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February 6, 2009
February 5, 2009
And I Do Not Protest
Why you alone
of all women
change the geometry of my life
the rhythm of my days
into the world of my everyday affairs
and lock the door behind you,
yet I do not protest?
Why is it
I love precisely you,
desire precisely you,
choose precisely you,
and let you twist me
round your little finger
playing cards,yet I do not protest?Why?
Why do you strike out all the ages
stop the motions of the centuries
kill the women of the tribe
and I do not protest?
Tranlated by L Jayyusi and J. Reed
Qabbani is one of my favourite modern Arabic poets, he adored women and being in love! (more…)
February 4, 2009
When I went out
In the Spring meadows
To gather violets,
I enjoyed myself
So much that I stayed all night.
Haru no nu ni
Sumire tsumi ni to
Koshi ware zo
Nu wo natsukashimi
Hito yo nenikeru
Translated by Kenneth Rexroth
(One Hundred Poems from the Japanese)
The darling one was naked, and knowing my wish,
Had kept only the regalia of her jewelry
Whose resonant charms can lure and vanquish
Like a Moorish slave-girl’s in her moment of glory.
A world of dazzling stones and of precious metals
Flinging, in its quick rhythm, glints of mockery
Ravishes me into ecstasy, I love to madness
The mingling of sounds and lights in one intricacy.
Naked, then, she was to all of my worship,
Smiling in triumph from the heights of her couch
At my desire advancing, as gentle and deep
As the sea sending its waves to the warm beach.
Her eyes fixed as a tiger’s in the tamer’s trance,
Absent, unthinking, she varies her poses
With an audacity and wild innocence
That gave a strange pang to each metamorphosis.
Her long legs, her hips, shining smooth as oil,
Her arms and her thighs, undulant as a swan,
Lured my serene, clairvoyant gaze to travel
To her belly and breasts, the grapes of my vine.
With a charm as powerful as an evil angel
To trouble and calm where my soul had retreated,
They advanced slowly to dislodge it from its crystal
Rock, where its loneliness meditated.
With the hips of Antiope, the torso of a boy,
So deeply was the one form sprung into the other
It seemed as if desire had fashioned a new toy.
Her faded, fawn-brown skin was perfection to either !
–And the lamp having at last resigned itself to death,
There was nothing now but firelight in the room,
And every time a flame uttered a gasp for breath
It flushed her amber skin with the blood of its bloom.
Charles Pierre Baudelaire (pronounced /ˈboʊdəlɛər/; French pronounced [ʃaʁl bodlɛʁ]) (9 April 1821 – 31 August 1867) was a nineteenth century French poet, critic and translator. A controversial figure in his lifetime, Baudelaire’s name has become a byword for literary and artistic decadence. At the same time his works, in particular his book of poetry Les Fleurs du mal (The Flowers of Evil), have been acknowledged as classics of French literature.
February 3, 2009
Tangled in a thousand strands.
Tangled my hair and
Tangled my tangled memories
Of our long nights of love making
Yosano Akiko (1878-1942)
translated by Kenneth Rexroth
Akiko Yosano (与謝野 晶子 Yosano Akiko, 7 December 1878 – 29 May 1942) was the pen-name of a Japanese author, poet, pioneering feminist, pacifist, and social reformer, active in late Meiji period, Taishō period and early Showa period Japan. Her real name was Yosano Shiyo. She is one of the most famous, and most controversial, post-classical woman poets of Japan.
You ask for the date
of my birth?
Write this down.
It was the day you loved me
and gave me our first kiss.
translated by Diana Der Hovanessian and lena Jayyusi
Blessed be childhood, which brings down something of heaven into the midst of our rough earthliness.
What Is Love?
What is love?
We have read a thousand treatises on it
and still do not know what we have read
read works of interpretation, astrology and medicine
and do not know where we began
we have memorised the whole of folk literature
poetry and song
and remember not a single line
we have asked the sages of love about their state
and discovered that they knew no more than we do
Translated by L Jayyusi and W S Merwin