Archive for the Poetry Category

Childhood

Posted in Poetry with tags on November 9, 2014 by Dylan Thomas Hayden

Dorothea Lange, Mississippi Delta Negro Children, 1936
Yellow water
in the stockyard -
far away and cold, a priori,

and there, like drumsticks,
alphabets without end
of untamed children:

oh! Broken Glass, Splinter and Straw,
oh! Linear Scythian Winds,
and like carnival scuffles in cellars,
Paper and Paper and Paper;

oh! ship’s boys of straw,
oh! damp of letters on fingers!

HERE AND NOW – IT SEEMS TO CUT,
BUT ONLY ME, NOT YOU!
CUTTING – THROUGH PICTURES AND DRESSES
AND CLAWS OF BIRDS!

Cows’ hooves are bright, unbelievable,
like sailing into a bay,
or like a dance,

and then, like the pounding of rails,
bright and wide and unsparing
the embrace of those who were with us -
hands, sisters, necks, mothers!

let us breathe again, let us breathe,
let us sleep again and pass
not yesterday, today or tomorrow, o-o-o-o-o!-

THROUGH CHILDREN’S SHOUTS,
THROUGH DAMP OF LETTERS,
THROUGH PICTURES AND DRESSES
AND CLAWS OF BIRDS!

Poem by Gennady Aigi, 1960
–Photo by Dorothea Lange, 1936

Lost Wine

Posted in Poetry with tags on October 30, 2014 by Dylan Thomas Hayden


One day I tossed into the Ocean
(I don’t recall under what skies)
A kind of offering to the void,
A whole remnant of precious wine…

Who willed your loss, Oh alcohol?
Perhaps the heavens led my hand?
Perhaps my heart’s preoccupation,
Dreaming of blood, spilling wine?

There was a brief effusion of rosy
Smoke, and then the sea became
Transparent, as it was before…

The wine lost… the waves drunk!
I saw extraordinary figures
Leaping across the bitter air…

Ambroise-Paul-Toussaint-Jules Valéry
30 October 1871 – 20 July 1945

translation via

Lives

Posted in Poetry with tags on October 30, 2014 by Dylan Thomas Hayden

Kostas Karyotakis
And so they go and die the same way they live.

I speak of lives given to the light
of serene love, and while they flow
like streams, they keep that light inside
eternally inseparable, just as
the sky glints in rivers,
just as suns flow through the skies.
I speak of lives given to the light. . .

I speak of brief lives draping
a woman’s rubied lips, just as
votive offerings, silver hearts, are draped
on the icon-screen up front.
These lives on a woman’s beloved lips
are likewise humble and true.
I speak of brief lives draping. . .

No one mistrusts them.
Just as – quiet and dark
and foreign and sad – they follow
the footstep, the idea of a lithe woman
(and she isn’t mistrusted), so they
will droop toward the earth, will fade quietly.
No one mistrusts them. . .

They moved uncertainly – faint
as stars at the hour of dawn -
through the thought of a passing woman
who, so she could keep going happily,
didn’t notice the lives which fade slowly
like the soul of a morning lamp.
They moved uncertainly – faint. . .

Κώστας Καρυωτάκης
30 October 1896 – 20 July 1928

translation via

La Liberté éclairant le monde

Posted in André Breton, Poetry, Surrealism with tags on October 15, 2014 by Dylan Thomas Hayden


The first collection of Breton’s poetry in English translation, published by New Editions, New York, 1946

Kurdish Fragment

Posted in Dylan Thomas Hayden, Original, Photo, Poetry with tags , , on September 25, 2014 by Dylan Thomas Hayden


Looking yesterday at these images of Syrian Kurds attempting to flee the ongoing catastrophe in that country I recalled the late Christopher Hitchens’ advocacy of Kurdish liberty. As he never tired of repeating, the Kurds are the largest ethnic group in the world to have no state of their own. I also remembered an anonymous fragment of Kurdish poetry that I translated many years ago, via an Italian intermediary. Apart from its approximate age I have no further details of the poem nor of its Italian translator. It was written in the 7th or 8th century and shows that persecution is far from being a new experience for the Kurdish people.

The places of prayer are destroyed
The fires spent
The greatest men hidden
Cruel Arabs raze
the peasant villages as far as Sharazar
Enslaved are wives and daughters
Brave men are rolled in blood
The rites of Zarathustra are no more
The Wise Lord has no pity on us

Young Masters #11

Posted in Music, Photo, Poetry with tags , , on August 29, 2014 by Dylan Thomas Hayden


A beautiful and iconic image of seventeen year old Vladimir Mayakovsky, whose sultry charms remind me of Gram Parsons.

Sappho in Leucadia

Posted in Painting, Poetry with tags , on August 16, 2014 by Dylan Thomas Hayden

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