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.

What Unkempt Beard

We present this work in honor of Galician Literature Day.

Eduardo Pondal
Spanish
1835 – 1917

 

What unkempt beard!
What pallid colour!
What vestments soiled
By prolonged ailment!
Perhaps he is a scoundrel,
Perhaps he is a thief…
Dear mother, help me,
Help me for God’s sake;
Perhaps he is some impaired fellow
Who has taken leave of his senses.
O what a wild look
Full of dread and affliction!
I can not tell whether he frightens me,
Whether he moves me to compassion:
He resembles a pine tree thrashed by the wind,
He looks as if he were cast up by the sea of Niñons.

“Simple young girl:
Do not fear me,
I am not a tramp,
I am not a thief.
Daring hieroglyph
Of the dreamy bog
I carry on, and to myself a stranger
Abstruse enigma am I.
If I am crazy perhaps,
Love crazy am I.
That is why the good folk
Wherever I go
Say with admiration
Upon seeing my slovenliness,
‘He resembles a pine tree thrashed by the wind,
He looks as if he were cast up by the sea of Niñons.’

“The noble soul dared
Sleepless thoughts,
Turbulent ambition,
Ironhanded resolutions.
The turbid regiment
Of a thousand profound yearnings
Took away (as it did from Lucifer)
The original splendor.
Wise bards
Whom fateful law birthed
Dreamers and indolent
Partake of his nature.
That is why I do not
Know myself, no,
And the very trails
I tread exclaim:
‘He resembles a pine tree thrashed by the wind,
He looks as if he were cast up by the sea of Niñons.’”

There Used to Be—

Rose Fyleman
English
1877 – 1957

 

There used to be fairies in Germany—
I know, for I’ve seen them there
In a great cool wood where the tall trees stood
With their heads high up in the air;
They scrambled about in the forest
And nobody seemed to mind;
They were dear little things (tho’ they didn’t have wings)
And they smiled and their eyes were kind.

What, and oh what were they doing
To let things like this?
How could it be? And didn’t they see
That folk were going amiss?
Were they too busy playing,
Or can they perhaps have slept,
That never they heard an ominous word
That stealthily crept and crept?

There used to be fairies in Germany—
The children will look for them still;
They will search all about till the sunlight slips out
And the trees stand frowning and chill.
“The flowers,” they will say, “have all vanished,
And where can the fairies be fled
That played in the fern?”—The flowers will return,
But I fear that the fairies are dead.

Thirty Years

Juan Francisco Manzano
Cuban
1797 – 1854

 

When I think on the course I have run,
From my childhood itself to this day,
I tremble, and fain would I shun,
The remembrance its terrors array.

I marvel at struggles endured,
With a destiny frightful as mine,
At the strength for such efforts:—assured
Tho’ I am, ‘tis in vain to repine.

I have known this sad life thirty years,
And to me, thirty years it has been
Of suff’ring, of sorrow and tears,
Ev’ry day of its bondage I’ve seen.

But ‘tis nothing the past—or the pains,
Hitherto I have struggled to bear,
When I think, oh, my God! on the chains,
That I know I’m yet destined to wear.

Burning Questions

Alison Fell
Scots
b. 1944

 

You are a lynx and a liar
and I have my father’s dancing eyes
and laughter crackles between us
like snakes or lightning
in the quick dab of lip

Laughing we touch and fly;
we are buzzing and crafty,
uncatchable.

Laughing we deny
what is darkest in us,
the world’s strong shadow,
the need to choose.

What shall we do with each other?

I know the shock of the future
and the whistling silence.
I do not know you.
You may be translucent,
I may pass right through.

Sit down and settle,
Let me melt into you.
You must tell me your truths
and see if I sting.