Quote with 1 note
Our friends have left us
perhaps we never saw them, perhaps
we met them when sleep
still brought us close to the breathing wave
perhaps we search for them because we search for the other
beyond the statues
from Mythistorima (extract)
in ‘A Greek Quintet’
As I was going down that defiled staircase,
you were entering at the door, and for one moment
I saw your face, unknown, and you saw me.
Just after that I hid so you would not see me again, and you
went past quickly, hiding your face,
and you fled hard into that defiled house
where you would not find pleasure, as I did not.
And yet the body’s love you wanted I had to give to you;
the body’s love I wanted - your eyes told me that,
tired and suspicious - you had to give to me.
Our bodies searching sensed and asked for one another;
our blood and skin understood.
But we hid ourselves, the two of us, trembling afraid.
On the Stairs
in ‘Before Time Could Change Them’ (p. 254)
In an old book - close to a hundred years old -
forgotten between the pages,
I found a watercolour, without any signature.
It must have been the work of a surpassingly powerful artist.
It bore, as its title: ‘The Appearance of Eros.’
But it was better interpreted: ‘- the eros of consummate sensualists.’
Since it was apparent as you looked at the work
(the artist’s conception was easily grasped}
that the young man in the drawing was not intended
for those who love somehow healthily,
who abide by what is manifestly permitted -
with chestnut, deep-shaded eyes;
with elite beauty in his face,
the beauty of an attraction far outside the norm;
with his ideal lips that bring
flesh’s joy to the beloved body;
with his ideal limbs formed for beds
the current morality finds shameful
In an Old Book
‘Before Time Could Change Them’ (129)
Quote with 1 note
Things get broken
like they were pushed
by an invisible, deliberate smasher.
It’s not my hands
It wasn’t the girls
with their hard fingernails
or the motion of the planet.
It wasn’t anything or anybody
It wasn’t the wind
It wasn’t the orange-colored noontime
Or night over the earth
It wasn’t even the nose or the elbow
Or the hips getting bigger
or the ankle
or the air.
The plate broke, the lamp fell
All the flower pots tumbled over
one by one. That pot
which overflowed with scarlet
in the middle of October,
it got tired from all the violets
and another empty one
rolled round and round and round
all through winter
until it was only the powder
of a flowerpot,
a broken memory, shining dust.
And that clock
the voice of our lives,
thread of our weeks,
one by one, so many hours
for honey and silence
for so many births and jobs,
that clock also
and its delicate blue guts
among the broken glass
its wide heart
Life goes on grinding up
glass, wearing out clothes
and what lasts through time
is like an island on a ship in the sea,
surrounded by dangerous fragility
by merciless waters and threats.
Let’s put all our treasures together
— the clocks, plates, cups cracked by the cold —
into a sack and carry them
to the sea
and let our possessions sink
into one alarming breaker
that sounds like a river.
May whatever breaks
be reconstructed by the sea
with the long labor of its tides.
So many useless things
which nobody broke
but which got broken anyway
Ode to Broken Things
)it’s the indescribable minute
Bigly! a milk-wagon
totters(by,its sleep horses step-
ping like clockwork,a driver scarcely alive.)bAnGiNgLy
along which The little a street absurdly new
light wonderful,but an
hear?do you birds begin which all to talk,loudly
in the disappearing air
from ‘Poems from The Dial Papers, 1919-20
Try to keep them, poet,
though scarcely any can be made to stay.
The visions of your erotic life.
Put them, half-hidden, in your lines
Try to hold them, poetry,
when they surge, excited in your mind
at night or in the shining light of noon.
When They Surge, Excited
‘Before Time Could Change Them’
Quote with 2 notes
from ‘95 Poems’
Others feel sleep as feathered rest;
mine but in flame refigures
your image lit in me.
Meleager (c. 140-70 BC) (extract)
from ‘Death, Desire and Loss in Western Culture’ p. 14
And shoulder touching shoulder,
we asked: “what smell is this
that cuts the air like a bee?
From balsam, pine-cone, acanthus,
from osier or thyme?”
So many scents that, breathing out,
I became a lyre caressed
by the breath’s profusion.
Sweetness filled my palate;
and as I met your gaze again
all my blood sang out.
The First Rain (extract)
from ‘A Greek Quintet’
Quote with 3 notes
When I found the door
I found the vine leaves
speaking among themselves in abundant
My presence made them
hush their green breath,
embarrassed, the way
humans stand up, buttoning their jackets,
acting as if they were leaving anyway, as if
the conversation had ended
just before you arrived.
the glimpse I had, though,
of their obscure
gestures. I liked the sound
of such private voices. Next time
I’ll move like cautious sunlight, open
the door by fractions, eavesdrop
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