Tuesday, March 27, 2007

One Heartbreaking Cuckoo

In Kyoto,
hearing the cuckoo,
I long for Kyoto.

--Basho, translated by Jane Hirshfield

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

One Good Bipolar

Here Lies a Lady
By John Crowe Ransom

Here lies a lady of beauty and high degree.
Of chills and fever she died, of fever and chills,
The delight of her husband, her aunt, an infant of three,
And of medicos marveling sweetly on her ills.

For either she burned, and her confident eyes would blaze,
And her fingers fly in a manner to puzzle their heads –
What was she making? Why, nothing; she sat in a maze
Of old scraps of laces, snipped into curious shreds.

Or this would pass, and the light of her fire decline
Till she lay discouraged and cold, like a thin stalk white and blown,
And would not open her eyes, to kisses, to wine;
The sixth of these states was her last; the cold settled down.

Sweet ladies, long may ye bloom, and toughly I hope ye may thole,
But was she not lucky? In flowers and lace and mourning,
In love and great honor we bade God rest her soul
After six little spaces of chill, and six of burning.

One Good Leukocyte

from Pathologic Vistas
By Stephen Vadenhoff

... a part of another world where cells have grown
Mutinous or failed in their duty.

But here's a white blood cell, patrolling the blood
Like some Roman centurion watching
The mist-shrouded, far bank of the Rhine
With civilization at his back
And the savagery of the unknown forest before him.


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

One Hovering Sunset

The Dark Hills
By Edwin Arlington Robinson

Dark hills at evening in the west,
Where sunset hovers like a sound
Of golden horns that sang to rest
Old bones of warriors under ground,
Far now from all the bannered ways
Where flash the legions of the sun,
You fade—as if the last of days
Were fading and all wars were done.

One Capital Crime

...an artist to his fingertips, regarding the failure of completeness as a crime...

--Henry James

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

One Granulated Soul

Crush Syndrome
By Miroslav Holub

Once when, in winter dark,
I was cleaning the concrete-mixer,
its cogwheels, like the teeth
of a bored rat of Ibadan,
snapped up the glove
with the hand inside. The finger bones
said a few things you don't hear very often
and then it grew quiet, because
even the rat had panicked.

In that moment
I realized I had a soul.
It was soft, with red stripes,
and it wanted to be wrapped in gauze.

I put it beside me on the seat
and steered with the healthy hand. At the clinic,
during the injections of local anesthetic
and the stitching,
the soul held firmly with its mandibles
to the stainless-steel knob of the adjustable table.
It was now whitish crystal
and had a grasshopper's head.

The fingers healed.
The soul turned, at first,
to granulation tissue,
and later a scar, scarcely visible.

--Translated by David Young and Dana Habova ~ Book