25 May, 2011

The Piano

All it took was one light note
One finger pressed
By one calm slave

A single note a supple instant
For the muffled clamor of offense
Tucked at the back of black veins
To rise and burst into the stirless air

The master knowing not what to do
Before such tumult
Commands that the piano be closed

~ ~  Anne Hébert

Translated by A. Z. Foreman

Le Piano

Il a suffi d'une note légère
D'un seul doigt frappée
Par un esclave tranquille

Une seule note un instant tenue
Pour que la clameur sourde des outrages
Enfouis au creux des veines noires
Monte et se décharge dans l'air immobile

Le maître ne sachant que faire
Devant ce tumulte
Ordonne qu'on ferme le piano
A jamais

~ ~  Anne Hébert

 From:   Oeuvre Poétique 1950-1990  (Paris:  Ed. Boréal/Seuil, 1992).
Saint John of the Cross in Prison

Saint John of the Cross stood up in his
prison cell and the stones became


He knew it was from the devil so he
did not eat.

He knew if he ate his state could go dark
the radiant escalators of his

innermost sunlight would vanish
the skies of black brilliance in which he

dwelt showered by God direct would
congeal in a sodden cloud

He turned and glanced out the
shimmering licorice bars of the window onto the

vague milky daylight and
swallowed his dry swallow in which

the fresh cascades of Andalusia
splashed refreshingly into his heart

and sat down again this time on his
hard bed which by Divine Grace had become

a donkey riding him across green
mountainsides aglitter with sparrows

above the churning sea of God’s Good Pleasure
crashing against the

rocks of his heartbeats below

~ ~ Daniel Abdal-Hayy Moore

From The Caged Bear Spies the Angel, in preparation.

                    "Dancing Tale" by Baghdad artist Vian Sora


What's the use
of something
as unstable
and diffuse as hope -
the almost twin
of making-do,
the isotope
of going on:
what isn't in
the envelope
just before
it isn't:
the always tabled
righting of the present.

~ ~ Kay Ryan

From Elephant Rocks (New York: Grove Press, 1996).
          What I've wanted most not to govern my life—
          the sun's short stride
          the forfeited sight of human eyes     ~ ~

          Why threaten a singing man with the stones of existence ~ ~

          How shall the heart cling to its tree ::  when the wing is
          underground ~ ~

          Will one leaf on the last tree be time enough   ~ ~            

~~ Grant Hackett

I have a feeling
they will sing right up
to the moment
the world

~ ~ William Michaelian

First published February 5, 2008, in Songs and Letters.