The Dreamers
by Denise Levertov
The sleeping sensual head lies nearer than her hand, but secret and remote, an impenetrable land. Each, in the hardening crystal a prisoner of pride, abstractedly caresses the stranger at his side, duality’s abyss unspanned by desire, reason’s cold salamander scatheless in the fire. She hears the sound of midnight that breaks like a sea, and leans above the sleeper as secretive as he.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Ernest Hemingway / Montparnasse

by Ernest Hemingway
There are never any suicides in the quarter among people one knows
No successful suicides.
A Chinese boy kills himself and is dead.
(they continue to place his mail in the letter rack at the Dome)
A Norwegian boy kills himself and is dead.
(no one knows where the other Norwegian boy has gone)
They find a model dead
alone in bed and very dead.
(it made almost unbearable trouble for the concierge)
Sweet oil, the white of eggs, mustard and water, soap suds
and stomach pumps rescue the people one knows.
Every afternoon the people one knows can be found at the café.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Juliana Leslie / Three Poems

Three Poems 
by Juliana Leslie


Everything inside of everything else
fox and sparrow
crocus and plumage
you make hibiscus
who is also rose of Sharon
though you are nothing compared to chrysanthemum
who travels 5,000 miles and then some
“For you”
“I have never felt so alive”


                              Tell me more about
                              crayons, contingency
                              and winter fruit
                              polyamorous structural
                              we know aren’t always the best
                              for human hands anyway
                              Tell me she is all worn out
                              from work
                              and thinking
                              the ghostly opposite
                              or optimistic messenger
                              a perpetual shoe shine
                              or softer
                              more brilliant
                              I embrace
                              wherein love lies
                              like a human anatomy lesson
                              More palpable and more
                              Tell me we need
                              more rigor
                              more strings,
                              more collapsed lungs,
                              crooked teeth, broken
                              capillaries, tell me we need more
                              of what happens to bodies when bodies decide
                              to say what they want more of
                              More love in the vernacular
                              for example
                              More words like
                              longing, appetite, hunger
                              more bodies to willfully embrace
                              in summer kitchens
                              Tell me you want more sublimation
                              of history
                              by palpable whim
                              and fancy
                              More French in brunette
                              more four inside five
                              more singular features to render
                              clean of muscle, more
                              More of that feeling
                              that accompanies an unsettled
                              state of being
                              More of the condition of being
                              naturally disposed to several
                              different feelings
                              and tell me more about these words
                              turbulent, euphoria, indiscreet


                              If such a thought were in me
                              to provide movement at the level of writing
                              I would ride this train all over California
                              I would
                              and I would hum
                              I would sleep in both

CONJUNCTIONS:48, Spring 2007

Thursday, March 6, 2014

W.B. Yeats / When You Are Old

Photo by Watson

When You Are Old
by W. B. Yeats

When you are old and gray and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true;
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face.

And bending down beside the glowing bars
Murmur, a little sadly, how love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Isabel Fraire / My Love Reveals Objects

My Love Reveals Objects 

by Isabel Fraire
my love reveals objects
silken butterflies
concealed in his fingers

his words
splash me with stars

night shines like lightning
under the fingers of my love

my love invents worlds where
jeweled glittering serpents live

worlds where music is the world

worlds where houses with open eyes
contemplate the dawn

my love is a mad sunflower that forgets
fragments of sun in the silence

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Wu Men/ The Great Way

The Great Way 

by Wu Men

The Great Way has no gate;
there are a thousand paths to it.
If you pass through the barrier,
you walk the universe alone.