Merry Summer Solstice!

Merry Summer Solstice!
El Sol

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


for Elizabeth

Poetry is a weapon, and should be used,
though not in the crudity of violence.
It is a prayer before an unknown altar,
a spell to bless the silence.

There is a music beyond all this,
beyond all forms of grievance,
where anger lays its muzzle down
into the lap of silence.

Or some butterfly script,
fathomed only by the other,
as supple fingers draw
a silent message from the tangible.

John Montague

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Night Blooming Jasmine/Il Gelsomino Notturno

And in the hour when blooms unfurl,
thoughts of my loved ones come to me.
              The moths of evening swirl
              around the snowball tree.

Nothing by now shouts or sings;
one house only whispers then hushes.
              Nestlings sleep beneath wings,
              like eyes beneath their lashes.

From open calyces there flows
a ripe strawberry scent, in waves.
              A lamp in the house glows.
              Grasses are born on graves.

A late bee sighs, back from its tours
and no cell vacant anymore.
              The Hen and her cheeping stars
              cross their threshing floor.

All through the night the flowers flare,
exhaling scent into the wind.
              The lamp now climbs the stair,
              shines from above, is dimmed…

It’s dawn: the petals, slightly worn,
close up again—each bud to brood,
              in its soft, secret urn,
              on some yet-nameless good.

Giovanni Pascoli
Translated by Geoffrey Brock

Il Gelsomino Notturno
E s'aprono i fiori notturni,
nell'ora che penso a' miei cari.
              Sono apparse in mezzo ai viburni
              le farfalle crepuscolari.

Da un pezzo si tacquero i gridi:
là sola una casa bisbiglia.
              Sotto l'ali dormono i nidi,
              come gli occhi sotto le ciglia.

Dai calici aperti si esala
l'odore di fragole rosse.
              Splende un lume là nella sala.
              Nasce l’erba sopra le fosse.

Un'ape tardiva sussurra
trovando già prese le celle.
              La Chioccetta per l'aia azzurra
              va col suo pigolio di stelle.
Per tutta la notte s'esala
l'odore che passa col vento.
              Passa il lume su per la scala;
              brilla al primo piano: s'è spento…

È l'alba: si chiudono i petali
un poco gualciti; si cova,
              dentro l'urna molle e segreta,
              non so che felicità nuova.


Friday, May 18, 2012

Pear Tree

Silver dust  
lifted from the earth,  
higher than my arms reach,  
you have mounted.  
O silver,
higher than my arms reach  
you front us with great mass;  
no flower ever opened  
so staunch a white leaf,  
no flower ever parted silver
from such rare silver;  
O white pear,  
your flower-tufts,  
thick on the branch,  
bring summer and ripe fruits
in their purple hearts.


Thursday, May 10, 2012


My heart, my dove, my snail, my sail, my   
    milktooth, shadow, sparrow, fingernail,   
         flower-cat and blossom-hedge, mandrake

root now put to bed, moonshell, sea-swell,   
    manatee, emerald shining back at me,   
         nutmeg, quince, tea leaf and bone, zither,

cymbal, xylophone; paper, scissors, then
    there’s stone—Who doesn’t come through the door   
         to get home?

Cynthia Zarin

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Republic of Poetry

                   For Chile
In the republic of poetry,
a train full of poets
rolls south in the rain
as plum trees rock
and horses kick the air,
and village bands
parade down the aisle
with trumpets, with bowler hats,
followed by the president
of the republic,
shaking every hand.

In the republic of poetry,
monks print verses about the night
on boxes of monastery chocolate,
kitchens  in restaurants
use odes for recipes
from eel to artichoke,
and poets eat for free.

In the republic of poetry,
poets read to the baboons
at the zoo, and all the primates,
poets and baboons alike, scream for joy.

In the republic of poetry,
poets rent a helicopter
to bombard the national palace
with poems on bookmarks,
and everyone in the courtyard
rushes to grab a poem
fluttering from the sky,
blinded by weeping.

In the republic of poetry,
the guard at the airport
will not allow you to leave the country
until you declaim a poem for her
and she says Ah! Beautiful.

Martin Espada 
from The Republic of Poetry