Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Pablo Neruda / Alliance / Sonata

Alliance (Sonata)
by Pablo Neruda

English translation by Thayne Tuason

Pablo Neruda / Alianza / Sonata

Of dusty gazes fallen down to the soil
or leaves without sound and entombing.
Of metals without light, with the void,
with the absence of the dead day of coup.
At the top of the hands the dazzle of butterflies,
the start of butterflies whose light has no end.

You were keeping the trail of light, of broken beings
that the sun abandoned, getting dark, throws to the churches.
Stained with glances, with the aim of bees,
your material of unexpected flame fleeing
coming before and after the day and to your family of gold.

The days stalked they cross the secrecy
but fall inside of your voice of light.
Oh proprietress of love, on your rest
I founded my dream, my silent attitude.

With your body of shy number, extended suddenly
until quantities that define the earth,
behind the fight of the white days of space
and chills of slow deaths and withered stimuli,
I feel burn your lap and move your kisses
making fresh swallows in my dream.

Sometimes the fate of your tears amounts
as the age up to my forehead, there
they are striking the waves, being destroyed of death:
its’ movement is damp, depressed, final.

Pablo Neruda /Residencia en la tierra (1925-1932). 

Pablo Neruda
Residencia on Earth (1925-1931) 
Residence I, Parte I

Monday, January 26, 2015

Pablo Neruda / Dead Gallop

Dead Gallop
by Pablo Neruda
Pablo Neruda / Galope muerto

Like ashes, like oceans gathering themselves,
in the submerged slowness, in what’s unformed,
or like hearing from a high place on the road
the cross-echo of church bells,
holding that sound just off the metal,
confused, weighing down, turning to dust,
in the same mill of forms, too far away,
remembering or never seen,
and the fragrance of plums, rolling to the groun d,
which rot in time, infinitely green.

That everything so quick, so lively, 
immobile, though, like the pulley, wild inside itself,
those wheels in motors, you know.
Existing like dry stitches in the seams of the tree,
silent, encircling, like that,
all the limbs mixing up their tails.
I mean from where, to where, on what shore?
The constant swirl, uncertain, so mute,
like the lilacs around the convent,
or death’s arrival on the ox’s tongue,
who falls in jerks, his guard down, his horns trying to sound. 

That’s why in what’s immobile, stopping oneself to perceive,
then, like an immense fluttering of wings, above,
like dead bees or numbers,
ay, that which my pale heart can’t embrace,
in multitudes, in tears scarcely shed,
and human exertions, storms,
black actions suddenly discovered,
like ice, vast disorder,
oceanic, for me who enters singing,
like a sword among the defenseless.

Now then what is it made of, that surge of doves
there between night and time, like humid ravine?
That sound, already so long,
which falls striping, the roads with stones,
or better yet, when just one hour
expands without warning, extending endlessly. 

Within the ring of summer
the great pumpkins listen once,
stretching out their poignant plants,
of that, of what’s asking so much,
full, dark with heavy drops.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Soap & Skin / Extinguish Me

Extinguish Me
by Soap & Skin 

I search in snow, in vain
For your footsteps trail
I have to kiss them
With my scalding tears
Until I see the ground

Bury me under ice
Smother me under the ice
And snow

Extinguish me

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Dylan Thomas’s list of Robert Browning poems is found on back of an envelope

Dylan Thomas's unsent envelope addressed to Osbert Sitwell
Dylan Thomas’s unsent envelope addressed to Osbert Sitwell. Photograph: Peter Harrington
Dylan Thomas’s list of Robert Browning poems is found on back of an envelope

An enigmatic list of 12 Browning poems – scrawled by the Welsh poet on the back of an unsent envelope addressed to Osbert Sitwell – has been discovered by a rare book dealers

The Guardian, Monday 3 November 2014
It’s the back-of-an-envelope jotting of a mighty literary mind: a mysterious envelope on which Dylan Thomas has scrawled a list of poems by Robert Browning has come to light at a rare book dealers.
Dated to after 1943, the envelope has been addressed by Thomas to Osbert Sitwell – writer and brother of Edith – but is unstamped, and was never sent. Instead, on the back, Thomas has written an enigmatic list of 12 Browning poems, and then set it aside. Today, it is scuffed, dirty, “and has even been trodden on”, said Adam Blakeney at Peter Harrington book dealers, who stumbled upon it in an auction.
The list includes Browning’s Porphyria’s Lover, a dramatic monologue in which the narrator tells of how he murders a woman – “ No pain felt she; / I am quite sure she felt no pain” – and then sits beside her propped-up corpse, as well as the equally chilling tale of a murder, My Last Duchess (“Then all smiles stopped together”). The book dealer said that “given the immense variation of light and shade in the selected poems, a real tour de force of Browning’s work, we like to think of it as a top 10 list”.
“It’s Dylan Thomas writing on the back of an envelope a list of some of the greatest poems ever written,” said Blakeney. The fact the poems are scrawled on the back of an envelope Thomas had been planning to send to Sitwell is, believes Blakeney, “a wonderful, mad coincidence”.
“Though we know that Thomas was friends with the Sitwells (particularly Edith, who acted as his patron), and although we can date the envelope to 1943 or after based on Osbert inheriting his father’s baronetcy and the honorific “Sir” in that year, the true status of this unsent envelope is fittingly lost in the mists of time,” said the book dealer in its listing for the envelope, which it has priced at £1,500.
“Lost too is the Thomas’s exact reason for compiling this list of notable Browning poems. What can never be lost however is the small but entirely indicative glimpse into the poetical sensibilities of Thomas in his capacity as one of English poetry’s all-time greats. Of course he would rate Porphyria’s Lover – and how right he was to do so. These kinds of primary source manuscripts are of their nature surpassingly intimate and rare on the market.”
The poems listed by Thomas in full are Summum Bonum, Confessions, A Likeness, Porphyria’s Lover, Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister, My Last Duchess, Johannes Agricola in Meditation, A Light Woman, The Lost Mistress, Evelyn Hope, May and Death, and Never the Time and the Place. The Welsh poet was born on 27 October 1914 in Swansea, with the centenary of his birth marked last week at an event which saw the actor Michael Sheen read a previously unpublished Thomas poem, Song.
Professor John Goodby of the University of Swansea, editor of the bestselling new edition of Thomas’s Collected Poems, believes that Thomas could have been pulling the list together for a reading. “Thomas would very rarely read just his own poems to an audience – he’d combine them with others,” said Goodby. “It was a sort of modesty – ‘you’ve come all this way, you don’t only want to hear me read my poems.’ He’d have been thinking about an audience, rather than just listing his favourites, if this is what he was doing – and perhaps that’s why he hasn’t included [one of Browning’s most famous poems, the lengthy] Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came.”

Dylan Thomas's list of Robert Browning poems
Dylan Thomas’s list of Robert Browning poems. Photograph: Peter Harrington

Goodby said the list also shows “the falseness of the claim, often made, that Thomas wasn’t well read and simply warbled his woodnotes wild in a semi-drunken stupor”.
“This is a claim usually made by those who think that if you didn’t go to Oxbridge, you couldn’t have read much more than Palgrave’s Golden Treasury,” said the academic. “In truth, Thomas was as well-read as any poet of his generation; but he disguised the fact by rarely talking about poetry. In reality, he was very widely read, and completely au fait with all the writers in the English literary canon. His father was the head of English at the local grammar school, and he gave Thomas the run of his personal library from the age of seven onwards.”
Goodby described Browning as a “rough, rugged poet, who wasn’t in fashion – not like Tennyson, smooth and fashionable and a lord”. He was also “interested in very extreme psychological states - Porphyria’s Lover is the mind of a psychopath, My Last Duchess is too”. Several of Thomas’s early stories explore similar themes, said Goodby, with his short story, The Vest, telling of a murderer who throws his wife’s blood-stained vest on the bar in a pub.
“These extreme mental states are very Browning-esque but are also very similar to early Dylan Thomas,” said Goodby. “So that fits.”
Goodby said there were echoes of Browning to be traced in Thomas’s work – lines from his 1934 poem Should lanterns shine run: “the holy face / Caught in an octagon of unaccustomed light / Would wither up, and any boy of love / Look twice before he fell from grace”, echoing these in Browning’s Bishop Bloughram’s Apology: “Under a vertical sun the exposed brain / And lidless eye and disemprisoned heart / Less certainly would wither up at once / Than mind, confronted with the truth of him.”
“The echo isn’t close, but its likelihood is strengthened by the sense of the poem,” said Goodby. “Browning was, like Thomas, a craggy and edgy, experimental poet, with a taste for the Gothic-grotesque very like his, and I’m sure there are traces of Browning in many other Thomas poems, as yet untraced.”

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Edward Lear / The Owl and the Pussy-Cat

The Owl and the Pussy-Cat

The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
   In a beautiful pea-green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
   Wrapped up in a five-pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
   And sang to a small guitar,
"O lovely Pussy! O Pussy, my love,
    What a beautiful Pussy you are,
         You are,
         You are!
What a beautiful Pussy you are!"

Pussy said to the Owl, "You elegant fowl!
   How charmingly sweet you sing!
O let us be married! too long we have tarried:
   But what shall we do for a ring?"
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
   To the land where the Bong-Tree grows
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
   With a ring at the end of his nose,
             His nose,
             His nose,
   With a ring at the end of his nose.

"Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
   Your ring?" Said the Piggy, "I will."
So they took it away, and were married next day
   By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
   Which they ate with a runcible spoon;   
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
   They danced by the light of the moon,
             The moon,
             The moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.

The Random House Book of Poetry for Children, 1983