This One

Thirty seven years approaching

already ripped pages of my life

by this time white pieces of hair have grown,

Xanthippei *, discreet announcers of age

regadless, chattery psalms in the head are chanting

and a relentless fire  is burning the heart-

but for this coronida** quickly write about, Muses,

this one, my rulers, overthrows your madness.

 

 

*Xanthippe was an ancient Athenian (of supposedly argumentative nature), the wife of pholosopher Socrates, and mother of their three sons: Lamprocles, Sophroniscus, and Menexenus.

 

**coronida (singular)-THE two KORONIDES (or Coronides) were two nymph daughters of the constellation-giant Orion. When the land of Boiotia (Boeotia) was struck by pestilence and drought they voluntarily offered themselves up as sacrifice to the gods, bashing out their own brains with shuttles. Persephone in pity then turned them into comets.

The name Koronides was associated with the Greek words korônis, “curving one” or “comet” and korônê “the shuttle” and “the crow.”

 

Original:

Philodemus-Xanthipi

 

                                                                           (AP XI.41)

By Philodemus 110-30BC.

(see Index scholarum in Universitate Litteraria Gryphiswaldensi

-Philodemus, Georg Kaibel)

 

 

Philodemus of Gadara (ca. 110–ca. 30 BC) “was an Epicurean philosopher and epigrammatist who, having studied in the Epicurean school …”http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/philodemus )

 

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“at least our imagination, which perpetually figures them to us by the desire we have of seeing them again, makes us think so. By a peculiar power love can make that seem life itself which, as soon as the loved object returns, is nothing but a little canvas and flat colour. I have your picture in my room; I never pass it without stopping to look at it; and yet when you are present with me I scarce ever cast my eyes on it. If a picture, which is but a mute representation of an object, can give such pleasure, what cannot letters inspire? They have souls; they can speak; they have in them all that force which expresses the transports of the heart; they have all the fire of our passions, they can raise them as much as if the persons themselves were present; they have all the tenderness and the delicacy of speech, and sometimes even a boldness of expression beyond it.”

Heloise to Abelard, Letter II, p.25 (1901)

http://sacred-texts.com/chr/aah/index.htm

http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/40227

 

Three poems

In Paris

 

Starlit houses, and sky below,

Earth dazed in the nearness.

The same secret longing though

In Paris, so vast and joyous.

 

The evening boulevards noisy,

The last ray of light dies,

Couples, paired round me,

Fierce lips, insolent eyes.

 

I’m alone. It’s sweet to rest

My head on a chestnut tree.

As in far Moscow, my breast

Throbs to Rostand’s poetry.

 

Paris at night, painful strangeness,

Dear the heart’s ancient folly!

I’m going back to violets, sadness,

A portrait of someone kind to me.

 

There that gaze, pensive, a brother,

There that mild profile, on the wall.

Rostand, L’Aiglon that martyr,

And Sarah – in dream I find them all!

 

In Paris, so vast and joyous,

I dream of clouds and grass,

Laughter, shadows, ominous,

And the pain that will not pass.

 

Paris, June 1909.

Marina Tsvetaeva

(Note: Rostand’s play L’Aiglon concerns the unhappy life of the Duke of Reichstadt, the son of Napoleon I and Marie Louise, lived under the surveillance of Metternich at the Schönbrunn Palace. The drama was produced, on the 15th March 1900, by Sarah Bernhardt, at her own theatre, she herself playing the part of the Duke.

http://www.poetryintranslation.com/PITBR/Russian/Tsvetaeva.htm#_Toc254018895)

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

‘To kiss the brow – eases anxiety.’

 

To kiss the brow-eases all anxiety.

I kiss the brow.

 

To kiss the eyes – cures insomnia’s misery.

I kiss the eyes.

 

To kiss the lips – one’s no longer thirsty.

I kiss the lips.

 

To kiss the brow – erases memory.

I kiss the brow.

 

                                                  5th June 1917.

Marina Tsvetaeva

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

‘Go, find yourself naïve lovers, they’

 

Go, find yourself naïve lovers, they

Won’t correct marvels by number.

I know that Venus was – hand made,

I’m a craftsman, with craft encumbered.

From the highest solemnity, dumb,

To the soul almost trampled to death,

Here’s the whole celestial stair – from

My breathing – to: not one breath!

 

                                                  18th June 1922

Marina Tsvetaeva

Noble Form

I live upon this wretched solitary cliff

Like a bird of sorrow that shuns green

Branches and clear water: and withdraw

From my worldly loves, and my very self,

So my thoughts may fly swiftly to that sun

I worship and adore. And though they fail

To spread their wings as I wish, yet if I call

Still they fly back from other paths to this.

And in the instant that they reach the place,

Where I send them, ardent, happy, their brief joy

Surpasses every delight on Earth by far.

And if they could but re-create his noble

Form, just as the burning mind desires,

I might own my portion of perfect good.

by Vittoria Colonna (1490-1547)
Translated by A. S. Kline

All at once

I live, I die: I burn, I drown,
Amidst the cold, heat strikes me down
Too soft and too hard my life is to me
My great sorrows are mixed with glee.

All at once I laugh and I cry
And I endure great torment in pleasure.
My happiness flees, but lasts forever.
All at once I wilt and I thrive.

Thus inconstant love torments me.
Just as I think my pain has worsened
Without thinking so I am trouble-free.

Then when I believe my joy is certain
With happiness I so craved it fills me,
And sets me back to my first misfortune.

by Louise Labé (1524-1566)

Je vis, je meurs : je me brûle et me noie – I live, I die; I burn, I drown. (Sonnet VIII)
http://thehuuvandan.org/lit.html#labe

 

Enchanted

 

The earth trembled as you passed by,
     Turning everything sacred as you walked.

And you set your blue eyes upon me for the first time,
     speaking at me with the depth of the night
          …like a nightingale who doesn’t need its wings to fly.
What a blessing it is to be worthy of your look.

I have seen rain on the desert,
      and all impossible things coming true.

All of my prayers carry your name.
      I wish to be pure so that I can desire you.

Take me as you will.
Your slave…

 

 

Ancient Egyptian love poem from the Middle Kingtom  (1991-1668 BCE)

 

Invisible

“It seems that somewhere people are celebrating;
although there are no houses or human beings
I can listen to guitars and other laughters which
are not nearby

Maybe far away, within the ashes of heavens
Andromeda, the Bear, or the Virgin…

I wonder; is loneliness the same, all over the
worlds ? ”

 

By Odysseas Elytis, Calendar of an invisible April-
http://www-hpcc.astro.washington.edu/faculty/marios/Poems/elytis/

Will they?

“If I know a song of Africa,

of the giraffe and the African new moon lying on her back,

of the plows in the fields and the sweaty faces

of the coffee pickers,

does Africa know a song of me?

 

Will the air over the plain quiver with a color that I have had on,

or the children invent a game in which my name is,

or the full moon throw a shadow over the gravel of the drive that was like me,

or will the eagles of the Ngong Hills look out for me?”

 

From OUT OF AFRICA by Isak Dinesen (1885-1962), chapter titled “Kamante and Lulu,” page 83.

 

 

Sweet Things

“Sweet evenings come and go, love,
They came and went of yore:
This evening of our life, love,
Shall go and come no more.

When we have passed away, love,
All things will keep their name;
But yet no life on earth, love,
With ours will be the same.

The daisies will be there, love,
The stars in heaven will shine:
I shall not feel thy wish, love,
Nor thou my hand in thine. ”

by George Eliot -i.e. Mary Anne (alternatively Mary Ann or Marian) Evans, an English novelist, journalist and translator, and one of the leading writers of the Victorian era..

She used a male pen name, she said, to ensure her works would be taken seriously…
http://www.poemhunter.com/george-eliot-2/

 

Sunday

Dimanche

Entre les rangees d’arbres de l’avenue des Gobelins

Une statue de marbre me conduit par la main

Aujourd’ hui c’est dimanche les cinemas sont pleins

Les oiseaux dans les branches regardent les humains

Et la statue m’embrasse mais personne ne nous voit

Sauf un enfant aveugle qui nous montre du doigt.

(by Jacques Prevert)

 

Sunday

Among the tree lines of Gobelins Avenue

A statue is holding my hand guiding me

Today is Sunday cinemas are busy

The birds in the branches are observing the people

And the statue is kissing me though no one can see us

A blind child only is pointing at us with his finger.

Reeling

One Night

The room was poor and shabby, a secret room above
the dubious tavern. From the window could be seen
dark shadows moving in a squalid narrow lane;
and from below came voices of town labourers
who now were loud at cards now voiced their jollity
with wanton song or joke, and called for drinks between.

And there — on the plebeian, unattractive bed
I had possession of the glowing body of love,
I had the inebriating lips voluptuously red —
the full red lips of such an inebriety
that even now, after so many eventful years,
writing thereof in my lone house, I reel again.

Translated by John Cavafy
(Poems by C. P. Cavafy. Translated, from the Greek, by J. C. Cavafy. Ikaros, 2003)

http://www.cavafy.com/poems/content.asp?id=211&cat=1

Palindromic

Palindromic

You will discover me

I will discover you

 

I will disappoint you

You will disappoint me

 

You will deny me

I will deny you

 

I will forget you

You will forget me

 

You will desire me

I will desire you

 

I will seek you out

You will seek me out

 

You will love me

I will love you

 

Endlessly

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