Sunday, October 02, 2005

3. MY MOTHER ONCE TOLD ME - Yehuda Amichai - Translated by Assia Gutmann


Not to sleep with flowers in the room..
Since then I have not slept with flowers.
I sleep alone, without them.

There were many flowers.
But I’ve never had enough time.
And persons I love are already pushing themselves
Away from my life, like boats
Away from the shore.

My mother said
Not to sleep with flowers.
You won’t sleep.
You won’t sleep, mother of my childhood.

The bannister I clung to
When they dragged me off to school
Is long since burnt.
But my hands, clinging

Saturday, October 01, 2005

2. THE TRAVELLING OUT - Lucile Adler

I wonder, since we are both travelling out,
If we may go together? Thank you.

You may be sure you will be alone
And private as though I were no one.
God knows, I do not wish to increase your burden.
Naturally, these airports, blinding cities,
And foundry lights confuse you, make you
More solitary than the sight of one lost lamp
Across a bare land promising life there—
Someone over that field alone and perhaps
Waiting for you. That used to be the way.

Feel perfectly free to choose how
You will be alone, since we are going together.
Of course, I never move, I merely hold you
In my mind like a prayer. You are my way
Of praying, and I have chosen you out of hordes
Of travellers to speed to silently, on my own.
I will be with you, with your baffled anger
Among fuming cities, with your grief
At having lost dark fields and lamplight.
It is my way of moving, of praying—

Oh, not to give you someone like me,
That’s all over, impossible, I go nowhere;
And besides, nothing is given absolutely
Nothing and no one, only white sermons among
The white of a billion bulbs. No,
Sitting here behind my shutters at twilight,
I am stretching over the blazing lanes,
The dazed crowds jostled and razed
By light, only to join your mind and guide you
Gently, leading you, not, alas, to my own lamp
Across the fields of the world, or to a cozy last
Prayer of lamplight blessing the fields of the air,
But out into hordes of stars that move away
As we move, and for which your travelling
Prepares you to go out a little more boldly,
All alone as I am alone.

1. THE PARACHUTIST - Jon Anderson

Then the air was perfect. And his descent
to the white earth slowed.
became an ability to rest—as

the released breath
believes in life. Further down it snowed,

a confusion of slow novas
which his shoes touched apon, which seemed,
as he fell by,

to be rising. From every
small college and rural town,
the clearest, iced blossoms of thought,

but gentle.
Then the housetops
of friends, who
he thought had been speaking of his arrival,
withdrew, each from another.

He saw that his friends
lived in a solitude they had not ever said aloud.

Strangely he thought this good.

The world, in fact,
which in these moments he come toward,
seemed casual.

Though not new

Had he been thinking this all along?
A life
where he belonged, having lived with himself

always, as a secret friend.

A few may have seen him then.. In evidence:
the stopped dots
of children and dogs, sudden weave

of a car—
acquaintances circling up
into the adventure they imagined. They saw him drop

through the line breaks
and preciousness of art

down to the lake
which openly awaited him.
Here the thin
green ice allowed him in.

Some ran, and were late.
These would
forever imagine tragedy

(endless descent,
his face floating among the reeds, by the fish
unrecognized), as those

who imagine the silence of a guest
to be mysterious, or wrong.