South of the Border-

Image result for diego rivera paintings

South of the border down Mexico way lies

Venezuela and revolution or possibly invasion

South of the narrow isthmus

across which the Chinese  and Nicaraguans are digging a new wider,

deeper canal…..for oil.

Down further in Brazil,

the latest fascist dictator

repeats his pedantic boring chants

in favour of free markets requiring

rain forests be despoiled.

Over the border lies trouble

….but build a wall?

Will not do any good at all.

The drugs will still pour in, Mr Trump-

your so called secure society a sorry business

with its own ecological dumps.

Anyway, anyhow that wall would be porous;

the gringos, aid and arms flowing south.

You might build a wall on the border

to keep the Mexicans out

but what do you do to your people

and yourself?

Let in the bright coloured flowers,

Diego’s art, let it grow…

before your population, sing once again

“Sag mir, wo die Blumen sind?”

Gone to soldiers every one?

When will we ever learn?

Image result for Nicaraguan Canal

 

Advertisements

The Jasmine at Night by the Italian Poet, Giovanni Pascoli

  E s’aprono i fiori notturni
nell’ora che penso a’ miei cari.
Sono apparse in mezzo ai viburni
le farfalle crepuscolari.
Da un pezzo si tacquero i gridi:
là sola una casa bisbiglia.
Sotto l’ali dormono i nidi,
come gli occhi sotto le ciglia.
Dai calici aperti si esala
l’odore di fragole rosse.
Splende un lume là nella sala.
Nasce l’erba sopra le fosse.
Un’ape tardiva sussurra
trovando già prese le celle.
La Chioccetta per l’aia azzurra
va col suo pigolio di stelle.
Per tutta la notte s’esala
l’odore che passa col vento.
Passa il lume su per la scala;
brilla al primo piano: s’è spento…
È l’alba: si chiudono i petali
un poco gualciti; si cova,
dentro l’urna molle e segreta,
non so che felicità nuova.

Image result for butterflies in Viburnum

The nocturnal jasmine is a poem by Giovanni Pascoli dedicated to the wedding of a friend of his, and published in 1903 in the Cantos of Castelvecchio .

Giovanni Pascoli ( San Mauro di Romagna , 31 December 1855 – Bologna , 6 April 1912 ) was a poet , academic and literary critic of Italy , an emblematic figure of Italian literature of the late nineteenth century . Despite his eminently positivistic training , he is together with Gabriele D’Annunzio, the greatest Italian decadent poet .

Here is a possible literal translation:-

And the night jasmines open their corolla
in the time of day when I think of my dear departed. Twilight butterflies
have appeared
among the viburnum.
For some time now the cries of the birds have ceased:
only there, in a house, can they hear the whispering of human voices.
The little birds are sleeping under the protective wings,
as the eyes rest under the lashes.
From the open corolla of jasmine comes
a scent like red strawberries.
In the living room you can still see a light on,
the grass rises above the tombs of the dead.
A late bee wanders around buzzing
because all the cells are already occupied.
The constellation of the Pleiades is wandering
through the threshing floor, rendered blue by the night sky, with a chirp of stars.
For the duration of the night
the scent of the nocturnal jasmine fills the air, carried by the wind.
The light in the house moves up the stairs,
then goes into the nuptial chamber on the first floor, then goes off …
The dawn arrives: the petals of the flower close
a little withered, but inside the ovary soft and hidden
in depth, grows a feeling of happiness
never felt before.

Image result for giovanni pascoli

Impatient Apparition

I have been reading John Aubrey

recently, how it was common to

see visions, apparitions

and lions wandering as lightning strikes

in the Agora- or perhaps the seasons

are out of joint-out of synch.

 

And anyway you didn’t phone me

at home to tell me why

you were not coming today

as you do this day every week

early really at nine thirty

unpredictable irregularity

makes me quite shirty

 

No text or phone call by

ten past ten and then

I hope you are quite o.k.

Some good reason you did

not arrive today.

 

No post either-so feeling

somewhat put out and cut off

my unconscious seems to have ploughed

you up- so as I slammed

the door- it was you I saw-

 

Torso emerging in a forward frozen pose-

in some limbo-like

grey or perhaps bright red-

half alive but perhaps half dead

legs concealed beneath the tiled path

for ever immobile-

I am sorry to have left you

quite like that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

i

Summer Blues over coffee-Penzance

Sitting in Mr Billy’s, cappuccino drunk

I  watch the Golowan flag unfurl and roll

over the discount furniture store.

An elegant lizard design ruffled

as Hurricane Hector creeps to shore.

 

Caffine restores and clears the brain’s funk;

mind having been clogged with too many poets

read too superficially, such a rapid tour:-

Akhmatova, Garcia Lorca, Neruda

-several more.

all read in translation with growing piles

of biographies-Akhmatova’s by Elaine Feinstein

and just recovered, after much searching,

Pablo Neruda’s by Adam Feinstein.

The latter faintly and quaintly inscribed to ” Jessie G-

My passion in my life” signed Den

with five kisses -a bargain at three pounds forty nine.

Although I don’t know these signatories.

I remember the  Sixties, when a certain Jessie G occupied

my thoughts and feelings.

 

As the shoppers come and go- not thinking, I think

of Michelangelo,

I long for the enigmatic winds that energised us all-

when Co-Operative with its cheap and vivid green awning

was not just a shop.

As the street fills with delivery vans,

I long for the fervour again to discover,

Sous les paves, la plage!

Viewing Joseph Wright’s paintings in Derby

Image result for joseph wright of derbyThe light from within the Orrery

illuminates the children’s faces.

This glow in the darkness

spreads and each canvas is lit.

This picture depicts some wonder of generosity;

a marvel that touches deeply your curiosity.

Here around are landscapes, portraits and myths

gathered in profuse display and all Wright.

Here Arkwright sits near the spools of cotton

woven at his water-powered mill,

seemingly the quintessence of optimistic enterprise.

Beyond Arkwright’s son and wife look

more prosperous yet more mannered too as

Gainsborough might depict.

Across here a scene from Laurence Sterne

has captured Wright’s inquisitive imagination.

Nearby Vesuvius again erupts into crimson

and emerald below in the bay boats float

with fishermen undistracted in their industrious

capture of shoals beneath the calm seas.

I too am captured by a certain canvas in which

an Indian squaw sits widowed on a hillside under

her hero husband’s suspended arms and

awaits the breaking tumult from the threatening clouds.

Image result for joseph wright of derby

The Oriole-a nature poem by Emily Dickinson

  1. One of the ones that Midas touched,
    Who failed to touch us all,
    Was that confiding prodigal,
    The blissful oriole.

So drunk, he disavows it
With badinage divine;
So dazzling, we mistake him
For an alighting mine.

A pleader, a dissembler,
An epicure, a thief, —
Betimes an oratorio,
An ecstasy in chief;

The Jesuit of orchards,
He cheats as he enchants
Of an entire attar
For his decamping wants.

The splendor of a Burmah,
The meteor of birds,
Departing like a pageant
Of ballads and of bards.

I never thought that Jason sought
For any golden fleece;
But then I am a rural man,
With thoughts that make for peace.

But if there were a Jason,
Tradition suffer me
Behold his lost emolument
Upon the apple-tree.

Some beautiful lines in this poem and I find myself wondering about what sort of mine might be “lighted”. Also, verse 4 which puzzles me but I find entirely beautiful too.