Sunday, November 20, 2011

"how pure a thing is joy"

The very bird,
grown taller as he sings, steels
his form straight up. Though he is captive,
his mighty singing
says, satisfaction is a lowly
thing, how pure a thing is joy.
This is mortality,
this is eternity.

From "What Are Years" by Marianne Moore

Two Finches, Zhao Ji (1082-1135)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

"if your name gives peace to his thoughts..."

If your hug gives courage to the heart
and your thighs stop the pain,
if your name gives peace
to his thoughts, and your throat
a shade to his berth
and the night of your voice, an orchard
still untouched by storms.

Then stay beside him
and be more devoted than anyone else
who loved him before you.

Fear the echo approaching
the innocent love nests.

And be gentle with his dream
bellow the invisible mountain
at the edge of the soughing sea.

From a poem by Croatian writer Vesna Parun. The rest of this translation can be found here (scroll down). A different translation is posted on this forum. Thanks to Ankica at Bellatrix for sending me this lovely poem.

Liebespaar, Otto Mueller, c.1920

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

"From this cup of my lips comes a song"

From this cup of my lips comes a song;
It captures my singing soul, my song.

That in my words is the meaning of ecstasy,
That dies my happiness into grief, my song.

If you see that my eyes say a word,
Then take it as my forgetfulness, my song.

Do not ask of love, O it tells me of you;
My words of love speak of death, my song.

His hope, like flowers, I desire.
No drop of my eyes is enough, my song.

The daughter of this place sings qasida, a ghazal,
But what spoils her strange verses, my song?

O the gardener does not understand my happiness;
O do not ask for many looks of my youth, my song.

From this hands, these feet and words, it looks strange
That my name is written on the slate of this age, my song.

Ghazal by Nadia Anjuman*, trans. by Khizra Aslam

Die Wasserschöpferin (Danaide), Hans Ernst Brühlmann, 1909

*A previous post about Nadia Anjuman's poetry and her sad fate is here.