Monday, April 29, 2013

Jacques Prévert

Family Portrait

Mama knits
The son goes to war
She finds it all perfectly natural, Mama
And Papa, what is he doing? Papa?
He is making little deals
His wife knits
His son goes to war
He is making little deals
He finds it all perfectly natural, Papa
And the son, the son
What does the son find?
The son finds absolutely nothing, the son
For the son the war his Mama the knitting his Papa
     little deals for him the war
He will make little deals, he and his Papa
The war continues Mama continues she knits
Papa continues he carries on his activity
The son is killed he no longer carries on
Papa and Mama go to the cemetery
They find it all perfectly natural, Papa and Mama
Life continues life with knitting war little deals
Deals war knitting war
Deals deals activity
Life along with the cemetery.

fr. Jacques Prévert, Paroles

tr., Harriet Zinnes in Blood and Feathers:
Selected Poems of Jacques Prévert

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Robert Duncan

Poetry, a Natural Thing

     Neither our vices nor our virtues
further the poem. "They came up
     and died
just like they do every year
     on the rocks."

     The poem
feeds upon thought, feeling, impulse,
     to breed   itself,
a spiritual urgency at the dark ladders leaping.

This beauty is an inner persistence
     toward the source
striving against (within) down-rushet of the river,
     a call we heard and answer
in the lateness of the world
     primordial bellowings
from with the youngest world might spring,

salmon not in the well where the
     hazelnut falls
but at the falls battling, inarticulate,
     blindly making it.

This is one picture apt for the mind.

A second: a moose painted by Stubbs,
where last year's extragent antlers
     lie on the ground.
The forlorn moosey-faced poem wears
     new antler-buds,
     the same,

"a little heavy, a little contrived",

his only beauty to be
     all moose.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Jackson Mac Low

1st Light Poem: For Iris -- 10 June 1962

The light of a student-lamp
sapphire light
the light of a smoking-lamp
Light from the Magellanic Clouds
the light of a Nernst lamp
the light of a naphtha-lamp
light from meteorites

Evanescent light
the light of an electric lamp
extra light

Citrine light
kineographic light
the light of a Kitson lamp
kindly light

Ice light
altar light

The light of a spotlight
a sunbeam
solar light

Mustard-oil light
maroon light
the light of a magnesium flare
light from a meteor

Evanescent light
light from an electric lamp
an extra light

Light from a student-lamp
sapphire light
a shimmer
smoking-lamp light

Ordinary light
orgone lumination
light from a lamp burning olive oil
opal light

atom-bomb light
the light of an alcohol lamp
the light of a lamp burning anda-oil

fr. 22 Light Poems
[Black Sparrow Press, 1968] 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Ron Padgett

The Art of the Sonnet 

Last night I said hello
to the little muse
the smaller than usual muse

She was floating toward me
a plaster figurine
on a cloud

but her plaster lips
could not return my greeting.
That's the first part

and in Japan.
Now the figurine
drifts past and turns

a smile erasing
her face

fr. How to Be Perfect