“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

 

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

 

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

N’écris pas

“N’écris pas – N’apprenons qu’à mourir à nous-mêmes
Ne demande qu’à Dieu … qu’à toi, si je t’aimais !
Au fond de ton silence écouter que tu m’aimes,
C’est entendre le ciel sans y monter jamais
N’écris pas ! ”

by Marceline Desbordes-Valmore (1786-1859)

“Do not write – Let us learn for ourselves how to die.
Ask only God… and to yourself if I loved you!
In your absence’s depth to hear that you love me
Is to hear heaven without ever getting there.
Do not write! ”

Translated by Thomas D. Le in 2007
http://thehuuvandan.org/lit.html#valmore

 

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)

 

Like The Wind

‘Love shook my heart’

Love shook my heart,

Like the  wind on the mountain

Troubling  the oak-trees.

(by Sappho)

http://www.poetryintranslation.com/PITBR/Greek/Sappho.htm

Picture_lemnos_2010_CK 125

Infatuation

Infatuation

He seems to me equal to the gods that man
whoever he is who opposite you
sits and listens close
to your sweet speaking

and lovely laughing — oh it
puts the heart in my chest on wings
for when I look at you, even a moment, no speaking
is left in me

no: tongue breaks and thin
fire is racing under skin
and in eyes no sight and drumming
fills ears

and cold sweat holds me and shaking
grips me all, greener than grass
I am and dead — or almost
I seem to me.

(translation at : http://inamidst.com/stuff/sappho/ )

           ------------

Peer of the gods, the happiest man I seem
Sitting before thee, rapt at thy sight, hearing
Thy soft laughter and they voice most gentle,
     Speaking so sweetly.

Then in my bosom my heart wildly flutters,
And, when on thee I gaze never so little,
Bereft am I of all power of utterance,
     My tongue is useless.

There rushes at once through my flesh tingling fire,
My eyes are deprived of all power of vision,
My ears hear nothing by sounds of winds roaring,
     And all is blackness.

Down courses in streams the sweat of emotion,
A dread trembling o'erwhelms me, paler than I
Than dried grass in autumn, and in my madness
     Dead I seem almost.

    (translation by Anne Carson, 2002)

——–

Original poem- by

Sappho (630/612 BC  to around 570 BC):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sappho

 
φαίνεταί μοι κῆνος ἴσος θέοισιν
ἔμμεν' ὤνηρ, ὄττις ἐνάντιός τοι
ἰσδάνει καὶ πλάσιον ἆδυ φωνεί-
   σας ὐπακούει

καὶ γελαίσας ἰμέροεν, τό μ' ἦ μὰν
καρδίαν ἐν στήθεσιν ἐπτόαισεν,
ὠς γὰρ ἔς σ' ἴδω βρόχε' ὤς με φώνας
   οὔδεν ἔτ' εἴκει,

ἀλλὰ κὰμ μὲν γλῶσσα +ἔαγε, λέπτον
δ' αὔτικα χρῶι πῦρ ὐπαδεδρόμακεν,
ὀππάτεσσι δ' οὐδ' ἒν ὄρημμ', ἐπιρρόμ-
   βεισι δ' ἄκουαι,

κὰδ' δέ ἴδρως κακχέεται, τρόμος δὲ
παῖσαν ἄγρει, χλωροτέρα δὲ ποίας
ἔμμι, τεθνάκην δ' ὀλίγω 'πιδεύης
  φαίνομ' ἔμ' αὔτᾳ.
 

Portrait

Portrait

Unconscious words

on your lips

Unfinished dreams wrapped

around your eyes

Unspoken tenderness confined

in your veins.

Sorrows relieved by dignity.

 

Judas Kiss

Judas Kiss

It’s the soft wind

That reminds me of

The dance of our words

The wild flowers of

The scents of our feelings

The dark moon of

Your deceptive silences

And the bitter rain of

All my tears.

 

Intersection

Intersection

 

 

Walked the same path

Stared into each other’s eyes

Spoke the same words

Thought the same thoughts

Felt the same feelings

For an instant and

For eternity

Before we said

“Good bye”.

 

 

Conquest

Conquest

Like sunlight dissolves dawn

Like virtue endures temptation

Like courage defeats fear

I will conquer the lonesomeness

of your silence.

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

Forbidden

Forbidden

 

 Reflections of our souls

 Traced by the morning sunlight

 And our desire to immerse in each other

 Alive

 Eternal feeling ripened by time 

 Love without pretentious blossoms

Twice upon a time.

Twice upon a time.

Isabella was sitting by the lamp with the green light, staring at her book.

With her mother visiting her older sister at a nearby city and her brother working till late,  it was awfully quite around the house. She would have gone for a walk, but the rain kept her indoors, thinking about him.

She felt great relief when found out that he was back in town. She could not wait to see him again. She asked her maid to occupy her stepfather so she can leave through the kitchen door. She quickly walked through the garden and into the small forest behind the house.

She kept walking as fast as she could through the fields until she got to the place where they used to meet. There she waited until she heard steps approaching. Not being sure if it was him, she pulled her coat over her head, and remained still in the dark. She felt the steps right behind her. She stopped breathing.

The sound of the steps started fading away…

As she uncovered her face she saw the shadow of a man walking away across the fields.

__________________________________________________________________

“I have already begun to forget about the house with the mezzanine, and

only now and then, when I am working or reading, suddenly–without rhyme

or reason–I remember the green light in the window, and the sound of my

own footsteps as I walked through the fields that night..”

From the : House with the Mezzanine (P. Chekhov)

 

Love Lyrics

“When she welcomes me

Arms open wide

I feel as some traveler returning

From the far land of Punt.

 

All things change; the mind, the senses,

Into perfume rich and strange.

 

And when she parts her lips to kiss

My head is light, I am drunk without beer.”

 

(Love Poems of AncientEgypt, translated by

Ezra Pound and Noel Stock)

 

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