Ars Poetica

I have always aspired to a more spacious form
that would be free from the claims of poetry or prose
and would let us understand each other without exposing
the author or reader to sublime agonies.

In the very essence of poetry there is something indecent:
a thing is brought forth which we didn't know we had in us,
so we blink our eyes, as if a tiger had sprung out
and stood in the light, lashing his tail.

That's why poetry is rightly said to be dictated by a daimonion,


Another On The Same

Here lieth one who did most truly prove,
That he could never die while he could move,
So hung his destiny never to rot
While he might still jogg on, and keep his trot,
Made of sphear-metal, never to decay
Untill his revolution was at stay.
Time numbers motion, yet (without a crime
'Gainst old truth) motion number'd out his time:
And like an Engin mov'd with wheel and waight,
His principles being ceast, he ended strait.
Rest that gives all men life, gave him his death,


Annals of Assur-Nasir-Pal column I

To Ninip most powerful hero, great, chief of the gods, warrior, powerful Lord, whose onset in battle has not been opposed, eldest son,

crusher of opponents, first-born son of Nukimmut, supporter of the seven, noble ruler, King of the gods the producers, governor, he who rolls along the mass

of heaven and earth, opener of canals, treader of the wide earth, the god who in his divinity nourishes heaven and earth, the beneficent,


All Alone

I.

Ah! wherefore by the Church-yard side,
Poor little LORN ONE, dost thou stray?
Thy wavy locks but thinly hide
The tears that dim thy blue-eye's ray;
And wherefore dost thou sigh, and moan,
And weep, that thou art left alone?


II.

Thou art not left alone, poor boy,
The Trav'ller stops to hear thy tale;
No heart, so hard, would thee annoy!
For tho' thy mother's cheek is pale
And withers under yon grave stone,
Thou art not, Urchin, left alone.


III.


ADIEU, FAREWELL EARTH'S BLISS

1 Adieu, farewell earth's bliss,
2 This world uncertain is;
3 Fond are life's lustful joys,
4 Death proves them all but toys,
5 None from his darts can fly:
6 I am sick, I must die.
7 Lord, have mercy on us!

8 Rich men, trust not in wealth,
9 Gold cannot buy you health;
10 Physic himself must fade;
11 All things to end are made;
12 The plague full swift goes by:
13 I am sick, I must die.
14 Lord, have mercy on us!


A Tenant of Mrs. Van Kleeck

Translation of a letter from a tenant of Mrs. Van Kleeck to that lady, dated January 9, 1787


My very good landlady, Mistress Van Kleeck,
(For the tears that o'erwhelm me I scarcely can speak)
I know that I promis'd you hogs two or three
(But who knows his destiny? Certain not me!)
That I promis'd three hogs I don't mean to deny
(I can prove that I had five or six upon sty.)
Three hogs did I say? Three sows I say then
'Pon honour I ne'er had a male upon pen.

Well Madam, the long and the short of the clatter


A Grain Of Sand

I

If starry space no limit knows
And sun succeeds to sun,
There is no reason to suppose
Our earth the only one.
'Mid countless constellations cast
A million worlds may be,
With each a God to bless or blast
And steer to destiny.
II
Just think! A million gods or so
To guide each vital stream,
With over all to boss the show
A Deity supreme.
Such magnitudes oppress my mind;
From cosmic space it swings;
So ultimately glad to find


A Night Thought


I

Lo! where the Moon along the sky
Sails with her happy destiny;
Oft is she hid from mortal eye
Or dimly seen,
But when the clouds asunder fly
How bright her mien!

II
Far different we--a froward race,
Thousands though rich in Fortune's grace
With cherished sullenness of pace
Their way pursue,
Ingrates who wear a smileless face
The whole year through.

III
If kindred humours e'er would make
My spirit droop for drooping's sake,
From Fancy following in thy wake,


A Song Of Despair

The memory of you emerges from the night around me.
The river mingles its stubborn lament with the sea.

Deserted like the wharves at dawn.
It is the hour of departure, oh deserted one!

Cold flower heads are raining over my heart.
Oh pit of debris, fierce cave of the shipwrecked.

In you the wars and the flights accumulated.
From you the wings of the song birds rose.

You swallowed everything, like distance.
Like the sea, like time. In you everything sank!


A Poet's Voice XV

Part One


The power of charity sows deep in my heart, and I reap and gather the wheat in bundles and give them to the hungry.

My soul gives life to the grapevine and I press its bunches and give the juice to the thirsty.

Heaven fills my lamp with oil and I place it at my window to direct the stranger through the dark.

I do all these things because I live in them; and if destiny should tie my hands and prevent me from so doing, then death would be my only desire. For I am a poet, and if I cannot give, I shall refuse to receive.


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