Love For A Hand – Karl Shapiro

Two hands lie still, the hairy and the white,
And soon down ladders of reflected light
The sleepers climb in silence. Gradually
They separate on paths of long ago,
Each winding on his arm the unpleasant clew
That leads, live as a nerve, to memory.

But often when too steep her dream descends,
Perhaps to the grotto where her father bends
To pick her up, the husband wakes as though
He had forgotten something in the house.
Motionless he eyes the room that glows
With the little animals of light that prowl

This way and that. Soft are the beasts of light
But softer still her hand that drifts so white
Upon the whiteness. How like a water-plant
It floats upon the black canal of sleep,
Suspended upward from the distant deep
In pure achievement of its lovely want!

Quietly then he plucks it and it folds
And is again a hand, small as a child’s.
He would revive it but it barely stirs
And so he carries it off a little way
And breaks it open gently. Now he can see
The sweetness of the fruit, his hand eats hers. 

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California Winter – Karl Shapiro

It is winter in California, and outside
Is like the interior of a florist shop: 
A chilled and moisture-laden crop
Of pink camellias lines the path; and what
Rare roses for a banquet or a bride, 
So multitudinous that they seem a glut! 

A line of snails crosses the golf-green lawn
From the rosebushes to the ivy bed; 
An arsenic compound is distributed
For them. The gardener will rake up the shells
And leave in a corner of the patio
The little mound of empty shells, like skulls.

By noon the fog is burnt off by the sun
And the world’s immensest sky opens a page
For the exercise of a future age; 
Now jet planes draw straight lines, parabolas, 
And x’s, which the wind, before they’re done, 
Erases leisurely or pulls to fuzz.

It is winter in the valley of the vine.
The vineyards crucified on stakes suggest
War cemeteries, but the fruit is pressed, 
The redwood vats are brimming in the shed, 
And on the sidings stand tank cars of wine, 
For which bright juice a billion grapes have bled.

And skiers from the snow line driving home
Descend through almond orchards, olive farms.
Fig tree and palm tree – everything that warms
The imagination of the wintertime.
If the walls were older one would think of Rome: 
If the land were stonier one would think of Spain.

But this land grows the oldest living things, 
Trees that were young when Pharoahs ruled the world, 
Trees whose new leaves are only just unfurled.
Beautiful they are not; they oppress the heart
With gigantism and with immortal wings; 
And yet one feels the sumptuousness of this dirt.

It is raining in California, a straight rain
Cleaning the heavy oranges on the bough, 
Filling the gardens till the gardens flow, 
Shining the olives, tiling the gleaming tile, 
Waxing the dark camellia leaves more green, 
Flooding the daylong valleys like the Nile. 

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On Time – John Milton

Fly, envious Time, till thou run out thy race,
Call on the lazy leaden-stepping hours,
Whose speed is but the heavy plummet’s pace;
And glut thyself with what thy womb devours,
Which is no more than what is false and vain,
And merely mortal dross;
So little is our loss,
So little is thy gain.
For when as each thing bad thou hast intombed,
And last of all thy greedy self consumed,
Then long Eternity shall greet our bliss
With an individual kiss,
And Joy shall overtake us like a flood;
When everything that is sincerely good
And perfectly divine,
With truth and peace, and love, shall ever shine
About the supreme throne
Of Him, t’ whose happy-making sight alone
When once our heav’nly-guided soul shall climb,
Then, all this earthly grossness quit,
Attired with stars, we shall forever sit,
Triumphing over Death, and Chance, and thee, O Time. 

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To The Same – John Milton

Cyriack, this three years’ day these eyes, though clear, 
To outward view, of blemish or of a spot, 
Bereft of light, their seeing have forgotten; 
Nor to their idle orbs doth sight appear 
Of sun, or moon, or star, throughout the year,
Or man, or woman. Yet I argue not 
Against Heaven’s hand or will, nor bate a jot 
Of heart or hope, but still, bear up and steer 
Right onward. What supports me, dost thou ask? 
The conscience, friend, to have lost them overplied
In liberty’s defense, my noble task, 
Of which all Europe rings from side to side. 
This thought might lead me through the world’s vain mask 
Content, though blind, had I no better guide. 

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Sanki Tara – Shrawan Mukarung

कसैलाई वास्ता छैन– उसको आगमनको ।

बरु छ–
भर्खरै,
त्यो तरुनी चन्द्रमाको हातबाट एउटा निरीह फूल झरेको
खेतको आकाशलाई सानो झरीको दाग लागेको
धानको बाला थोरै उठेको
लाटोकोसेरो ढिलो उडेको

बरु छ–
भर्खरै,
त्यो बूढो बाजेको धार्मिक श्लोकभित्र सलबलाइरहेको पहेँलो
कामुकता
त्यो मौन इनारबाट आइरहेको मिश्रित पुरुषवीर्य
र आलो बालिका रगतको गन्ध

बरु छ–
भर्खरै,
बिच्किएको बच्छ्यूझैँ सगरलाई चिल्दै
ओलम्पिकबाट आआफ्नो भूमि फर्किरहेका राता हवाईजहाजहरू
र तिनका राता आवेगहरू

कसैलाई वास्ता छैन – उसको आगमनको
तर ऊ,
सन्किरहेकछ, स्वप्नवत् सन्किरहेछ–
भर्खरै,
त्यो पूर्वको पहाडमाथि निस्केको युवाकविजस्तो तारा ।

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Ye Naulo Manchhe – Shrawan Mukarung

ए नौलो मान्छे सुन यो सहरमा तिमी एक्लो छैनौ
बाटो हराएका
माटो गुमाएका
यो ठूलो संसारमा तिमी एक होइनौ

कति छन् यहाँ आफ्नो नाम खोज्दा बेनाम भएका
कति छन् यहाँ अनुहार खोज्दा पग्ली झरेका
ए नौलो मान्छे…

यहाँ छन् हजारौँ दुःखले गलेका मानिसका आँखा
यहीँ छन् हजारौँ मान्छे अटाउने देवताको काख
ए नौलो मान्छे…

तिमीले टेकेको गोलो यो पृथिवी तिम्रो पनि हो
यो धर्ती, यो आकाश अहँ हुँदैहोइन बिर्ता

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Prem Parwa – Shrawan Mukarung

आरुका फूलहरूबाट तपतप झरिरहेका शीतहरू आँखाभरि थापेर
आकाशगङ्गालाई हेर्दा
मेरो राजा !
मैले हजुरलाई देखेँ

बारीको डिलैडिल उफ्रिहिँडेँ मृगझैँ
माथिका यी अँध्यारा पर्वतहरू
तलको त्यो रेलको रित्तो बाटो, नुनिलो आभास…
जम्मै बिर्सिएँ मैले !

मान्छेहरूले वर्षौदेखि पुज्न छाडेको त्यो निरीह मन्दिरलाई
मान्छेहरूले वर्षौदेखि फर्की नहेरेको त्यो नियास्रो द्यौरालीलाई
स्वर्गको लालसामा फेरि
ढोगेँ मैले ।

हजुर आउनुहोला भनेर
अनिदा यी सपनाका चरा र छुङछुङती नाचिरहेको हातका
चुराहरू
मनभित्र त्यसै–त्यसै पोको पारिराखेको सरमलाग्दा के–के, के–के
कुराहरू
यी घरका आशातीत झ्याल–ढोकाहरूलाई
सुम्पिएँ मैले ।
लौ हजुर त झन्–झन् अकासिँदै…?

प्रेम भनेको दृष्टिको अनन्तता पो रहेछ
स्वर्ग भनेको हृदयको उचाइ पो रहेछ
ईश्वर भनेको आफ्नो सबभन्दा प्यारो वस्तु पो रहेछ
वर्षौदेखि बज्न नपाएका यी कुण्ठित घण्टहरूलाई बेस्कन बजाउँदै
चिच्याएँ म–

ए हिँड्दाहिँड्दै निख्रिजाने उकाली–ओराली !
ए बस्दाबस्दै थकाइ मेटिजाने चप्लेटी !
कलिला छाँगा, रुपौला रात
र छुनछुनाउँदा चियाका पातहरू !

कसले भन्छ : यी बतासका झोक्काहरू हाम्रा प्रेमचिह्नहरू
होइनन्
कसले भन्छ : यी दहमा खसेका पातहरू हाम्रा प्रेमपत्रहरू होइनन्
साँघुरो भो मलाई झरीका हारीहरू
साँघुरो भो मलाई सम्झनाका घारीहरू

आरुका फूलहरूबाट तपतप झरिरहेका शीतहरू आँखाभरि थापेर
आकाशगङ्गालाई हेर्दा
मेरो राजा !
मैले हजुरलाई देखेँ ।

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