2013. április 30., kedd

Kapka Kassabova: Love in the Dark Country

Tomorrow for twenty-four hours
I’ll be in the same country as you.

The sky will be constantly shifting,
the morning will be green, a single morning
for my single bed. And in the night

as the dark country goes to sleep
a church bell will measure
the jet-lag of my heart.

I’ll open my suitcase and unfold my life
like a blanket. In the dark country I will lie
all night and wonder how this came to be:

the one light left in the world
is your window, somewhere in the land

of thin rain and expensive trains.
And instead of maps, I have an onward ticket. 

2013. április 29., hétfő

Ali Shapiro: I Keep Trying to Leave but the Sex Just Gets Better and Better

This is not what the door’s for—slamming
you up against, opening
your legs with my knee. And it isn’t
leaving, the thing I keep doing
with my shoes still on, or in the car
in the driveway in broad
daylight after waving
goodbye to your neighbors
again. But my body’s a bad
dog, all dumb tongue
and hunger, down
on all fours again, tied up
outside again, coming
when called but then always refusing
to stay. I know what I’m trying
to say, but it isn’t
talking, the thing that I do with my mouth
to your ear, even though
we got the orifices right. To leave
I would have to put clothes on,
and they’d have to fit better
than all of this skin. To leave
I would have to know where to begin:
like this, pressed up
against the half-open window? Like
this, with my foot on the gas? If seeing
is believing then why isn’t touching
knowing for sure? I just want my nerves
to do the work for me, I don’t want
to have to decide. There’s blood in my hands
for fight and blood in my legs
for flight and nowhere
a sign. Believe me, I’ll leave if you just
let me touch you again for the last
last time.

2013. április 27., szombat

Kányádi Sándor: Noé bárkája felé

Be kell hordanunk, hajtanunk mindent.
A szavakat is. Egyetlen szó,
egy tájszó se maradjon kint.
Semmi sem fölösleges.

Zuhoghat akár negyvenezer nap
és negyvenezer éjjel,
ha egy buboréknyi lelkiismeret-
furdalás sem követi a bárkát.

Mert leapad majd a víz.
És fölszárad a sár.

És akkor majd a megőrzött,
a meglévő szóból
újrateremthetjük magát
az első búzaszemet,
ha már igével élnünk
tovább nem lehet.

2013. április 26., péntek

Ted Kooser: After Years

Today, from a distance, I saw you
walking away, and without a sound
the glittering face of a glacier
slid into the sea. An ancient oak
fell in the Cumberlands, holding only
a handful of leaves, and an old woman
scattering corn to her chickens looked up
for an instant. At the other side
of the galaxy, a star thirty-five times
the size of our own sun exploded
and vanished, leaving a small green spot
on the astronomer's retina
as he stood on the great open dome
of my heart with no one to tell.

2013. április 25., csütörtök

Karen Alkalay-Gut: Why I don't write formal verse

As long as I don’t have to follow any rules I’m okay,
This doesn’t include stopping on red but otherwise
I’ve got too many imperatives in my life to want to put them into poetry
What I want is the writing itself to tell me where I’m at,
What it means, where I’m going, how i can – eventually – make sense
As long as I don’t have to follow any rules I’m okay.
Because you know it really is getting harder to remember
All the codes, passwords, procedures at the bank:
I’ve got too many imperatives in my life to want to put them into poetry
Then there are all those medications I have to take
Before meals, after, before trying to relax.
As long as I don’t have to follow any rules I’m okay,
And the situation: what you do in case of a rocket attack
Biological warheads, dirty bombs, terrorist accidents.
I’ve got too many imperatives in my life to want to put them into poetry.
So I like to keep it easy and loose in verse
let myself rise above the restrictions in the world
As long as I don’t have to follow any rules I’m okay,
I’ve got too many imperatives in my life to want to put them into poetry

2013. április 24., szerda

Anna Swir: Happy as a Dog’s Tail

Happy as something unimportant
and free as a thing unimportant.
As something noone prizes
and which does not prize itself.
As something mocked by all
and which mocks at their mockery.
As laughter without serious reason.
As a yell able to outyell itself.
Happy as no matter what,
as any no matter what.

as a dog’s tail.

2013. április 23., kedd

Mitsuye Yamada: Körülnézve

Fura lehet
kisebbségnek lenni,
egyet se láttam.
mondtam hát,
tényleg fura lehet.

Martha Medeiros: Muere lentamente

Muere lentamente
quien se transforma en esclavo del hábito,
repitiendo todos los días los mismos trayectos,
quien no cambia de marca.
No arriesga vestir un color nuevo y no le habla a quien no conoce.

Muere lentamente
quien hace de la televisión su gurú.

Muere lentamente
quien evita una pasión,
quien prefiere el negro sobre blanco
y los puntos sobre las “íes” a un remolino de emociones,
justamente las que rescatan el brillo de los ojos,
sonrisas de los bostezos,
corazones a los tropiezos y sentimientos.

Muere lentamente
quien no voltea la mesa cuando está infeliz en el trabajo,
quien no arriesga lo cierto por lo incierto para ir detrás de un sueño,
quien no se permite por lo menos una vez en la vida,
huir de los consejos sensatos.

Muere lentamente
quien no viaja,
quien no lee,
quien no oye música,
quien no encuentra gracia en si mismo.

Muere lentamente
quien destruye su amor propio,
quien no se deja ayudar.

Muere lentamente,
quien pasa los días quejándose de su mala suerte
o de la lluvia incesante.

Muere lentamente,
quien abandona un proyecto antes de iniciarlo,
no preguntando de un asunto que desconoce
o no respondiendo cuando le indagan sobre algo que sabe.

Evitemos la muerte en suaves cuotas,
recordando siempre que estar vivo exige un esfuerzo mucho mayor
que el simple hecho de respirar.
Solamente la ardiente paciencia hará que conquistemos
una espléndida felicidad.

2013. április 22., hétfő

Kerrin McCadden: How to Miss a Man

Breathing is just a rhythm. Tell yourself this so that the breathing
becomes a song. Sing this song all day while you shop in the hardware
store for things you do not need. Sing it again while you cook supper

for yourself. Cook supper for yourself, even if you don’t want to.
Go for a walk, even if you don’t want to. Put your shoes on
and get the leash and even bring the dog. She will be so pleased

you might start to forget. Also, breathe. It is a rhythm. Walk
around the block, and even farther, if you have a mind to.
You might. Your feet will take you. They can. If you listen,

they are a rhythm also. Like drums. Hand drums. Swing your hands
while you walk. Tell yourself they are kind of like wings,
that the bird’s wing has a hand inside it. It does.

Come home and make tea. Every time you dip the teabag,
hold your breath like you are underwater. Hold. Breathe.
Hold. Breathe. Like that, like you are swimming across

Lake Pleiades, under water like a fish, above water like a bird
until you are stitching lake and sky. You are a needle just then,
darning holes in things, a weave of stitches across and down, like a graph.

You need to be a graph. A grid. Numbers are perfect. You can draw
two lines on a graph that can never touch. This is what you are building.

2013. április 20., szombat

József Attila: A szemed

Nagy, mély szemed reámragyog sötéten
S lelkemben halkal fuvoláz a vágy.
Mint ifju pásztor künn a messzi réten
Subáján fekve méláz fényes égen
S kezében búsan sírdogál a nád.

Nagy, mély szemed reámragyog sötéten
S már fenyves szívem zöldje nem örök.
Galambok álma, minek jössz elébem?
Forró csöppekben gurulnak az égen
S arcomba hullnak a csillagkörök.

Nagy, mély szemed reámragyog sötéten
S a vér agyamban zúgva dübörög.

2013. április 19., péntek

Carl Dennis: Silent Manners

Before you invest in a book on manners,
Better make sure it contains a chapter
On keeping silent, one to remind you,
When you pull off on the shoulder
Of a country road to ask directions,
Not to ask the elderly man in overalls,
Who crosses the field to greet you,
Why he isn't wearing a hat on a day so sunny.
If the sun has deepened the ruts in his face,
It's too late now to stop it, the chapter reasons,
And why remind him how much he's aged?

And if you notice blood-vessel cobwebs
Beneath his eyes—for you a sure sign of drinking
Over many years—the same chapter will warn you
Not to suggest, however gently, that help
Is available if he wants to stop. Who knows
What escape you might have tried
If you'd had his worries:
The flooding and drought and heavy mortgage,
The doctor's bills he'll never see the end of.

Already you owe him something for the reticence
That keeps him from asking, when you tell him
You're on your way to visit an old friend,
Why you've come so seldom you can't recall
If you're anywhere near the turnoff.
"You can't miss it," he simply says,
"Three miles straight ahead at the stand of sweet gum,"
And when your doubtful look suggests
You can't tell a sweet-gum tree from a hemlock,
He fishes a pencil out of his bib pocket
And sketches its shape so deftly
You're certain you'd know it anywhere,

So deftly you'll need to resist the urge to ask
If he ever considered a career in art.
If he didn't, it's too late now to begin. If he did,
But then decided against it, why finger that wound?
Keep silent and show how grateful you are
For his not asking what work you do
That's so important it's justified letting a friendship
Thin to a shadow of what it was.

Then it's time to thank him and drive off,
Glad you haven't asked him about the beautiful
Sunrises and sunsets he must be able to witness
Above the hills to the east and west.
It's best to avoid a compliment that might remind him
Of the difference between watching a sunset
With the friends who used to watch beside him
And watching now.

2013. április 18., csütörtök

Anna Kamieńska: Difference

Tell me what’s the difference
between hope and waiting
because my heart doesn’t know
It constantly cuts itself on the glass of waiting
It constantly gets lost in the fog of hope

2013. április 17., szerda

Marceline Desbordes-Valmore: Apart

Do not write. I am sad, and want my light put out.
Summers in your absence are as dark as a room.
I have closed my arms again. They must do without.
To knock at my heart is like knocking at a tomb.
Do not write!

Do not write. Let us learn to die, as best we may.
Did I love you? Ask God. Ask yourself. Do you know?
To hear that you love me, when you are far away,
Is like hearing from heaven and never to go.
Do not write!

Do not write. I fear you. I fear to remember,
For memory holds the voice I have often heard.
To the one who cannot drink, do not show water,
The beloved one's picture in the handwritten word.
Do not write!

Do not write those gentle words that I dare not see,
It seems that your voice is spreading them on my heart,
Across your smile, on fire, they appear to me,
It seems that a kiss is printing them on my heart.
Do not write!

Translated from the French by Louis Simpson

Marceline Desbordes-Valmore: Les Séparés

N'écris pas. Je suis triste, et je voudrais m'éteindre.
Les beaux étés sans toi, c'est la nuit sans flambeau.
J'ai refermé mes bras qui ne peuvent t'atteindre,
Et frapper à mon coeur, c'est frapper au tombeau.
N'écris pas!

N'écris pas. N'apprenons qu'à mourir à nous-mêmes.
Ne demande qu'à Dieu . . . qu'à toi, si je t'aimais!
Au fond de ton absence écouter que tu m'aimes,
C'est entendre le ciel sans y monter jamais.
N'écris pas!

N'écris pas. Je te crains; j'ai peur de ma mémoire;
Elle a gardé ta voix qui m'appelle souvent.
Ne montre pas l'eau vive à qui ne peut la boire.
Une chère écriture est un portrait vivant.
N'écris pas!

N'écris pas ces doux mots que je n'ose plus lire:
Il semble que ta voix les répand sur mon coeur;
Que je les vois brûler à travers ton sourire;
Il semble qu'un baiser les empreint sur mon coeur.
N'écris pas!

2013. április 16., kedd

Tania De Rozario: A Hundred Ways To Say Your Name

I avoid speaking your name in conversation,
throwing it to the air as if it were nothing
more than an assumption of you; it is my last
mode of defence. The last item of clothing
to discard before I realise I’m naked in public.

Because they can hear it in my voice. I know.

Even in that one short syllable that means
everything and nothing; your name is as common
as you are rare. As easy as you are not.
As simple as love should be, but never is.

But when I’m alone, I tie my tongue softly

round the familiar sound, as if pronouncing
with conviction the phonetics of desire
will cause time to pause just long enough
for the earth to hear me naming my loss.

2013. április 15., hétfő

Naomi Shihab Nye: Wandering Around an Albuquerque Airport Terminal

After learning my flight was detained 4 hours,
I heard the announcement:
If anyone in the vicinity of gate 4-A understands any Arabic,
Please come to the gate immediately.

Well -- one pauses these days. Gate 4-A was my own gate. I went there.
An older woman in full traditional Palestinian dress,
Just like my grandma wore, was crumpled to the floor, wailing loudly.
Help, said the flight service person. Talk to her. What is her
Problem? we told her the flight was going to be four hours late and she
Did this.

I put my arm around her and spoke to her haltingly.
Shu dow-a, shu- biduck habibti, stani stani schway, min fadlick,
Sho bit se-wee?

The minute she heard any words she knew -- however poorly used -
She stopped crying.

She thought our flight had been canceled entirely.
She needed to be in El Paso for some major medical treatment the
Following day. I said no, no, we're fine, you'll get there, just late,

Who is picking you up? Let's call him and tell him.
We called her son and I spoke with him in English.
I told him I would stay with his mother till we got on the plane and
Would ride next to her -- southwest.

She talked to him. Then we called her other sons just for the fun of it.

Then we called my dad and he and she spoke for a while in Arabic and
Found out of course they had ten shared friends.

Then I thought just for the heck of it why not call some Palestinian
Poets I know and let them chat with her. This all took up about 2 hours.

She was laughing a lot by then. Telling about her life. Answering

She had pulled a sack of homemade mamool cookies -- little powdered
Sugar crumbly mounds stuffed with dates and nuts -- out of her bag --
And was offering them to all the women at the gate.

To my amazement, not a single woman declined one. It was like a
Sacrament. The traveler from Argentina, the traveler from California,
The lovely woman from Laredo -- we were all covered with the same
Powdered sugar. And smiling. There are no better cookies.

And then the airline broke out the free beverages from huge coolers --
Non-alcoholic -- and the two little girls for our flight, one African
American, one Mexican American -- ran around serving us all apple juice
And lemonade and they were covered with powdered sugar too.

And I noticed my new best friend -- by now we were holding hands --
Had a potted plant poking out of her bag, some medicinal thing,

With green furry leaves. Such an old country traveling tradition. Always
Carry a plant. Always stay rooted to somewhere.

And I looked around that gate of late and weary ones and thought,
This is the world I want to live in. The shared world.

Not a single person in this gate -- once the crying of confusion stopped
-- has seemed apprehensive about any other person.

They took the cookies. I wanted to hug all those other women too.
This can still happen anywhere.

Not everything is lost.

2013. április 13., szombat

Jevgenyij Jevtusenko: Bűvölő

Tavaszi éjszakán gondolj reám
és nyári éjszakán gondolj reám.
És őszi éjszakán gondolj reám,
és téli éjszakán gondolj reám.
Ha lennék tőled oly távol talán,
mintha más ország volna a hazám,
ágyad hűs lepedőjén, vánkosán,
hanyatt feküdve, mintha óceán
habja himbálna, lágyan és puhán,
add át magad ott is nekem csupán.

Nappal ne is gondolj rám, úgy becsülj.
Nappal minden fonákjára kerül;
imádjanak, lengjen tömjén körül,
gondolj nappal - búdul vagy élvedül -
mire elméd gondolni kényszerül;
de éjszaka rám gondolj egyedül.

Halld meg mozdonyfüttyökön is át,
a szélben, mely felhőkkel vív csatát,
hogy vasfogóban vagyok, s csak az ád
megenyhülést, ha miattam reád
oly öröm árad, oly szomorúság,
fájásig nyomod homlokod falát.

A csönd csendjével susogja a szám,
az esővel esengem szaporán,
a hóval, mely szűk szobád ablakán
bedereng s álmomban s álmom után,
tavaszi éjszakán gondolj reám
és nyári éjszakán gondolj reám,
és őszi éjszakán gondolj reám,
és téli éjszakán gondolj reám.

(fordító ismeretlen)

2013. április 12., péntek

Kristine Batey: How to Sing the Blues

1. Most blues begin "woke up this morning."

2."I got a good woman" is a bad way to
begin the blues, unless you stick something
nasty in the next line: "I got a good woman
 — with the meanest dog in town."

3. Blues are simple. After you have the first
line right, repeat it. Then find something
that rhymes. Sort of.
"Got a good woman with the meanest dog in town.
He got teeth like Margaret Thatcher
and he weighs about 500 pounds."  

4. The blues are not about limitless choice.

5. Blues cars are Chevies and Cadillacs.
Other acceptable blues transportation is
the Greyhound bus or a southbound
train. Walkin' plays a major part in the
blues lifestyle. So does fixin' to die.

6. Teenagers can't sing the blues. Adults
sing the blues. Blues adulthood means old
enough to get the electric chair if you
shoot a man in Memphis.

7. You can have the blues in New York City,
but not in Brooklyn or Queens.
Hard times in Vermont or North Dakota are
just a depression.
Chicago, St. Louis and Kansas City are still
the best places to have the blues.

8. The following colors do not belong in the blues:
            a. violet
            b. beige
            c. mauve

9. You can't have the blues in an office or a
shopping mall, the lighting is wrong.

10. Good places for the blues:
            a. the highway
            b. the jailhouse
            c. the empty bed
      Bad places:
            a. ashrams
            b. gallery openings
            c. weekend in the Hamptons

11. No one will believe it's the blues if you
wear a suit, unless you happen to be an old
black man.
12. Do you have the right to sing the blues?
    Yes, if:
            a. your first name is a southern state—
            like Georgia
            b. you're blind
            c. you shot a man in Memphis
            d. you can't be satisfied
    No, if:
            a. you were once blind but now can see
            b. you're deaf
            c. you have a trust fund

13. Neither Julio Iglesias nor Barbra Streisand
can sing the blues.

14. If you ask for water and your baby gives you
gasoline, it's the blues. Other blues beverages are:
            a. wine
            b. Irish whiskey
            c. muddy water
   Blues beverages are NOT:
            a. any mixed drink
            b. any wine kosher for Passover
            c. Yoo Hoo (all flavors)

15. If it occurs in a cheap motel or shotgun shack,
it's blues death. Stabbed in the back by a jealous
lover is a blues way to die. So is the electric chair,
substance abuse, or being denied treatment in an
emergency room. It is not a blues death, if you die
during a liposuction treatment.

2013. április 11., csütörtök

Anna Swir: Tell Me

Tell me, my dearest
now when I listen
to your heart beating,
when I drink from a little spring of warmth
in your neck,
when I look into you
as if you were transparent,
and see every thought of yours
and know
that you would die for me
were it necessary,
tell me now
whether we are the happiest
of all people
or the most unhappy.

2013. április 10., szerda

Pablo Neruda: And how long?

How long does a man live, after all?
Does he live a thousand days, or one only? 
A week, or several centuries?
How long does a man spend dying? 
What does it mean to say 'for ever'?

Lost in these preoccupation 
I set myself to clear things up.

I sought out knowledgeable priests. 
I waited for them after their rituals, 
I watched them when they went their ways 
to visit God and the Devil.

They wearied of my questions.
They on their part knew very little; 
they were no more than administrators.

Medical men received me
in between consultations,
a scalpel in each hand,
saturated in aureomycin,
busier each day.
As far as I could tell from their talk, 
the problem was as follows:
it was not so much the death of a microbe —
they went down by the ton —
-but the few which survived 
showed signs of perversity.

They left me so startled
that I sought out the gravediggers. 
I went to the rivers where they burn
enormous painted corpses,
tiny bony bodies,
emperors with an aura
of terrible curses,
women snuffed out at a stroke 
by a wave of cholera.
There were whole beaches of dead 
and ashy specialists.

When I got the chance
I asked them a slew of questions. 
They offered to burn me; 
it was the only thing they knew.

In my own country the undertakers 
answered me, between drinks: 
'Get yourself a good woman 
and give up this nonsense.'

I never saw people so happy.

Raising their glasses they sang, 
toasting health and death. 
They were huge fornicators.

I returned home, much older 
after crossing the world.

Now I question nobody.

But I know less every day.

Translation by Alastair Reid

Pablo Neruda: Y cuánto vive?

Cuánto vive el hombre, por fin?
Vive mil días o uno solo?
Una semana o varios siglos?
Por cuánto tiempo muere el hombre?
Qué quiere decir "Para siempre"?

Preocupado por este asunto
me dediqué a aclarar las cosas.

Busqué a los sabios sacerdotes,
los esperé después del rito,
los aceché cuando salían
a visitar a Dios y al Diablo.

Se aburrieron con mis preguntas.
Ellos tampoco sabían mucho,
eran sólo administradores.

Los médicos me recibieron,
entre una consulta y otra,
con un bisturí en cada mano,
saturados a aureomicina,
más ocupados cada día.
Según supe por lo que hablaban
el problema era como sigue:
nunca murió tanto microbio,
toneladas de ellos caían,
pero los pocos que quedaron
se manifestaban perversos.

Me dejaron tan asustado
que busqué a los enterradores.
Me fui a los ríos donde queman
grandes cadáveres pintados,
pequeños muertos huesudos,
emperadores recubiertos
por escamas aterradoras,
mujeres aplastadas de pronto
por una ráfaga de cólera.
Eran riberas de difuntos
y especialistas cenicientos.

Cuando llegó mi oportunidad
les largué unas cuantas preguntas,
ellos me ofrecieron quemarme:
era todo lo que sabían.

En mi país los enterradores
me contestaron, entre copas:
"-Búscate una moza robusta,
y déjate de tonterías".

Nunca vi gentes tan alegres.
Cantaban levantando el vino
por la salud y la muerte.
Eran grandes fornicadores.

Regresé a mi casa más viejo
después de recorrer el mundo.

No le pregunto a nadie nada.

Pero sé cada día menos.

2013. április 9., kedd

Marge Piercy: For Strong Women

A strong woman is a woman who is straining
A strong woman is a woman standing
on tiptoe and lifting a barbell
while trying to sing "Boris Godunov."
A strong woman is a woman at work
cleaning out the cesspool of the ages,
and while she shovels, she talks about
how she doesn't mind crying, it opens
the ducts of the eyes, and throwing up
develops the stomach muscles, and
she goes on shoveling with tears in her nose.
A strong woman is a woman in whose head
a voice is repeating, I told you so,
ugly, bad girl, bitch, nag, shrill, witch,
ballbuster, nobody will ever love you back,
why aren't you feminine, why aren't
you soft, why aren't you quiet, why aren't you dead?
A strong woman is a woman determined
to do something others are determined
not be done. She is pushing up on the bottom
of a lead coffin lid. She is trying to raise
a manhole cover with her head, she is trying
to butt her way through a steel wall.
Her head hurts. People waiting for the hole
to be made say, hurry, you're so strong.
A strong woman is a woman bleeding
inside. A strong woman is a woman making
herself strong every morning while her teeth
loosen and her back throbs. Every baby,
a tooth, midwives used to say, and now
every battle a scar. A strong woman
is a mass of scar tissue that aches
when it rains and wounds that bleed
when you bump them and memories that get up
in the night and pace in boots to and fro.
A strong woman is a woman who craves love
like oxygen or she turns blue choking.
A strong woman is a woman who loves
strongly and weeps strongly and is strongly
terrified and has strong needs. A strong woman is strong
in words, in action, in connection, in feeling;
she is not strong as a stone but as a wolf
suckling her young. Strength is not in her, but she
enacts it as the wind fills a sail.
What comforts her is others loving
her equally for the strength and for the weakness
from which it issues, lightning from a cloud.
Lightning stuns. In rain, the clouds disperse.
Only water of connection remains,
flowing through us. Strong is what we make
each other. Until we are all strong together,
a strong woman is a woman strongly afraid.

2013. április 8., hétfő

Stephen Dunn: At the Smithville Methodist Church

It was supposed to be Arts & Crafts for a week,
but when she came home
with the "Jesus Saves" button, we knew what art
was up, what ancient craft.

She liked her little friends. She liked the songs
they sang when they weren't
twisting and folding paper into dolls.
What could be so bad?

Jesus had been a good man, and putting faith
in good men was what
we had to do to stay this side of cynicism,
that other sadness.

OK, we said, One week. But when she came home
singing "Jesus loves me,
the Bible tells me so," it was time to talk.
Could we say Jesus

doesn't love you? Could I tell her the Bible
is a great book certain people use
to make you feel bad? We sent her back
without a word.

It had been so long since we believed, so long
since we needed Jesus
as our nemesis and friend, that we thought he was
sufficiently dead,

that our children would think of him like Lincoln
or Thomas Jefferson.
Soon it became clear to us: you can't teach disbelief
to a child,

only wonderful stories, and we hadn't a story
nearly as good.
On parents' night there were the Arts & Crafts
all spread out

like appetizers. Then we took our seats
in the church
and the children sang a song about the Ark,
and Hallelujah

and one in which they had to jump up and down
for Jesus.
I can't remember ever feeling so uncertain
about what's comic, what's serious.

Evolution is magical but devoid of heroes.
You can't say to your child
"Evolution loves you." The story stinks
of extinction and nothing

exciting happens for centuries. I didn't have
a wonderful story for my child
and she was beaming. All the way home in the car
she sang the songs,

occasionally standing up for Jesus.
There was nothing to do
but drive, ride it out, sing along
in silence.

2013. április 7., vasárnap

Reviczky Gyula: Egy pillangó története

Hideg volt még, s a föld kopár,
Pacsirta még nem énekelt.
Az ibolya se bújt elő,
S egy lepke máris szárnyra kelt.

Bekarikázta a mezőt,
Enyhet keresve, társtalan',
S mégis tavaszrul álmodott,
És úgy örült, hogy szárnya van.

Fáradtan olykor megpihent
Kórón vagy száraz ágakon,
És várta a derült tavaszt,
Merengve a felhős napon.

Remélt és várta, leste, hogy
Mikor lesz végre már meleg,
Oly sápadt volt a nap neki,
S oly dermesztők az éjjelek.

Fázott szegény, de víg maradt:
A tavasz álma volt vele:
Jól tudta, hogy lesz kikelet,
És rózsa lesz a kedvese.

Lett is tavasz, volt ibolya:
Volt rózsa, fény és napsugár,
De nem a pillangónak: ő
A tavaszt meg nem érte már

2013. április 6., szombat

Heltai Jenő: Vallomás

 Mi ketten egymást meg nem értjük,
  Nagyon sajnálom, asszonyom,
  De ha nem kellek szeretőnek
  Egyébre nem vállalkozom.

  Például arra, mit gyakorta
  Szónoki hévvel mond kegyed,
  Hogy meggyötört szegény szivének
  Legjobb barátja én legyek.

  Legjobb barát! szavamra mondom,
  Megtisztelő egy hivatal,
  De nem vagyok hozzá elég vén,
  S ön aggasztóan fiatal.

  Ön csupa élet, csupa illat,
  Lángol vakít, hevít, ragyog,
  Hát hogyne szomjaznám a csókját
  Én, aki angyal nem vagyok?

  Olyan kevés amit kivánok...
  Ha osztozkodni restel is,
  Legyen a tisztelt lelke másé
  Nekem elég a teste is.

  Legyen lelkének egy barátja,
  Kivel csevegni élvezet,
  De ez az őrült, ez a mamlasz,
  Ez a barát nem én leszek.

  Legyen övé minden poézis.
  És az enyém: csak ami tény,
  Ő oldja meg a problémákat,
  A ruháját viszont csak én.

  Hogy ez a hang szokatlan önnek,
  Kétségbe, kérem, nem vonom,
  De annak, hogy megértsük egymást
  Csak egy a módja asszonyom:

  Adjon az Úr, ki egy tenyérbül
  Rosszat is, jót is osztogat,
  Rosszabb erkölcsöket kegyednek,
  Vagy nekem adjon jobbakat!

2013. április 5., péntek

Lawrence Raab: Marriage

Years later they find themselves talking  
about chances, moments when their lives   
might have swerved off
for the smallest reason.
                                     What if
I hadn’t phoned, he says, that morning?   
What if you’d been out,
as you were when I tried three times   
the night before?
                           Then she tells him a secret.   
She’d been there all evening, and she knew   
he was the one calling, which was why   
she hadn’t answered.
                               Because she felt—
because she was certain—her life would change   
if she picked up the phone, said hello,   
said, I was just thinking
of you.
            I was afraid,
she tells him. And in the morning   
I also knew it was you, but I just   
answered the phone
                            the way anyone
answers a phone when it starts to ring,   
not thinking you have a choice.

2013. április 4., csütörtök

Pat Mora: La Migra


Let's play La Migra
I'll be the Border Patrol.
You be the Mexican maid.
I get the badge and sunglasses.
You can hide and run,
but you can't get away
because I have a jeep.
I can take you wherever
I want, but don't ask
questions because
I don't speak Spanish.
I can touch you wherever
I want but don't complain
too much because I've got
boots and kick—if I have to,
and I have handcuffs.
Oh, and a gun.
Get ready, get set, run.


Let's play La Migra
You be the Border Patrol.
I'll be the Mexican woman.
Your jeep has a flat,
and you have been spotted
by the sun.
All you have is heavy: hat
glasses, badge, shoes, gun.
I know this desert,
where to rest,
where to drink.
Oh, I am not alone.
You hear us singing
and laughing with the wind,
Agua dulce brota aquí
aquí, aquí, but since you
can't speak Spanish.
you do not understand
Get ready.

2013. április 3., szerda

Mario Benedetti: Pebbles at My Window

From time to time joy
tosses pebbles at my window
so I'll know its out there waiting
but since today I'm feeling calm
I'd almost say cool-headed
I plan to stash my cares away
stretch out and look up at the ceiling
which is a fine comfortable position
for sifting out news and letting it sink in

who knows where my next steps will lead me
or when the measure of my life will be taken
who knows what words of caution I'll yet come up with
or what shortcuts I'll take to ignore them

OK I won't pretend I'm a hopeless case
I won't tattoo my memories with forgetting
there's still too much to say and keep from saying
and too many grapes to be savored

OK I give up now I'm convinced
joy can stop tossing those pebbles
I'll open the window
I'll open the window

Translated by Louise B. Popkin

Mario Benedetti: Piedritas en la ventana

De vez en cuando la alegría 
tira piedritas contra mi ventana 
quiere avisarme que está ahí esperando 
pero me siento calmo 
casi diría ecuánime 
voy a guardar la angustia en un escondite 
y luego a tenderme cara al techo 
que es una posición gallarda y cómoda 
para filtrar noticias y creerlas 

quién sabe dónde quedan mis próximas huellas 
ni cuándo mi historia va a ser computada 
quién sabe qué consejos voy a inventar aún 
y qué atajo hallaré para no seguirlos 

está bien no jugaré al desahucio 
no tatuaré el recuerdo con olvidos 
mucho queda por decir y callar 
y también quedan uvas para llenar la boca 

está bien me doy por persuadido 
que la alegría no tire más piedritas 
abriré la ventana 
abriré la ventana.

2013. április 2., kedd

Ronna Bloom: 83%

My old love comes to my door
and my heart doesn’t pound.
Though I am happy.

83% happy.

Like the Mona Lisa.

2013. április 1., hétfő

Billy Collins: Walking Across the Atlantic

I wait for the holiday crowd to clear the beach
before stepping onto the first wave.

Soon I am walking across the Atlantic
thinking about Spain,
checking for whales, waterspouts.
I feel the water holding up my shifting weight.
Tonight I will sleep on its rocking surface.

But for now I try to imagine what
this must look like to the fish below,
the bottoms of my feet appearing, disappearing.