Sunday, November 19, 2006

Eating Poetry

—Owl Woman

How shall I begin my song
In the blue night that is settling?

In the great night my heart will go out,
Toward me the darkness comes rattling.
In the great night my heart will go out.

Brown owls come here in the blue evening,
They are hooting about,
They are shaking their wings and hooting.

Black Butte is far.
Below it I had my dawn.
I could see the daylight
coming back for me.

The morning star is up.
I cross the mountains
into the light of the sea.

(translated by Frances Densmore)


—Antonio Machado

The wind, one brilliant day, called
to my soul with an odor of jasmine.

"In return for the odor of my jasmine,
I'd like all the odor of your roses."

"I have no roses; all the flowers
in my garden are dead."

"Well then, I'll take the withered petals
and the yellow leaves and the waters of the fountain."

The wind left. And I wept. And I said to myself:
"What have you done with the garden that was entrusted to you?"



My poems resemble the bread of Egypt—one night
Passes over it, and you can't eat it any more.

So gobble them down now, while they're still fresh,
Before the dust of the world settles on them.

Where a poem belongs is here, in the warmth of the chest;
Out in the world it dies of cold.

You've seen a fish—put him on dry land,
He quivers for a few minutes, and then is still.

And even if you eat my poems while they're still fresh,
You still have to bring forward many images yourself.

Actually, friend, what you're eating is your own imagination.
These poems are not just some old sayings and saws.

(translated by Robert Bly)



Medusa encourages poets of all ilk and ages to send their poetry, photos and art, and announcements of Northern California poetry events to for posting on this daily Snake blog. Rights remain with the poets. Previously-published poems are okay for Medusa’s Kitchen, as long as you own the rights. (Please cite publication.)