Friday, September 09, 2011

878. The Cure At Troy (Excerpt) - Seamus Heaney

Human beings suffer,
they torture one another,
they get hurt and get hard.
No poem or play or song
can fully right a wrong
inflicted or endured.

The innocent in gaols
beat on their bars together.
A hunger-striker's father
stands in the graveyard dumb.
The police widow in veils
faints at the funeral home.

History says, Don't hope
on this side of the grave.
But then, once in a lifetime
the longed for tidal wave
of justice can rise up,
and hope and history rhyme.

So hope for a great sea-change
on the far side of revenge.
Believe that a further shore
is reachable from here.
Believe in miracles
and cures and healing wells.

Call the miracle self-healing:
The utter self-revealing
double-take of feeling.
If there's fire on the mountain
Or lightning and storm
And a god speaks from the sky

That means someone is hearing
the outcry and the birth-cry
of new life at its term.
It means once in a lifetime
That justice can rise up
And hope and history rhyme

Monday, September 05, 2011

877. Dear George Orwell - L. E. Sissman

Dear George Orwell,
I never said farewell.
There was too much going on:
Crabgrass in the lawn
and guests to entertain,
Light bantering with pain
(But wait till later on),
Love nightly come and gone.
But always in the chinks
Of my time (or the bank’s),
I read your books again.
In Schraffts’s or on the run
To my demanding clients,
I read you in the silence
Of the spell you spun.
My dearest Englishman,
My stubborn unmet friend,
Who waited for the end
In perfect pain and love
And walked to his own grave
With a warm wink and wave
To all; who would not pull
The trigger on the bull
Elephant, and who
Seeing his foe undo
His pants across the lines,
Did not blow out his brains;
Who served the Hotel X
As low man, slept in spikes
With tramps, in Rowton Houses
With pavement artists, boozers,
Boys, insomniacs;
Who spat on shams and hacks,
Loved in a raddled flat
Passing trains hooted at,
And died for what we are.
Farewell, Eric Blair.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

876. I Am Trying To Get At Something Utterly Heart-broken - Anne Dillard

Vincent van Gogh, letters, 1873-1890, edited I. Stone, 
translated Johanna van Gogh


	At the end of the road is a small cottage,
	And over all the blue sky.
I am trying to get at something utterly heart-broken.

	The flying birds, the smoking chimneys,
	And that figure loitering below in the yard–
If we do not learn from this, then from what shall we learn?

	The miners go home in the white snow at twilight
These people are quite black. Their houses are small.
The time for making dark studies is short.	

	A patch of brown heath through which a white
	Path leads, and sky just delicately tinged,
	Yet somewhat passionately brushed.
We who try our best to live, why do we not live more? 


	The branches of poplars and willows rigid like wire.
It may be true that there is no God here,
But there must be one not far off.	

	A studio with a cradle, a baby’s high chair.
Those colors which have no name
Are the real foundation of everything.

	What I want is more beautiful huts far away on the heath.
If we are tired, isn’t it then because
We have already walked a long way?

	The cart with the white horse brings
	a wounded man home from the mines.
Bistre and bitumen, well applied,
Make the colouring ripe and mellow and generous.


	A ploughed field with clods of violet earth;
	Over all a yellow sky with a yellow sun.
So there is every moment something that moves one intensely.

	A bluish-grey line of trees with a few roofs.
I simply could not restrain myself or keep
My hands off it or allow myself to rest.

	A mother with her child, in the shadow
	Of a large tree against the dune.
To say how many green-greys there are is impossible.

	I love so much, so very much, the effect
	Of yellow leaves against green trunks.
This is not a thing that I have sought,
But has come across my path and I have seized it.