I Look Up to the Sky

We present this work in honor of Shavout.

Samuel ibn Naghrillah
Arab Andalusian
993 – 1056

 

I look up to the sky and the stars,
And down to the earth and the things that creep there.
And I consider in my heart how their creation
Was planned with wisdom in every detail.
See the heavens above like a tent,
Constructed with loops and with hooks,
And the moon with its stars, like a shepherdess
Sending her sheep into the reeds;
The moon itself among the clouds,
Like a ship sailing under its banners;
The clouds like a girl in her garden
Moving, and watering the myrtle-trees;
The dew-mist—a woman shaking
Drops from her hair to the ground.
The inhabitants turn, like animals, to rest,
(Their palaces are their stables);
And all fleeing from the fear of death,
Like a dove pursued by the falcon.
And these are compared at the end to a plate
Which is smashed into innumerable shards.

Since I am Forgotten

Guillaume de Machaut
French
1300 – 1377

 

Since I am forgotten by you, sweet friend,
To a love life, and to happiness, I bid goodbye.
Unlucky was the day I put my love in you,
Since I am forgotten by you, sweet friend.
Yet I will keep what I have promised you,
Which is that never will I have another lover.
Since I am forgotten by you, sweet friend,
To a love life, and to happiness, I bid goodbye.

To—

We present this work in honor of the Argentine holiday, May Day Revolution.

José Rivera Indarte
Argentine
1814 – 1845

 

Written on the Gulf of Mexico

The windswept waves are rolling high,
Our bark bounds o’er an angry sea,
The storm is blackening the sky,
But all my soul is fixed on thee.

Oh, pray for me, thou gentle one,
To him who rules earth, sea and air;
And moved by thy celestial tone,
He yet my wayward life may spare.

It was no strain of earthly love
Which drew my being unto thine;
It was a call from heaven above,
An opening unto love divine.

Thou art with me where high or low,
These widely-wandering steps may roam;
And all the joys of heaven I know,
Are visioned in thy peaceful home.

Before thy presence crossed my life,
Full many a wish strayed wide and far,
To the poor gains of civil strife,
The blood stained laurels snatched from war.

The treacherous lures of low desires,
The breath of popular applause;
But thou hast kindled purer fires,
And oped my eyes to higher laws.

Still bear me ever in thy heart,
E’en though the burden bring thee pain;
‘Tis agony, indeed to part;
But Oh, ‘tis bliss to meet again!

A Ballad of John Silver

We present this work in honor of National Maritime Day.

John Masefield
English
1878 – 1967

 

We were schooner-rigged and rakish,
with a long and lissome hull,
And we flew the pretty colours of the crossbones and the skull;
We’d a big black Jolly Roger flapping grimly at the fore,
And we sailed the Spanish Water in the happy days of yore.

We’d a long brass gun amidships, like a well-conducted ship,
We had each a brace of pistols and a cutlass at the hip;
It’s a point which tells against us, and a fact to be deplored,
But we chased the goodly merchant-men and laid their ships aboard.

Then the dead men fouled the scuppers and the wounded filled the chains,
And the paint-work all was spatter dashed with other peoples brains,
She was boarded, she was looted, she was scuttled till she sank.
And the pale survivors left us by the medium of the plank.

O! then it was (while standing by the taffrail on the poop)
We could hear the drowning folk lament the absent chicken coop;
Then, having washed the blood away, we’d little else to do
Than to dance a quiet hornpipe as the old salts taught us to.

O! the fiddle on the fo’c’sle, and the slapping naked soles,
And the genial “Down the middle, Jake, and curtsey when she rolls!”
With the silver seas around us and the pale moon overhead,
And the look-out not a-looking and his pipe-bowl glowing red.

Ah! the pig-tailed, quidding pirates and the pretty pranks we played,
All have since been put a stop to by the naughty Board of Trade;
The schooners and the merry crews are laid away to rest,
A little south the sunset in the islands of the Blest.

Staircase

We present this work in honor of the Commemoration of Ataturk.

Ahmet Haşim
Turkish
1884 – 1933

 

Slowly, slowly will you mount this stairway
—A heap of sun-tinged leaves upon your skirts–
And for a while gaze weeping at the sky…

The waters darken and your face grows pale,
Look at the scarlet air, for evening comes…

Bowed towards the earth, the roses endless glow,
Flame-like the nightingales bleed upon the boughs;
Has marble turned to bronze, do waters burn?

This is a secret tongue that fills the soul
Look at the scarlet air, for evening comes…

In a Museum

We present this work in honor of International Museum Day.

Thomas Hardy
English
1840 – 1928

 

I

Here’s the mould of a musical bird long passed from light,
Which over the earth before man came was winging;
There’s a contralto voice I heard last night,
That lodges in me still with its sweet singing.

II

Such a dream is Time that the coo of this ancient bird
Has perished not, but is blent, or will be blending
Mid visionless wilds of space with the voice that I heard,
In the full-fugued song of the universe unending.