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As the rain falls
object of the world--
the priceless dry
of illicit love
where we live
hear the wash of the
all the whorishness
from its window
the spring wash
of your love
from the sea--
from the crevices of
So my life is spent
to keep out love
she rains upon
far apart to let in
And running in between
is a kind physician
of her thoughts over
invisible swift feet
that has no hope
of the world
cannot change the world
to its delight--
falls upon the earth
and grass and flowers
into form from its
But love is
comes of it but love
and falling endlessly
At ten AM the young housewife
moves about in negligee behind
the wooden walls of her husband’s house.
I pass solitary in my car.
Then again she comes to the curb
to call the ice-man, fish-man, and stands
shy, uncorseted, tucking in
stray ends of hair, and I compare her
to a fallen leaf.
The noiseless wheels of my car
rush with a crackling sound over
dried leaves as I bow and pass smiling.
The first is translated by C. Cavanagh, the second by J. Trzeciak. I was reading David Lehman's, State of the Art, in which he compares these two translations. He writes:
I never was attached to that great sect,
Whose doctrine is, that each one should select
Out of the crowd a mistress or a friend,
And all the rest, though fair and wise, commend
To cold oblivion, though it is the code
Of modern morals, and the beaten road
Which those poor slaves with weary footsteps tread,
By the broad highway of the world, and so
With one chained friend, perhaps a jealous foe,
The dreariest and the longest journey go.
Note: I've been reading David Lehman's The State of the Art. This poem was discussed in the chapter titled 2013 with the subtitle, "It was his poetry that kept him going." It begins with the sentence: "Shelley's 'Defense of Poetry' (1821) culminates in an assertion of poetry as a source not only of knowledge but of power.
I've been thinking about that. Poetry, a source of power.
Two overshadowing minds, one life, one death,
One Heaven, one Hell, one immortality,
And one annihilation. Woe is me!
The winged words on which my soul would pierce
Into the height of Love's rare Universe,
Are chains of lead around its flight of fire—
I pant, I sink, I tremble, I expire!"
from the last lines Shelley's "Epipsychidion"
Nor slumber nor a roof against the rain;
Nor yet a floating spar to men that sink
And rise and sink and rise and sink again;
Love can not fill the thickened lung with breath,
Nor clean the blood, nor set the fractured bone;
Yet many a man is making friends with death
Even as I speak, for lack of love alone.
It well may be that in a difficult hour,
Pinned down by pain and moaning for release,
Or nagged by want past resolution’s power,
I might be driven to sell your love for peace,
Or trade the memory of this night for food.
It well may be. I do not think I would.
I have forgotten, and what arms have lain
Under my head till morning;
but the rain Is full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sigh
Upon the glass and listen for reply,
And in my heart there stirs a quiet pain
For unremembered lads that not again
Will turn to me at midnight with a cry.
Thus in winter stands the lonely tree,
Nor knows what birds have vanished one by one,
Yet knows its boughs more silent than before:
I cannot say what loves have come and gone,
I only know that summer sang in me
A little while, that in me sings no more