Category Archives: Poetry

Last News About The Little Box

The little box which contains the world
Fell in love with herself
And conceived
Still another little box

The little box of the little box
Also fell in love with herself
And conceived
Still another little box

And so it went on forever

The world from the little box
Ought to be inside
The last offspring of the little box

But not one of the little boxes
Inside the little box in love with herself
Is the last one

Let’s see you find the world now

– Vasko Popa

Earth, earth, where all is simple

God reveals Himself: an imagination prey to the loss of its image.

I know you, Lord, in the measure that I do not know you. For you are He who comes.

My God, I am reduced to you. I have exiled the word.

*

Try to kill Him with your spears, and you will learn that He is the order of all resistance.

*

God is a questioning of God.

Severed hand,
my five-fingered cup.
I drink what you hold
and am drunk.

*

You live in spite of life. You are more stubborn than death.

*

To doubt means perhaps to abolish limits, to circle the dice.
Earth, earth where all is simple.
God is doubt.

– Jabés, The Book of Questions (trans. R Waldrop)

what is the word

folly –
folly for to –
for to –
what is the word –
folly from this –
all this –
folly from all this –
given –
folly given all this –
seeing –
folly seeing all this –
this –
what is the word –
this this –
this this here –
all this this here –
folly given all this –
seeing –
folly seeing all this this here –
for to –
what is the word –
see –
glimpse –
seem to glimpse –
need to seem to glimpse –
folly for to need to seem to glimpse –
what –
what is the word –
and where –
folly for to need to seem to glimpse what where –
where –
what is the word –
there –
over there –
away over there –
afar –
afar away over there –
afaint –
afaint afar away over there what –
what –
what is the word –
seeing all this –
all this this –
all this this here –
folly for to see what –
glimpse –
seem to glimpse –
need to seem to glimpse –
afaint afar away over there what –
folly for to need to seem to glimpse afaint afar away away over there what –
what –
what is the word –

what is the word

– Beckett

This World is not Conclusion

This World is not Conclusion.
A Species stands beyond –
Invisible, as Music –
But positive, as Sound –
It beckons, and it baffles –
Philosophy — don’t know –
And through a Riddle, at the last –
Sagacity, must go –
To guess it, puzzles scholars –
To gain it, Men have borne
Contempt of Generations
And Crucifixion, shown –
Faith slips — and laughs, and rallies –
Blushes, if any see –
Plucks at a twig of Evidence –
And asks a Vane, the way –
Much Gesture, from the Pulpit –
Strong Hallelujahs roll –
Narcotics cannot still the Tooth
That nibbles at the soul –

– Emily Dickinson

Psalm

No one moulds us again out of earth and clay,
no one conjures our dust.
No one.

Praised be your name, no one.
For your sake
we shall flower.
Towards
you.

A nothing
we were, are, shall
remain, flowering:
the nothing-, the
no one’s rose.

With
our pistil soul-bright,
with our stamen heaven-ravaged,
our corolla red
with the crimson word which we sang
over, O over
the thorn.

– Celan (trans. M. Hamburger)

In the middle way

So here I am, in the middle way, having had twenty years—
Twenty years largely wasted, the years of l’entre deux guerres
Trying to use words, and every attempt
Is a wholly new start, and a different kind of failure
Because one has only learnt to get the better of words
For the thing one no longer has to say, or the way in which
One is no longer disposed to say it. And so each venture
Is a new beginning, a raid on the inarticulate
With shabby equipment always deteriorating
In the general mess of imprecision of feeling,
Undisciplined squads of emotion. And what there is to conquer
By strength and submission, has already been discovered
Once or twice, or several times, by men whom one cannot hope
To emulate — but there is no competition –
There is only the fight to recover what has been lost
And found and lost again and again: and now, under conditions
That seem unpropitious. But perhaps neither gain nor loss.
For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.

– T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets

Death is our chance

Death is what Rilke calls ‘the pure relation’ — a purified relation which leaps beyond consciousness. Through death it is possible to achieve a new intimacy with things, replacing the imperious desire to master the world, the purposive activity which allows us to be content only with results. To save things is to turn towards the invisible, to allow death to affirm itself. What is this death? An enlarged consciousness — the broadening which reinstates a lost unity, a larger understanding. It reassures our faith in the oneness of things. Would this be the experience which would lead us into the profound intimacy we seek?

Death is our chance. Yet Rilke will say the animal that lives in the Open is ‘free of death’. We are not free; our perspective is limited and this is the point: ‘Death, we see only death; the free animal always has its decline behind it, and before it God, and when it moves, it moves in Eternity, as springs flow’. But then what chance does death offer us?

Spurious

A miracle of poetic prose

Which one of us, in his moments of ambition, has not dreamed of a miracle of poetic prose, musical without rhythm and without rhyme, supple enough and rugged enough to adapt itself to the lyrical impulses of the soul, the undulations of reverie, the jibes of conscience?

– Baudelaire, Paris Spleen

An epiphany of absence

So, there were those long walks of unravelling, where you went out with no fixed purpose, no special destination, seeking the space that is yourself. Maybe such vacancy was all you sought to lose, then find, your wish being to move through the city simply as a presence, stepping free of intentions and timetables, as if invited to a secret celebration.

On some days it was too beautiful for you to be able to say anything at all, like foliage trapped behind glass. Until this February morning as you stand at an upstairs window, while all around a certain quite definite silence waits. Then it comes, that sense of being here and not here, all things chiming at once in an epiphany of absence, and for a moment you are quite lost in it.

– John Welch, from ‘There and Back’

A mug’s game

As things are, and as fundamentally they must always be, poetry is not a career, but a mug’s game. No honest poet can ever feel quite sure of the permanent value of what he has written: he may have wasted his time and messed up his life for nothing.

– TS Eliot