onsdag 6. mai 2015

Five poems in five days, day 3

Childlessness, by Henri Cole

For many years I wanted a child
though I knew it would only illuminate life
for a time, like a star on a tree; I believed
that happiness would at last assert itself,
like a bird in a dirty cage, calling me,
ambassador of flesh, out of the rough
locked ward of sex.

Outstretched on my spool-bed,
I am like a groom, alternately seeking fusion
with another and resisting engulfment by it.
A son's love for his mother is like a river
dividing the continent to reach the sea:
I believed that once. When you died, Mother,
I was alone at last. And then you came back,
dismal and greedy like the sea, to reclaim me. 

tirsdag 5. mai 2015

Five poems in five days, day 2

Possibly my favourite living poet, Jane Hirshfield.

One day in that room, a small rat.
Two days later, a snake.

Who, seeing me enter,
whipped the long stripe of his
body under the bed,
then curled like a docile house-pet.

I don't know how either came or left.
Later, the flashlight found nothing.

For a year I watched
as something – terror? happiness? grief? –
entered and then left my body.

No knowing how it came in.
Not knowing how it went out.

It hung where words could not reach it.
It slept where light could not go.
Its scent was neither snake nor rat,
neither sensualist nor ascetic.

There are openings in our lives
of which we know nothing.

Through them
the belled herds travel at will,
long-legged and thirsty, covered with foreign dust.

mandag 4. mai 2015

Five poems in five days, day 1

I've been tagged on Facebook and asked to publish five poems in five days. Might as well publish them here too. First out is one of the, if not the, greatest of Japanese poets, the haiku master Kobayashi Issa, in Robert Hass' (possibly a bit too) free translation:

Don't worry, spiders
I keep house