This cycle was a bit lost lately (as I was lost for the blog, for which I apologise…) and it’s high time to go back to Leiden, The Netherlands to visit the world of poetry which is present on every street corner, thanks to the project “The Wall Poems“. When it’s possible I will try to provide the translation of poems, which as always come from different cultures and languages.
Jabra Ibrahin Jabra – a Palestinian poet
e.e. cummings – USA, “The hours rise”
the hours rise up putting off stars and it is
into the street of the sky light walks scattering poems
on earth a candle is
extinguished the city
with a song upon her
mouth having death in her eyes
and it is dawn
goes forth to murder dreams….
i see in the street where strong
men are digging bread
and i see the brutal faces of
people contented hideous hopeless cruel happy
and it is day,
in the mirror
i see a frail
dreams in the mirror
is dusk on earth
a candle is lighted
and it is dark.
the people are in their houses
the frail man is in his bed
sleeps with death upon her mouth having a song in her eyes
the hours descend,
putting on stars….
in the street of the sky night walks scattering poems
Alvaro de Campos – a Portuguese poet “At times I have…”
At times I have happy ideas,
Ideas suddenly happy, in among ideas
And the words in which they naturally shake free …
After writing, I read …
What made me write that?
Where have I been to find that?
Where did that come to me from? It is better than
Shall we have been, in the world, at the most, pen
With which somebody writes properly what we here
Louis Oliver, USA
Octavio Paz – Mexico, “Here”
My footsteps in this street
In another street
I hear my footsteps
Passing in this street
Nothing is real but the fog
Tadeusz Różewicz, a Polish poet “I wrote”
for a moment or an hour
an evening a night
I grew angry
I trembled or sat
silent at my side
my eyes full of tears
I’d been writing all that time
until I suddenly realised
I’d no pen in my hand
Sugawara no Michizane, Japan
If the east wind blows this way,
Oh blossoms on the plum tree,
Send your fragrance to me!
Always be mindful of the Spring,
Even though your master is no longer there!
Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Blok, Russia “Night”
Night, street, lamp, and pharmacy,
A meaningless and misty light.
Live on a quarter century –
The same. There is no hope of flight.
You will die, rise from where you fell,
All be repeated, cold and damp:
The night, the wavering canal,
The pharmacy, the street, the lamp.
Osip Mandelstam, Russia “Leningrad”
I’m back in my town – excruciatingly familiar
as a child’s glands.
Hurriedly I gulp the river lights’ fishy grease
and recognize the yolk of a December day
spilling into an evil tar.
Petersburg, I don’t want to die!
I still have the phone numbers, the adresses
where I’ll find the voices of dead men.
I live just off the back stairs,
in my temple throbs a bell
yanked out with the meat.
All night I wait for the precious guests
shifting the shackles of door chains.
Wisława Szymborska, a Polish Nobel-award winner in poetry “In Praise of Feeling Bad About Yourself”
The buzzard never says it is to blame.
The panther wouldn’t know what scruples mean.
When the piranha strikes, it feels no shame.
If snakes had hands, they’d claim their hands were clean.
A jackal doesn’t understand remorse.
Lions and lice don’t waver in their course.
Why should they, when they know they’re right?
Though hearts of killer whales may weigh a ton,
in every other way they’re light.
On this third planet of the sun
among the signs of bestiality
a clear conscience is Number One.