lunes, marzo 24, 2008

Pablo Neruda's Ode to the Air

Ode to the Air

Walking down a path
I met the air,
saluted it and said
“It makes me happy
that for once
you left your transparency,
let’s talk.”
He tirelessly
danced, moved leaves,
beat the dust
from my soles
with his laughter,
and lifting all
his blue rigging,
his skeleton of glass,
his eyelids’ breeze,
immobile as a mast
he stood listening to me.
I kissed the cape
of heaven’s king,
I wrapped myself
in his flag of sky
blue silk
and said:
king and comrade,
needle, corolla, bird,
I don’t know who you are but
I ask one thing –
don’t sell yourself.
The water sold itself
and from the desert’s
I’ve seen
the last drops
and the poor world, the people
walking with their thirst
staggering in the sand.
I saw the light
at night
the great light in the house
of the rich.
All is dawn in the
new hanging gardens,
all is dark
in the terrible
shadow of the valley.
From there, the night,
mother step mother,
goes out with a dagger in the midst
of her owl’s eyes,
and a scream, a crime,
arises and extinguishes,
swallowed by shadow.
No, air,
don’t sell yourself,
don’t be channeled,
don’t be entubed,
don’t be boxed,
don’t be stamped out in pills,
don’t be bottled,
be careful!
when you need me,
I am the poet son
of the poor, brother
in flesh and brother
in law
of the poor, of everywhere,
of my country and all the others,
of the poor who live on the river,
of those who live in the heights
of the vertical mountains,
break rock,
nail boards,
sew clothes,
cut wood,
haul earth,
and for this
I want them to breathe,
you are all they have,
this is why
you are
so they can see
what tomorrow brings,
for this
you exist,
catch your breath,
don’t shackle yourself,
don’t fix yourself to anyone
who comes in a car
to examine you,
leave them,
laugh at them,
flee from them through the shadows,
don’t accept
their propositions,
we’ll go together
dancing through the world,
knocking the blossoms
from the apple trees,
entering windows,
from yesterday and tomorrow,
the day is coming
when we will liberate
the light and the water,
earth and men,
and all will be
for all, as you are.
For this, for now,
be careful!
And come with me,
much remains
that dances and sings,
let’s go
the length of the sea,
to the height of the mountains,
let’s go
where the new spring
is flowering
and in one gust of wind
and song
we’ll share the flowers,
the scent, the fruit,
the air
of tomorrow.

Translated by Andrew Haley

Pablo Neruda (1904-1973), received the Nobel Prize in 1971 in recognition of a body of poetry composed in celebration of the elemental and in protest of the cruelties he witnessed as a diplomat abroad, in exile, and in his native Chile, where his death twelve days after August Pinochet’s 1973 coup d’état was celebrated as an act of protest against the takeover.

March 24 is the anniversary of the 1976 military coup in neighboring Argentina. In seven years of military rule, tens of thousands of artists and intellectuals were targeted by state terror.

lunes, marzo 17, 2008

Four Poems From Kenneth Kesner


remembering first
night binds flowers to floor
to sleep without ache
wake to sweat with jiangxi
dust just now close to ochre on flesh
to open door for breeze never rises
past victims still of
repellent coils to
molten worker screeching refusing must gather produce
rinds already yesterday seething with copper-green beetles
neighbor derides her
naked sexless adolescent part dangling in gutter stick with hand
captive to gliding plastic refuse severally retarded
past gate where one's accused rape murder
by the plainclothes
then wanes alone no way to be seen again but here
culturally erect female dismounting
bike foots cross looks down
froth spits out lands on wipes on
petal cycling again
so much gold here summer sun
out some window mountains already lies jiujiang somewhere up there
shade a house shaded not divided really a room on the west not in the west really afternoon lights
a daybed for our chairman
tomorrow's view


your sun how long
eager to dance patience
poverty nun
grace tempting radiance
inside it all
will hers last time instead
eyes so close


… since those sounds lying
still inside beyond

that time seeks a hearing
how begins as end

that time when inscribing
passages to found


in flame

archic shading itself from believing same

as daylights surrender to never's past

forgotten crowds to sojourn
merely in speech

in shade
thinking same wanting words

exceeding harmony



window feels like magic
and my plane souls anywhere

stone's flight is so tragic
should I gaze there
you're in a gauze of steel

what's twice now once but more

revealing nietzsche neuralgic
you read well you feel ill
and then
you're in the mirrors' care

what's more what's worse

confess yourself
a soul
at home again alone

and then

i'll last until you first
forge reign poured by my veins

Kenneth Kesner has lived in East Asia for numerous years, and currently resides on the island of Java in the Republic of Indonesia. His poetry has appeared in The Arabesques Review, A Little Poetry, and Word Slaw.