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Selected Poems - International

June 10th, 2009, 3:18 pm

Self Portrait in a Convex MirrorSelf-Portrait in a Convex Mirror As Parmigianino did it, the right handBigger than the head, thrust at the viewerAnd swerving easily away, as though to protectWhat it advertises. A few leaded panes, old beams,Fur, pleated muslin, a coral ring run togetherIn a movement supporting the face, which swimsToward and away like the handExcept that it is in repose. It is what isSequestered. Vasari says, "Francesco one day set himselfTo take his own portrait, looking at himself from that purposeIn a convex mirror, such as is used by barbers . . .He accordingly caused a ball of wood to be madeBy a turner, and having divided it in half andBrought it to the size of the mirror, he set himselfWith great art to copy all that he saw in the glass,"Chiefly his reflection, of which the portraitIs the reflection, of which the portraitIs the reflection once removed.The glass chose to reflect only what he sawWhich was enough for his purpose: his imageGlazed, embalmed, projected at a 180-degree angle.The time of day or the density of the lightAdhering to the face keeps itLively and intact in a recurring waveOf arrival. The soul establishes itself.But how far can it swim out through the eyesAnd still return safely to its nest? The surfaceOf the mirror being convex, the distance increasesSignificantly; that is, enough to make the pointThat the soul is a captive, treated humanely, keptIn suspension, unable to advance much fartherThan your look as it intercepts the picture.Pope Clement and his court were "stupefied"By it, according to Vasari, and promised a commissionThat never materialized. The soul has to stay where it is,Even though restless, hearing raindrops at the pane,The sighing of autumn leaves thrashed by the wind,Longing to be free, outside, but it must stayPosing in this place. It must moveAs little as possible. This is what the portrait says.But there is in that gaze a combinationOf tenderness, amusement and regret, so powerfulIn its restraint that one cannot look for long.The secret is too plain. The pity of it smarts,Makes hot tears spurt: that the soul is not a soul,Has no secret, is small, and it fitsIts hollow perfectly: its room, our moment of attention.That is the tune but there are no words.The words are only speculation(From the Latin speculum, mirror):They seek and cannot find the meaning of the music.We see only postures of the dream,Riders of the motion that swings the faceInto view under evening skies, with noFalse disarray as proof of authenticity.But it is life englobed.One would like to stick one's handOut of the globe, but its dimension,What carries it, will not allow it.No doubt it is this, not the reflexTo hide something, which makes the hand loom largeAs it retreats slightly. There is no wayTo build it flat like a section of wall:It must join the segment of a circle,Roving back to the body of which it seemsSo unlikely a part, to fence in and shore up the faceOn which the effort of this condition readsLike a pinpoint of a smile, a sparkOr star one is not sure of having seenAs darkness resumes. A perverse light whoseImperative of subtlety dooms in advance itsConceit to light up: unimportant but meant.Francesco, your hand is big enoughTo wreck the sphere, and too big,One would think, to weave delicate meshesThat only argue its further detention.(Big, but not coarse, merely on another scale,Like a dozing whale on the sea bottomIn relation to the tiny, self-important shipOn the surface.) But your eyes proclaimThat everything is surface. The surface is what's thereAnd nothing can exist except what's there.There are no recesses in the room, only alcoves,And the window doesn't matter much, or thatSliver of window or mirror on the right, evenAs a gauge of the weather, which in French isLe temps, the word for time, and whichFollows a course wherein changes are merelyFeatures of the whole. The whole is stable withinInstability, a globe like ours, restingOn a pedestal of vacuum, a ping-pong ballSecure on its jet of water.And just as there are no words for the surface, that is,No words to say what it really is, that it is notSuperficial but a visible core, then there isNo way out of the problem of pathos vs. experience.You will stay on, restive, serene inYour gesture which is neither embrace nor warningBut which holds something of both in pureAffirmation that doesn't affirm anything. - John Ashbery, excerpt
 
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rmax
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Selected Poems - International

June 12th, 2009, 1:22 pm

After Daveangle's comments on a lack of Donne - don't think anyone has posted this one:(Punctuation is not the original I hasten to add)QuoteSonnet X DonneDEATH be not proud, though some have called thee Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not so, For, those, whom thou think'st, thou dost overthrow, Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill me. From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee, Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow, And soonest our best men with thee doe goe, Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie. Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men, And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell, And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well, And better then thy stroake; why swell'st thou then; One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally, And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.
 
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July 16th, 2009, 12:25 pm

We are as the fluteWe are as the flute, and the music in us is from thee; we are as the mountain and the echo in us is from thee. We are as pieces of chess engaged in victory and defeat: our victory and defeat is from thee, O thou whose qualities are comely! Who are we, O Thou soul of our souls, that we should remain in being beside thee? We and our existences are really non-existence; thou art the absolute Being which manifests the perishable. We all are lions, but lions on a banner: because of the wind they are rushing onward from moment to moment. Their onward rush is visible, and the wind is unseen: may that which is unseen not fail from us! Our wind whereby we are moved and our being are of thy gift; our whole existence is from thy bringing into being. -Rumi, Masnavi Book I
 
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July 16th, 2009, 12:30 pm

The Other Tiger A tiger comes to mind. The twilight hereExalts the vast and busy LibraryAnd seems to set the bookshelves back in gloom;Innocent, ruthless, bloodstained, sleekIt wanders through its forest and its dayPrinting a track along the muddy banksOf sluggish streams whose names it does not know(In its world there are no names or pastOr time to come, only the vivid now)And makes its way across wild distancesSniffing the braided labyrinth of smellsAnd in the wind picking the smell of dawnAnd tantalizing scent of grazing deer;Among the bamboo's slanting stripes I glimpseThe tiger's stripes and sense the bony frameUnder the splendid, quivering cover of skin.Curving oceans and the planet's wastes keep usApart in vain; from here in a house far offIn South America I dream of you,Track you, O tiger of the Ganges' banks.It strikes me now as evening fills my soulThat the tiger addressed in my poemIs a shadowy beast, a tiger of symbolsAnd scraps picked up at random out of books,A string of labored tropes that have no life,And not the fated tiger, the deadly jewelThat under sun or stars or changing moonGoes on in Bengal or Sumatra fulfillingIts rounds of love and indolence and death.To the tiger of symbols I hold opposedThe one that's real, the one whose blood runs hotAs it cuts down a herd of buffaloes,And that today, this August third, nineteenFifty-nine, throws its shadow on the grass;But by the act of giving it a name,By trying to fix the limits of its world,It becomes a fiction not a living beast,Not a tiger out roaming the wilds of earth.We'll hunt for a third tiger now, but likeThe others this one too will be a formOf what I dream, a structure of words, and notThe flesh and one tiger that beyond all mythsPaces the earth. I know these things quite well,Yet nonetheless some force keeps driving meIn this vague, unreasonable, and ancient quest,And I go on pursuing through the hoursAnother tiger, the beast not found in verse.- Jorge Luis Borges
 
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July 20th, 2009, 1:24 am

*** Love overpowers its prey by fraud,With a soft amateurish refrain.Not long ago – it seemed as thoughYou weren’t dejected and gray.In the garden, at home, in the field, -Whenever she flashed her smile,Whereever you were, you believedYou were free and out in the wild.Once taken by her, you glowedAnd you drank her poisons, content.Because all the stars seemed to grow,And grass had a different scent,Autumn grass. *** Любовь покоряет обманно,Напевом простым, неискусным.Еще так недавно-странноТы не был седым и грустным.И когда она улыбаласьВ садах твоих, в доме, в полеПовсюду тебе казалось,Что вольный ты и на воле.Был светел ты, взятый еюИ пивший ее отравы.Ведь звезды были крупнее,Ведь пахли иначе травы,Осенние травы. - Anna Akhmatova
 
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exneratunrisk
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July 20th, 2009, 7:09 am

Fragen eines lesenden ArbeitersWer baute das siebentorige Theben? In den Büchern stehen die Namen von Königen. Haben die Könige die Felsbrocken herbeigeschleppt? Und das mehrmals zerstörte Babylon – Wer baute es so viele Male auf? In welchen Häusern des goldstahlenden Lima wohnten die Bauleute? Wohin gingen an dem Abend, wo die Chinesische Mauer fertig war die Maurer? Das große Rom ist voll von Triumphbögen. Wer errichtete sie? Über wen triumphierten die Cäsaren? Hatte das vielbesungene Byzanz nur Paläste für seine Bewohner? Selbst in dem sagenhaften Atlantis brüllten in der Nacht, wo das Meer es verschlang die Ersaufenden nach ihren Sklaven. Der junge Alexander eroberte Indien. Er allein? Cäsar schlug die Gallier. Hatte er nicht wenigstens einen Koch bei sich? Philipp von Spanien weinte, als seine Flotte untergegangen war. Weinte sonst niemand? Friedrich der Zweite siegte im siebenjährigen Krieg. Wer siegte außer ihm?Jede Seite ein Sieg. Wer kochte den Siegesschmaus? Alle zehn Jahre ein großer Mann. Wer bezahlte die Spesen?So viele Berichte. So viele Fragen- Bert Brecht
 
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July 20th, 2009, 8:45 am

a poem
 
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July 20th, 2009, 1:18 pm

Here is a translation of the Brecht poem from exner:Questions From a Worker Who Reads Who built Thebes of the seven gates?In the books you will find the names of kings.Did the kings haul up the lumps of rock?And Babylon, many times demolishedWho raised it up so many times? In what housesof gold-glittering Lima did the builders live?Where, the evening that the Wall of China was finishedDid the masons go? Great RomeIs full of triumphal arches. Who erected them? Over whomDid the Caesars triumph? Had Byzantium, much praised in songOnly palaces for its inhabitants? Even in fabled AtlantisThe night the ocean engulfed itThe drowning still bawled for their slaves.The young Alexander conquered India.Was he alone?Caesar beat the Gauls.Did he not have even a cook with him?Philip of Spain wept when his armadaWent down. Was he the only one to weep?Frederick the Second won the Seven Year's War. WhoElse won it?Every page a victory.Who cooked the feast for the victors?Every ten years a great man?Who paid the bill?So many reports.So many questions.
 
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exneratunrisk
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July 21st, 2009, 5:50 am

trackstar, many thanks. BTW, I really like Borges.
 
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exneratunrisk
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July 21st, 2009, 6:38 am

Warning: DADA!Ursonate - Karl Schwitters
Last edited by exneratunrisk on July 20th, 2009, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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July 21st, 2009, 8:28 am

POEMA burst of laughterof sapphire in the island of CeylonThe most beautiful strawsHAVE A FADED COLORUNDER THE LOCKSon an isolated farm FROM DAY TO DAYthe pleasantgrows worsecoffee preaches for its saintTHE DAILY ARTISAN OF YOUR BEAUTYMADAM,a pair of silk stockingsis notA leap into space A STAGLove above all Everything could be worked out so wellPARIS IS A BIG VILLAGEWatch out for the fire that coversTHE PRAYERof fair weatherKnow that The ultraviolet rayshave finished their taskshort and sweetTHE FIRST WHITE PAPER OF CHANCERed will beThe wandering singer WHERE IS HE?in memoryin his houseAT THE SUITORS’ BALLI do as I danceWhat people did, what they’re going to do- Andre Breton from the Manifesto of Surrealism, 1924Manifesto of SurrealismIt is nice to see the poem with various fonts, that show how the headlines might look as cut from newspapers.
 
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exneratunrisk
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July 22nd, 2009, 1:07 pm

Menschenlos by Ingeborg BachmannVerwunschnes Wolkenschloß, in dem wir treiben...Wer weiß, ob wir nicht schon durch viele Himmelso ziehen mit verglasten Augen?Wir, in die Zeit verbanntund aus dem Raum gestoßen,wir, Flieger durch die Nacht und Bodenlose.Wer weiß, ob wir nicht schon um Gott geflogen,und, weil wir pfeilschnell schäumten ohne ihn zu sehenund unsre Samen weiterschleuderten,um in noch dunkleren Geschlechtern fortzuleben,jetzt schuldhaft treiben?Wer weiß, ob wir nicht lange, lang schon sterben?Der Wolkenball mit uns strebt immer höher.Die dünne Luft lähmt heute schon die Hände,und wenn die Stimme bricht und unser Atem steht...?Bleibt Verwunschenheit für letzte Augenblicke?
 
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exneratunrisk
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Selected Poems - International

July 22nd, 2009, 1:23 pm

the sun is a new house ... by Hans Carl Artmannthe sun is a new houseyou write itit is tomorrowwe hold our hands throughthe open windowsthe cricket sets its clockworkyou write itit is tomorrowthe day arranges a blue dressin our gardenoh how cool the rose still isyou write itit is tomorrowthe butterflies still wrap their wingsin silky paperevery word comes from the roseyou write itit is tomorrowhow nice the leaves so leafyto expect leafan apple cut into halves preciselyyou write itit is tomorrowmaybe the lark'sflight will unite it once more
Last edited by exneratunrisk on July 21st, 2009, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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July 22nd, 2009, 6:10 pm

A flame is in my blood A flame is in my bloodburning dry life, to the bone.I do not sing of stone,now, I sing of wood.It is light and coarse:made of a single spar,the oak’s deep heart,and the fisherman’s oar.Drive them deep, the piles:hammer them in tight,around wooden Paradise,where everything is light. - Osip Mandelstam
 
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August 22nd, 2009, 12:42 pm

SilentiumSpeak not, lie hidden, and concealthe way you dream, the things you feel.Deep in your spirit let them riseakin to stars in crystal skiesthat set before the night is blurred:delight in them and speak no word.How can a heart expression find?How should another know your mind?Will he discern what quickens you?A thought once uttered is untrue.Dimmed is the fountainhead when stirred:drink at the source and speak no word.Live in your inner self alonewithin your soul a world has grown,the magic of veiled thoughts that mightbe blinded by the outer light,drowned in the noise of day, unheard...take in their song and speak no word.Fedor Tyutchev, 1803-1873Translated by V. NabokovМолчаниеМолчи, скрывайся и таиИ чувства и мечты свои -Пускай в душевной глубинеВстают и заходят онеБезмолвно, как звезды в ночи, -Любуйся ими - и молчи. Как сердцу высказать себя?Другому как понять тебя?Поймет ли он, чем ты живешь?Мысль изреченная есть ложь.Взрывая, возмутишь ключи, -Питайся ими - и молчи. Лишь жить в себе самом умей -Есть целый мир в душе твоейТаинственно-волшебных дум;Их оглушит наружный шум,Дневные разгонят лучи, -Внимай их пенью и молчи!..
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