Kay Ryan, “Blandeur”

Blandeur (from Poetry) Kay Ryan If it please God, let less happen. Even out Earth’s rondure, flatten Eiger, blanden the Grand Canyon. Make valleys slightly higher, widen fissures to arable land, remand your terrible glaciers and silence their calving, halving or doubling all geographical features toward the mean. Unlean against our hearts. Withdraw your grandeur […]

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Paul Celan, “Vinegrowers”

Vinegrowers (from Poetry) Paul Celan (tr. Pierre Joris) Vinegrowers dig up dig under the darkhoured watch, depth for depth, you read, the invisible one commands the wind to stay in bounds, you read, the Open Ones carry the stone behind the eye, it recognizes you, on a Sabbath. Comment: Titus Techera and I made a […]

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Wislawa Szymborska, “Love at First Sight”

Love at First Sight (from mission.net) Wislawa Szymborska (tr. Walter Whipple) Both are convinced that a sudden surge of emotion bound them together. Beautiful is such a certainty, but uncertainty is more beautiful. Because they didn’t know each other earlier, they suppose that nothing was happening between them. What of the streets, stairways and corridors […]

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Wislawa Szymborska, “Metaphysics”

Metaphysics Wislawa Szymborska (tr. Clare Cavanagh & Stanislaw Barańczak) It’s been and gone. It’s been, so it’s gone. In the same irreversible order, for such is the rule of this foregone game. A trite conclusion, not worth writing if it weren’t an unquestionable fact, a fact for ever and ever, for the whole cosmos, as […]

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Wislawa Szymborska, “Vermeer”

Vermeer Wislawa Szymborska (tr. Clare Cavanagh & Stanislaw Barańczak) So long as that woman from the Rijksmuseum in painted quiet and concentration keeps pouring milk day after day from the pitcher to the bowl the World hasn’t earned the world’s end. Comment: Not even our age, with a supposed concern for rights, a profession to […]

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Charles Simic, “In the Street”

In the Street Charles Simic Beauty, dark goddess, We met and parted As though we parted not. Like two stopped watches In a dusty store window, One golden morning of time. Comment: Weird, this maturity thing. Adolescent desire and all the desperate, stupid thought accompanying should fall away, no? Yet it doesn’t seem to work […]

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