Poems of the world and beyond, with Wordsworth’s sonnet to build round. Classical English Poetry has a drive from the sense of phrase that sometimes in contemporary work gives way to the separate words. Language is a whole , as the world is a whole, and these poems both look at our busy world and look through it, just as Wordsworth wishes to be a quiet pagan again, or whatever it is he means: it’s up to us to interpret the poem.
Thanks to Tony Lewis-Jones, for his post-email connection of cities, and for reminding me to make a July KPA post as I, too, floudered in my daily world — ravaged by treasure no doubt, as Gary Beck puts it in Bag Lady; and to Judith Taylor for her quirky start to a mundane working day and to Vivien Jones for a startlingly real haiku from Italy, and to Hongri and his translator for the longer poem about a world behind ours. Dont forget to enjoy the Chinese calligraphy below Manu’s translation. The image with The City of Gold was supplied by the poet.
The idea now is that KPAI will continue to bring you a post every month, at any time of the month. It does depend on poets supplying their work and permission: any poems previously published (minimum three years ago) to which you hold the copyright.
email for poems, queries etc sally evans 35 at gmail dot com
Sun in Montreal, rain as usual in Bristol UK
Your loving email arrived today.
Love, you are a treasure
and your news is a delight
at any time. Your newest book
is out there in the World —
you fret like all authors over sales —
the margins beween success and failure
are as thin as ever.
There, the hobos hang out for a fix —
the Ghost of Slavery haunts our every action —
and the gap between the rich and the poor
has become a chasm only a few can cross.
Soon maybe the city will burn again
with the feral anger of the streets —
but this being an English summer
currently, it just keeps raining.
first published on the Writers Cafe, USA 2012
The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers,
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not.—Great God! I’d rather be
A pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.
from Poems in two volumes (1807).
No longer young,
but not much older than me,
I have seen her often
in subway visions,
ravaged by her treasure
simmering in shopping bags,
her eyes the hunger of zoo animals,
with a wrinkled, worried face
that will not allow tomorrows
from Days of Destruction, Slurve Press 2009
The Dog Warden’s apprentice
Work yawns to take you in again,
reliable as the automatic doors
that wheeze and open into your face.
And through you go, telling yourself you’ll last.
You always do. It’s a shame, though, you’re so early:
you echo, crossing the atrium
alone, like somebody truly doomed.
Fortify yourself. Remember heartening things
you’ve seen – in the street, at the bus-stop;
from the bus. Think of the Dog Warden’s apprentice:
he was young and dark and slim and laughing wickedly
in the passenger seat of the yellow van as it passed.
First published Koo Press, Earthlight 2006
Haiku after Florence
Thick dark chocolate,
roof-top of the Uffizi,
a sparrow underfoot
from About Time, Too, Indigo Dreams 2010
Yuan Hongri (China)
Translated by Manu Mangattu (India)
The City of Gold
Ah! Into a pleasant hallway of gold
Thou didst the crystal of the sky mould.
A shining City of Gold
Chanting unto me from far afield.
Into the golden gate I strode
A palace colossal to behold.
Without, a soaring Tower to dazzle
A towering wondrous Grand Castle.
It seemed to the past a billion years I travelled.
Perchance, a primal giant my eyes beheld;
In the breeze his sleeves fluttered.
A transparent golden Robe uncluttered;
The appearance was holy, hallowed.
With a sweet smile they bellowed
As tall as a mountain they loomed
But as light as birds they seemed.
Into a golden palace I sauntered
To regard the sacred giant
His body was like the Sun
Enveloped by a golden flame.
In the hall at the centre he sat
Where bloomed many a huge lotus
Some golden giants too were there
Sitting on the lotus flaunting a smile.
In that Grand Palace studded with gems
Hung an enormous mould of gold;
A mellifluous song lulled all along
Rumbling like thunder, causing concussion.
On the front wall I saw engraved
In a noble script, an impressive word;
Resplendent and magnificent, the whole palace
Was filled with fragrance – wonderful, intoxicating.
Clouds with golden wings
Were flying over: all a mirage
A blossoming thrice wonderful
Blooming in the garden outside the temple.
I saw a towering Castle
Like a mountain, upright in the sky
Brilliant design, gorgeous styling
As if God had built it Himself
Colourful gems shine like a mosaic,
A medley of all kinds of strange drawing;
A round gold tower
Like a forest stands in space.
A broad circular Gallery then I saw
Surrounded by the golden castle
Each column was as high as ten thousand meters
Carving out numerous exquisite images.
I walked into a great hall,
I saw some huge statues
Like a group of golden giants
Smiling unto me.
I crossed a huge arch
Into a golden hall
To see a huge picture
Hung on the hall wall.
Each portrait of a transparent flash
Could draw a Golden Paradise
As if a three-dimensional space
Magically unfolded before thine eyes
I heard a mysterious music
Which made my heart take wings
A huge picture of the holy girl
On a plucked instrument was manifest.
She sat in a huge palace
A giant circle around the ring seat
Every giant smiled and smiled
Curling around a golden flame
This girl’s elegant posture
Wearing a golden dress
Body shining like a huge halo
Resembling the head of a golden sun.
A huge palace like a fortress
Outside the temple was the endless Garden
Flying golden feather bird
The garden with its pavilions, terraces and open halls
A blossoming of the wondrous exotic
Giving out an intoxicating fragrance
Like a sweet girl
With her model of elegant charm
A sparkling waterfall
Circling along from the hill
As a crystal emerald
Haunting this amazing Garden.
A group of boys and girls:
Dressed in bright and colourful clothes
Some would sit and rest in the Pavilion
Some would walk in the flowers, in the game.
I saw a huge old man
Sitting in a red cloud.
Only a crane flew around
And there was a huge Phoenix.
Another city in the sky
Far from the golden light
At a grand chic
The sky stood in layers
I seemed to hear the call of the divine
The old man came leisurely.
He lifted a huge golden book
And a kind of novel language I heard spoken
I saw a great line of words
Like a row of golden giants
They turned into a ray of light, and,
Suddenly flew into my chest.
My body was sweet and happy
The moment turned momentous
The sacred old man stood beside me
His smile filled the air of the city.
I became a golden giant
Beckoned back to the golden castle
Then came a giant
Who smiled and called out my name
Our bodies were just as big
We were like twin brothers
And Lo! This huge golden castle
Seemed to belong to us.
All on a sudden I saw a vision
I too was a holy giant
In every palace in the city of gold
I too had left my glad imprints.