We present this work in honor of International Museum Day.
Two clergymen, one long, one short, Stand before Greco’s Trinity: The tall one twirls a single thought Round some point in divinity; The short one mops his heated brows With a red handkerchief, dimly aspires To levitate among the clouds Upborn by incorporeal fires.
The desiccated blond inspects The pages of her Baedeker, Hoping that somehow culture and sex At last will coalesce for her. She who through Europe has pursued Delight still missed en troisi me noce, Beneath some vast exuberant nude Of Rubens, knows the pain of loss.
Fading with cup and mandolin, Goya’s country feast turns dark, But soon the firing-squads begin By lanternlight their bloody work. Before that last anger and despair At human folly, someone stands. It is oneself that cannot bear Those anguished eyes and famished hands.
Velazquez turns with easy stance To the princess and the maids of honour, Caught in a movement like a dance, And calms the dwarf’s indignant humour. Royalty in the looking glass Fears its heavy image less: The gift of water in a glass Forgives the human ugliness.
Equal and intellectual, Transcending flesh, transcending flame, This passionless light that hallows all Shall build us an eternal home.
We present this work in honor of the poet’s 135th birthday.
Old gods and goddesses who have lived so long Through time and never found eternity, Fettered by wasting wood and hollowing hill, You should have fled our ever-dying song, The mound, the well, and the green trysting tree. They have forgotten, yet you linger still, Goddess of caverned breast and channeled brow, And cheeks slow hollowed by millennial tears, Forests of autumns fading in your eyes, Eternity marvels at your counted years And kingdoms lost in time, and wonders how There could be thoughts so bountiful and wise As yours beneath the ever-breaking bough, And vast compassion curving like the skies.
Time was, long before I met her, but longer still, since we parted, The east wind is powerless, for it has come and a hundred flowers are gone, And the silk-worms of spring will spin until they die And every night candles will weep their wicks away. In the morning mirror she sees her temple hair changing the color of clouds Chanting poems in the chill of moonlight. Oh, it is not so very far to Penglai O blue-birds listen, bring me what she says.
We present this work in honor of the 30th anniversary of the poet’s death.
When you reach that other world, don’t become a cloud, don’t become a cloud, and the bitter star of dawn, so that your mother knows you, waiting at her door. Take a wand of willow, a root of rosemary, a root of rosemary, and be a moonlit coolness falling in the midnight in your thirsting courtyard. I gave you rosewater to drink, you gave me poison, eaglet of the frost, hawk of the desert.
In the name of Him who taught the soul to think, And kindled the heart’s lamp with the light of soul; By Whose light the two worlds were illumined, By Whose grace the dust of Adam bloomed with roses; That Almighty one who in the twinkling of an eye, From Kaf and Nun brought forth the two worlds! What time the Kaf of His power breathed on the pen, It cast thousands of pictures on the page of Not being. From that breath were produced the two worlds, From that breath proceeded the soul of Adam. In Adam were manifested reason and discernment, Whereby he perceived the principle of all things. When he beheld himself a specific person, He thought within himself “What am I?” From part to whole he made a transit, And thence returned back to the world. He saw that the world is an imaginary thing, Like as one diffused through many numbers. The worlds of command and of creatures proceed from one breath, And the moment they come forth they go away again. Albeit here there is no real coming and going, Going, when you consider it, is naught but coming. Things revert to their proper original, All are one, both the visible and the invisible. God most high is the eternal one who with a breath Originates and terminates both worlds. The world of command and that of creatures are here one, One becomes many and many few. All these varied forms arise only from your fancy, They are but one point revolving quickly in a circle. It is but one circular line from first to last Whereon the creatures of this world are journeying; On this road the prophets are as princes, Guides, leaders and counsellors. And of them our lord Muhammad is the chief, At once the first and the last in this matter. That One (Ahad) was made manifest in the mim of Ahmad. In this circuit the first emanation became the last. A single mim divides Ahad from Ahmad; The world is immersed in that one mim. In him is completed the end of this road, In him is the station of the text ‘I call to God,’ His entrancing state is the union of union, His heart ravishing beauty the light of light. He went before and all souls follow after Grasping the skirts of his garment. As for the saints on this road before and behind They each give news of their own stages. When they have reached their limits They discourse of the ‘knower’ and the ‘known,’ One in the ocean of unity says ‘I am the Truth,’ Another speaks of near, and far, and the moving boat, One, having acquired the external knowledge, Gives news of the dry land of the shore. One takes out the pearl and it becomes a stumbling-block, Another leaves the pearl and it remains in its shell. One tells openly this tale of part and of whole, Another takes his text from eternal and temporal: One tells of curl, of mole, and of eyebrow, And displays to view wine, lamp and beauty. One speaks of his own being and its illusion, Another is devoted to idols and the Magian girdle. Since the language of each is according to his degree of progress, They are hard to be understood of the people. He who is perplexed as to these mysteries Is bound to learn their meaning.
We present this work in honor of the 455th anniversary of the poet’s death.
Hence away, thou siren, leave me, Pish! unclasp those wanton arms, Sugared words can ne’er deceive me Though thou prove a thousand charms. Fie, fie, forbear, no common snare Can ever my affection chain. Thy painted baits and poor deceits Are all bestowed on me in vain.
I’m no slave to such as you be, Neither shall that snowy breast, Rolling eye and lip of ruby, Ever rob me of my rest. Go, go, display thy beauty’s ray To some more soon enamoured swain, Those common wiles of sighs and smiles Are all bestowed on me in vain.
I have elsewhere vowed a duty, Turn away that tempting eye, Show me not a painted beauty, These impostures I defy. My spirit loathes where gaudy clothes And feigned oaths may love obtain. I love her so, whose looks swear no, That all your labours will be vain.