Saturday, May 3, 2008

Poems from the middle of the night

I love reading poetry in the middle of the night from old books on our bookshelf.
Tonight I am enjoying translations edited by Robert Bly from The Sea and the Honeycomb
A Book of Tiny Poems, A Seventies Press Book.

Robert Bly writes
A poet who writes a short poem is like a man who has found his way through a stone wall into a valley miles long, where he lives. He walks back up the valley, and opens a door in the wall for an instant to show you where the entrance is. The more imaginative readers are able to slip through in the twenty or thirty seconds it takes to read his poem. Those who expect the poet to give them ideas see only a vague movement on the side of the mountain. Before they have turned all the way around to face the poem, the door is closed.


An American Indian Anonymous

Sometimes I go about pitying myself,
and all the time
I am being carried on great winds across the sky.

Chippewa language, adapted froom the translation by Frances Densmore

Translated by Robert Bly:

I look into a dragonfly's eye
and see
the mountains over my shoulder.


The old dog bends his head listening...
I guess the singing
of the earthworms gets to him


Now listen, you watermelons-
if any thieves come-
turn into frogs!


Jose Juan Tablata
The little monkey looks at me...
He wants to tell me something-
that he has forgotten!


The temple bell stops-
but the sound keeps coming
out of the flowers.


Anonymous Pashtun Poet

Call it Romance

Call it romance, call it love,
you did it.
Now pull up the blanket,
I want to sleep.

Translated from the Pashtun by Sadudin Shpoon

No comments:

Post a Comment