Archive for the ‘ Poetry ’ Category

Total Eclipse

[O]nly one total solar eclipse swept past Amherst in Dickinson’s lifetime — on September 29, 1875 — which must have provided the raw material for her vivid verses:

It sounded as if the streets were running —
And then — the streets stood still —
Eclipse was all we could see at the Window
And Awe — was all we could feel.

By and by — the boldest stole out of his Covert
To see if Time was there —
Nature was in her Opal Apron —
Mixing fresher Air.

Also lots of good stuff by Mabel Todd, Dickinson’s first “publisher:” Brainpickings.

And also, some ancient theories on solar eclipses, with Empedocles for the win: “[A]n eclipse happens when the moon moves under the sun.”

Science This

New Poem: Learning to See in Another Language

In the beautiful new Poetry Northwest, Summer/Fall 2017.

Two New Poems

In the beautiful New American Writing:

Federico García Lorca: Ghazal for a Dead Child

Ghazal for a Dead Child
     by Federico García Lorca

Every afternon in Granada,
every afternoon, a child lies dead.
Every afternoon, water
takes a table to gossip.

The dead have moss for wings.
The cloudy breeze, the clean,
are pheasants clear of towers.
The day is a wounded child.

No trace of larks remained aloft
when I found you in wine’s grottoes.
No cloud crumbs remained aground
when you drowned by the river.

A giant fleshed in water fell on the hills.
The valleys tumbled with irises and dogs.
Your body in my hands’ violet shadow:
dead by the river, an archangel, cold.

                         Granada, Spain


Gacela del Niño Muerto

Todas las tardes en Granada,
todas las tardes se muere un niño.
Todas las tardes el agua se sienta
a conversar con sus amigos.

Los muertos llevan alas de musgo.
El viento nublado y el viento limpio
son dos faisanes que vuelan por las torres
y el día es un muchacho herido.

No quedaba en el aire ni una brizna de alondra
cuando yo te encontré por las grutas del vino.
No quedaba en la tierra ni una miga de nube
cuando te ahogabas por el río.

Un gigante de agua cayó sobre los montes
y el valle fue rodando con perros y con lirios.
Tu cuerpo, con la sombra violeta de mis manos,
era, muerto en la orilla, un arcángel de frío.

And here’s Ian Duhig’s take on this poem, and then his translation translated back into Spanish:

Federico García Lorca – Ian Duhig – Carlos López Beltrán & Pedro Serrano.

World War I Poetry by Women: Mary Gilmore

     by Mary Gilmore

Out in the dust he lies;
Flies in his mouth,
Ants in his eyes …
I stood at the door

Where he went out;
Full-grown man,
Ruddy and stout;
I heard the march

Of the trampling feet,
Slow and steady
Come down the street;
The beat of the drum

Was clods on the heart,
For all that the regiment
Looked so smart!
I heard the crackle

Of hasty cheers
Run like the breaking
Of unshed tears,
And just for a moment,

As he went by,
I had sight of his face,
And the flash of his eye.
He died a hero’s death,

They said,
When they came to tell me
My boy was dead;
But out in the street

A dead dog lies;
Flies in his mouth,
Ants in his eyes.

More on this poet in Behind Their Lines.

Mary Gilmore

World War I Poetry by Women: Charlotte Mary Mew

May 1915
by Charlotte Mew

Let us remember Spring will come again
To the scorched, blackened woods, where the wounded trees
Wait with their old wise patience for the heavenly rain,
Sure of the sky: sure of the sea to send its healing breeze,
Sure of the sun, and even as to these
Surely the Spring, when God shall please,
Will come again like a divine surprise
To those who sit today with their great Dead, hands in their hands
Eyes in their eyes
At one with Love, at one with Grief: blind to the scattered things
And changing skies.

More at Behind Their Lines.

Charlotte Mary Mew

World War I Poetry by Women: Marian Allen

by Marian Allen

Out in a gale of fallen leaves,
Where the wind blows clear through the rain-soaked trees,
Where the sky is torn betwixt cloud and blue
And the rain but ceases to fall anew:
And dead leaves, in bud on your April flight,
Will whisper your name to the wind to-night
And the year is dying in which you died
And I shall be lonely this Christmas-tide.

Hyde Park, October 1917

   Marian Allen and Arthur Greg

Allen wrote this poem six months after the death of her sweetheart, Captain Arthur Tylston Greg:

Shortly after the First World War was declared in August of 1914, Arthur Greg left his law studies at Oxford and eagerly joined the British army. Serving with the Cheshire Regiment near Ypres, Belgium, he was seriously wounded when shot in the jaw in the spring of 1915. 

Recovering from his injuries, Greg rejoined the military and applied to the Royal Flying Corps. By April of 1917, he had been certified as a pilot and returned to France to join the 55 Squadron. Less than one month later, on April 23rd of 1917, returning from a bombing mission on an ammunition factory, Arthur Greg’s squadron was attacked by German aircraft…. Greg’s plane was shot down, and although he crash-landed near St. Quentin, both he and his mechanic died of their wounds.

More here: Behind Their Lines.