Wednesday, November 24, 2010

866. Coda - Jason Shinder

And now I know what most deeply connects us

after that summer so many years ago,
and it isn’t poetry, although it is poetry,

and it isn’t illness, although we have that in common,

and it isn’t gratitude for every moment,
even the terrifying ones, even the physical pain,

though we are halfway through
it, or even the way you describe the magnificence

of being alive, catching a glimpse,

in the store window, of your blowing hair and chapped lips,
though it is beautiful, it is; but it is

that you’re my friend out here on the far reaches

of what humans can find out about each other.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

865. Hineni - Stanley F. Chyet

here I am again
without much to offer by way of moral worth
I’ve a rich collection of defeats
maybe that’s to your liking?
I don’t know, do you?
if I’m to be quite frank
your likes and dislikes have never been
all that clear to me
presumably love is something you’re in favor of
and I’ve found it possible to love
but never without a certain anguish
whether that’s the way you intended it
or that’s a problem all my own
I can’t say, can you?
I’ve never wanted to pain others
I’ve never wanted to pain myself
I guess I can plead good intentions
but I needn’t tell you about good intentions
and the road to hell
I’ve often wondered: did you yourself intend
when you got it all going
that to live would be so complicated
to find a way in the world so hazardous?
did you have any idea at all
that living would involve such confusion
and such heartbreak?
I can’t be sure any of this will mean much to you
I can’t even be sure that your exist
as more than a figment of my own mysterious psyche
it’s a risk to open up to you
who knows, I may be branding myself a terrible fool
but whats not a risk? what’s guaranteed to be foolproof?
so here I am again
praying for some modest bravery
so that I can go on saying to you: here
I am again

Friday, November 12, 2010

864. Candles - C. P. Cavafy

Translated from the Greek by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard

Days to come stand in front of us
like a row of lighted candles—
golden, warm, and vivid candles.

Days gone by fall behind us,
a gloomy line of snuffed-out candles;
the nearest are smoking still,
cold, melted, and bent.

I don’t want to look at them: their shape saddens me,
and it saddens me to remember their original light.
I look ahead at my lighted candles.

I don’t want to turn for fear of seeing, terrified,
how quickly that dark line gets longer,
how quickly the snuffed-out candles proliferate.

Friday, November 05, 2010

863. The Laboratory - Wislawa Szymborska

Translated by Walter Whipple

Did it all
happen in the laboratory?
Beneath one lamp by day
and billions by night?

Are we a trial generation?
Poured from one beaker to another,
shaken in retorts,
observed by something more than an eye,
each one individually
taken by forceps?

Or maybe otherwise:
no interventions.
The transformations occur on their own
in accordance with a plan.
The needle draws
the expected zigzags.

Maybe until now there was nothing interesting in us.
The control monitors are seldom switched on,
except when there's a war, and a rather big one at that,
several flights over the lump of clay called Earth,
or significant movements from point A to point B.

Or perhaps thus:
they only have a taste for episodes.
Look! a little girl on a big screen
is sewing a button to her sleeve.

The monitors begin to shriek,
personnel come running in.
Oh, what short of tiny creature
with a little heart beating on the inside!
What graceful dignity
in the way she draws the thread!
Someone calls out in rapture:
Tell the Boss,
and let him come see for himself!