Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Ithaka (Constantine P. Cavafy)

Originally uploaded by hefestus.

As you set out for Ithaka
hope your road is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Laistrygonians, Cyclops,
angry Poseidon-don't be afraid of them:
you'll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians, Cyclops,
wild Poseidon-you won't encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

Hope your road is a long one.
May there be many summer mornings when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you enter harbors you're seeing for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind-
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to learn and go on learning from their scholars.

Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you're destined for.
But don't hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you're old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you've gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.
Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you wouldn't have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka won't have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you'll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.

by Constantine P. Cavafy

LA PIOGGIA NEL PINETO (Gabriele D'Annunzio)

Originally uploaded by Clod79.

Taci. Su le soglie
del bosco non odo
parole che dici
umane; ma odo
parole più nuove
che parlano gocciole e foglie
Ascolta. Piove
dalle nuvole sparse.
Piove su le tamerici
salmastre ed arse,
piove su i pini
scagliosi ed irti,
piove su i mirti
su le ginestre fulgenti
di fiori accolti,
su i ginepri folti
di coccole aulenti,
piove su i nostri volti
piove su le nostre mani
su i nostri vestimenti
su i freschi pensieri
che l'anima schiude
su la favola bella
che ieri
t'illuse, che oggi m'illude,
o Ermione.

Odi? La pioggia cade
su la solitaria
con un crepitío che dura
e varia nell'aria
secondo le fronde
più rade, men rade.
Ascolta. Risponde
al pianto il canto
delle cicale
che il pianto australe
non impaura,
nè il ciel cinerino.
E il pino
ha un suono, e il mirto
altro suono, e il ginepro
altro ancóra, stromenti
sotto innumerevoli dita.
E immersi
noi siam nello spirto
d'arborea vita viventi;
e il tuo volto ebro
è molle di pioggia
come una foglia,
e le tue chiome
auliscono come
le chiare ginestre,
o creatura terrestre
che hai nome

Ascolta, ascolta. L'accordo
delle aeree cicale
a poco a poco
più sordo
si fa sotto il pianto
che cresce;
ma un canto vi si mesce
più roco
che di laggiù sale,
dall'umida ombra remota.
Più sordo e più fioco
s'allenta, si spegne.
Sola una nota
ancor trema, si spegne,
risorge, trema, si spegne.
Non s'ode voce del mare.
Or s'ode su tutta la fronda
l'argentea pioggia
che monda,
il croscio che varia
secondo la fronda
più folta, men folta.
La figlia dell'aria
è muta; ma la figlia
del limo lontana,
la rana,
canta nell'ombra più fonda,
chi sa dove, chi sa dove!
E piove su le tue ciglia,

Piove su le tue ciglia nere
sìche par tu pianga
ma di piacere; non bianca
ma quasi fatta virente,
par da scorza tu esca.
E tutta la vita è in noi fresca
il cuor nel petto è come pesca
tra le pàlpebre gli occhi
son come polle tra l'erbe,
i denti negli alvèoli
con come mandorle acerbe.
E andiam di fratta in fratta,
or congiunti or disciolti
(e il verde vigor rude
ci allaccia i mallèoli
c'intrica i ginocchi)
chi sa dove, chi sa dove!
E piove su i nostri vólti
piove su le nostre mani
su i nostri vestimenti
su i freschi pensieri
che l'anima schiude
su la favola bella
che ieri
m'illuse, che oggi t'illude,
o Ermione.

Gabriele D'Annunzio

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Cinderella (Anne Sexton)

Originally uploaded by Emelobi.

You always read about it:
the plumber with the twelve children
who wins the Irish Sweepstakes.
From toilets to riches.
That story.

Or the nursemaid,
some luscious sweet from Denmark
who captures the oldest son's heart.
from diapers to Dior.
That story.

Or a milkman who serves the wealthy,
eggs, cream, butter, yogurt, milk,
the white truck like an ambulance
who goes into real estate
and makes a pile.
From homogenized to martinis at lunch.

Or the charwoman
who is on the bus when it cracks up
and collects enough from the insurance.
From mops to Bonwit Teller.
That story.

the wife of a rich man was on her deathbed
and she said to her daughter Cinderella:
Be devout. Be good. Then I will smile
down from heaven in the seam of a cloud.
The man took another wife who had
two daughters, pretty enough
but with hearts like blackjacks.
Cinderella was their maid.
She slept on the sooty hearth each night
and walked around looking like Al Jolson.
Her father brought presents home from town,
jewels and gowns for the other women
but the twig of a tree for Cinderella.
She planted that twig on her mother's grave
and it grew to a tree where a white dove sat.
Whenever she wished for anything the dove
would dropp it like an egg upon the ground.
The bird is important, my dears, so heed him.

Next came the ball, as you all know.
It was a marriage market.
The prince was looking for a wife.
All but Cinderella were preparing
and gussying up for the event.
Cinderella begged to go too.
Her stepmother threw a dish of lentils
into the cinders and said: Pick them
up in an hour and you shall go.
The white dove brought all his friends;
all the warm wings of the fatherland came,
and picked up the lentils in a jiffy.
No, Cinderella, said the stepmother,
you have no clothes and cannot dance.
That's the way with stepmothers.

Cinderella went to the tree at the grave
and cried forth like a gospel singer:
Mama! Mama! My turtledove,
send me to the prince's ball!
The bird dropped down a golden dress
and delicate little slippers.
Rather a large package for a simple bird.
So she went. Which is no surprise.
Her stepmother and sisters didn't
recognize her without her cinder face
and the prince took her hand on the spot
and danced with no other the whole day.

As nightfall came she thought she'd better
get home. The prince walked her home
and she disappeared into the pigeon house
and although the prince took an axe and broke
it open she was gone. Back to her cinders.
These events repeated themselves for three days.
However on the third day the prince
covered the palace steps with cobbler's wax
and Cinderella's gold shoe stuck upon it.
Now he would find whom the shoe fit
and find his strange dancing girl for keeps.
He went to their house and the two sisters
were delighted because they had lovely feet.
The eldest went into a room to try the slipper on
but her big toe got in the way so she simply
sliced it off and put on the slipper.
The prince rode away with her until the white dove
told him to look at the blood pouring forth.
That is the way with amputations.
They just don't heal up like a wish.
The other sister cut off her heel
but the blood told as blood will.
The prince was getting tired.
He began to feel like a shoe salesman.
But he gave it one last try.
This time Cinderella fit into the shoe
like a love letter into its envelope.

At the wedding ceremony
the two sisters came to curry favor
and the white dove pecked their eyes out.
Two hollow spots were left
like soup spoons.

Cinderella and the prince
lived, they say, happily ever after,
like two dolls in a museum case
never bothered by diapers or dust,
never arguing over the timing of an egg,
never telling the same story twice,
never getting a middle-aged spread,
their darling smiles pasted on for eternity.
Regular Bobbsey Twins.
That story.

Anne Sexton

Confession (Charles Bukowski)

Originally uploaded by seventytw0dpi.

waiting for death
like a cat
that will jump on the

I am so very sorry for
my wife

she will see this
shake it once, then


Hank won't

it's not my death that
worries me, it's my wife
left with this
pile of

I want to
let her know
that all the nights
beside her

even the useless
were things
ever splendid

and the hard
I ever feared to
can now be

I love

Charles Bukowski

For Jane (Charles Bukowski)

Bus, Shadow, Figure.
Originally uploaded by Gabba Gabba Hey!.

225 days under grass
and you know more than I.
they have long taken your blood,
you are a dry stick in a basket.
is this how it works?
in this room
the hours of love
still make shadows.

when you left
you took almost
I kneel in the nights
before tigers
that will not let me be.

what you were
will not happen again.
the tigers have found me
and I do not care.

Charles Bukowski

Finish (Charles Bukowski)

Originally uploaded by lichtundschatten.

We are like roses that have never bothered to
bloom when we should have bloomed and
it is as if
the sun has become disgusted with

Charles Bukowski

Friday, February 16, 2007

A Case Of You (Joni Mitchell)

motorcycle emptiness?
Originally uploaded by maxivida.

Just before our love got lost you said
"I am as constant as a northern star"
And I said, "Constant in the darkness
Where's that at?
If you want me I'll be in the bar"

On the back of a cartoon coaster
In the blue TV screen light
I drew a map of Canada
Oh Canada
And I sketched your face on it twice

Oh you are in my blood like holy wine
Oh and you taste so bitter but you taste so sweet
Oh I could drink a case of you
I could drink a case of you darling
Still I'd be on my feet
I'd still be on my feet

Oh I am a lonely painter
I live in a box of paints
I'm frightened by the devil
And I'm drawn to those ones that ain't afraid
I remember that time that you told me, you said
"Love is touching souls"
Surely you touched mine
"Cause part of you pours out of me
In these lines from time to time

Oh you are in my blood like holy wine
And you taste so bitter but you taste so sweet
Oh I could drink a case of you
I could drink a case of you darling
Still I'd be on my feet
I'd still be on my feet

I met a woman
She had a mouth like yours
She knew your life
She knew your devils and your deeds
And she said
"Go to him, stay with him if you can
Oh but be prepared to bleed"

Oh but you are in my blood you're my holy wine
Oh and you taste so bitter but you taste so sweet
I could drink a case of you darling
Still I'd be on my feet
Still I'd be on my feet
I'd still be on my feet

Joni Mitchell

Amico fragile (Fabrizio D' Andre)

barbershop, Dublin
Originally uploaded by Emelobi.

Evaporato in una nuvola rossa
in una delle molte feritoie della notte
con un bisogno d'attenzione e d'amore
troppo, "Se mi vuoi bene piangi "
per essere corrisposti,
valeva la pena divertirvi le serate estive
con un semplicissimo "Mi ricordo":

per osservarvi affittare un chilo d'erba
ai contadini in pensione e alle loro donne
e regalare a piene mani oceani
ed altre ed altre onde ai marinai in servizio,
fino a scoprire ad uno ad uno i vostri nascondigli
senza rimpiangere la mia credulità:

perché già dalla prima trincea
ero più curioso di voi,
ero molto più curioso di voi.

E poi sospeso dai vostri "Come sta"
meravigliato da luoghi meno comuni e più feroci,
tipo "Come ti senti amico, amico fragile,
se vuoi potrò occuparmi un'ora al mese di te"
"Lo sa che io ho perduto due figli"
"Signora lei è una donna piuttosto distratta."

E ancora ucciso dalla vostra cortesia
nell'ora in cui un mio sogno
ballerina di seconda fila,
agitava per chissà quale avvenire
il suo presente di seni enormi
e il suo cesareo fresco,
pensavo è bello che dove finiscono le mie dita
debba in qualche modo incominciare una chitarra.

E poi seduto in mezzo ai vostri arrivederci,
mi sentivo meno stanco di voi
ero molto meno stanco di voi.

Potevo stuzzicare i pantaloni della sconosciuta
fino a vederle spalancarsi la bocca.
Potevo chiedere ad uno qualunque dei miei figli
di parlare ancora male e ad alta voce di me.
Potevo barattare la mia chitarra e il suo elmo
con una scatola di legno che dicesse perderemo.

Potevo chiedervi come si chiama il vostro cane
Il mio è un po' di tempo che si chiama Libero.
Potevo assumere un cannibale al giorno
per farmi insegnare la mia distanza dalle stelle.
Potevo attraversare litri e litri di corallo
per raggiungere un posto che si chiamasse arrivederci.

E mai che mi sia venuto in mente,
di essere più ubriaco di voi
di essere molto più ubriaco di voi.

Fabrizio De Andrè

Canzone di Marinella (Fabrizio D' Andre)

Beyond "Chic".
Originally uploaded by Gabba Gabba Hey!.

Questa di Marinella è la storia vera
che scivolò nel fiume a primavera
ma il vento che la vide così bella
dal fiume la portò sopra una stella

Sola senza il ricordo di un dolore
vivevi senza il sogno di un amore
ma un re senza corona e senza scorta
bussò tre volte un giorno alla tua porta

Bianco come la luna il suo cappello
come l'amore rosso il suo mantello
tu lo seguisti senza una ragione
come un ragazzo segue un aquilone

E c'era il sole e avevi gli occhi belli
lui ti baciò le labbra ed i capelli
c'era la luna e avevi gli occhi stanchi
lui pose le sue mani suoi tuoi fianchi

Furono baci e furono sorrisi
poi furono soltanto i fiordalisi
che videro con gli occhi delle stelle
fremere al vento e ai baci la tua pelle

Dicono poi che mentre ritornavi
nel fiume chissà come scivolavi
e lui che non ti volle creder morta
bussò cent'anni ancora alla tua porta

Questa è la tua canzone Marinella
che sei volata in cielo su una stella
e come tutte le più belle cose
vivesti solo un giorno, come le rose
E come tutte le più belle cose
vivesti solo un giorno, come le rose.

Fabrizio D' Andre

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Late February (Ted Kooser)

Originally uploaded by hefestus.

The first warm day,
and by mid-afternoon
the snow is no more
than a washing
strewn over the yards,
the bedding rolled in knots
and leaking water,
the white shirts lying
under the evergreens.
Through the heaviest drifts
rise autumn’s fallen
bicycles, small carnivals
of paint and chrome,
the Octopus
and Tilt-A-Whirl
beginning to turn
in the sun. Now children,
stiffened by winter
and dressed, somehow,
like old men, mutter
and bend to the work
of building dams.
But such a spring is brief;
by five o’clock
the chill of sundown,
darkness, the blue TVs
flashing like storms
in the picture windows,
the yards gone gray,
the wet dogs barking
at nothing. Far off
across the cornfields
staked for streets and sewers,
the body of a farmer
missing since fall
will show up
in his garden tomorrow,
as unexpected
as a tulip.

by Ted Kooser

Walking on Tiptoe (Ted Kooser)

Originally uploaded by Death by Flickr.

Long ago we quit lifting our heels
like the others—horse, dog, and tiger—
though we thrill to their speed
as they flee. Even the mouse
bearing the great weight of a nugget
of dog food is enviably graceful.
There is little spring to our walk,
we are so burdened with responsibility,
all of the disciplinary actions
that have fallen to us, the punishments,
the killings, and all with our feet
bound stiff in the skins of the conquered.
But sometimes, in the early hours,
we can feel what it must have been like
to be one of them, up on our toes,
stealing past doors where others are sleeping,
and suddenly able to see in the dark.

by Ted Kooser

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Barefoot (Anne Sexton)

sound of wave
Originally uploaded by maybemaq.

Loving me with my shows off
means loving my long brown legs,
sweet dears, as good as spoons;
and my feet, those two children
let out to play naked. Intricate nubs,
my toes. No longer bound.
And what's more, see toenails and
all ten stages, root by root.
All spirited and wild, this little
piggy went to market and this little piggy
stayed. Long brown legs and long brown toes.
Further up, my darling, the woman
is calling her secrets, little houses,
little tongues that tell you.

There is no one else but us
in this house on the land spit.
The sea wears a bell in its navel.
And I'm your barefoot wench for a
whole week. Do you care for salami?
No. You'd rather not have a scotch?
No. You don't really drink. You do
drink me. The gulls kill fish,
crying out like three-year-olds.
The surf's a narcotic, calling out,
I am, I am, I am
all night long. Barefoot,
I drum up and down your back.
In the morning I run from door to door
of the cabin playing chase me.
Now you grab me by the ankles.
Now you work your way up the legs
and come to pierce me at my hunger mark

Anne Sexton

Baby Picture (Anne Sexton)

Sleeping lessons
Originally uploaded by Merveilleux.

It's in the heart of the grape
where that smile lies.
It's in the good-bye-bow in the hair
where that smile lies.
It's in the clerical collar of the dress
where that smile lies.
What smile?
The smile of my seventh year,
caught here in the painted photograph.

It's peeling now, age has got it,
a kind of cancer of the background
and also in the assorted features.
It's like a rotten flag
or a vegetable from the refrigerator,
pocked with mold.
I am aging without sound,
into darkness, darkness.

who are you?

I open the vein
and my blood rings like roller skates.
I open the mouth
and my teeth are an angry army.
I open the eyes
and they go sick like dogs
with what they have seen.
I open the hair
and it falls apart like dust balls.
I open the dress
and I see a child bent on a toilet seat.
I crouch there, sitting dumbly
pushing the enemas out like ice cream,
letting the whole brown world
turn into sweets.

who are you?

Merely a kid keeping alive.

Anne Sexton

In January (Ted Kooser)

Originally uploaded by one-fat shot!.

Only one cell in the frozen hive of night
is lit, or so it seems to us:
this Vietnamese café, with its oily light,
its odors whose colorful shapes are like flowers.
Laughter and talking, the tick of chopsticks.
Beyond the glass, the wintry city
creaks like an ancient wooden bridge.
A great wind rushes under all of us.
The bigger the window, the more it trembles.

Ted Kooser

I Ask You (Billy Collins)

Originally uploaded by Death by Flickr.

What scene would I want to be enveloped in
more than this one,
an ordinary night at the kitchen table,
floral wallpaper pressing in,
white cabinets full of glass,
the telephone silent,
a pen tilted back in my hand?

It gives me time to think
about all that is going on outside--
leaves gathering in corners,
lichen greening the high grey rocks,
while over the dunes the world sails on,
huge, ocean-going, history bubbling in its wake.

But beyond this table
there is nothing that I need,
not even a job that would allow me to row to work,
or a coffee-colored Aston Martin DB4
with cracked green leather seats.

No, it's all here,
the clear ovals of a glass of water,
a small crate of oranges, a book on Stalin,
not to mention the odd snarling fish
in a frame on the wall,
and the way these three candles--
each a different height--
are singing in perfect harmony.

So forgive me
if I lower my head now and listen
to the short bass candle as he takes a solo
while my heart
thrums under my shirt--
frog at the edge of a pond--
and my thoughts fly off to a province
made of one enormous sky
and about a million empty branches.

Billy Collins

Neither Snow (Billy Collins)

he left the shadow behind...
Originally uploaded by TommyOshima.

When all of a sudden the city air filled with snow,
the distinguishable flakes
blowing sideways,
looked like krill
fleeing the maw of an advancing whale.

At least they looked that way to me
from the taxi window,
and since I happened to be sitting
that fading Sunday afternoon
in the very center of the universe,
who was in a better position
to say what looked like what,
which thing resembled some other?

Yes, it was a run of white plankton
borne down the Avenue of the Americas
in the stream of the wind,
phosphorescent against the weighty buildings.

Which made the taxi itself,
yellow and slow-moving,
a kind of undersea creature,
I thought as I wiped the fog from the glass,

and me one of its protruding eyes,
an eye on a stem
swiveling this way and that
monitoring one side of its world,
observing tons of water
tons of people
colored signs and lights
and now a wildly blowing race of snow.

Billy Collins

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Memory (William Butler Yeats )

Originally uploaded by Merveilleux.

ONE had a lovely face,
And two or three had charm,
But charm and face were in vain
Because the mountain grass
Cannot but keep the form
Where the mountain hare has lain.

William Butler Yeats

In the Beginning (Dylan Thomas )

Louvre 5
Originally uploaded by efra28.

In the beginning was the three-pointed star,
One smile of light across the empty face,
One bough of bone across the rooting air,
The substance forked that marrowed the first sun,
And, burning ciphers on the round of space,
Heaven and hell mixed as they spun.

In the beginning was the pale signature,
Three-syllabled and starry as the smile,
And after came the imprints on the water,
Stamp of the minted face upon the moon;
The blood that touched the crosstree and the grail
Touched the first cloud and left a sign.

In the beginning was the mounting fire
That set alight the weathers from a spark,
A three-eyed, red-eyed spark, blunt as a flower,
Life rose and spouted from the rolling seas,
Burst in the roots, pumped from the earth and rock
The secret oils that drive the grass.

In the beginning was the word, the word
That from the solid bases of the light
Abstracted all the letters of the void;
And from the cloudy bases of the breath
The word flowed up, translating to the heart
First characters of birth and death.

In the beginning was the secret brain.
The brain was celled and soldered in the thought
Before the pitch was forking to a sun;
Before the veins were shaking in their sieve,
Blood shot and scattered to the winds of light
The ribbed original of love.

Dylan Thomas

a total stranger (E.E. Cummings)

side alley at dusk
Originally uploaded by allysonk.

A total stranger one black day
knocked living the hell out of me

E.E. Cummings

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Immense et Rouge (Jacques Prévert)

vue depuis la rue lepic
Originally uploaded by jam-L.

Immense et rouge
Au-dessus du Grand Palais
Le soleil d'hiver apparaît
Et disparaît
Comme lui mon coeur va disparaître
Et tout mon sang va s'en aller
S'en aller à ta recherche
Mon amour
Ma beauté
Et te trouver
Là où tu es.

Jacques Prévert

Le jardin (Jacques Prévert)

Originally uploaded by jam-L.

Des milliers et des milliers d'années
Ne sauraient suffire
Pour dire
La petite seconde d'éternité
Où tu m'as embrassé
Où je t'ai embrassèe
Un matin dans la lumière de l'hiver
Au parc Montsouris à Paris
A Paris
Sur la terre
La terre qui est un astre.

Jacques Prévert

Candles (Sylvia Plath)

Originally uploaded by maxivida.

They are the last romantics, these candles:
Upside-down hearts of light tipping wax fingers,
And the fingers, taken in by their own haloes,
Grown milky, almost clear, like the bodies of saints.
It is touching, the way they'll ignore

A whole family of prominent objects
Simply to plumb the deeps of an eye
In its hollow of shadows, its fringe of reeds,
And the owner past thirty, no beauty at all.
Daylight would be more judicious,

Giving everybody a fair hearing.
They should have gone out with the balloon flights and the stereopticon.
This is no time for the private point of view.
When I light them, my nostrils prickle.
Their pale, tentative yellows

Drag up false, Edwardian sentiments,
And I remember my maternal grandmother from Vienna.
As a schoolgirl she gave roses to Franz Josef.
The burghers sweated and wept. The children wore white.
And my grandfather moped in the Tyrol,

Imagining himself a headwaiter in America,
Floating in a high-church hush
Among ice buckets, frosty napkins.
These little globes of light are sweet as pears.
Kindly with invalids and mawkish women,

They mollify the bald moon.
Nun-souled, they burn heavenward and never marry.
The eyes of the child I nurse are scarcely open.
In twenty years I shall be retrograde
As these drafty ephemerids.

I watch their spilt tears cloud and dull to pearls.
How shall I tell anything at all
To this infant still in a birth-drowse?
Tonight, like a shawl, the mild light enfolds her,
The shadows stoop over the guests at a christening.

by Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath Biography

Sylvia Plath (1932-1963)

Born to middle class parents in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, Sylvia Plath published her first poem when she was eight. Sensitive, intelligent, compelled toward perfection in everything she attempted, she was, on the surface, a model daughter, popular in school, earning straight A's, winning the best prizes. By the time she entered Smith College on a scholarship in 1950 she already had an impressive list of publications, and while at Smith she wrote over four hundred poems.

Sylvia's surface perfection was however underlain by grave personal discontinuities, some of which doubtless had their origin in the death of her father (he was a college professor and an expert on bees) when she was eight. During the summer following her junior year at Smith, having returned from a stay in New York City where she had been a student ``guest editor'' at Mademoiselle Magazine, Sylvia nearly succeeded in killing herself by swallowing sleeping pills. She later described this experience in an autobiographical novel, The Bell Jar, published in 1963. After a period of recovery involving electroshock and psychotherapy Sylvia resumed her pursuit of academic and literary success, graduating from Smith summa cum laude in 1955 and winning a Fulbright scholarship to study at Cambridge, England.

In 1956 she married the English poet Ted Hughes , and in 1960, when she was 28, her first book, The Colossus, was published in England. The poems in this book---formally precise, well wrought---show clearly the dedication with which Sylvia had served her apprenticeship; yet they give only glimpses of what was to come in the poems she would begin writing early in 1961. She and Ted Hughes settled for a while in an English country village in Devon, but less than two years after the birth of their first child the marriage broke apart.

The winter of 1962-63, one of the coldest in centuries, found Sylvia living in a small London flat, now with two children, ill with flu and low on money. The hardness of her life seemed to increase her need to write, and she often worked between four and eight in the morning, before the children woke, sometimes finishing a poem a day. In these last poems it is as if some deeper, powerful self has grabbed control; death is given a cruel physical allure and psychic pain becomes almost tactile.

On February 11, 1963, Sylvia Plath killed herself with cooking gas at the age of 30. Two years later Ariel, a collection of some of her last poems, was published; this was followed by Crossing the Water and Winter Trees in 1971, and, in 1981, The Collected Poems appeared, edited by Ted Hughes.

(after a bio by Bill Gilson)

Friday, February 2, 2007

A pretty a day (E. E. Cummings)

four from today: self portrait: daddy doing daddy's work
Originally uploaded by superNova K.

a pretty a day
(and every fades)
is here and away
(but born are maids
to flower an hour
in all,all)

o yes to flower
until so blithe
a doer a wooer
some limber and lithe
some very fine mower
a tall;tall

some jerry so very
(and nellie and fan)
some handsomest harry
(and sally and nan
they tremble and cower
so pale:pale)

for betty was born
to never say nay
but lucy could learn
and lily could pray
and fewer were shyer
than doll. doll

by E. E. Cummings

I carry your heart with me (E. E. Cummings)

Originally uploaded by hefestus.

i carry your heart with me
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

by E. E. Cummings

Always For The First Time (Andre Breton)

Originally uploaded by nikoskrikelis.

Always for the first time
Hardly do I know you by sight
You return at some hour of the night to a house at an angle to my window
A wholly imaginary house
It is there that from one second to the next
In the inviolate darkness
I anticipate once more the fascinating rift occurring
The one and only rift
In the facade and in my heart
The closer I come to you
In reality
The more the key sings at the door of the unknown room
Where you appear alone before me
At first you coalesce entirely with the brightness
The elusive angle of a curtain
It's a field of jasmine I gazed upon at dawn on a road in the vicinity of Grasse
With the diagonal slant of its girls picking
Behind them the dark falling wing of the plants stripped bare
Before them a T-square of dazzling light
The curtain invisibly raised
In a frenzy all the flowers swarm back in
It is you at grips with that too long hour never dim enough until sleep
You as though you could be
The same except that I shall perhaps never meet you
You pretend not to know I am watching you
Marvelously I am no longer sure you know
You idleness brings tears to my eyes
A swarm of interpretations surrounds each of your gestures
It's a honeydew hunt
There are rocking chairs on a deck there are branches that may well scratch you in the
There are in a shop window in the rue Notre-Dame-de-Lorette
Two lovely crossed legs caught in long stockings
Flaring out in the center of a great white clover
There is a silken ladder rolled out over the ivy
There is
By my leaning over the precipice
Of your presence and your absence in hopeless fusion
My finding the secret
Of loving you
Always for the first time

by Andre Breton