Monday, March 29, 2010

Bird Cage / Cage d'Oiseau --
Hector de Saint-Denys Garneau

  
Bird Cage

I am a bird cage
A bone cage
With a bird

The bird in my bone cage
Is death making its nest

When nothing is happening
I hear its wings ruffling

And when I’ve laughed a lot
If I suddenly stop

I hear it chirping
Deep down
Like a tiny alarm

It is a bird held captive
Death in my bone cage

Wouldn't it like to fly away
Is it you who makes it stay
Or is it me
I can't say

It cannot leave until
Having eaten all
My heart
The blood source
With the life inside

It will have my soul in its beak.


Hector de Saint-Denys Garneau
translated by George J. Dance



Creative Commons License
[Bird Cage by George J. Dance (translation of "Cage d'Oiseau" by Hector de Saint-Denys Garneau) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.]


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-----------------------

Cage d’Oiseau

Je suis une cage d’oiseau
Une cage d’os
Avec un oiseau

L’oiseau dans ma cage d’os
C’est la mort qui fait son nid

Lorsque rien n’arrive
On entend froisser ses ailes

Et quand on a ri beaucoup
Si l’on cesse tout à coup

On l’entend qui recoule
Au fond
Comme un grelot

C’est un oiseau tenu captif
La mort dans ma cage d’os

Voudrait-il pas s’envoler
Est-ce vous qui le retiendrez
Est-ce moi
Qu’est-ce que c’est

Il ne pourra s’en aller
Qu’aprés avoir tout mangé
Mon coeur
La source du sang
Avec la vie dedans

Il aura mon âme au bec.


Hector de Saint-Denys Garneau
de
Regards et jeux dans l'éspace, 1937

[Poem is in the public domain in Canada
]

Read more by Hector de Saint-Denys Garneau here:
http://gdancesbetty.blogspot.com/2011_02_01_archive.html

Hector de Saint-Denys Garneau biography

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Cup / Duncan Campbell Scott

       
The Cup

Here is pleasure; drink it down.
Here is sorrow; drain it dry.
Tilt the goblet, don’t ask why.
Here is madness; down it goes.
Here’s a dagger and a kiss,
Don’t ask what the reason is.
Drink your liquor, no one knows;
Drink it bravely like a lord.
Do not roll a coward eye,
Pain and pleasure is one sword
Hacking out your destiny;
Do not say, "It is not just."
That word won’t apply to life;
You must drink because you must;
Tilt the goblet, cease the strife.
Here at last is something good,
Just to warm your flagging blood.
Don’t take breath 
At the bottom of the cup
Here is death: Drink it up.

--
Duncan Campbell Scott (1862-1947)
from
Labour and the Angel, 1898

[Poem is in the public domain in Canada and the United States]

Duncan Campbell Scott (by George J. Dance)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

River of my Eyes / Rivière de mes Yeux -- Hector de Saint-Denys Garneau

 
River of my Eyes

O my eyes this morning wide as rivers
O waves of my eyes ready to reflect all
And this freshness under my eyelids
Amazing
Everywhere around images I see

Like a brook refreshing the isle
And like the flowing wave
Surrounding the sun bather.


Hector de Saint-Denys Garneau
(translated by George J. Dance)


Creative Commons License
River of My Eyes by George J. Dance [translation of "Riviere de mes yeux" by Hector de Saint-Denys Garnewu is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

--------

Rivière de mes yeux

Ô mes yeux ce matin grands comme des rivières
Ô l'onde de mes yeux prêts à tout refléter
Et cette fraîcheur sous mes paupières
Extraordinaire
Tout alentour des images que je vois

Comme un ruisseau rafraîchit l'île
Et comme l'onde fluente entoure
La baigneuse ensoleillée


Hector de Saint-Denys Garneau
de
Regards et jeux dans l'éspace, 1937

[All rights reserved by the author's estate - Please do not copy]


Read more by Hector de Saint-Denys Garneau here:
http://gdancesbetty.blogspot.com/2011_02_01_archive.html

Hector de Saint-Denys Garneau biography

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Stars at Tallapoosa / Wallace Stevens


Stars at Tallapoosa

The lines are straight and swift between the stars.
The night is not the cradle that they cry,
The criers, undulating the deep-oceaned phrase.
The lines are much too dark and much too sharp.

The mind herein attains simplicity,
There is no moon, no single, silvered leaf.
The body is no body to be seen
But is an eye that studies its black lid.

Let these be your delight, secretive hunter,
Wading the sea-lines, moist and ever-mingling,
Mounting the earth-lines, long and lax, lethargic.
These lines are swift and fall without diverging.

The melon-flower nor dew nor web of either
Is like to these.  But in yourself is like:
A sheaf of brilliant arrows flying straight,
Flying and falling straightway for their pleasure,

Their pleasure that is all bright-edged and cold;
Or, if not arrows, then the nimblest motions,
Making recoveries of young nakedness
And the lost vehemence the midnights hold.

--
Wallace Stevens (1879-1955), 1922
from Harmonium, 1923

[Poem is in the public domain in Canada and the United States]

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A High-Toned Old Christian Woman /
Wallace Stevens


A High-Toned Old Christian Woman

Poetry is the supreme fiction, madame.
Take the moral law and make a nave of it
And from the nave build haunted heaven. Thus,
The conscience is converted into palms,
Like windy citherns hankering for hymns.
We agree in principle. That's clear. But take
The opposing law and make a peristyle,
And from the peristyle project a masque
Beyond the planets. Thus, our bawdiness,
Unpurged by epitaph, indulged at last,
Is equally converted into palms,
Squiggling like saxophones. And palm for palm,
Madame, we are where we began. Allow,
Therefore, that in the planetary scene
Your disaffected flagellants, well-stuffed,
Smacking their muzzy bellies in parade,
Proud of such novelties of the sublime,
Such tink and tank and tunk-a-tunk-tunk,
May, merely may, madame, whip from themselves
A jovial hullabaloo among the spheres.
This will make widows wince. But fictive things
Wink as they will. Wink most when widows wince.

--
Wallace Stevens (1879-1955)1922
from Harmonium, 1923

[Poem is in the public domain in Canada and the United States]

Friday, March 19, 2010

A Vision / Duncan Campbell Scott

   
A Vision

The tenebrous sky
Was founded on lightning,
And there came marching
To a funeral,
A multitude so millioned
That number was unthinkable;
There were massed together
Kings pierced with their sceptres,
Tyrants shod with the points of swords,
And priests each with a live coal
In the palm of his hand,
Learned men
With book-yokes on their necks,
Merchants with gold eyelids;
Each one tortured with his symbol
And an innumerable host
Without sign or distinction;
Each bore a tuft of grass
In his fingers;
The grass was in seed,
And as they walked,
The seed fell where it listed.
There was no sound
As the host marched
To the funeral;
But what was buried
Was far in the Past,
And the host poured up
From the Future.

--
Duncan Campbell Scott
from
Beauty and Life,1921 

[Poem is in the public domain in Canada and the United States]

Duncan Campbell Scott (by George J. Dance)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Vowels / Voyelles -- Arthur Rimbaud

         
Vowels

Black A, white E, red I, green U, blue O: you vowels,
Some day I'll tell the tale of where your mystery lies:
Black A, a jacket formed of hairy, shiny flies
That buzz among harsh stinks in the abyss's bowels;

White E, the white of kings, of moon-washed fogs and tents,
Of fields of shivering chervil, glaciers' gleaming tips;
Red I, magenta, spat-up blood, the curl of lips
In laughter, hatred, or besotted penitence;

Green U, vibrating waves in viridescent seas,
Or peaceful pastures flecked with beasts  furrows of peace
Imprinted on our brows as if by alchemies;

Blue O, great Trumpet blaring strange and piercing cries
Through Silences where Worlds and Angels pass crosswise;
Omega, O, the violet brilliance of Those Eyes!

---
Arthur Rimbaud
translated by George J. Dance, 2010

from Doggerel, and other doggerel, 2015

Creative Commons License
[Vowels by George J. Dance [translation of "Voyelles" by Arthur Rimbaud] is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.]

-

Voyelles

A noir, E blanc, I rouge, U vert, O bleu: voyelles,
Je dirai quelque jour vos naissances latentes:
A, noir corset velu des mouches éclatantes
Qui bombinent autour des puanteurs cruelles,

Golfes d'ombre; E, candeurs des vapeurs et des tentes,
Lances des glaciers fiers, rois blancs, frissons d'ombelles;
I, pourpres, sang craché, rire des lèvres belles
Dans la colère ou les ivresses pénitentes;

U, cycles, vibrements divins des mers virides,
Paix des pâtis semés d'animaux, paix des rides
Que l'alchimie imprime aux grands fronts studieux;

O, suprême Clairon plein des strideurs étranges,
Silences traversés des Mondes et des Anges;
- O l'Oméga, rayon violet de Ses Yeux!

--
Arthur Rimbaud
1871


[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]


Arthur Rimbaud biography

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Truth / Archibald Lampman

       
The Truth

Friend, though thy soul should burn thee, yet be still.
Thoughts were not meant for strife, nor tongues for swords.
He that sees clear is gentlest of his words,
And that's not truth that hath the heart to kill.
The whole world's thought shall not one truth fulfil.
Dull in our age, and passionate in youth,
No mind of man hath found the perfect truth,
Nor shalt thou find it; therefore, friend, be still.
Watch and be still, nor hearken to the fool,
The babbler of consistency and rule:
Wisest is he, who, never quite secure,
Changes his thoughts for better day by day:
To-morrow some new light will shine, be sure,
And thou shalt see thy thought another way.

--
Archibald Lampman
from  The Poems of Archibald Lampman, 1900

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Archibald Lampman (by George Dance)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Only the Lonely / George J. Dance

         
Only the Lonely

The man in shades
strides to the mic
and declares,
"Only the lonely
know the way I feel tonight ..."
– and ten thousand screaming,
chanting fans wedged up against
each other in the hall all together
suddenly feel so
lonely.

--
George J. Dance, 2010
from Doggerel, and other doggerel, 2015.

[All rights reserved by the author - Used with permission]

George J. Dance biography

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Romance Novel / Roman -- Arthur Rimbaud

 
Romance Novel

I

You’re never serious at 17.
One great night, full of pints and lemonade,
You’ve had enough of cafés, so you stroll
Beneath green lime trees on the promenade.

The lime trees smell so good at night in June!
Sometimes the air’s so soft it makes you blink.
The wind from off the town is charged with noise
And smells of grape, of ale and stronger drink . . .

II

Look there, you see a tiny handkerchief
Of dark blue, framed by branches in the night,
Pierced by a hapless star that melts away
With one soft shudder, beautifully white . . .

You’re 17!  In June!  It gets you high 
The sap’s champagne: it makes your whole head ring . . .
You ramble  suddenly you feel a kiss
That flutters on your lips like a live thing . . .

III

Below the halo of a pale street lamp,
Your heart creates a novel, going mad
Because a young miss stopped to sneak a glance
Beneath the menacing shadow of her dad . . .

And just because she thinks you’re such a child,
She trots on by and swings her little hips
And gives a shrug that slugs you in the gut,
While cavatinas die upon your lips . . .

IV

Now you’re in love  till August anyway.
You’ll make her laugh!  You’ll write her poetry!
But still you’re shunned as if you tasted bad
Until, one night, the dear one writes to thee!

That night you wander back to the cafés.
You order up more pints and lemonade . . .
You’re never serious at 17
When limes grow green above the promenade.

---
Arthur Rimbaud
translated by George J. Dance, 2009

from Doggerel, and other doggerel, 2015

Creative Commons License
[Romance Novel by George Dance [translation of "Roman" by Arthur Rimbaud] is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License]
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://gdancesbetty.blogspot.com/.



Roman

I

On n'est pas sérieux, quand on a dix-sept ans.
- Un beau soir, foin des bocks et de la limonade,
Des cafés tapageurs aux lustres éclatants !
- On va sous les tilleuls verts de la promenade.

Les tilleuls sentent bon dans les bons soirs de juin !
L'air est parfois si doux, qu'on ferme la paupière ;
Le vent chargé de bruits - la ville n'est pas loin -
A des parfums de vigne et des parfums de bière . . . 


II

-Voilà qu'on aperçoit un tout petit chiffon
D'azur sombre, encadré d'une petite branche,
Piqué d'une mauvaise étoile, qui se fond
Avec de doux frissons, petite et toute blanche . . . 

Nuit de juin ! Dix-sept ans ! - On se laisse griser.
La sève est du champagne et vous monte à la tête . . . 
On divague ; on se sent aux lèvres un baiser
Qui palpite là, comme une petite bête . . . 

III

Le coeur fou Robinsonne à travers les romans,
Lorsque, dans la clarté d'un pâle réverbère,
Passe une demoiselle aux petits airs charmants,
Sous l'ombre du faux col effrayant de son père . . . 

Et, comme elle vous trouve immensément naïf,
Tout en faisant trotter ses petites bottines,
Elle se tourne, alerte et d'un mouvement vif . . . 
- Sur vos lèvres alors meurent les cavatines ...

IV

Vous êtes amoureux. Loué jusqu'au mois d'août.
Vous êtes amoureux. - Vos sonnets La font rire.
Tous vos amis s'en vont, vous êtes mauvais goût.
- Puis l'adorée, un soir, a daigné vous écrire ! . . . 

- Ce soir-là,... - vous rentrez aux cafés éclatants,
Vous demandez des bocks ou de la limonade . . . 
- On n'est pas sérieux, quand on a dix-sept ans
Et qu'on a des tilleuls verts sur la promenade.

--
Arthur Rimbaud
1870

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Arthur Rimbaud biography

Roman / Arthur Rimbaud

 
Roman

I

On n'est pas sérieux, quand on a dix-sept ans.
- Un beau soir, foin des bocks et de la limonade,
Des cafés tapageurs aux lustres éclatants !
- On va sous les tilleuls verts de la promenade.

Les tilleuls sentent bon dans les bons soirs de juin !
L'air est parfois si doux, qu'on ferme la paupière ;
Le vent chargé de bruits - la ville n'est pas loin -
A des parfums de vigne et des parfums de bière...


II

-Voilà qu'on aperçoit un tout petit chiffon
D'azur sombre, encadré d'une petite branche,
Piqué d'une mauvaise étoile, qui se fond
Avec de doux frissons, petite et toute blanche...

Nuit de juin ! Dix-sept ans ! - On se laisse griser.
La sève est du champagne et vous monte à la tête ...
On divague ; on se sent aux lèvres un baiser
Qui palpite là, comme une petite bête ...

III

Le coeur fou Robinsonne à travers les romans,
Lorsque, dans la clarté d'un pâle réverbère,
Passe une demoiselle aux petits airs charmants,
Sous l'ombre du faux col effrayant de son père ...

Et, comme elle vous trouve immensément naïf,
Tout en faisant trotter ses petites bottines,
Elle se tourne, alerte et d'un mouvement vif ...
- Sur vos lèvres alors meurent les cavatines ...

IV

Vous êtes amoureux. Loué jusqu'au mois d'août.
Vous êtes amoureux. - Vos sonnets La font rire.
Tous vos amis s'en vont, vous êtes mauvais goût.
- Puis l'adorée, un soir, a daigné vous écrire !...

- Ce soir-là,... - vous rentrez aux cafés éclatants,
Vous demandez des bocks ou de la limonade...
- On n'est pas sérieux, quand on a dix-sept ans
Et qu'on a des tilleuls verts sur la promenade.

--
Arthur Rimbaud
1870


[Poem is in the public domain]

Read English-language translation of "Roman" here:
http://gdancesbetty.blogspot.com/2010/03/romance-novel-arthur-rimbaud.html

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Fuji-san / George J. Dance

 
Fuji-san

Under the flaring sun,
Fuji-san wears his
White-straw sugegasa.

--
George J. Dance


Mount Fuji at sunrise Lake Kawaguchi

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Ancestral Houses / W.B. Yeats

from Meditations in Time of Civil War:

I. Ancestral Houses

Surely among a rich man's flowering lawns,
Amid the rustle of his planted hills,
Life overflows without ambitious pains;
And rains down life until the basin spills,
And mounts more dizzy high the more it rains
As though to choose whatever shape it wills
And never stoop to a mechanical
Or servile shape, at others' beck and call.

Mere dreams, mere dreams! Yet Homer had not sung
Had he not found it certain beyond dreams
That out of life's own self-delight had sprung
The abounding glittering jet; though now it seems
As if some marvellous empty sea-shell flung
Out of the obscure dark of the rich streams,
And not a fountain, were the symbol which
Shadows the inherited glory of the rich.

Some violent bitter man, some powerful man
Called architect and artist in, that they,
Bitter and violent men, might rear in stone
The sweetness that all longed for night and day,
The gentleness none there had ever known;
But when the master's buried mice can play,
And maybe the great-grandson of that house,
For all its bronze and marble, 's but a mouse.

O what if gardens where the peacock strays
With delicate feet upon old terraces,
Or else all Juno from an urn displays
Before the indifferent garden deities;
O what if levelled lawns and gravelled ways
Where slippered Contemplation finds his ease
And Childhood a delight for every sense,
But take our greatness with our violence?

What if the glory of escutcheoned doors,
And buildings that a haughtier age designed,
The pacing to and fro on polished floors
Amid great chambers and long galleries, lined
With famous portraits of our ancestors;
What if those things the greatest of mankind
Consider most to magnify, or to bless,
But take our greatness with our bitterness?

--
W.B. Yeats (1865-1939), 1923
from The Cat and the Moon, and certain poems, 1924

[Poem is in the public domain in Canada and the European Union]
To view the complete poem, click here.


W.B. Yeats Biography

My House / W.B. Yeats

from Meditations in Time of Civil War

II. My House

An ancient bridge, and a more ancient tower,
A farmhouse that is sheltered by its wall,
An acre of stony ground,
Where the symbolic rose can break in flower,
Old ragged elms, old thorns innumerable,
The sound of the rain or sound
Of every wind that blows;
The stilted water-hen
Crossing stream again
Scared by the splashing of a dozen cows;

A winding stair, a chamber arched with stone,
A grey stone fireplace with an open hearth,
A candle and written page.
Il Penseroso's Platonist toiled on
In some like chamber, shadowing forth
How the daemonic rage
Imagined everything.
Benighted travellers
From markets and from fairs
Have seen his midnight candle glimmering.

Two men have founded here. A man-at-arms
Gathered a score of horse and spent his days
In this tumultuous spot,
Where through long wars and sudden night alarms
His dwindling score and he seemed castaways
Forgetting and forgot;
And I, that after me
My bodily heirs may find,
To exalt a lonely mind,
Befitting emblems of adversity.

--
W.B. Yeats (1865-1939), 1923
from The Cat and the Moon, and certain poems, 1924

[Poem is in the public domain in Canada and the European Union]
To view the complete poem, click here.

W.B. Yeats biography

Friday, March 5, 2010

My Table / W.B. Yeats

from Meditations in Time of Civil War


III. My Table

Two heavy trestles, and a board
Where Sato's gift, a changeless sword,
By pen and paper lies,
That it may moralise
My days out of their aimlessness.
A bit of an embroidered dress
Covers its wooden sheath.
Chaucer had not drawn breath
When it was forged. In Sato's house,
Curved like new moon, moon-luminous,
It lay five hundred years.
Yet if no change appears
No moon; only an aching heart
Conceives a changeless work of art.
Our learned men have urged
That when and where 'twas forged
A marvellous accomplishment,
In painting or in pottery, went
From father unto son
And through the centuries ran
And seemed unchanging like the sword.
Soul's beauty being most adored,
Men and their business took
The soul's unchanging look;
For the most rich inheritor,
Knowing that none could pass Heaven's door,
That loved inferior art,
Had such an aching heart
That he, although a country's talk
For silken clothes and stately walk.
Had waking wits; it seemed
Juno's peacock screamed.

--
W.B. Yeats (1865-1939), 1923
from The Cat and the Moon, and certain poems, 1924

[Poem is in the public domain in Canada and the European Union]
To view the complete poem, click here.

W.B. Yeats biography

My Descendants / W.B. Yeats

from Meditations in Time of Civil War

IV. My Descendants

Having inherited a vigorous mind
From my old fathers, I must nourish dreams
And leave a woman and a man behind
As vigorous of mind, and yet it seems
Life scarce can cast a fragrance on the wind,
Scarce spread a glory to the morning beams,
But the torn petals strew the garden plot;
And there's but common greenness after that.

And what if my descendants lose the flower
Through natural declension of the soul,
Through too much business with the passing hour,
Through too much play, or marriage with a fool?
May this laborious stair and this stark tower
Become a roofless ruin that the owl
May build in the cracked masonry and cry
Her desolation to the desolate sky.

The Primum Mobile that fashioned us
Has made the very owls in circles move;
And I, that count myself most prosperous,
Seeing that love and friendship are enough,
For an old neighbour's friendship chose the house
And decked and altered it for a girl's love,
And know whatever flourish and decline
These stones remain their monument and mine.

--
W.B. Yeats (1865-1939), 1923
from The Cat and the Moon, and certain poems, 1924

[Poem is in the public domain in Canada and the European Union]
To view the complete poem, click here.

W.B. Yeats biography

Final Soliloquy of the Interior Paramour /
Wallace Stevens


Final Soliloquy of the Interior Paramour

Light the first light of evening, as in a room
In which we rest and, for small reason, think
The world imagined is the ultimate good.

This is, therefore, the intensest rendezvous.
It is in that thought that we collect ourselves,
Out of all the indifferences, into one thing:

Within a single thing, a single shawl
Wrapped tightly round us, since we are poor, a warmth,
A light, a power, the miraculous influence.

Here, now, we forget each other and ourselves.
We feel the obscurity of an order, a whole,
A knowledge, that which arranged the rendezvous.

Within its vital boundary, in the mind.
We say God and the imagination are one . . .
How high that highest candle lights the dark.

Out of this same light, out of the central mind,
We make a dwelling in the evening air,
In which being there together is enough.

--
Wallace Stevens (1879-1955), 1950
from Collected Poems, 1954
 
[Poem is in the public domain in Canada]

The Road at My Door / W.B. Yeats

from Meditations in Time of Civil War

V. The Road at My Door

An affable Irregular,
A heavily-built Falstaffian man,
Comes cracking jokes of civil war
As though to die by gunshot were
The finest play under the sun.

A brown Lieutenant and his men,
Half dressed in national uniform,
Stand at my door, and I complain
Of the foul weather, hail and rain,
A pear-tree broken by the storm.

I count those feathered balls of soot
The moor-hen guides upon the stream,
To silence the envy in my thought;
And turn towards my chamber, caught
In the cold snows of a dream.

--
W.B. Yeats (1865-1939), 1923
from The Cat and the Moon, and certain poems, 1924

[Poem is in the public domain in Canada and the European Union]
To view the complete poem, click here.

W.B. Yeats biography

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Stare's Nest by My Window / W.B. Yeats

from Meditations in Time of Civil War:

VI. The Stare's Nest by My Window

The bees build in the crevices
Of loosening masonry, and there
The mother birds bring grubs and flies.
My wall is loosening; honey-bees,
Come build in the empty house of the stare.

We are closed in, and the key is turned
On our uncertainty; somewhere
A man is killed, or a house burned,
Yet no clear fact to be discerned:
Come build in the empty house of the stare.

A barricade of stone or of wood;
Some fourteen days of civil war;
Last night they trundled down the road
That dead young soldier in his blood:
Come build in the empty house of the stare.

We had fed the heart on fantasies,
The heart's grown brutal from the fare;
More substance in our enmities
Than in our love; O honey-bees,
Come build in the empty house of the stare.

--
W.B. Yeats (1865-1939), 1923
from The Cat and the Moon, and certain poems, 1924

[Poem is in the public domain in Canada and the European Union]
To view the complete poem, click here.

W.B. Yeats biography

Always There / George J. Dance


Always There

I never got you all the things I could have
Nor gave you all the loving that I should have,
But you were with me with each breath of air.
What made me live was: You were always there.

I'd stay at work to close another deal, dear,
Then get home late to miss another meal, dear,
And you'd be sleeping; but I'd say a prayer
Of thankfulness that you were always there.

That's why I can't believe it now, believe me.
I never thought that you would ever leave me.

I cannot understand why you must go now,
But have to face it – everyone says so now.
All I can do is know that if, somewhere,
There is a heaven, you are always there.

--
George J. Dance

[All rights reserved by the author - Used with permission]

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Modern Politician / Archibald Lampman

         
The Modern Politician

What manner of soul is his to whom high truth
Is but the plaything of a feverish hour,
A dangling ladder to the ghost of power!
Gone are the grandeurs of the world's iron youth,
When kings were mighty, being made by swords.
Now comes the transit age, the age of brass,
When clowns into the vacant empires pass,
Blinding the multitude with specious words.
To them faith, kinship, truth and verity,
Man's sacred rights and very holiest thing,
Are but the counters at a desperate play,
Flippant and reckless what the end may be,
So that they glitter, each his little day,
The little mimic of a vanished king.

--
Archibald Lampman
from The Poems of Archibald Lampman, 1900

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Archibald Lampman (by George Dance)

"Betty" published for Kindle

In the dying days of February, inspired by an example I'd read on another blog, I rushed out a quick'n'dirty, Kindle-only version of "Betty." It went live on Amazon Digital Services this morning; the first version of "Betty" for sale.

Further information is in the blog Page I added today:

The first edition of "Betty" was published Mar. 2, 2010, for Kindle, and is sold through Amazon Digital Services. The publisher is listed as The Betty Blog. The inside text is simply "Betty" and "Betty's Appendix" as on the blog without any embellishments, while the cover image is the blog's rainbow logo on a plain white background, without even a name. The ASIN# is B003AKY742. It carries a list price of $6.95, which "includes international wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet."
Order it here:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B003AKY742

Blog Pages are a new Blogger feature that allows up to 10 pages to stay permanently linked to the top of the home page, rather than disappear as new messages are added. My intent is to continue updating that new page as other editions of "Betty" become available.
 

Salvation / Archibald Lampman

         
Salvation

Nature hath fixed in each man's life for dower
One root-like gift, one primal energy,
Wherefrom the soul takes growth, as grows a tree,
With sap and fibre, branch and leaf and flower;
But if this seed in its creative hour
Be crushed and stifled, only then the shell
Lifts like a phantom falsely visible,
Wherein is neither growth, nor joy, nor power.
Find thou this germ, and find thou thus thyself,
This one clear meaning of the deathless I,
This bent, this work, this duty -- for thereby
God numbers thee, and marks thee for his own:
Careless of hurt, or threat, or praise, or pelf,
Find it and follow it, this, and this alone!

--
Archibald Lampman
from
The Poems of Archibald Lampman, 1900

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Archibald Lampman (by George Dance)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Lorelei's Song / Das Loreleylied -- Heinrich Heine

 
Lorelei's Song

If there's reason, I can't recall it,
Why I feel sick and tense.
A fable demands I tell it,
An old tale without sense.

The heavens are cool and dark now
And quiet flows the Rhine;
The peak of the Rock is a spark now
Of summer eveningshine.

In glory amid the last light
There sits a maid most fair.
Her garment and jewels shine bright
As she combs her golden hair

With a golden comb; and she's singing
The most marvellous song to me.
Even piercing my drums could not bring
Escape from that melody.

In my skiff I am a captive
Of each melodious note,
Caring nothing for the rapids
That wait to sink my boat.

The waves will be devouring,
Too soon, both skiff and I;
And I will die still hearing
The song of Lorelei.


Heinrich Heine
(translated by George J. Dance)


Creative Commons License
[Lorelei's Song by George J. Dance is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License]

-

Das Loreleylied

Ich weiß nicht was soll es bedeuten
Daß ich so traurig bin;
Ein Märchen aus alten Zeiten,
Das kommt mir nicht aus dem Sinn.

Die Luft ist kühl und es dunkelt,
Und ruhig fließt der Rhein;
Der Gipfel des Berges funkelt
Im Abendsonnenschein.

Die schönste Jungfrau sitzet
Dort oben wunderbar,
Ihr goldenes Geschmeide blitzet,
Sie kämmt ihr goldenes Haar.

Sie kämmt es mit goldenem Kamme
Und singt ein Lied dabey;
Das hat eine wundersame,
Gewaltige Melodei.

Den Schiffer, im kleinen Schiffe,
Ergreift es mit wildem Weh;
Er schaut nicht die Felsenriffe,
Er schaut nur hinauf in die Höh´.

Ich glaube, die Wellen verschlingen
Am Ende Schiffer und Kahn;
Und das hat mit ihrem Singen
Die Lore-Ley getan.

---
Heinrich Heine
1823

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Hienrich Heine biography

Monday, March 1, 2010

I See Phantoms of Hatred ... / W.B. Yeats

from Meditations in Time of Civil War

VII. I See Phantoms of Hatred and of the Heart's Fullness 
           and of the Coming Emptiness

I climb to the tower-top and lean upon broken stone,
A mist that is like blown snow is sweeping over all,
Valley, river, and elms, under the light of a moon
That seems unlike itself, that seems unchangeable,
A glittering sword out of the east. A puff of wind
And those white glimmering fragments of the mist sweep by.
Frenzies bewilder, reveries perturb the mind;
Monstrous familiar images swim to the mind's eye.

'Vengeance upon the murderers,' the cry goes up,
'Vengeance for Jacques Molay.' In cloud-pale rags, or in lace,
The rage-driven, rage-tormented, and rage-hungry troop,
Trooper belabouring trooper, biting at arm or at face,
Plunges towards nothing, arms and fingers spreading wide
For the embrace of nothing; and I, my wits astray
Because of all that senseless tumult, all but cried
For vengeance on the murderers of Jacques Molay.

Their legs long, delicate and slender, aquamarine their eyes,
Magical unicorns bear ladies on their backs.
The ladies close their musing eyes. No prophecies,
Remembered out of Babylonian almanacs,
Have closed the ladies' eyes, their minds are but a pool
Where even longing drowns under its own excess;
Nothing but stillness can remain when hearts are full
Of their own sweetness, bodies of their loveliness.

The cloud-pale unicorns, the eyes of aquamarine,
The quivering half-closed eyelids, the rags of cloud or of lace,
Or eyes that rage has brightened, arms it has made lean,
Give place to an indifferent multitude, give place
To brazen hawks. Nor self-delighting reverie,
Nor hate of what's to come, nor pity for what's gone,
Nothing but grip of claw, and the eye's complacency,
The innumerable clanging wings that have put out the moon.

I turn away and shut the door, and on the stair
Wonder how many times I could have proved my worth
In something that all others understand or share;
But O! ambitious heart, had such a proof drawn forth
A company of friends, a conscience set at ease,
It had but made us pine the more. The abstract joy,
The half-read wisdom of daemonic images,
Suffice the ageing man as once the growing boy.

--
W.B. Yeats (1865-1939), 1923
from The Cat and the Moon, and certain poems, 1924

[Poem is in the public domain in Canada and the European Union]
To view the complete poem, click here.

W.B. Yeats biography

"Blue Guitar" cancelled


"The Man With the Blue Guitar" by Wallace Stevens, which I'd planned to post on TBB during March and onto usenet during National Poetry Month in April, will not be appearing as planned. TMWtBG was slated to begin appearing on the blog March 1, immediately following Stevens's "Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction," which I'd begun posting here Feb. 1, that in turn following posting of a dozen of his shorter poems in January. I'd chosen Stevens for the first major poet to showcase here, as being the most famous 20th century poet whose works are in the public domain in Canada. (As Stevens died in 1955, his poetry entered the public domain here on January 1, 2006.)

I'd previously posted "Notes" on usenet during April, 2009, without controversy. Shortly after I began blogging it, though, I began receiving posts on one of the same usenet groups claiming Stevens' poems were still under copyright. So I checked and rechecked, and found that in the U.S. his poetry is still copyrighted until 2026.

I decided to finish posting "Notes", and leave the January poems on as well, while adding "Do not copy" notices for American (and European) readers. It is the position of this blog that, being administered in Canada, it is subject to Canadian law, and therefore has a right to print Stevens's poetry. I realize that position may be wrong in law, and that eventually these poems may have to be removed from the blog; but that was no reason to concede defeat without a fight and remove them all immediately.

At the same time, I have no desire to provoke a confrontation, so I'm foregoing posting any more Stevens for the nonce. "Blue Guitar" (unlike "Notes" and the shorter poems) can already be found and read on the Web, so there's no real value in archiving it here as well:

For now I'm reserving the right to publish more of Stevens, as well as other modern poets (such as Weldon Kees) who are in the public domain in Canada. However, my priority will be on finding pieces that are inarguably public domain in the U.S. and Britain as well. That means authors who died on or before 1939; the obvious name that date suggests is Yeats, and you can expect to see some of his poetry here this month.

I'll also be posting, over March, the five public-domain poems -- by Heine, Rimbaud, and Saint-Denys Garneau -- that I've translated to date.

UPDATE, June 2012: I have  noticed a spike in traffic this month to this page (though not to TMWTBG itself), so I figured it would be a good idea to add a link here to the poem (which I eventually did post, a year later, in July 2011):

The Man With the Blue Guitar (complete and unabridged):
http://gdancesbetty.blogspot.ca/2011_07_01_archive.html 

March / George J. Dance


March


Snow becomes mud
becomes a mighty river
to the young boy.

---
George J. Dance

Creative Commons License
[March by George Dance is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 2.5 Canada License.]