Saturday, December 26, 2015

Hymn to Pan - Shelley

FROM the forests and highlands
We come, we come;
From the river-girt islands,
Where loud waves are dumb
Listening to my sweet pipings.
The wind in the reeds and the rushes,
The bees on the bells of thyme,
The birds on the myrtle-bushes,
The cicale above in the lime,
And the lizards below in the grass,
Were as silent as ever old Tmolus was,
Listening to my sweet pipings.

Liquid Peneus was flowing,
And all dark Temple lay
In Pelion's shadow, outgrowing
The light of the dying day,
Speeded by my sweet pipings.
The Sileni and Sylvans and fauns,
And the Nymphs of the woods and wave
To the edge of the moist river-lawns,
And the brink of the dewy caves,
And all that did then attend and follow,
Were silent with love,--as you now, Apollo,
With envy of my sweet pipings.

I sang of the dancing stars,
I sang of the dedal earth,
And of heaven, and the Giant wars,
And love, and death, and birth.
And then I changed my pipings,--
Singing how down the vale of Maenalus
I pursued a maiden, and clasped a reed:
Gods and men, we are all deluded thus;
It breaks in our bosom, and then we bleed.
All wept--as I think both ye now would,
If envy or age had not frozen your blood--
At the sorrow of my sweet pipings. 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Late October by Andrés Cerpa

Read the entire poem here in CiderPressReview, vol. 17, issue 4 [2015]--his work is excellent, very Neruda-style.
Awful & astonishing night will clasp at the leaves; at the coins of a ruined country:
yellow maple; red procession; black branches.
As I move through the park, as I measure, the winter birds bang
their primordial notes. They skitter & lead me home. [...]

D. Moore

Devon Moore has a great piece "Red", in her volume Apology of a girl who is told she is going to Hell. Also read her poem "Burial" here, it's very good. She has quite the mix of Sylvia Plath and Seamus Heaney in her voice. Here's an excerpt from the previous:

I tell you this so that you know: There was once a body
of a woman on the beach, with legs glowing white and the fabric [...]

you could wrap a fist around, a chest of rosebuds, and a pile of adventure 
books by the bed she shared with her sister and all that a lit cigarette
against her skin would later fail to deliver. For a day my mother had 
a new red dress, so pretty, so pretty, all other desired redresses [...]
even when I write red and red and red and red, even when I call
out to her, mother, my voice pummeling through the silver [...]

Early October Snow - Robert Haight

Robert Haight's has an interesting voice -- see another of his poems here, and here's another:

It will not stay. 
But this morning we wake to pale muslin 
stretched across the grass. 
The pumpkins, still in the fields, are planets 
shrouded by clouds. 
The Weber wears a dunce cap 
and sits in the corner by the garage 
where asters wrap scarves 
around their necks to warm their blooms. 
The leaves, still soldered to their branches 
by a frozen drop of dew, splash 
apple and pear paint along the roadsides. 
It seems we have glanced out a window 
into the near future, mid-December, say, 
the black and white photo of winter 
carefully laid over the present autumn, 
like a morning we pause at the mirror 
inspecting the single strand of hair 
that overnight has turned to snow.


"December Sonnet" by Christopher Watkins:

Now the corn mazes truly are frightening;
bedraggled hulking husks of a sinister thinness,
looming and swaying over the tamped-down paths
littered with their fallen hides —
ochre’d in the early winter darkness,
they rustle at the unsympathetic winds,
conspiratorial whispers
interwoven with the harsh hiss of the season.
What child now dares lose themselves
among these rasping ghouls, whose shrouds
come peeling off in leprous strips? What child now
dares enter this maze of death? What child? None!
For what they truly seek is not a fright,
but to be startled by delight.

Snow Man by Wallace Stevens

One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;

And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter

Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,

Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place

For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.

Meng Haoran

Another interesting poem is "Thoughts in early winter" by major Tang dynasty poet Meng Haoran [孟浩然;] [689-740 a.D.] from the Chinese []

Trees shed leaves, and geese are flying south;
The north wind blows, here on the river it's cold.
My home is at the bend of the waters of Xiang,
Far beyond the edge of the clouds of Chu.
Travelling, I've exhausted my tears for home,
I watch a lone sail at the heavens' end.
The ferry's gone- who can I ask where?
Darkness falls beside the level sea.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Shelley, "The Question"

   I dreamed that, as I wandered by the way,
         Bare Winter suddenly was changed to Spring,
And gentle odours led my steps astray,
         Mixed with a sound of waters murmuring
Along a shelving bank of turf, which lay
         Under a copse, and hardly dared to fling
Its green arms round the bosom of the stream,
But kissed it and then fled, as thou mightest in dream.

   There grew pied wind-flowers and violets,
         Daisies, those pearled Arcturi of the earth,
The constellated flower that never sets;
         Faint oxlips; tender bluebells, at whose birth
The sod scarce heaved; and that tall flower that wets—
         Like a child, half in tenderness and mirth—
Its mother's face with Heaven's collected tears,
When the low wind, its playmate's voice, it hears.

   And in the warm hedge grew lush eglantine,
         Green cowbind and the moonlight-coloured may,
And cherry-blossoms, and white cups, whose wine
         Was the bright dew, yet drained not by the day;
And wild roses, and ivy serpentine,
         With its dark buds and leaves, wandering astray;
And flowers azure, black, and streaked with gold,
Fairer than any wakened eyes behold.

   And nearer to the river's trembling edge
         There grew broad flag-flowers, purple pranked with white,
And starry river buds among the sedge,
         And floating water-lilies, broad and bright,
Which lit the oak that overhung the hedge
         With moonlight beams of their own watery light;
And bulrushes, and reeds of such deep green
As soothed the dazzled eye with sober sheen.

   Methought that of these visionary flowers
         I made a nosegay, bound in such a way
That the same hues, which in their natural bowers
         Were mingled or opposed, the like array
Kept these imprisoned children of the Hours
         Within my hand,—and then, elate and gay,
I hastened to the spot whence I had come,
That I might there present it!—Oh! to whom?