The Spelling – Simon Armitage

The Spelling

I left a spelling at my father’s house
written in small coins on his front step.
It said which star I was heading for next,
which channel to watch, which button to press.
I should have waited, given that spelling
a voice, but I was handsome and late.

While I was gone he replied with pebbles
and leaves at my gate. But a storm got up
from the west, sluicing all meaning and shape.

I keep his broken spelling in a tin,
tip it out on the cellar floor, hoping
a letter or even a word might form.
And I am all grief, staring through black space
to meet his eyes, trying to read his face.
Simon Armitage
[from TRYANNOSAURUS REX VERSUS THE CORDUROY KID (2006)]
From Paper Aeroplane
Selected Poems 1989-2014

……… ………… ………… …………..

simon

As an Artist in Residence at London’s South Bank from 2009 to 2012 he conceived and curated Poetry Parnassus, a gathering of world poets and poetry from every Olympic nation as part of Britain’s Cultural Olympiad, a landmark event generally recognised as the biggest coming together of international poets in history.
source: simonarmitage.com

Capoeira Boy

Capoeira Boy

I saw him on YouTube. He was learning the martial art
that masks fighting as dance; the rocking, foot-
to-foot ginga bracing him for kicks, swipes
and thistle-light acrobalance. He was finding how to spin.

Feint, soar with his opponent. You could worry about him.
at least I did. but I saw he was loved. A favourite
perhaps. Enough anyway to give hope a chance
despite his lumbering, faintly victim, stance

as the two circled each other, holding their arms
off their torsos like cormorants drying their wings.
He was seven or eight, wearing glasses. Eagerness
shone out of him inside the ring of boys

chanting to a tambourine. They knew slaves in Brazil
made the rules. Only by dance do you learn how to fight.
Only by fight how to dance. And also that kids like them,
on the West Bank, could learn this in Hebron.

I saw him on YouTube in Jalazoun Refugee Camp
The teacher, laughing, supervised falls, accidents,
cat’s whisker escapes. I imagined he was telling them
Squat and spin! Flat on your hands! Aim your kick in his face-

let him duck – then cartwheel away. This is all about you.
but you’re nothing without him. Let the dance-fight-dance
set you free. Free of the six-lane motorway
shaking the camp with its sorrowful vibrations.

Free of the twenty-foot wall of cement, a stage set for Macbeth.
Grey olives flickered beyond, on hills where I guessed
older men like his grandfather were born
and are forbidden to graze sheep or tend their trees again.

While the boys danced, I pictured the flame of a split aorta
in the chest of a man who has lived all his days in the camps
and will die in one now. Afternoon flowed
through rows of tents like mist coming off black jade

as each became the other’s mirror. They were twin lights
in a sconce, tiger cubs perfecting life skills – pounce timing,
split speed for the roda – each pouring all he was
into the little space between self’s flying heel and other’s face.
– Ruth Padel

From “Learning to make an oud in Nazareth” (2014)

……………………….

SONY DSC

 

Ruth Padel is an award-winning poet, an acclaimed critic, travel writer and novelist, a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and Writer in Residence at the Royal Opera House. Covent Garden. She broadcasts for BBC Radio 3and 4 on poetry and music, and teaches poetry at Kings College, London.
http://www.ruthpadel.com

……. ……… ………. …….. ……….
‘Capoeira Boy’ – African slaves on Brazilian plantations, allowed to dance but not fight or bear arms, created a martial art disguised as dance called capoeira, now popular in the west. Volunteers from the charity Bidna Capoeira teach it in refugee camps in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. They find it increases co-operation and a sense of self-worth among children traumatised by violence.
Hebron: a city in the Judacan mountains in occupied Palestine on the southern West Bank. In 2011, Khelly Hill outside it was declared State Land. Settlers built homes and a road; Palestinian shepherds were denied entry to their land for grazing or cutting grass.

Do you hear it? – Kisan Sosa

Do you hear it?

In a drop, the rain sings in chorus, do you hear it?
In the seed, lush green crop waves, do you hear it?
On the open road ants have come out in a row
Listening to the footfall , the walls are fissured, do you hear it?
In a busy workshop in the night a new sun is shaped,
The blows of the hammer echo in all directions, do you hear it?
A tent of a new sky is being formed
In the land new nails are being hammered, do you hear it?
The wall of ice will turn into a puddle and will evaporate
With a spark of light, the sun blasts, do you hear it?
Look, on the back of the time the sweat erupts
The mountain of the sparks is ceaselessly being dug, do you hear it?
Now the real flowers will blossom in all directions
Every branch screams with pain, do you hear it?
Like the waves of the sea, the words of a poet,
Every moment strike with rocks of time, do you hear it?

Kisan Sosa
(From Anauras Surya)

The Poet
Kisan Sosa
Kisan Sosa, born 4 April, 1939, is a retired Municipal corporation employee. He is a leading Gujarati poet. His collections of poetry are Anast Surya (1985), Anauras Surya (1981) and Surya Jem Dubi Gayun Harmonium (1992).His ghazals are an important contribution to dalit poetry as he initiated dalit themes in them for the first time.
source : Gujarati Dalit Literature Blog by Ganpat Vankar

An encounter with the summer sun!

Heading home 

After a day’s work 

Sweat on my forehead 

Thirst burning my throat 

Summer Sun, heating pad on my back

Soothing my aches and pains 

Casting a shadow of me

On the road

In front of me

Making me tall

Shortening my journey home 

A cool breeze passing by 

I’m thinking of home. 

Nehal

The Burning Kite – Ouyang Jianghe

The Burning Kite

What a thing it would be, if we all could fly.
But to rise on air does not make you a bird.

I’m sick of the hiss of champagne bubbles.
It’s spring, and everyone’s got something to puke.

The things we puke: flights of stairs,
a skyscraper soaring from the gut,

the bills blow by on the April breeze
followed by flurries of razor blades in May.

It’s true, a free life is made of words.
You can crumple it, toss it in the trash,

or fold it between the bodies of angels, attaining
a permanent address in the sky.

The postman hands you your flight of birds
persisting in the original shape of wind.

Whether they’re winging toward the scissors’ V
or printed and plastered on every wall

or bound and trussed, bamboo frames wound with wire
or sentenced to death by fire

you are, first
and always, ash.

Broken wire, a hurricane at each end.
Fire trucks scream across the earth.

But this blaze is a thing of the air.
Raise your glass higher, toss it up and away.

Few know this kind of dizzy glee:
an empty sky, a pair of burning wings.

BY OUYANG JIANGHE
TRANSLATED FROM THE CHINESE BY AUSTIN WOERNER

…………………………..

Chinese poet Ouyang Jianghe, known as one of the “Five Masters from Sichuan,” is a poet and prominent critic of music, art, and literature, and president of the literary magazine Jintian. His first poetry collection in English, Doubled Shadows (2012), was published by Zephyr Press.

source: poetry foundation.org

………….

Ouyang — a bit of a maverick, known to move against the traffic.
He is placed often in the category of the “post-Misty” school of Chinese poets — a representative voice among the second wave of poets who, in the immediate aftermath of the Cultural Revolution (1966-76), chose to turn away from big historical themes, focusing instead on the apparently trivial and the quotidian elements of life. The language was obscure (hence, the name “misty”), often marked by neologisms and syntactical experiments.

“Ouyang Jianghe,” says his translator, Austin Woerner, a scholar of Chinese literature based in New York, “is the mistiest of the post-Misties. His poetry is noted for its ‘difficulty’.”

source: chinadailyasia.com

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The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

 

Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question…
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,
And seeing that it was a soft October night,
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.

And indeed there will be time
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,
Rubbing its back upon the window-panes;
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

And indeed there will be time
To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair—
[They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!”]
My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,
My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin—
[They will say: “But how his arms and legs are thin!”]
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.

For I have known them all already, known them all—
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
So how should I presume?

And I have known the eyes already, known them all—
The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,
And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,
When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,
Then how should I begin
To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?
And how should I presume?

And I have known the arms already, known them all—
Arms that are braceleted and white and bare
[But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!]
Is it perfume from a dress
That makes me so digress?
Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl.
And should I then presume?
And how should I begin?

. . . . .

Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets
And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes
Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows? …

I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.

. . . . .

And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully!
Smoothed by long fingers,
Asleep… tired… or it malingers,
Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me.
Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,
Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?
But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,
Though I have seen my head [grown slightly bald] brought in upon a platter,
I am no prophet—and here’s no great matter;
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
And in short, I was afraid.

And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
Would it have been worth while,
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball
To roll it toward some overwhelming question,
To say: “I am Lazarus, come from the dead,
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all”—
If one, settling a pillow by her head,
Should say: “That is not what I meant at all.
That is not it, at all.”

And would it have been worth it, after all,
Would it have been worth while,
After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets,
After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the floor—
And this, and so much more?—
It is impossible to say just what I mean!
But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen:
Would it have been worth while
If one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl,
And turning toward the window, should say:
“That is not it at all,
That is not what I meant, at all.”

. . . . .

No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—
Almost, at times, the Fool.

I grow old… I grow old…
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me.

I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.

We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.

T. S. Eliot, 1888 – 1965

eliot_main_lg

We are many – Pablo Neruda

Of the many men who I am, who we are,
I can’t find a single;
they disappear among my clothes,
they’ve left for another city.

When everything seems to be set
to show me off as intelligent,
the fool I always keep hidden
takes over all that I say.

At other times, I’m asleep
among distinguished people,
and when I look for my brave self,
a coward unknown to me
rushes to cover my skeleton
with a thousand fine excuses.

When a decent house catches fire,
instead of the fireman I summon,
an arsonist bursts on the scene,
and that’s me. What can I do?
What can I do to distinguish myself?
How can I pull myself together?

All the books I read
are full of dazzling heroes,
always sure of themselves,
I die with envy of them;
and in films full of wind and bullets,
I goggle at the cowboys,
I even admire the horses.

But when I call for a hero,
out comes my lazy old self;
so I never know who I am,
nor how many I am or will be.
I’d love to be able to touch a bell
and summon the real me,
because if I really need myself,
I mustn’t disappear.

While I am writing, I’m far away;
and when I come back, I’ve gone.
I would like to know if others
go through the same things that I do,
have as many selves as I have,
and see themselves similarly;
and when I’ve exhausted this problem,
I’m going to study so hard
that when I explain myself,
I’ll be talking geography.

– Pablo Neruda ( Muchos somos/We are many)
From Extravagaria
translated by Alastair Reid

neruda

 

Rumi (3)

Peaceful
is the one
who’s not concerned
with having more or less
Unbound by name and fame
he is free from sorrow
from the world and
mostly from
himself.
…………..

When compassion fills my heart,
free from all desire,
I sit quietly like the earth.
My silent cry echoes like thunder
throughout the universe.
……………

With love you don’t bargain
there, the choice is not yours.
Love is a mirror, it reflects
only your essence,
if you have the courage
to look in its face.
…………

Reason, when you speak
I cannot hear the Wise One.
Even if you are as thin as a hair
still there’s no space for you.
In the flaming Sun
all bright lights are put to shame.
………..

Be certain
in the religion of Love
there are no believers or unbelievers
Love embraces all.
Rumi Whispers of the Beloved
Quatrains Translated from Persian by Azima Melita Kolin and Maryam Mafi

rumi

अमीर खुसरो – Amir Khusrau(1253-1325)

આ અદ્ભુત રચના પસંદ કરવાનો હેતુ એમાં થયેલો સૂફી પરંપરા, ભક્તિ માર્ગ અને અદ્વૈતનો સુભગ સંગમ છે. પરમ તત્ત્વ અહીં રંગરેજ છે, પ્રિયતમ છે, સંત નિઝામ્મુદ્દીન નું રુપ લઈને પ્રસ્તુત છે. અહીં આત્માની ચૂંદડીને પરમ તત્ત્વના રંગે રંગવાની વાત છે. આત્માને અહીં પ્રિયતમા તરીકે નિરૂપીને પ્રેમમાર્ગની ટોચનો અનુભવ કરાવવામાં આવ્યો છે. એ પરમ તત્ત્વને મળવા, ઓળખવા કરેલી બધી તૈયારી, બધા છાપ-તિલક, બધી સાજ-સજ્જા એને મળતાની સાથે જ, પ્રિયતમ સાથે આંખ મેળવતાની સાથે જ બધું નક્કામું થઈ જાય છે. એ પ્રિયતમ કેવો અદ્ભુત છે કે આવી અગમ વાત આંખ મળતાની સાથે જ સમજાવી દે છે, એના રંગમાં રંગી દે છે, પ્રેમનો રસ આંખોથી જ પિવડાવી સઘળું દુન્યવી સાન-ભાન ભૂલાવી દે છે.પ્રિયતમ સાથે આંખ મળતાની સાથે જ પ્રિયતમા પોતાને સુહાગન અનુભવે છે, આજીવન, અભિન્નપણે જોડાયેલી! કેવી સુંદર અનુભૂતિ! અદ્વૈતનું કેવું સુંદર નિરૂપણ! આશા છે કે આપ સૌને આવી રંગની હોળી ગમશે. રંગની શુભકામનાઓ!
… … … …. …. …. ……

Amir Khusrau, one of the greatest poets of medieval india, helped forge a distinctive synthesis of Muslim and Hindu cultures. Written in Persian and Hindavi, his poems and ghazals were appreciated across a cosmopolitan Persianate world that stretched from Turkey to Bengal.
………..

अपनी छवि बनाई के जो मैं पी के पास गई,
जब छवि देखी पीहू की तो अपनी भूल गई।

छाप तिलक सब छीन्हीं रे मोसे नैंना मिलाई के,
बात अघम कह दीन्हीं रे मोसे नैंना मिला के।
बल बल जाऊँ मैं तोरे रंग रिजना
अपनी सी रंग दीन्हीं रे मोसे नैंना मिला के।
प्रेम वटी का मदवा पिलाय के मतवारी कर दीन्हीं रे
मोसे नैंना मिलाई के।
गोरी गोरी बईयाँ हरी हरी चूरियाँ
बइयाँ पकर हर लीन्हीं रे मोसे नैंना मिलाई के।
खुसरो निजाम के बल-बल जइए
मोहे सुहागन किन्हीं रे मोसे नैंना मिलाई के।
ऐ री सखी मैं तोसे कहूँ, मैं तोसे कहूँ, छाप तिलक….।
अमीर खुसरो (1253-1325)

इनका वास्तविक नाम था – अबुल हसन यमीनुद्दीन मुहम्मद। अमीर खुसरो को बचपन से ही कविता करने का शौक़ था। इनकी काव्य प्रतिभा की चकाचौंध में, इनका बचपन का नाम अबुल हसन बिल्कुल ही विस्मृत हो कर रह गया। अमीर खुसरो दहलवी ने धार्मिक संकीर्णता और राजनीतिक छल कपट की उथल-पुथल से भरे माहौल में रहकर हिन्दू-मुस्लिम एवं राष्ट्रीय एकता, प्रेम, सौहादर्य, मानवतावाद और सांस्कृतिक समन्वय के लिए पूरी ईमानदारी और निष्ठा से काम किया।
अमीर खुसरो बहुमुखी प्रतिभा संपन्न व्यक्ति थे। वे एक महान सूफ़ी संत, कवि (फारसी व हिन्दवी), लेखक, साहित्यकार, निष्ठावान राजनीतिज्ञ, बहुभाषी, भाषाविद्, इतिहासकार, संगीत शास्री, गीतकार, संगीतकार, गायक, नृतक, वादक, कोषकार, पुस्तकालयाध्यक्ष, दार्शनिक, विदूषक, वैध, खगोल शास्री, ज्योतषी, तथा सिद्ध हस्त शूर वीर योद्धा थे।

(source : kavitakosh.org )
……………..

…………………….

First Poet of Rekhta/Hindvi. Musician and Disciple of Sufi Saint Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia. Known for his “pahelis”, which form part of Indian folklore. He is famous for inventing two most important musical instruments tabla & sitar. Wrote “Ze-hal-e-miskin…” one of the earliest prototypes of Urdu ghazal written in Persian & Hindvi.

……….

I dressed myself up to go see my lover,
but when I saw him, I forgot myself.
You robbed me of everything
when our eyes met.

You made me drink love’s elixir
and I got drunk
when our eyes met.

I was left staring-
you made me an ascetic
when our eyes met.

Fair arms and green bangles
you caught my wrist
when our eyes met.

You became the charming lover-
you left me breathless
when our eyes met.

Khusrau dies for Nizam-
you made me a married woman
when our eyes met.
Amir Khusrau
Translated and introduced by
Paul E Losensky and Sunil Sharma
From The Selected Poetry of Amir Khusrau

Woman – Kaifi Azmi

Woman

Rise, my love!You have to walk along with me

Sparks of rebellion are astir in the air, today
Both time and life have but one resolve, today
Knocks swirl around in delicate decanters, today
Love and beauty have one voice, today
In the fire I burn you too must burn with me

Rise my love! You have to walk along with me.

Life lies in battle, not in patience and restraint only
Life’s veins have blood, not trembling tears only
In what opens and flies lies fragrance, not in tresses only
There is a paradise too, beyond a male’s embrace only.
To its free rhythm you have to dance in ecstasy

Rise my love! You have to walk along with me.

In every corner a pyre smoulders for you
Death changes the garb of duty for you
Elegance is an invitation to destruction for you
The world is nothing but poison for you.
Change the season if you want to blossom too

Rise my love! You have to walk along with me.

History has not yet known to respect you

Not only tears, there are glowing embers within you
Not entertaining stories only, there is a reality to you
Not only your youth, your existence has value too.
You have to change the title of your history

Rise my love! You have to walk along with me.

Break the bond of custom, from the prison of tradition escape
Delight not in your weakness, from this imagined delicacy escape

From these self-conjured vows of greatness escape
It too is bondage, from love’s bondage escape.
Not only the thorn, the flower too emasculate

Rise my love! You have to walk along with me.

Break these doubts, the uncertainties about what is right, break
The vow that for you is a fetter, break
It is a yoke of emeralds, even this necklace break
Break the standards set by so-called wise men, break!
Becoming a storm, you have to walk along with me

Rise my love! You have to walk along with me.

You are Aristotle’s philosophy, you are the symbol of beauty
The sky is in your palm, foreheads at your feet
Yes, raise, raise quickly your forehead from the feet of destiny
I too will not tarry, nor will time wait for any.
How long will you falter, you must have stability

Rise my love! You have to walk along with me.

– Kaifi Azmi ( Selected Poems )
    14/1/1918 – 10/5/2002
Translated by Pavan K Varma

kaifi-azmi
from http://www.azmikaifi.com Rebel with a cause