Posts Tagged ‘verse’

Experiments in translation 2

Posted: April 19, 2022 in Chat
Tags: , ,

Schrödinger’s Cat

The black cat of space
closes its eyes to sleep
and the last stars go out

The cat wakes, stretches
and its with nails prick holes in space
new stars shine through 

le chat noir de l’espace
ferme les yeux pour dormir
et les dernières étoiles s’éteignent

Le chat se réveille, s’étire
et ses clous piquent des trous dans l’espace
de nouvelles étoiles brillent à travers

lo spazio è un gatto nero
chiude gli occhi per dormire
e le ultime stelle muoiono

il gatto si sveglia, si allunga,
le sue unghie perforano buchi nell’oscurità
le nuove stelle sono nate

el espacio es un gato negro
cierra los ojos para dormir
y las ultimas estrellas mueren

el gato se despierta, se estira,
sus uñas perforan agujeros en el negro
nacen las nuevas estrellas


Posted: February 11, 2022 in Chat
Tags: , ,

Corduroy talks as you walk
and raincoats sing
as arms swing; the shush
soft-brush snares of wet shoes
swiping through evening slush.

Yes, and hear your breathing hold
and release, and the steady bass
in your throat on the up-hill
you’re all jazz tonight!

Let it play; and how the spray
of oxygen in your blood floods
and energises carburretor
piston and crank.

Uphill is a tango, between 
unused muscles, and excitement.

You are the evening cabaret.

                                                                                                                      for Karl Wittfogel
The editor has laid me out wrong. 
These clothes don’t suit. Maybe it is I 
who started out wrong, this practical 
all-purpose style the result.

‘Dear Caesar,’ I wrote, ‘the locals 
bade me welcome.’ But exasperate. 
‘Dear Caesar, to bring down water
to the town needs engineers, surveyors.’ 
‘Local men,’ you said. ‘use them.’ 
But the local men exasperate. 

‘Dear Caesar,’ I wrote, ‘the engineer
said it cannot be done. I don’t 
believe him; if you send your best, 
then we’ll show him.’ Dear Caesar… 
this heat, these flies, it dries the wit
from my tongue, leaves only phlegm, 
so now my grand orations are more 
‘ahem’ than sound persuasion. 

I feel, dear Caesar, they mock my person
more than honour it. Locals; 
I loathe them.

When Vesuvius blew, my uncle 
sailed to its beleaguered towns. 
‘No matter for panic.’ he said. 
‘I’m here.’ But no, they would have it 
their way. What huge revenues 
they lost you, Caesar. 
Later you wrote, ‘Your concerns 
do you credit. Your work is good. 
Keep doing it.’ So, may I yet 
sup in your presence
                                  dear Caesar?

What Was It?

Posted: February 24, 2020 in John Stammers Page
Tags: , ,

‘Venetian ‘merchants’, besieging Athens’
their artillery scoring Acropolis hits. 
Imagine it.
we were always good at that.
Commerce and culture, ‘Bean-counters, 
and creators, makers.
Both bear our scrutiny.

How these thin columns hold their lintel
of argument. The frieze of warriors
that overlays bare stone, chisel marks,
the industries of art – overlaying
the sophist’s forgotten blind alleys,
with only the successful, useful

                    What was my argument, again?
I forget, my concentration overlaid 
by an artillery of marketing 
and contemporary concerns, moments.


Posted: January 3, 2020 in Chat
Tags: , , , ,

Each day’s like a chain that hangs from its cloud.
Tuesday was clumsy, loose, not reaching ground;
today is fine-spun, hall-marked, many linked –
each link frames a dimension of life.

Broken chains are dangerous, lash out
whenever air stirs, clouds mass, trees bend,
and no storm breaks. How many died, do you think,
their lost days clashing overhead?

These chains connect us, we would not be
without them. They themselves could be
the finest spun, glinting, and delicate.

But they are not.

Dead Bee

Posted: October 20, 2019 in Chat
Tags: , , ,

Dead bee. Another nail.

What did you do? What
did you do?
from the future.

You’ll know –
you are a part of us,
do what we do.

We’d never do that!

Get off your high horse. If not
this, then something else.
Blind spots. Greed and grab.

Speak to us.

What happened here, brother?
– Don’t try to answer, nothing
can heal this.
We have not done what you did

It was already part done.

We were stretching a hand up;
no one reached down.
We are all there is, and busy
with short-term, living now,
and not seeing how huge now is,
and how always.
You’d recognise this.

What is a horse?
they said.

Upside Down Song

Posted: September 30, 2018 in Chat
Tags: , , ,

I put my fist to the sky
and I left it there
I took a fist to the day
wished I wasn’t there
I took a fist to the face
of everything that would break
and everything that would break broke
so I took a fist to me.

I took a course in hatred
and passed top grade
I took a course in mechanics
to unmake the world
I took a course in religion, bigotry
anything that’d further me
and everything that furthered me stranded me
so I took a spanner to me.

I changed the colour of my skin
to learn hating and hatred
I changed gender, attraction
to learn centuries of oppression
I changed everything about me
to learn how to be someone
who has constantly to change to fit in
with someone like me.

I was born hungry like this
I cursed my fate, cursed it
I was born disappointed, unsatisfied
I thought this the worst, this
I was born restless, would never give in
it kept me going when everything failed
I was born with a dynamo
a bad one.





Sorry Mister

Posted: August 12, 2018 in Chat
Tags: , , ,

We broke the door of the weather
Sorry mister, we were just playin wiv our toys
loved the stink of the engines, the endless noise
then everyone wanted one, girls as well as boys
sorry mister

We lost the instructions on caring for each other
Sorry mister. The dog ate it; laptop crashed; it was there
then wasn’t. We rounded up what we knew, made a square
couldn’t remember if that’s what was meant, or where.
Sorry mister.



Posted: May 28, 2017 in Chat
Tags: , , ,

In the raised brimming glass of the moon,
in the empty beaker of the day

in the sad, bedraggled evening
hot and bothered at the end of play

two bats met above the town’s rooftops
colliding on the air’s highway:

a long-eared bat in a cassock of black
and a short-eared bat with its collar turned back

collided above the rooftops
of the chic new shops in the centre of town.

And I ask you members of the jury, now,
which one of them had right of way?


 Beyond the busy gabbling of the air waves,
the shot-off arse of time’s clearway

 in the last relinquished evening
of the not-very-bothered last day

 two bats met above the conflagration
jostling in heaven’s doorway:

 a free-tailed bat turbaned with black
and a pipistrelle with cassock on its back

 elbowed and jostled above the conflagration
in a time out of time on the edge of time.

 And I ask the jury: In this instance,
to which, if any, would you give admittance?