Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Like Sudden Angels

—George Seferis, 1900-1971

Three rocks, a few burnt pines, an abandoned chapel
and farther above
the same landscape repeated starts again;
three rocks in the shape of a gateway, rusted,
a few burnt pines, black and yellow,
and a square hut buried in whitewash;
and farther above, the same landscape
recurs level after level
to the horizon, to the darkening sky.

Here we moored the ship to splice the broken oars
to drink water and to sleep.
The sea which embittered us is deep and unexplored
and unfolds a boundless calm.
Here among the pebbles we found a coin
and threw dice for it.
The youngest won it and disappeared.

We set out again with our broken oars.

(From Mythical Story; translated from the Greek by 
Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard)


Our Seed of the Week is Message in a Bottle. (A poem from a far-away poet is also a message "in a bottle", yes?) Send your poetic messages to kathykieth@hotmail.com or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726. No deadline on SOWs, though; go to Calliope's Kitchen over on the b-board under SNAKE ON A ROD for all the SOWs we've ever tackled. Something to fiddle with on a rainy day...



is a message in a green glass
bottle: a few lines scrawled
one summer day by some
chubby kid who's just killing
time—tossed into some finger

of a stream that carries the kid's
hopes off toward the sea as he
watches that quick note he wrote
sail off and away . . .  And that boy
goes home for lunch, but the bottle

is still out there, floating along-
side the coast of Cuba, maybe,
or Japan or the Seychelles: a glass
cocoon with an egg of a message
tucked deep inside . . .

—Kathy Kieth, Pollock Pines


—Salvatore Quasimodo, 1901-1968

There lasts a wind which I remember, burning
In the names of sidelong horses
Galloping over the great plains, a wind
Which stains and chafes the sandstone, and the heart
Of the mournful sculptured pillars, overthrown
On the grass.

(Trans. from the Italian by Dennis Devlin)


—Salvatore Quasimodo

And how were we able to sing
with the foreign foot on our heart,
among the dead abandoned in the piazzas
on the grass hard with ice, to the lament
of the boys' lamb, to the black howl
of the mother who went to meet her son
crucified on the telegraph pole?
Our lyres too were hung, by vow,
from the willow branches;
they swayed lightly in the sad wind.

(Trans. by Michael Egan)


—Salvatore Quasimodo

Your clear hands call my name.
They dance in the dark light of the fire
With the odor of oakwood and roses
And death. Dead of winter.

What became of the starving birds?
They fell into a waste of snow.
So it is with words.
They flash like sudden angels, go
Away like ghosts. So with the trees
And us, too, made of morning breeze.

(Trans. by George Garrett)


Today's LittleNip: 

—Salvatore Quasimodo

Everyone stands alone at the heart of this earth
Stunned by a ray of sunlight
and suddenly it is evening.

(Trans. by J. Ruth Gendler)



Photo by Katy Brown, Davis