Sunday, November 08, 2009


Twelve 6-Line Poems

"What To Do"

"Show, don't tell," they say, and I agree:
so here, take a look at my naked body, of which
I will tell you nothing, and here is my naked soul,
\into which I will jump with both feet clad
only in socks, bright red ones from which
sparks are flying as I whiz into its depths.

-- Ron Padgett

* * *

"Dark Thoughts"

I'm almost like that dark hallway
with a few framed photos
and lamps on the walls.
So many visitors have walked through me,
dark and light,
depending on the illumination.

--Regina Derieva
translated from the Russian by Valzhyna Mort

* * *

"Landscape with VW"

This votive spansule driven at top speed
Away from hell -- shivering Primavera,

Ingest the bitterness, spark and exhaust,
Of pangs all day deferred. Have me be one

With cub and violet, your whole wildlife
Sanctuary hurt into blossom, healed by it.

-- James Merrill

* * *

"Celia's birthday poem"

No ache, love, 's the way to start the New Year, --
chant, then, "New Year" like "No ache" in your ear,
all the while I praise wind and love your face
above snow that melts over trees' space:
carol "No ache" like "New Year" between trees
that removed still hare a few centuries.

-- Louis Zukofsky

* * *


The whirlwind lifts
sand into itself to hide

holy spun emptiness or to
erect a tall announcement

where formed
emptiness is to be found.

-- A. R. Ammons

* * *

"In the Parker Pen"

There are many verse in the Parker Pen, a whole kilometre,
and many more in the inkwell,
miles and miles. Papers
come in the post, bills, adverts, forms
to be filled up.
I face the future with confidence.

-- Olav H. Hauge
translated from the Norwegian by Robin Fulton

* * *

"Beach Sandals"

I swam away from myself.
Do not call me.
Swim away from yourself, too.

We will swim away, leaving our bodies
on the shore
like a pair of beach sandals.

-- Anna Swir
translated from the Polish by Czeslaw Milosz & Leonard Nathan

* * *

"Never Again"

Old age means not being able
to bit into an apple
walk the length of a valley
see every detail of a pattern
hear the highest alto deepest bass
or wrap my legs around your waist.

-- Ruth Fainlight

* * *

"Menty Ears Ago"

Menty ears ago the dummer was sappy in my harms
but I was yawning and spawning and twenty.
What tears I let down in my beers of plenty.
What sleet in his goat's beard tickled my sweat.
Not a fret left its own key, every morning
when we were ferning and fronding and yorning.

-- Ruth Stone

* * *

"If Now in the Middle of My Life"

If now, in the middle of my life, I think
Of death, I do so out of confidence
That in the middle of death I will suddenly think
Of life, with the same calming nostalgia
And with the distant gaze of people
Who know their prophecies come true.

-- Yehuda Amichai
translated from the Hebrew by Benjamin and Barbara Harshav

* * *


Falling asleep in the snowscape of the big double-bed
I wrap my hand around your hand until they catch fire
And the snow begins to melt and we sink down and down,
The fire and ourselves, howl many feet below the morning.
Should our fingers burn out at the bottom of the snow-hole
Smoke will escape up the glass chimney into the bedroom.

-- Michael Longley

* * *

"Going Back"

How long, stone, did it take
to get that fat?

The rain made the furrow a rut
and then among the mint and nettles
you make your appearance.

Sink again, you might cover bones.

-- Jim Harrison

* * *
* * *

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