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The Panther

July 13, 2010 1 comment

The Panther
— Rainer Maria Rilke (translated by Douglas Pinson)

His worldview from the constantly moving bars
Has become predictable, boring and cannot hold
Anything more. The black cat sees a
Thousand bars, and beyond the bars, nothingness.

As he paces again and again in cramped circles,
The movement of his powerful, athletic strides
Is like a ritual dance circling a core
In which a mighty will is engulfed in stone.

Only now and then the curtains of each pupil
Lift, slowly–. An image, a sound enters in,
Rushes down through the tensed, locked and waiting
Muscles, plunges straight into the heart and disappears.

I came across this translation on Spinoza Blue

Categories: poetry Tags: , , ,

So, you want to be a writer?

March 1, 2010 13 comments

This is intended as a note to self.  

if it doesn’t come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don’t do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
typewriter
searching for words,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it for money or
fame,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don’t do it.
if it’s hard work just thinking about doing it,
don’t do it.
if you’re trying to write like somebody
else,
forget about it.
if you have to wait for it to roar out of
you,
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.

if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you’re not ready.

don’t be like so many writers,
don’t be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don’t be dull and boring and
pretentious, don’t be consumed with self-
love.
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
sleep
over your kind.
don’t add to that.
don’t do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don’t do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don’t do it.

when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.

and there never was.

— Charles Bukowski

On children

February 8, 2010 4 comments

Khalil Gibran was a wise man. An excerpt from ‘The prophet’.

And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, “Speak to us of Children.”

And he said:

Your children are not your children.

They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.

They come through you but not from you,

And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts.

For they have their own thoughts.

You may house their bodies but not their souls,

For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.

For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.

Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;

For even as he loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Categories: poetry Tags: , , ,

When New York slept.

January 25, 2010 3 comments
Translated by Thumbelina from the original (see video at the end)
When it was time for New York to sleep, loneliness abounded and the fog grew
and the wind got off the ship and walked on the shores.
Within these 4 glass walls, my candle and I
what loneliness, what torture.
With words like lullabies, you aren’t here to lull me to sleep
nor to wake me in the morning with coffee and a kiss
nor to remove the mote of dust from my eye
nor to soothe the confusion in my mind
Me here, you there, in this loneliness the minutes become years, I wonder why
And why have we become an explanation for the saying ” the sky’s here, the blue’s there”
In my calendar, my pen writes your name a hundred times
and is your name honey that ants surround it as soon as I do
even though the earth is cold, this moment my winter becomes hot summer
but the moment you come where I am, the heat wave becomes ice
Categories: poetry Tags: , , , ,

Enlightenment and shyte

January 12, 2010 11 comments

im’ma go away to a deserted island
and read and think and write and shyte
and then there’ll be a thunderbolt
and enlightenment will be mine

meh, thats not how it works,
enlightenment is shyte, overrated and all,
its a dark world, nobody gives a shyte about you!
so what if you want to be the ubermensch?

shyte, shyte, shyte, shyte, shyte!
how shall i make my choices!
tranquilo, tranquilo, silencio, silencio
no hay banda, no hay orquestra, it is all an illusion,

what people will come, what places will come,
will they bring ideas? will they bring peace?
or is it just a kaleidoscope that moves us all in turn?
this restless wanderer will soon find out.

Categories: me, poetry Tags: , , ,

The last ride together.

August 17, 2009 14 comments

THE LAST RIDE TOGETHER

by: Robert Browning (1812-1889)

I said –Then, dearest, since ’tis so,
Since now at length my fate I know,
Since nothing all my love avails,
Since all, my life seem’d meant for, fails,
Since this was written and needs must be–
My whole heart rises up to bless
Your name in pride and thankfulness!
Take back the hope you gave,–I claim
Only a memory of the same,
–And this beside, if you will not blame;
Your leave for one more last ride with me.

My mistress bent that brow of hers,
Those deep dark eyes where pride demurs
When pity would be softening through,
Fix’d me a breathing-while or two
With life or death in the balance: right!
The blood replenish’d me again;
My last thought was at least not vain:
I and my mistress, side by side
Shall be together, breathe and ride,
So, one day more am I deified.
Who knows but the world may end to-night?

Hush! if you saw some western cloud
All billowy-bosom’d, over-bow’d
By many benedictions–sun’s
And moon’s and evening-star’s at once–
And so, you, looking and loving best,
Conscious grew, your passion drew
Cloud, sunset, moonrise, star-shine too,
Down on you, near and yet more near,
Till flesh must fade for heaven was here!–
Thus leant she and linger’d–joy and fear!
Thus lay she a moment on my breast.

Then we began to ride. My soul
Smooth’d itself out, a long-cramp’d scroll
Freshening and fluttering in the wind.
Past hopes already lay behind.
What need to strive with a life awry?
Had I said that, had I done this,
So might I gain, so might I miss.
Might she have loved me? just as well
She might have hated, who can tell!
Where had I been now if the worst befell?
And here we are riding, she and I.

Fail I alone, in words and deeds?
Why, all men strive and who succeeds?
We rode; it seem’d my spirit flew,
Saw other regions, cities new,
As the world rush’d by on either side.
I thought,–All labour, yet no less
Bear up beneath their unsuccess.
Look at the end of work, contrast
The petty done, the undone vast,
This present of theirs with the hopeful past!
I hoped she would love me; here we ride.

What hand and brain went ever pair’d?
What heart alike conceived and dared?
What act proved all its thought had been?
What will but felt the fleshly screen?
We ride and I see her bosom heave.
There’s many a crown for who can reach.
Ten lines, a statesman’s life in each!
The flag stuck on a heap of bones,
A soldier’s doing! what atones?
They scratch his name on the Abbey-stones.
My riding is better, by their leave.

What does it all mean, poet? Well,
Your brains beat into rhythm, you tell
What we felt only; you express’d
You hold things beautiful the best,
And pace them in rhyme so, side by side.
‘Tis something, nay ’tis much: but then,
Have you yourself what’s best for men?
Are you–poor, sick, old ere your time–
Nearer one whit your own sublime
Than we who never have turn’d a rhyme?
Sing, riding’s a joy! For me, I ride.

And you, great sculptor–so, you gave
A score of years to Art, her slave,
And that’s your Venus, whence we turn
To yonder girl that fords the burn!
You acquiesce, and shall I repine?
What, man of music, you grown gray
With notes and nothing else to say,
Is this your sole praise from a friend?–
‘Greatly his opera’s strains intend,
But in music we know how fashions end!’
I gave my youth: but we ride, in fine.

Who knows what’s fit for us? Had fate
Proposed bliss here should sublimate
My being–had I sign’d the bond–
Still one must lead some life beyond,
Have a bliss to die with, dim-descried.
This foot once planted on the goal,
This glory-garland round my soul,
Could I descry such? Try and test!
I sink back shuddering from the quest.
Earth being so good, would heaven seem best?
Now, heaven and she are beyond this ride.

And yet–she has not spoke so long!
What if heaven be that, fair and strong
At life’s best, with our eyes upturn’d
Whither life’s flower is first discern’d,
We, fix’d so, ever should so abide?
What if we still ride on, we two
With life for ever old yet new,
Changed not in kind but in degree,
The instant made eternity,–
And heaven just prove that I and she
Ride, ride together, for ever ride?

HT: twitter.com/puneet86

Categories: poetry Tags: ,

Instants

July 8, 2009 6 comments

If I could live again my life,
In the next – I’ll try,
– to make more mistakes,
I won’t try to be so perfect,
I’ll be more relaxed,
I’ll be more full – than I am now,
In fact, I’ll take fewer things seriously,
I’ll be less hygienic,
I’ll take more risks,
I’ll take more trips,
I’ll watch more sunsets,
I’ll climb more mountains,
I’ll swim more rivers,

I’ll go to more places – I’ve never been,
I’ll eat more ice creams and less (lime) beans,
I’ll have more real problems – and less imaginary
ones,
I was one of those people who live
prudent and prolific lives –
each minute of his life,
Off course that I had moments of joy – but,
if I could go back I’ll try to have only good moments,

If you don’t know – that’s what life is made of,
Don’t lose the now!

I was one of those who never goes anywhere
without a thermometer,
without a hot-water bottle,
and without an umbrella and without a parachute,

If I could live again – I will travel light,
If I could live again – I’ll try to work bare feet
at the beginning of spring till
the end of autumn,
I’ll ride more carts,
I’ll watch more sunrises and play with more children,
If I have the life to live – but now I am 85,
– and I know that I am dying …

-Jorge Luis Borges

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