Thursday, June 18, 2009


Twelve 3-Line Poems

"Ah your face"

Ah your face
but it's whether 
you can keep me warm

-- Lorine Niedecker

* * *

"The Learned Poet"

Learned skilled astute informed
But when he writes
The Maenads don't dance

-- Sophia de Mello Breyner
translated from the Portuguese by  Richard Zenith

* * *

"A Countryman"

On the long flats north of the river
an elder in a leather jacket
is hitchhiking to his daughter's funeral.

-- Les Murray

* * *

"Persons in Paradise Gardens"

what are they all
but skeletons given a
few years of life

-- Jonathan Williams

* * *

"3 x 111 Tristychs"
from First Series

The oranges fell to the ground.
The old women gathered them.
And I the sun.

-- Yannis Ritsos
translated from the Greek by Kostas Myrsiades

* * *

"To the Memory of David Kalstone"

Here's the letter I wrote,
and the ghost letter, underneath --
that's my work in life.

-- Jean Valentine

* * *


I walked toward the fruit bowl
and suddenly the grape
became word.

-- Claribel Alegria
translated from the Spanish by Margaret Sayers Peden

* * *

"Polish Haiku"

The Pope's learning Welsh:
(he's an alien)
More power to him!

-- Ted Berrigan

* * *

"First Night of Fall,
Grosvenor Ave"

In the blue lamplight
the leaf falls

on its shadow

-- George Bowering

* * *

"The Container of the Uncontainable"
Good Friday

Bells like coins falling sound today all over the city
between each peal a new space opens
like a drop of water on the earth:  the moment has come, raise me up.

-- George Seferis
translated from the Greek by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard

* * *

"Last Variation"

I ceased to hear the sea,
then the fragile fingers of cold,
then the creeping light of flax.

-- Eugenio de Andrade
translated from the Portuguese by Alexis Levitin

* * *

"from Six Variations on Silence"

Deep in the ravine, pollen settles
to the eddy's swirl.  You could watch all day
and never see it move.

-- Jan Zwicky

* * *
* * *

I have always loved Les Murray. Thanks for this one: "A Countryman" Merrill
Murray is a comparatively recent discovery for me; I think he's one of the best poets currently writing.

Thanks for stopping by.
Les is a wonderful poet live as well. He's visited Bath twice, and being a down to earth rather modest poet, it was a delight to be in a workshop with him, as well as down the pub before an evening reading.

I remember he was not at all well the first time I met him but he still led a very professional workshop (at Bath Spa University U.K.). We were all spellbound, and the numbers of people was large for a normal workshop, possibly 30 plus people, yet each one of us got insightful feedback on one or more poems.

I wish the workshop could have been recorded as it could be considered a template on how to run a workshop. I certainly absorbed as much as I could from all his comments on all the poems he critiqued.

He held his reading on campus a few hours later in a very intimate setting. All I can say was that it was very special.

This year he visited Bath again (off campus) and I'm hoping he makes it a regular place to visit.

Les Murray is rightfully considered one of the world's finest writers, and it's because he writes straight from his honesty. There's no guile, it's a simple love of life without any fancy philosophy.

Les Murray's website: Les Murray

With Words
Alan, I could kiss you! Thanks a million for Les's web site address! I found Les in American Poetry Review. I could only be glad there was a poet who could use words as he does - it's sheer joy. Something inside of you is confirmed - Thanks. Merrill
Hedgie, Hope you enjoy your discovery as much as I've enjoyed Les' poetry. You can learn so much from him. I've found him to be the kind of poet that gives you some idea of what poetry can accomplish. Thanks for that's made it possible for me to receive Les' web page...
Thanks again, Merrill
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