December 2014


The Old Year's gone away
     To nothingness and night:
We cannot find him all the day
     Nor hear him in the night:
He left no footstep, mark or place
     In either shade or sun:
The last year he'd a neighbour's face,
     In this he's known by none. (more…)
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The crops are all in and the peaches are rotting,
The oranges piled in their creosote dumps;
They’re flying ’em back to the Mexican border
To pay all their money to wade back again (more…)

You see them from airplanes, nameless green islands
in the oceanic, rectilinear plains,
twenty or thirty blocks, compact, but with
everything needed visibly in place –
the high-school playing fields, the swatch of park
along the crooked river, the feeder highways,
the main drag like a zipper, outlying malls
sliced from dirt-coloured cakes of plowed farmland. (more…)

Comme je descendais des Fleuves impassibles,
Je ne me sentis plus guidé par les haleurs :
Des Peaux-Rouges criards les avaient pris pour cibles
Les ayant cloués nus aux poteaux de couleurs. (more…)

Ce qu’il nous faut c’est la phrase tout terrain, insubmersible,
intraveineuse, la transfusion de l’âme à l’âme. J’entre en
vous par l’évènement, par le détail, par le rêve qui devient
réalité, par la réalité devenue rêve, par les premières
vagues de l’avenir qui lampent le présent (more…)

At that time I was a kid
Barely sixteen and already I no longer remembered my childhood
I was 16,000 leagues from the land of my birth
I was in Moscow, in the city of 1003 bell towers and 7 train stations
And I didn’t get enough of the 7 stations and the 1003 towers
Because I was such a hot and crazy kid
That my heart, tower to tower, was burning like the Temple of Ephesus or like Red Square in Moscow at sunset.
And my eyes got shiny in those ancient streets
And I was already such a bad poet
That I didn’t know how to go about it. (more…)

I would like my last poem thus

That it be gentle saying the simplest and least intended things
That it be ardent like a tearless sob
That it have the beauty of almost scentless flowers
The purity of the flame in which the most limpid diamonds are consumed
The passion of suicides who kill themselves without explanation

Translation, Elizabeth Bishop

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