Monthly Archives: March 2008

Monday’s Verse, Mar. 24, 2008

Well, apparently it’s spring. But I live on the East Coast so I’m only going on rumor and innuendo here. I think our spring is tentatively scheduled for the early afternoon of Wednesday, May 7th.

Anyway.
So it’s the Monday morning after my spring break, and since I’ve been totally crapping up the joint at law school thus far this semester, I’ve decided to start this week with a CLEAN SLATE. And with that vain hope I offer you this poem which is as optimistic about change as I hope to be one day.
CLEAN SLATE
Each morning I worked up spit
Aimed at my slate and wiped
Shirttail from corner to corner
Each day was a clean start
Born again and born big-so

As grown-ups loved to say

The day before disappeared
Somewhere between
My saliva and Terylene shirt

The new day promised
Something hitherto not
Seen or guessed about

A cobweb not there
The previous twenty-four hours
That overnight dew reveals

“A” for aubergine
Known to us as balanjay
“B” for bat for playing cricket

Until I filled the slate
With slant text my left hand
Told my right-side brain was new

Coins on the sea pressed by light
This morning sky wiped of stars
Chalk off my shirt climbing sun

Fred D’Aguiar – 2008

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Monday’s Verse, Mar. 10, 2008

Dear Readers,

I’ve been a fan of Wallace Stevens since 1988. And I’ve been a law student for 18 months. But I did not know until this week-end that he was a lawyer. A lawyer! He got his degree from New York Law School in the early 20th Century, practiced corporate law in the city for a couple years, and, as we all know, eventually got into the insurance game, spending the bulk of his professional career as a vice president with the Hartford Company. Was he, then, a man disposed to know that we are not only conditioned and limited by words, but made out of words? But the statements in this poem go even further, delving into fate, fantasy, and the subconscious–the use of repetition nails down his various foci. One never really understands Stevens, I often conclude. But whatever would limit the forms and aims of art, that is what he fought against. -ed.




MEN MADE OUT OF WORDS

What should we be without the sexual myth,
The human reverie or poem of death?
Castratos of moon-mash–Life consists
Of propositions about life. The human
Revery is a solitude in which
We compose these propositions, torn by dreams,
By the terrible incantations of defeats
And by the fear that defeats and dreams are one.
The whole race is a poet that writes down
The eccentric propositions of its fate.

Monday’s Verse, March 5, 2008

OK, honest question, show of hands. No lying. We all love Pablo Neruda’s love poems, but how many people knew he was a dedicated civil servant for the Chilean government? Really? Oh Scott, put your hand down, you GD socialist. Well I’m here to tell you that he served as the Chilean consul in Java, in Burma, and in Barcelona prior to and during WWII. From 1970-73, he was Allende’s ambassador to Paris.

None of which, exactly, confronts my understanding of the poem below, but I’m no expert. *Sigh*, if only we had some comparative lit experts, fluent in Spanish, who possess some understanding of 20th-century history and South American politics and lyric poetry! Then I could retire. In any case, I don’t have a copy of the original, but what do you make of the translation job? How about the ending? Have a good week. Don’t forget to laugh. -ed.

 

 

YOUR LAUGHTER

Take bread away from me, if you wish,
take air away, but
do not take from me your laughter.

Do not take away the rose,
the lance flower that you pluck,
the water that suddenly
bursts forth in joy,
the sudden wave
of silver born in you.

My struggle is harsh and I come back
with eyes tired
at times from having seen
the unchanging earth,
but when your laughter enters
it rises to the sky seeking me
and it opens for me all
the doors of life.

My love, in the darkest
hour your laughter
opens, and if suddenly
you see my blood staining
the stones of the street,
laugh, because your laughter
will be for my hands
like a fresh sword.

Next to the sea in the autumn,
your laughter must raise
its foamy cascade,
and in the spring, love,
I want your laughter like
the flower I was waiting for,
the blue flower, the rose
of my echoing country.

Laugh at the night,
at the day, at the moon,
laugh at the twisted
streets of the island,
laugh at this clumsy
boy who loves you,

but when I open
my eyes and close them,
when my steps go,
when my steps return,
deny me bread, air,
light, spring,
but never your laughter
for I would die.

Monday’s Verse 3-4-08

OK, honest question, show of hands. No lying. We all love Pablo Neruda‘s love poems, but how many people knew he was a dedicated civil servant for the Chilean government? Really? Oh Scott, put your hand down, you GD socialist. Well I’m here to tell you that he served as the Chilean consul in Java, in Burma, and in Barcelona prior to and during WWII. From 1970-73, he was Allende’s ambassador to Paris.


None of which, exactly, confronts my understanding of the poem below, but I’m no expert. *Sigh*, if only we had some comparative lit experts, fluent in Spanish, who possess some understanding of 20th-century history and South American politics and lyric poetry! Then I could retire. In any case, I don’t have a copy of the original, but what do you make of the translation job? How about the ending? Have a good week. Don’t forget to laugh. -ed.







YOUR LAUGHTER


Take bread away from me, if you wish,
take air away, but
do not take from me your laughter.

Do not take away the rose,
the lance flower that you pluck,
the water that suddenly
bursts forth in joy,
the sudden wave
of silver born in you.

My struggle is harsh and I come back
with eyes tired
at times from having seen
the unchanging earth,
but when your laughter enters
it rises to the sky seeking me
and it opens for me all
the doors of life.

My love, in the darkest
hour your laughter
opens, and if suddenly
you see my blood staining
the stones of the street,
laugh, because your laughter
will be for my hands
like a fresh sword.

Next to the sea in the autumn,
your laughter must raise
its foamy cascade,
and in the spring, love,
I want your laughter like
the flower I was waiting for,
the blue flower, the rose
of my echoing country.

Laugh at the night,
at the day, at the moon,
laugh at the twisted
streets of the island,
laugh at this clumsy
boy who loves you,

but when I open
my eyes and close them,
when my steps go,
when my steps return,
deny me bread, air,
light, spring,
but never your laughter
for I would die.