Vol. 36 No 3-4
Greek Poetry: New Voices and Ancient Echoes
From: Poetry in Poetry (1977)
These words burst like a pomegranate
On the staircase of times to come.
Like a firework, explosion, fragments of stars
Or — more precisely — like a poem
In the lonely firmament of one's fellow men.
In a poem it rains unceasingly
— Comme il pleut dans mon coeur —
And the rain will last for ever and ever
In this book there will always be
A damp page.
Dead men stroll in our poems
Our verses are pregnant with monsters
Some day they will rise from womb-like graves
And perch there trembling
From the chill of time.
On the verse I shall write I walk the tightrope
On the verse I have written I find my balance
The poem is a strong branch
Where from time to time I tie my swing
And hover over the blackness.
There is no poem here at all
No dream fountain, no elixir of love —
Just my playful imagination
Walking the tightrope from the word Here
To the full stop after the words Good night.
Poem of my five senses and five verses,
Poem, tower of Babel rising like a tower,
Without a thought let your sharp nose pierce
The lofty heavens — or the fecund womb —
Of an eternity blind to the point of madness.
Now you lie asleep on salty pebbles
Body of grief, bed of time,
Corpse cast up by the tide of memory
On the cliff-hung shore
of this poem.
What steel cable unites us unto death
You, convolvulus on a tower about to fall.
My poems I hate you
With that hellish hate we have within.
Is a ladder built —
Like everything else, of course —
For you to climb to its very peak
And look upon the dawning world.
Once there was a poem here
Blocking time, lifting desire on its wings;
Now it lies in ruins,
Reduced to an ugly black hole
Four or five smoking verses.
This poem writes this poem
Cuts from its body and feeds itself
Its words are tossed up high and fall back down
It opens a passage across the snowy page
— Amazed I watch it reveal itself to me.
We're playing with this poem tonight
I toss it to you and you toss it back
We split it in two and the words pour out.
For if we don't annihilate you first
— Scurvy poem — you'll bring us to our knees.
At night in his dreams he saw a line of verse
Endlessly climbing upward.
Until it pierced the outer shell of heaven
And the bric-a-brac of the next world
began to tumble down.
A cloud poem
is floating in the air
Come on, let's dance naked
— So it might rain
on this page.
Tonight the night rains all my fears.
To you I run for shelter, art of poetry
I struggle tooth and nail to build a poem,
Panting, I crawl inside it for protection
And then behind me shut the final verse.
On the white
Translated by Christopher Robinson
- 10th Muse
- Angel Exhaust
- Blithe Spirit
- Brando's hat
- Brittle Star
- Cannon's Mouth, The
- Coffee House, The
- Dream Catcher
- Floating Bear, The
- French Literary Review, The
- Frogmore Papers, The
- Global Tapestry
- Grosseteste Review
- Homeless Diamonds
- Interpreter's House, The
- Journal, The
- Lamport Court
- London Magazine, The
- Modern Poetry in Translation
- Monkey Kettle
- Neon Highway
- New Welsh Review
- North, The
- Obsessed with pipework
- Oxford Poetry
- Painted, spoken
- Paper, The
- Pen Pusher Magazine
- Poetry Cornwall
- Poetry London
- Poetry London (1951)
- Poetry Nation
- Poetry Review, The
- Poetry Salzburg Review
- Poetry Scotland
- Poetry Wales
- Private Tutor
- Purple Patch
- Rain Dog
- Reach Poetry
- Review, The
- Rialto, The
- Second Aeon
- Seventh Quarry, The
- Smiths Knoll
- Strange Faeces
- Tabla Book of New Verse, The
- Tolling Elves
- Ugly Tree, The
- Wolf, The
- Yellow Crane, The