Showing posts with label love. Show all posts
Showing posts with label love. Show all posts


Celebrity spotlight & other exiles

For you

“Everything that happens is for the best,”
you said on the way from work last week,
and when I read “I thought of you
with the passion of exile”* this morning
while taking the day's initial piss this
was therefore probably also for the best,
as well as reading my horoscope,
which was asking me if I'd thought
of living in another country, preferably
one where the action is in my field,
instead of going dry in the desert.
Add to that the advertisement for
Catherine Zeta Jones' treatise on a
disorder that is “characterized by
high and low moods” and the
recognition that I also must have
this, except that I used to think
it was fairly normal, it all falls
into place, don't it. Sometimes
I have an inkling that I need to take
life in my own hands instead of
standing by and letting it happen.
But what could I do, about you,
for example, other than exile myself?
“Everything that happens is for
the worst,” it could also be said,
because you can't really tell
the best from the worst, can you,
once it’s happened.

– Iself (© 2011)

Written for NaPoWriMo day 20 along the lines of “Today’s challenge is to write a poem inspired by something you’ve overheard.”
*I've slightly misquoted this. In The Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West, a novel from 1918 which I've been reading for the last two weeks, it actually says “I thought of him with the passion of exile.”
And the title, where did that come from? From this:


A dream

For P.

A bad dream arisen
from distortion,
not quite the truth,
having been left
with incorrect
impressions not
corrected on
purpose. It took
on surprising
proportions as a
animal assaulting
me, like Tipu
Sultan’s tiger
the English soldier.
Such fierceness
my feelings must
have. Perhaps
not for you.
About you –
about you and me,
about being goaded
and lied to.

– Iself (© 2011)

Written for NaPoWriMo, day 17. Actually, today's task would have been to reduce a passage from Annie Dillard’s The Writing Life, but I could not get into it, try as I might. (I tried 4 versions, calling them Curtain calls / Exercises in elimination and conversion.) But I still had the remnants of a dream to chew on, and they went into the poem above. Last night I found out, more or less by chance, that someone I care about has been dishonest with me, telling me things about herself that are not true, the greatest puzzle being the reason for this dishonesty.

Tippoos's Tiger – a life-size 18th century automaton on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.


From across the river

from across the Hooghly she beckons to me

Mysterious night
across the river beckons to me

The old chamber softly lit
beckons to me

A sweetly solemn thought, sun and wind and beat of sea
beckon to me

“I am your woman,” she says
and beckons to me

– Iself (© 2010)

Written for napowrimo #26, get scrappy.

As I was quite sure that I did not have any scribbled or unfinished poem in my wallet or in a notebook, I went to a random poetry generator for inspiration, picking a poem from the “poetry in motion” category. The above romantic/folkloric poem, which is more or less in the form of a ghazal, is the result.

I’m not posting the original generated poem because it has ingredients I did not care for and did not use.

The Hooghly river is a distributary of the Ganges in West Bengal, India, and flows by Kolkata.


They call him the breeze

It happened by unthought known –
he knocked up my friend

Said shucks when told
and for amendment from his native country
Há tempos ... there are times

Don’t cry sister cry – get ready
for the times to get better

– Iself (© 2010)

A late entry for napowrimo #1, iTunes on shuffle. The pieces were:

Knocked up – Kings of Leon
Don’t cry sister cry – J.J. Cale
Shucks – Bill Frisell
Unthought known – Pearl Jam
Há tempos – Legião Urbana  

From memory I added a modified version of “They call me the breeze” by J.J. Cale for the title and “Ready for the times to get better” by Crystal Gayle for closure.


For her

Had a terrible Easter
weekend staying
away from you. You laid
down the rules. Your
plan is to educate me,
drive all the feeling for you
out of this torn mind.
But I don’t have to put
that shoe on. I can
shuffle on loving you.
Perhaps educate you –
who knows...

– Johannes Beilharz (© 2010)

Something very personal for napowrimo #5.


She Tells Her Love

She tells her love while half asleep,
In the dark hours,
With half-words whispered low:
As Earth stirs in her winter sleep
And puts out grass and flowers
Despite the snow,
Despite the falling snow.

Robert Graves (1895-1985)

A poem by one of the grand old men of British 20th century poetry, perhaps now remembered not so much for his poetry but his historical novel I, Claudius about the Roman emperor.



My soul mate’s soul is like delicate silver,
Two lissome white seagull wings
Her feet,
And in her dear blood
Rises a blue intimation
Of things
All miraculous

– Peter Hille

English version by Johannes Beilharz, who writes:
In this translation I deviated quite noticeably from the German original, e.g. by avoiding the second person address and using third person instead ("her"), with the intention of rendering more the feeling of Peter Hille's poem or its inner intention, as I experienced it, than the actual words.
Peter Hille (1854-1904) traveled widely in England, Holland and Italy before settling in Berlin, where he became friends with Detlev von Liliencron (Germany's leading impressionist poet), Richard Dehmel, Rainer Maria Rilke, Otto Julius Bierbaum and Else Lasker-Schüler (who mystified him in her Peter Hille book of 1907). Lived most of his life in poverty, helped by friends. The Rowohlt Literaturlexikon 20. Jahrhundert (1971) calls him "the fragmentist of impressionism, who succeeded in recording momentary sensual and psychic impressions in an idiosyncratic manner." Along with Lasker-Schüler, he is also considered a precursor of German expressionism.


Some kind of passion

Passion to last from here to eternity

Momentarily lacking the necessary inspiration to write something myself for Sunday Scribblings' PASSION prompt # 99, I decided to resort to the services of the Love Poetry Generator as my best shot at a poem full of singeing torridity. What you do is enter a number of words in boxes. Here is the result:

M y L o v e

Your skin glows like the orange, blossoms grave as the rose in the purest hope of spring.
My heart follows your oud voice and leaps like a lizard at the whisper of your name.
The evening floats in on a great titmouse wing.
I am comforted by your slip that I carry into the twilight of zipperbeams and hold next to my lips.
I am filled with hope that I may dry your tears of dew.
In the quiet, I listen for the last thud of the day.
My heated mouth leaps to your bosom.
I wait in the moonlight for your secret strap so that we may undress as one, mouth to mouth, in search of the magnificient black and mystical delight of love.


Il n'y a pas d'amour heureux

From this poem by Louis Aragon from 1946 two lines in a new translation by myself:
Mon bel amour mon cher amour ma déchirure
Je te porte dans moi comme un oiseau blessé

My beautiful love, my dear love, you who tear me apart,
I carry you in myself like a wounded bird.
For some reason, these two lines from the poem – which do so much to create the image of a love apparently full of pain and contradictory impulses – have stayed with me for many years, while the rest of the poem has not.

The ending, which sounds like a punch line from a French chanson, is actually on the flat side:
Il n'y a pas d'amour heureux
Mais c'est notre amour à tous les deux

There is no happy love,
But this is our love.
The very last line could become more prosy to reflect the French more directly, e.g. "But it is the love between the two of us" or "But it is the love the two of us share," but that doesn't do much, does it?