Epilogue – Naseer Ahmed Nasir

Having forsaken all paths open to me

I come to you

Always.

And when for a while I am with you

I go beyond myself for eons

In measuring the distance of a single word.

I exhaust the breath count

Of my vanquished life-span

In the midst of your victorious centuries.

The single moment with you

Which becomes the digit of my fate

Remains deprived of any count.
The seasons exhaust all their four guise-embodiments

And snows of uncounted millenia

Continue piling up in heaps

On the poles

From beginning to the end of time

While you sit near the fireplace

Soaking yourself in the warmth

Of a tete-a-tete.
The horizons of this room

Like your love

Are indeed vast

But my uprooted feet

Can’t find their footing in space

And I perforce

Seek reincarnation again and again

Each time I loose my life’s dream

In your eyes.
This time (however) 

I ‘ ve nothing to loose or gain

No great battles remain to be fought

All I wish is

To die the last time

Living the remainder of my life. 

Dreams Lost in Water – Naseer Ahmed Nasir 

No distance ever separates

Dreams and desires

No mirror ever dissolves

Reflection and water

In one’s eye

What graph would you make

Of lines of thought? 

The triangle of pain

Is without any angle
Countless races

Have dreams alike

But sleep and night-watch

Are never the same! 
Names are forgotten

Codes alone come to mind

In nuclear setups
Dreams of radiant generations

Are smitten

By atomic explosions

Cities sink

Nuclei dissipate

Orbits dwindle

What remains 

Are terra and sol

In the dance of death

God is a casualty.
A moment of brightness

In a light year

Breaking into smithereens

In a million eons

An accident – yes

But not an event 

History is continuity

Broken once 

Telescopic eyes, tired out, give up

Their distance watching

Lost planets

Bygone epoches

Have no interposition.
Who will look for

Flowers

In spring-fresh hands

Of tiny tots? 

Who will see

Dreams

In eyes-yours and mine

In centuries to be? 

No one is sure

Of things lost in water! 

Should Lanterns Shine – Dylan Thomas

Should lanterns shine, the holy face,

Caught in an octagon of unaccustomed light,

Would wither up, an any boy of love

Look twice before he fell from grace.

The features in their private dark

Are formed of flesh, but let the false day come

And from her lips the faded pigments fall,

The mummy cloths expose an ancient breast.
I have been told to reason by the heart,

But heart, like head, leads helplessly;

I have been told to reason by the pulse,

And, when it quickens, alter the actions’ pace

Till field and roof lie level and the same

So fast I move defying time, the quiet gentleman

Whose beard wags in Egyptian wind.
I have heard may years of telling,

And many years should see some change.
The ball I threw while playing in the park

Has not yet reached the ground. 

Poem In October – Dylan Thomas

It was my thirtieth year to heaven

Woke to my hearing from harbour and neighbour wood

And the mussel pooled and the heron

Priested shore

The morning beckon

With water praying and call of seagull and rook

And the knock of sailing boats on the net webbed wall

Myself to set foot

That second

In the still sleeping town and set forth.
My birthday began with the water-

Birds and the birds of the winged trees flying my name

Above the farms and the white horses

And I rose

In rainy autumn

And walked abroad in a shower of all my days.

High tide and the heron dived when I took the road

Over the border

And the gates

Of the town closed as the town awoke.
A springful of larks in a rolling

Cloud and the roadside bushes brimming with whistling

Blackbirds and the sun of October

Summery

On the hill’s shoulder,

Here were fond climates and sweet singers suddenly

Come in the morning where I wandered and listened

To the rain wringing

Wind blow cold

In the wood faraway under me.
Pale rain over the dwindling harbour

And over the sea wet church the size of a snail

With its horns through mist and the castle

Brown as owls

But all the gardens

Of spring and summer were blooming in the tall tales

Beyond the border and under the lark full cloud.

There could I marvel

My birthday

Away but the weather turned around.
It turned away from the blithe country

And down the other air and the blue altered sky

Streamed again a wonder of summer

With apples

Pears and red currants

And I saw in the turning so clearly a child’s

Forgotten mornings when he walked with his mother

Through the parables

Of sun light

And the legends of the green chapels
And the twice told fields of infancy

That his tears burned my cheeks and his heart moved in mine.

These were the woods the river and sea

Where a boy

In the listening

Summertime of the dead whispered the truth of his joy

To the trees and the stones and the fish in the tide.

And the mystery

Sang alive

Still in the water and singingbirds.
And there could I marvel my birthday

Away but the weather turned around. And the true

Joy of the long dead child sang burning

In the sun.

It was my thirtieth

Year to heaven stood there then in the summer noon

Though the town below lay leaved with October blood.

O may my heart’s truth

Still be sung

On this high hill in a year’s turning. 

Psalm 18 Part 3 – Isaac Watts

v.30,31,34,35,46-50 L. M.

Rejoicing in God.
Just are thy ways, and true thy word,

Great Rock of my secure abode:

Who is a God beside the Lord?

Or where’s a refuge like our God?
‘Tis he that girds me with his might,

Gives me his holy sword to wield,

And while with sin and hell I fight,

Spreads his salvation for my shield.
He lives, and blessed be my Rock!

The God of my salvation lives:

The dark designs of hell are broke;

Sweet is the peace my Father gives.
Before the scoffers of the age

I will exalt my Father’s name,

Nor tremble at their mighty rage,

But meet reproach, and bear the shame.
To David and his royal seed

Thy grace for ever shall extend;

Thy love to saints in Christ their Head

Knows not a limit, nor an end. 

Psalm 18 Part 2 – Isaac Watts

v.20-26 L. M.

Sincerity proved and rewarded.
Lord, thou hast seen my soul sincere,

Hast made thy truth and love appear;

Before mine eyes I set thy laws,

And thou hast owned my righteous cause.
Since I have learned thy holy ways,

I’ve walked upright before thy face;

Or if my feet did e’er depart,

‘Twas never with a wicked heart.
What sore temptations broke my rest!

What wars and strugglings in my breast!

But through thy grace, that reigns within,

I guard against my darling sin:
That sin which close besets me still,

That works and strives against my will:

When shall thy Spirit’s sovereign power

Destroy it, that it rise no more?
[With an impartial hand, the Lord

Deals out to mortals their reward;

The kind and faithful souls shall find

A God as faithful and as kind.
The just and pure shall ever say,

Thou art more pure, more just than they;

And men that love revenge shall know

God hath an arm of vengeance too.] 

Psalm 18 Part 1 – Isaac Watts

v.1-6,15-18 L. M.

Deliverance from despair.
Thee will I love, O Lord, my strength,

My rock, my tower, my high defence:

Thy mighty arm shall be my trust,

For I have found salvation thence.
Death, and the terrors of the grave,

Stood round me with their dismal shade;

While floods of high temptations rose,

And made my sinking soul afraid.
I saw the op’ning gates of hell,

With endless pains and sorrows there,

Which none but they that feel can tell;

While I was hurried to despair.
In my distress I called my God,

When I could scarce believe him mine:

He bowed his ear to my complaint,

Then did his grace appear divine.
With speed he flew to my relief,

As on a cherub’s wing he rode;

Awful and bright as lightning shone

The face of my deliverer, God.
Temptations fled at his rebuke,

The blast of his almighty breath;

He sent salvation from on high,

And drew me from the deeps of death.
Great were my fears, my foes were great,

Much was their strength, and more their rage;

But Christ, my Lord, is conqueror still,

In all the wars that devils wage.
My song for ever shall record

That terrible, that joyful hour;

And give the glory to the Lord,

Due to his mercy and his power 

Psalm 17 – Isaac Watts

v.13-15 S. M.

Portion of saints and sinners.
Arise, my gracious God,

And make the wicked flee;

They are but thy chastising rod,

To drive thy saints to thee.
Behold, the sinner dies,

His haughty words are vain;

Here in this life his pleasure lies,

And all beyond is pain.
Then let his pride advance,

And boast of all his store;

The Lord is my inheritance,

My soul can wish no more.
I shall behold the face

Of my forgiving God;

And stand complete in righteousness,

Washed in my Savior’s blood.
There’s a new heav’n begun,

When I awake from death,

Dressed in the likeness of thy Son,

And draw immortal breath.

Psalm  16 Part 3 – Isaac Watts

Courage in death, and hope of the resurrection.
When God is nigh, my faith is strong;

His arm is my almighty prop:

Be glad, my heart; rejoice, my tongue;

My dying flesh shall rest in hope.
Though in the dust I lay my head,

Yet, gracious God, thou wilt not leave

My soul for ever with the dead,

Nor lose thy children in the grave.
My flesh shall thy first call obey,

Shake off the dust, and rise on high;

Then shalt thou lead the wondrous way

Up to thy throne above the sky.
There streams of endless pleasure flow;

And full discoveries of thy grace

(Which we but tasted here below)

Spread heav’nly joys through all the place. 

Lenten Poems –  Ashes To Ashes 

A Cross on my forehead, in ash, 

reminds me of where I will be; 

when the years pass by in a flash, 

I’ll return to the earth, naturally.
The ways of the world are a veil, 

that seek to berate and to hate; 

that aim to destroy and assail, 

but that too will disintegrate.
And truth will triumph in the end, 

in all its pure glory and might; 

And we will all learn to transcend, 

the grief and the fear of the night.
So, remember, reflect and repent, 

for this precious time is Lent… 

Roann Mendriq

Leaving Leaves – Roann Mendriq

When leaves leave loving Mother tree, 

how wistful sad that tree must be; 

Like when a child is going away, 

unseen, unheard until one day, 

when then again he’ll be come around, 

to enamour all with his sweet sound

of constant talk, angelic laughter, 

that lingers on for ever after.

Leaves they fall down to the ground, 

to meet the earth where they are found

by little birds who line a nest

in Mother tree, wherein they rest.

Returned to her, for evermore, 

nestling within her own heartstore.
And so it is, I do believe…

To love and live, we have to leave. 

कविता – पिएर त हेर

‘मैले पिएकोमा रिसाएका साथीहरु
पिएर त हेर, पिउन झन् गाह्रो छ ।
मरेर शहीद हुनेहरु
जिएर त हेर, जिउन झन् गाह्रो छ !!’

कविता – चिसो आस्त्रे

यहाँ जो आउँछन्
मुटुभरि आगो, ओठभरि ज्वाला बोकेर आउँछन्
यहाँ जो बस्छन्
हत्केलाभरि खरानी र आँखाभरि धुवाँ बोकेर बस्छन्
र यहाँबाट जो जान्छन्
पोल्टाभरि निभेका विस्वासहरु र सपनाहरु सोहोरेर जान्छन्
यस्तो छ यो चारभञ्ज्याङ् खाल्टो
एउटा चिसो एष्ट्रे जस्तो छ
यो चारभञ्ज्याङ् खाल्टो

Lantern In A Soul – Roann Mendriq

 
Love lights the lantern in a soul, 

Laughter keeps it beaming bright; 

Lightheartedness heals it whole, 

Life’s journey is well poised for flight. 
But when love is lost, all laughter dies, 

Grief snuffs out every little spark; 

Darkness circles tearful eyes, 

To leave a lasting scarring mark. 
Then the lantern in a soul grows weak, 

No hopeful flicker gleams and glows; 

The flare of fun grows darkly bleak, 

With wicked, weeping, wailing woes. 
Light your lantern, guard its glow, 

And light will lead you where you go. 

Indian Summer – Roann Mendriq

A neon sun, in furnace sky, 

Fiercely brilliant, harshly stark; 

Blazing whitehot, burning high, 

Sweltering sultry, stubbon spark. 
Grasses wilt beneath the glare, 

withering with one fiery glance; 

Defying wildflowers, with a dare, 

to start their annual summer dance. 
Heat saps the earth with gasping breath, 

along the dried and dusty path; 

Where thirsty sparrows cheating death, 

revell in a dry mud-bath. 
Scorching waves with no respite, 

Beware an Indian Summer’s smite. 

India: Land Divine – Roann Mendriq

A land of beauty, land divine, 

All the world’s beloved shrine; 

Wisdom from beyond the ages, 

Ruled by Kings and holy sages.
Soaked in sun’s resplendent rays, 

Chanting bhajans (hymns of praise): 

Washed by monsoons; fresh and pure, 

Cleanst by healings’ mystic cure.
Land of Lions, Kings of beasts, 

dining on Ma nature’s feasts; 

Land of verdant speaking trees, 

Steeped in yogic mysteries.
Land conquered and divided still, 

All according to one’s fickle will; 

Land of the poorest of the poor, 

But rich with treasured souls aglow.
Land of golden deserts wide, 

Dazzling with heritage pride; 

Land of gardens; fragrant teas, 

Land of oceans and silver seas.
Backwaters of the lush, green south, 

feeding from the river’s mouth; 

Crowned with mountains at the north, 

whence holy rivers doth springforth.
Blessed India, God’s own land, 

handcrafted by His holy hand. 

The Son In Old Age – Victor Marie Hugo

Thy noble face, Regina, calls to mind

My poor lost little one, my latest born.

He was a gift from God–a sign of pardon–

That child vouchsafed me in my eightieth year!

I to his little cradle went, and went,

And even while ’twas sleeping, talked to it.

For when one’s very old, one is a child!

Then took it up and placed it on my knees,

And with both hands stroked down its soft, light hair–

Thou wert not born then–and he would stammer

Those pretty little sounds that make one smile!

And though not twelve months old, he had a mind.

He recognized me–nay, knew me right well,

And in my face would laugh–and that child-laugh,

Oh, poor old man! ’twas sunlight to my heart.

I meant him for a soldier, ay, a conqueror,

And named him George. One day–oh, bitter thought!

The child played in the fields. When thou art mother,

Ne’er let thy children out of sight to play!

The gypsies took him from me–oh, for what?

Perhaps to kill him at a witch’s rite.

I weep!–now, after twenty years–I weep

As if ’twere yesterday. I loved him so!

I used to call him ‘my own little king!’

I was intoxicated with my joy

When o’er my white beard ran his rosy hands,

Thrilling me all through. 

The Old & The Young Bridgegroom – Victor Marie Hugo

[HERNANI, Act I.]

Listen. The man for whom your youth is destined,

Your uncle, Ruy de Silva, is the Duke

Of Pastrana, Count of Castile and Aragon.

For lack of youth, he brings you, dearest girl,

Treasures of gold, jewels, and precious gems,

With which your brow might outshine royalty;

And for rank, pride, splendor, and opulence,

Might many a queen be envious of his duchess!

Here is one picture. I am poor; my youth

I passed i’ the woods, a barefoot fugitive.

My shield, perchance, may bear some noble blazons

Spotted with blood, defaced though not dishonored.

Perchance I, too, have rights, now veiled in darkness,–

Rights, which the heavy drapery of the scaffold

Now hides beneath its black and ample folds;

Rights which, if my intent deceive me not,

My sword shall one day rescue. To be brief:–

I have received from churlish Fortune nothing

But air, light, water,–Nature’s general boon.

Choose, then, between us two, for you must choose;–

Say, will you wed the duke, or follow me?
DONNA SOL. I’ll follow you.
HERN. What, ‘mongst my rude companions,

Whose names are registered in the hangman’s book?

Whose hearts are ever eager as their swords,

Edged by a personal impulse of revenge?

Will you become the queen, dear, of my band?

Will you become a hunted outlaw’s bride?

When all Spain else pursued and banished me,–

In her proud forests and air-piercing mountains,

And rocks the lordly eagle only knew,

Old Catalonia took me to her bosom.

Among her mountaineers, free, poor, and brave,

I ripened into manhood, and, to-morrow,

One blast upon my horn, among her hills,

Would draw three thousand of her sons around me.

You shudder,–think upon it. Will you tread

The shores, woods, mountains, with me, among men

Like the dark spirits of your haunted dreams,–

Suspect all eyes, all voices, every footstep,–

Sleep on the grass, drink of the torrent, hear

By night the sharp hiss of the musket-ball

Whistling too near your ear,–a fugitive

Proscribed, and doomed mayhap to follow me

In the path leading to my father’s scaffold?
DONNA SOL. I’ll follow you.
HERN. This duke is rich, great, prosperous,

No blot attaches to his ancient name.

He is all-powerful. He offers you

His treasures, titles, honors, with his hand.
DONNA SOL. We will depart to-morrow. Do not blame

What may appear a most unwomanly boldness. 

Once Below A Time – Dylan Thomas

I
Once below a time,

When my pinned-around-the-spirit

Cut-to-measure flesh bit,

Suit for a serial sum

On the first of each hardship,

My paid-for slaved-for own too late

In love torn breeches and blistered jacket

On the snapping rims of the ashpit,

In grottoes I worked with birds,

Spiked with a mastiff collar,

Tasselled in cellar and snipping shop

Or decked on a cloud swallower,
Then swift from a bursting sea with bottlecork boats

And out-of-perspective sailors,

In common clay clothes disguised as scales,

As a he-god’s paddling water skirts,

I astounded the sitting tailors,

I set back the clock faced tailors,

Then, bushily swanked in bear wig and tails,

Hopping hot leaved and feathered

From the kangaroo foot of the earth,

From the chill, silent centre

Trailing the frost bitten cloth,

Up through the lubber crust of Wales

I rocketed to astonish

The flashing needle rock of squatters,

The criers of Shabby and Shorten,

The famous stitch droppers.

II
My silly suit, hardly yet suffered for,

Around some coffin carrying

Birdman or told ghost I hung.

And the owl hood, the heel hider,

Claw fold and hole for the rotten

Head, deceived, I believed, my maker,
The cloud perched tailors’ master with nerves for cotton.

On the old seas from stories, thrashing my wings,

Combing with antlers, Columbus on fire,

I was pierced by the idol tailor’s eyes,

Glared through shark mask and navigating head,

Cold Nansen’s beak on a boat full of gongs,
To the boy of common thread,

The bright pretender, the ridiculous sea dandy

With dry flesh and earth for adorning and bed.

It was sweet to drown in the readymade handy water

With my cherry capped dangler green as seaweed

Summoning a child’s voice from a webfoot stone,

Never never oh never to regret the bugle I wore

On my cleaving arm as I blasted in a wave.

Now shown and mostly bare I would lie down,

Lie down, lie down and live

As quiet as a bone. 

On the Marriage of a Virgin – Dylan Thomas

Waking alone in a multitude of loves when morning’s light

Surprised in the opening of her nightlong eyes

His golden yesterday asleep upon the iris

And this day’s sun leapt up the sky out of her thighs

Was miraculous virginity old as loaves and fishes,

Though the moment of a miracle is unending lightning

And the shipyards of Galilee’s footprints hide a navy of doves.
No longer will the vibrations of the sun desire on

Her deepsea pillow where once she married alone,

Her heart all ears and eyes, lips catching the avalanche

Of the golden ghost who ringed with his streams her mercury bone,

Who under the lids of her windows hoisted his golden luggage,

For a man sleeps where fire leapt down and she learns through his arm

That other sun, the jealous coursing of the unrivalled blood. 

The Fruitfulness Of The Locust – Confucius

Ye locusts, winged tribes,

Gather in concord fine;

Well your descendants may

In numerous bright hosts shine!
Ye locusts, winged tribes,

Your wings in flight resound;

Well your descendants may

In endless lines be found!
Ye locusts, winged tribes,

Together cluster strong;

Well your descendants may

In swarms forever throng!

The Earl of Shaou’s work -Confucius

As the young millet, by the genial rain

Enriched, shoots up luxuriant and tall,

So, when we southward marched with toil and pain,

The Earl of Shaou cheered and inspired us all.
We pushed our barrows, and our burdens bore;

We drove our wagons, and our oxen led.

‘The work once done, our labor there is o’er,

And home we travel,’ to ourselves we said.
Close kept our footmen round the chariot track;

Our eager host in close battalions sped.

‘When once our work is done, then we go back,

Our labor over,’ to themselves they said.
Hard was the work we had at Seay to do,

But Shaou’s great earl the city soon upreared.

The host its service gave with ardor true;–

Such power in all the earl’s commands appeared!
We did on plains and low lands what was meet;

We cleared the springs and streams, the land to drain.

The Earl of Shaou announced his work complete,

And the King’s heart reposed, at rest again. 

The Drawbacks Of Poverty – Confucius

On the left of the way, a russet pear-tree

Stands there all alone–a fit image of me.

There is that princely man! O that he would come,

And in my poor dwelling with me be at home!

In the core of my heart do I love him, but say,

Whence shall I procure him the wants of the day?
At the bend in the way a russet pear-tree

Stands there all alone–a fit image of me.

There is that princely man! O that he would come,

And rambling with me be himself here at home!

In the core of my heart I love him, but say,

Whence shall I procure him the wants of the day? 

The Disappointed Lover – Confucius

Where grow the willows near the eastern gate,

And ‘neath their leafy shade we could recline,

She said at evening she would me await,

And brightly now I see the day-star shine!
Here where the willows near the eastern gate

Grow, and their dense leaves make a shady gloom,

She said at evening she would me await.

See now the morning star the sky illume! 

Liebestod – Dorothy Parker

When I was bold, when I was bold-

And that’s a hundred years!-

Oh, never I thought my breast could hold

The terrible weight of tears.
I said: “Now some be dolorous;

I hear them wail and sigh,

And if it be Love that play them thus,

Then never a love will I.”
I said: “I see them rack and rue,

I see them wring and ache,

And little I’ll crack my heart in two

With little the heart can break.”
When I was gay, when I was gay-

It’s ninety years and nine!-

Oh, never I thought that Death could lay

His terrible hand in mine.
I said: “He plies his trade among

The musty and infirm;

A body so hard and bright and young

Could never be meat for worm.”
“I see him dull their eyes,” I said,

“And still their rattling breath.

And how under God could I be dead

That never was meant for Death?”
But Love came by, to quench my sleep,

And here’s my sundered heart;

And bitter’s my woe, and black, and deep,

And little I guessed a part.
Yet this there is to cool my breast,

And this to ease my spell;

Now if I were Love’s, like all the rest,

Then can I be Death’s, as well.
And he shall have me, sworn and bound,

And I’ll be done with Love.

And better I’ll be below the ground

Than ever I’ll be above. 

Landscape – Dorothy Parker

Now this must be the sweetest place

From here to heaven’s end;

The field is white and flowering lace,

The birches leap and bend,

The hills, beneath the roving sun,

From green to purple pass,

And little, trifling breezes run

Their fingers through the grass.

So good it is, so gay it is,

So calm it is, and pure.

A one whose eyes may look on this

Must be the happier, sure.

But me- I see it flat and gray

And blurred with misery,

Because a lad a mile away

Has little need of me. 

One Perfect Rose – Dorothy Parker

A single flow’r he sent me, since we met.All tenderly his messenger he chose;

Deep-hearted, pure, with scented dew still wet –

One perfect rose.
I knew the language of the floweret;

‘My fragile leaves,’ it said, ‘his heart enclose.’

Love long has taken for his amulet

One perfect rose.
Why is it no one ever sent me yet

One perfect limousine, do you suppose?

Ah no, it’s always just my luck to get

One perfect rose. 

A Certain Lady – Dorothy Parker

Oh, I can smile for you, and tilt my head,

 And drink your rushing words with eager lips, 

And paint my mouth for you a fragrant red, 

And trace your brows with tutored finger-tips. 

When you rehearse your list of loves to me, 

Oh, I can laugh and marvel, rapturous-eyed. 

And you laugh back, nor can you ever see 

The thousand little deaths my heart has died. 

And you believe, so well I know my part, 

That I am gay as morning, light as snow, 

And all the straining things within my heart 

You’ll never know. 
Oh, I can laugh and listen, when we meet, 

And you bring tales of fresh adventurings, — 

Of ladies delicately indiscreet, 

Of lingering hands, and gently whispered things. 

And you are pleased with me, and strive anew 

To sing me sagas of your late delights. 

Thus do you want me — marveling, gay, and true, 

Nor do you see my staring eyes of nights. 

And when, in search of novelty, you stray, 

Oh, I can kiss you blithely as you go …. 

And what goes on, my love, while you’re away, 

You’ll never know. 

A Dream Lies Dead – Dorothy Parker

A dream lies dead here. May you softly go

Before this place, and turn away your eyes, 

Nor seek to know the look of that which dies 

Importuning Life for life. Walk not in woe, 

But, for a little, let your step be slow. 

And, of your mercy, be not sweetly wise 

With words of hope and Spring and tenderer skies. 

A dream lies dead; and this all mourners know: 
Whenever one drifted petal leaves the tree- 

Though white of bloom as it had been before 

And proudly waitful of fecundity- 

One little loveliness can be no more; 

And so must Beauty bow her imperfect head 

Because a dream has joined the wistful dead! 

Leave Me A Place  – Pablo Neruda

Leave me a place underground, a labyrinth,where I can go, when I wish to turn,

without eyes, without touch,

in the void, to dumb stone,

or the finger of shadow.
I know that you cannot, no one, no thing

can deliver up that place, or that path,

but what can I do with my pitiful passions,

if they are no use, on the surface

of everyday life,

if I cannot look to survive,

except by dying, going beyond, entering

into the state, metallic and slumbering, 

of primeval flame? 

Leaning Into The Gardens – Pablo Neruda

Leaning into the afternoons I cast my sad net

towards your oceanic eyes.
There in the highest blaze my solitude lengthens and flames,

its arms turning like a drowning man’s.
I send out red signals across your absent eyes

that smell like the sea or the beach by a lighthouse.
You keep only darkness, my distant female,

from your regard sometimes the coast of dread emerges.
Leaning into the afternoons I fling my sad nets

to that sea that is thrashed by your oceanic eyes.
The birds of night peck at the first stars

that flash like my soul when I love you.
The night gallops on its shadowy mare

shedding blue tassels over the land. 

It’s Good To Feel You Are Close To Me – Pablo Neruda

It’s good to feel you are close to me in the night, love,

invisible in your sleep, intently nocturnal,

while I untangle my worries

as if they were twisted nets.

Withdrawn, your heart sails through dream,

but your body, relinquished so, breathes

seeking me without seeing me perfecting my dream

like a plant that seeds itself in the dark.

Rising, you will be that other, alive in the dawn,

but from the frontiers lost in the night,

from the presence and the absence where we meet ourselves,

something remains, drawing us into the light of life

as if the sign of the shadows had sealed

its secret creatures with flame. 

In You The Earth – Pablo Neruda

Little

rose,

roselet,

at times,

tiny and naked,

it seems

as though you would fit

in one of my hands,

as though I’ll clasp you like this

and carry you to my mouth,

but

suddenly

my feet touch your feet and my mouth your lips:

you have grown,

your shoulders rise like two hills,

your breasts wander over my breast,

my arm scarcely manages to encircle the thin

new-moon line of your waist:

in love you loosened yourself like sea water:

I can scarcely measure the sky’s most spacious eyes

and I lean down to your mouth to kiss the earth. 

In My Sky At Twilight – Pablo Neruda

In my sky at twilight you are like a cloud

and your form and colour are the way I love them.

You are mine, mine, woman with sweet lips

and in your life my infinite dreams live.
The lamp of my soul dyes your feet,

the sour wine is sweeter on your lips,

oh reaper of my evening song,

how solitary dreams believe you to be mine!
You are mine, mine, I go shouting it to the afternoon’s

wind, and the wind hauls on my widowed voice.

Huntress of the depth of my eyes, your plunder

stills your nocturnal regard as though it were water.
You are taken in the net of my music, my love,

and my nets of music are wide as the sky.

My soul is born on the shore of your eyes of mourning.

In your eyes of mourning the land of dreams begin. 

I’M Explaining A Few Things – Pablo Neruda

You are going to ask: and where are the lilacs?

and the poppy-petalled metaphysics?

and the rain repeatedly spattering

its words and drilling them full

of apertures and birds?

I’ll tell you all the news.
I lived in a suburb,

a suburb of Madrid, with bells,

and clocks, and trees.
From there you could look out

over Castille’s dry face:

a leather ocean.

My house was called

the house of flowers, because in every cranny

geraniums burst: it was

a good-looking house

with its dogs and children.

Remember, Raul?

Eh, Rafel? Federico, do you remember

from under the ground

my balconies on which

the light of June drowned flowers in your mouth?

Brother, my brother!

Everything

loud with big voices, the salt of merchandises,

pile-ups of palpitating bread,

the stalls of my suburb of Arguelles with its statue

like a drained inkwell in a swirl of hake:

oil flowed into spoons,

a deep baying

of feet and hands swelled in the streets,

metres, litres, the sharp

measure of life,

stacked-up fish,

the texture of roofs with a cold sun in which

the weather vane falters,

the fine, frenzied ivory of potatoes,

wave on wave of tomatoes rolling down the sea.
And one morning all that was burning,

one morning the bonfires

leapt out of the earth

devouring human beings —

and from then on fire,

gunpowder from then on,

and from then on blood.

Bandits with planes and Moors,

bandits with finger-rings and duchesses,

bandits with black friars spattering blessings

came through the sky to kill children

and the blood of children ran through the streets

without fuss, like children’s blood.
Jackals that the jackals would despise,

stones that the dry thistle would bite on and spit out,

vipers that the vipers would abominate!
Face to face with you I have seen the blood

of Spain tower like a tide

to drown you in one wave

of pride and knives!
Treacherous

generals:

see my dead house,

look at broken Spain :

from every house burning metal flows

instead of flowers,

from every socket of Spain

Spain emerges

and from every dead child a rifle with eyes,

and from every crime bullets are born

which will one day find

the bull’s eye of your hearts.
And you’ll ask: why doesn’t his poetry

speak of dreams and leaves

and the great volcanoes of his native land?
Come and see the blood in the streets.

Come and see

The blood in the streets.

Come and see the blood

In the streets! 

And They Don’t Ask – Mahmoud Darwish

And they don’t ask: What comes after death? 

Though more intimate with the book of Paradise 

than with accounts of the earth, they’re preoccupied 

with another question: What shall we do 

before this death? Near to life, we live 

and we don’t – as if life were parceled out 

from a desert where the haggling gods of property 

settle their disputes. 

We live beside an ancient dust. 

Our lives burden the historian’s night: 

‘Though I make them disappear, they come back to me 

from absence.’ 

Our lives burden the artist: 

‘I draw them and become one of them, veiled in mist.’ 

Our lives burden the General: 

‘How can a ghost still bleed?’ 

We shall be what we want to be. And we want 

a bit of life, not for just anything – but to honor 

the resurrection after our death. 

Unintentionally, they speak the philosopher’s words: 

‘Death means nothing to us: if we are then he isn’t. 

Death means nothing to us: if he is then we are not.’ 

And they have rearranged their dreams 

and sleep standing. 

And We Have Countries – Mahmoud Darwish

And we have countries without borders, like our idea

 of the unknown, narrow and wide – countries whose maps 

narrow to a gray tunnel as we walk in them and cry out 

in their labyrinths: ‘And still we love you.’ 

Our love is an inherited disease. Countries that grow 

by tossing us into the unknown. Their willows 

and portrayals grow, their grasses and blue mountains. 

A lake widens north of the soul. Wheat spikes 

spring up south of the soul. The lemon shines like a lamp 

in an emigrant’s night. Geography emits sacred texts. 

And the ascending chain of hills reaches higher 

and higher. The exile tells himself: ‘If I were a bird 

I would burn my wings.’ The smells of autumn 

become the image of one I love, soft rain seeps 

into the dry heart and imagination opens to its source 

and becomes reality’s terrain, the only true place. 

Everything distant becomes rural and primitive, 

as if the earth were still gathering itself to meet Adam 

descending from his paradise. I say: These are the countries 

that bear us…so when were we born? 

Did Adam take two wives? Or will we be born again 

to forget sin?