Twice

“You took my heart in your hand
With a friendly smile,
With a critical eye you scanned,
Then set it down,
And said: It is still unripe,
Better wait a while;
Wait while the skylarks pipe,
Till the corn grows brown

As you set it down it broke-
Broke, but I did not wince;
I smiled at the speech you spoke,
At your judgment that I heard:
But I have not often smiled
Since then, nor questioned since,
Nor cared for corn-flowers wild,
Nor sung with the singing bird.”

by Christina Rosetti (1830-1894)

http://www.victorianweb.org/authors/crossetti/harrison2/4.6.html

 

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

 

Sufficiency

If I am happy or unhappy I do not give thought to

Except one thing that with pleasure I bring always in my mind

That in the big addition (their addition that I despise)

With so many numbers, I am not there

Among the many entities one. In the total amount

I was not appraised. And this pleasure suffices me.

 

(Translation : Prosthesis, Kavafis-1877-1923;

http://www.kavafis.gr/poems/content.asp?id=238&cat=4)

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

Canceled

You Who Never Arrived

 

You who never arrived in my arms, Beloved, who were lost from the start, I don’t even know what songs would please you. I have given up trying to recognize you in the surging wave of the next moment. All the immense images in me — the far-off, deeply-felt landscape, cities, towers, and bridges, and unsuspected turns in the path, and those powerful lands that were once pulsing with the life of the gods– all rise within me to mean you, who forever elude me.
You, Beloved, who are all the gardens I have ever gazed at, longing. An open window in a country house– , and you almost stepped out, pensive, to meet me. Streets that I chanced upon,– you had just walked down them and vanished. And sometimes, in a shop, the mirrors were still dizzy with your presence and, startled, gave back my too-sudden image. Who knows? Perhaps the same bird echoed through both of us yesterday, separate, in the evening…

(by Rainer Maria Rilke)

                                 torso of apollo

 

Archaic Torso of Apollo

We cannot know his legendary head with eyes like ripening fruit. And yet his torso is still suffused with brilliance from inside, like a lamp, in which his gaze, now turned to low, gleams in all its power. Otherwise the curved breast could not dazzle you so, nor could a smile run through the placid hips and thighs to that dark center where procreation flared. Otherwise this stone would seem defaced beneath the translucent cascade of the shoulders and would not glisten like a wild beast’s fur: would not, from all the borders of itself, burst like a star: for here there is no place that does not see you. You must change your life.

(by Rainer Maria Rilke)

 

 

 

poem

 

 

Portrait

Portrait

Unconscious words

on your lips

Unfinished dreams wrapped

around your eyes

Unspoken tenderness confined

in your veins.

Sorrows relieved by dignity.

 

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

Fulfillment

        I am eating alone

        With your thought

        Falling asleep alone

        With your thought

        Waking up alone

        With your thought

        The cold wind on my face

        Reminds me that I am alive

 

        “Je pense toujours à toi 

         Et je t’embrasse tres tres fort…”

 

        I will forget 

        I will forget

 

   Gustav Klimt: The hand-painted

 

 

 

 

 

 

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