Between the computer, a pencil, and a typewriter
half my day passes. One day it will be half a century.
I live in strange cities and sometimes talk
with strangers about matters strange to me.
I listen to music a lot: Bach, Mahler, Chopin, Shostakovich.
I see three elements in music: weakness, power, and pain.
The fourth has no name.
I read poets, living and dead, who teach me
tenacity, faith, and pride. I try to understand
the great philosophers–but usually catch just
scraps of their precious thoughts.
I like to take long walks on Paris streets
and watch my fellow creatures, quickened by envy,
anger, desire; to trace a silver coin
passing from hand to hand as it slowly
loses its round shape (the emperor’s profile is erased).
Beside me trees expressing nothing
but a green, indifferent perfection.
Black birds pace the fields,
waiting patiently like Spanish widows.
I’m no longer young, but someone else is always older.
I like deep sleep, when I cease to exist,
and fast bike rides on country roads when poplars and houses
dissolve like cumuli on sunny days.
Sometimes in museums the paintings speak to me
and irony suddenly vanishes.
I love gazing at my wife’s face.
Every Sunday I call my father.
Every other week I meet with friends,
thus proving my fidelity.
My country freed itself from one evil. I wish
another liberation would follow.
Could I help in this? I don’t know.
I’m truly not a child of the ocean,
as Antonio Machado wrote about himself,
but a child of air, mint and cello
and not all the ways of the high world
cross paths with the life that–so far–
belongs to me.
by Adam Zagajewski
Ooohhh it is the last day of the A-Z Challenge. Well firstly let me congratulate all those who made it till the end (all 26 posts in April) and also all those who participated in the challenge. This is my first journey and I must admit it went wonderful by getting to learn a lot of new things, a few new words, reading a few very interesting short stories, listening to old and new songs and also knowing fellow bloggers.
I would like to thank the A-Z Challenger for giving us this wonderful opportunity. And would also like to thank all my fellow bloggers for supporting and encouraging me for successfully finishing this challenge.
Fair is my dove, my loved one,
None can with her compare:
Yea, comely as Jerusalem,
Like unto Tirzah fair.
Shall she in tents unstable
A wanderer abide,
While in my heart awaits her
A dwelling deep and wide?
The magic of her beauty
Has stolen my heart away:
Not Egypt’s wise enchanters
Held half such wondrous sway.
Even as the changing opal
In varying luster glows,
Her face at every moment
New charms and sweetness shows.
White lilies and red roses
There blossom on one stem:
Her lips of crimson berries
Tempt mine to gather them.
By dusky tresses shaded
Her brow gleams fair and pale,
Like to the sun at twilight,
Behind a cloudy veil.
Her beauty shames the day-star,
And makes the darkness light:
Day in her radiant presence
Grows seven times more bright.
This is a lonely lover!
Come, fair one, to his side,
That happy be together
The bridegroom and the bride!
The hour of love approaches
That shall make one of twain:
Soon may be thus united
All Israel’s hosts again!
by Yehudah HaLevi
Saying Good-bye to Cambridge Again
Very quietly I take my leave,
As quietly as I came here;
Quietly I wave good-bye,
To the rosy clouds in the western sky.
The golden willows by the riverside,
Are young brides in the setting sun;
Their reflections on the shimmering waves,
Always linger in the depth of my heart.
The floating heart growing in the sludge,
Sways leisurely under the water;
In the gentle waves of Cambridge,
I would be a water plant!
That pool under the shade of elm trees,
Holds not water but the rainbow from the sky;
Shattered to pieces among the duckweeds,
Is the sediment of a rainbow-like dream.
To seek a dream? Just to pole a boat upstream,
To where the green grass is more verdant;
Or to have the boat fully loaded with starlight,
And sing aloud in the splendor of starlight.
But I cannot sing aloud,
Quietness is my farewell music;
Even summer insects keep silence for me,
Silent is Cambridge tonight!
Very quietly I take my leave,
As quietly as I came here;
Gently I flick my sleeves,
Not even a wisp of cloud will I bring away.
by Xu Zhimo
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed–and gazed–but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
by William Wordsworth
And so it ends
And so it ends,
We who were lovers may be friends.
I have some weeks in which to steel
My heart and teach myself to feel
Only a sober tenderness
Where once was passion’s loveliness.
I had not thought that there would come
Your touch to make our music dumb,
Your meeting touch upon the string
That still was vibrant, still could sing
When I impatiently might wait
Or parted from you at the gate.
You took me weak and unprepared.
I had not thought that you who shared
My days, my nights, my heart, my life,
Would slash me with a naked knife
And gently tell me not to bleed
But to accept your crazy creed.
You speak of God, but you have cut
The one last thread, as you have shut
The one last door that open stood
To show me still the way to God.
If this be God, this pain, this evil,
I’d sooner change and try the Devil.
Darling, I thought of nothing mean;
I thought of killing straight and clean.
You’re safe; that’s gone, that wild caprice,
But tell me once before I cease,
Which does your Church esteem the kinder role,
To kill the body or destroy the soul?
by Victoria Sackville-West
A Practical Mom
Can go to Bible study every Sunday
and swear she’s still not convinced,
but she likes to be around people who are.
We have the same conversation
every few years—I’ll ask her if she stops
to admire the perfect leaves
of the Japanese maple
she waters in her backyard,
or tell her how I can gaze for hours
at a desert sky and know this
as divine. Nature, she says,
doesn’t hold her interest. Not nearly
as much as the greens, pinks, and grays
of a Diebenkorn abstract, or the antique
Tiffany lamp she finds in San Francisco.
She spends hours with her vegetables,
tasting the tomatoes she’s picked that morning
or checking to see which radishes are big enough to pull.
Lately everything she touches bears fruit,
from new-green string beans to winning
by Amy Uyematsu
Attentive eyes, fantastic heed,
Assessing minds, he does not need,
Nor urgent writs to sup or dine,
Nor pledges in the roseate wine.
For loud acclaim he does not care
By the august or rich or fair,
Nor for smart pilgrims from afar,
Curious on where his hauntings are.
But soon or later, when you hear
That he has doffed this wrinkled gear,
Some evening, at the first star-ray,
Come to his graveside, pause and say:
‘Whatever his message his to tell
Two thoughtful women loved him well.’
Stand and say that amid the dim:
It will be praise enough for him.
by Thomas Hardy