miércoles, septiembre 29, 2010

Four Poems From Lâle Müldür

From  The Cyclamen (Mary-Incense)


“the apricot blossoms are blowing
from east to west,
i’ve tried to keep them from falling.”

summer’s passed quickly with its tanbur lutes
a raspberry rain is falling now
grandfather’s sleeping inside
in that wet raspberry land
the elegy of the Virgins of Jerusalem begins.

summer’s passed quickly with its downpours
the woman’s still sleeping on her prayer rug
she is a raspberry land now
in her heart an angry and frightening
song begins.

did i want to return
did i want to return
to no you,
to that pagan land

to return with rock and roll records
to return in Venetian outfits
sassy and decadent
to return to a bunch of boys who had waited for me

and to say “I, Lazarus
                have come from the land of the Dead
                Forgive me”

forgive me for the terrible things I’ve seen
                among you
because i walked away from you with violets in my hand
                forgive me

i want to join the Virgins of Jerusalem
in that wet raspberry land
i want to give birth to a son and
                and forget you.


Memorabilia! …

“the Angel wanted to remain a while longer …
But the storm breaking out from Heaven
catches his wings with such violence
that he cannot close them again.”

the angel of History,
his face turned to the past,
helpless in the storm,
is dragged toward the future …

Like Eurydice
attaining an identical new maidenhood,

“And suddenly,
taking the god’s hand, uttering
with a painful scream these words: ‘Looked back!’—
not understanding something, softly said, ‘Who?’


irhâç: the light on the brows of the grandfathers (the blush)

a watchword written
on the brows of Mary’s grandfathers: MHMD

They are a race that come from one another!

Mary’s pearl birth
The oyster, it is said, at times rises to the surface
to draw the rain into itself like a heavenly seed
Pearl, it is said, is good for melancholy
Unperforated, virgin pearls …


Maryam al-Basri
was in the service of Rabia al-Adawiyya:
Whenever she heard knowledge of the love of God
she would faint

In a session of dhikr (the remembrance of God)
she died suddenly of love …

God has servants who are like rain,
Falling on earth they become corn, falling on the sea, pearls.


the universe is a compound of four elements.
whichever you choose you’re nipped in the bud.

Rose:   burns in fire
        withers without water
        suffocates in airlessness
        freezes in marble.

From “The Divan of the Dictionarie of the Turk”

Shaman! “your secrets, who will ex-
pound them to the crowds?” a message
goes out from your head, that you stay
in your forest place. who could you
love? even for just a while, who will
you love? the Shaman spirit waits for
the founding of “our own city,” open
to dangerous winds. among the Turks
at the entrance of the year of the croc-
odile, much rain falls and in the cycle
of years remains an unforgettable
memento. a pearl there caught in a
spider’s web, your secret, who will
expound it to the crowds?

the woman was trying to be nothing. names
they shouted her. the woman became a
sensitive flower. she made her escape. her
housepole she set up herself. she became a
sensitive flower.

                   “My foot was caught in the snare, not seeing
                   the secret snare, I suffered thus
                   long sickness. Be the remedy my beloved.”

waterjug was chilled under the star Bakırsokum
(copperbite). skin of wild rabbit could be made
into raincoat and the Sword Xan observed it.
he made himself secret, from everyone. they said
“This man drives his horse, always to the fore”
but like that very Woman he was trying to be
nothing. “thirst-making sun was overcast;
hoped-for friend made jealousy.” he pulled down
his tentpole. observing nothing he made his

among the Turks the highest jumper becomes
king. he has two wives, one the daughter of the
summer, the other of the winter god. the first of
the children changes into a white stork. and
there are Turkish forefathers who have slept
with a sea goddess, ones sprung from wolves as
well. to spring from she-deer and he-wolf is also
seen among the Mongols. the Genghis line
springs from the marriage of Börte Chino
(göksel heavenly wolf) and Qo Maral (she-
deer). the wolf is blue, the deer is dark. on the
barren steppe the legends are counted true.
prince of hearth and fire …
in the Book of Dede Korkut to say “annihilate
your clan and kin” they say “extinguish
your hearth.” while in the north of Mongolia
fire is deemed female and its priest
is a woman, in the south fire is male
and its priest is a man.
“The thirteenth tribe” … the Khazars
… double kingship … religions are
debated. jews come from Baghdad and
Byzantium to Khazar. Khanate is
established. Gabriel becomes first
khan. shamanist before, the reason the
Khazar khan accepts judaism is this:
because all religions to come after
judaism accept it. German jewish
traveler Petachia, Rabbi of Ratisbon,
who in 12th century passed through
Khazar land, finds jewish Khazars
primitive and says his ears heard
always “wailing of woman and howl-
ing of dog” in his journey of eight days
in Khazar land … wailing of woman
… howling of dog …

The Melodies of Forest and Light
to Ömer

For it is written of them, they will not believe
       even a voice from out of the grave
“I, Lazarus, have come from the dead.”
The Holy Prophets Adam, Noah, Abraham, and Jesus
As a race that comes from one another!
Those who did not see Elijah in John the Baptist
How could they ever see Muhammed, Moses, Jesus, each Holy Prophet,
A wretch whose every journey begins from the desert
One who suffers, one who is always about to be killed!
Pitiful human being!
Who does not hear the melodies of forest and light
Whose eyes are veiled by arrogance
Who mutters delusions of infinity
Who builds castles and houses,
        as though to dwell there to infinity
Even the disciples
Wanting to build a tabernacle of leaves
For Moses, Elijah, and Jesus
meeting on the mountaintop
They were nothing but uncomprehending servants
O those who take themselves seriously!
Integrals of arrogance!
For it is written, they will not
believe even a voice from out of the grave

“I, Lazarus, have come from the dead”
And the disciples saw
       Jesus turn to light
His garments transfigure in a weird whiteness.
Jezebel’s hatred and Elijah
Herodias’ hatred and John
The Jews’ hatred and Jesus
Rough drafts of one another!
Melodies of forest and light!
Behold a swan,
        For you,
     Splitting into particles of light!

From A Solar Regression


because melancholy should just breathe in and out in silence
and i should be dressed in white like a tree of ice

now get out,
hope, suggestive whore


i made a tree of my body
no one can touch me again
mimosa pudica
wound that remains beautiful
dark and hopeless the trees are demigods
where countless voices and dark green death take shelter

you killed the living things
like a light emitted by pansies
i only broke the branch of a mourning plant
and made a tree of my body
a tree that takes breath in Silurian seas


i forget my body
       and a tree forgets its motion
i forget that i have lived
       and the sea forgets its anemones

Translated by Donny Smith

Widely considered one of the most important contemporary Turkish poets writing today, Lâle Müldür is the author of ten books of poetry, including Ultra-zone'da Ultrason (2006), which was awarded the Altın Portakal Poetry Award. Two collections of English translations of her poems have been published: Water Music (Dublin 1998) and I Too Went to the Hunt of the Deer (Istanbul 2008). A volume of Müldür’s poems in French translations Ainsi parle la fille de pluie (Istanbul 2002) has also appeared.

Donny Smith teaches at a high school in Istanbul. His collection of Lâle Müldür translations, I Too Went to the Hunt of a Deer, was published in 2008. His own collection of poetry, Was Gone and Has Gone and Was Gone, also appeared in 2008. His translations of Wenceslao Maldonado’s Si cortarle la cabeza a la Gorgona and Cemal Süreya's Üvercinka are to be published soon.

jueves, septiembre 23, 2010

Four Poems From Dawn Corrigan

Sailing from Troy

The next morning Cassandra was brought to the ship.
She’d told our people not to take the horse—
though it was futile, she could not stop
herself from trying to warn them. Of course
she was ignored. She turned away to miss
what she had already spoken out loud:
the serpent wrapping Laocoön like a shroud,

its barnacled skin the fluid bark
of a tree. It moved relentlessly
to the prophet and his sons, the way a shark
finds a shipwreck, and ate them with glee.
The dumbstruck Trojans suffered loss of memory
as they always did when one of Cassandra’s
prophecies, before their eyes, came to pass.

But I’m surprised she left. I would have wanted
to see the monster, though not the slaughter
that followed, everyone killed but a few painted
boys and girls, and the king’s daughter,
who would have been raped by a soldier
but he was stopped by Agamemnon,
the triumphant chief, who claimed her as his own.

On the voyage Cassandra assured me
she would not live one day in Greece:
Iphigenia’s avengers will not spare me.
I didn't believe her, as perhaps you might guess,
teasing her, even: Death shouldn’t scare a priestess.
I thought no one would harm Agamemnon.
But I was wrong. The fleet was scattered by Poseidon,

and envoys have just brought word on Cassandra.
Diomedes thinks war is threatening
against the murderous Clytemnestra,
but Cassandra’s words as we were sailing
away from Troy, as she clutched the ship’s railing,
were No revenge, pointing toward the cabin
where Helen lay with Menelaus again.

Naked and Playing the Harp

They are unknown to me, tears and laughter,
as the history of man is, strewn with shards,

a string of beads heaped upon the bureau
blinking scarlet, turquoise, marigold.

The brutal singer, seeking work, fleeing work,
knows a song adorned with a name lasts longer,

sings of Odysseus, who thought of Penelope
though he slept soundly beside Calypso.

She has a violent relation with the moon.
She says, Let me say nothing of the moon.

Let me speak instead of the hungers
of bodies, those machines

that invent things delicious and repulsive
and reproduce in a clap of laughter.

Pyrrha Remembers the Ages

Chaos begat Night and Erebus
who together produced Love
who in turn begat Light and Day
who begat Gaia and Ouranos
who begat the Cyclops and Titans,
Prometheus among them and his brother
Epimetheus who, with Pandora,
begat me.
               At first earth and air and sea
were all one thing, the earth not solid,
sea not fluid, air not transparent yet.
In that undifferentiated world
all creatures kept their heads bent toward the earth
except for man, who dared to raise his eyes
toward heaven and the sun.
                                     But Jupiter
felt that gaze like fire; it burned him
all over, so in return he took some dust
and from it made revenge, which took the guise
of woman: Pandora, earth's first mother.
Upon her Venus bestowed passion,
Apollo music, Mercury persuasion,
but no one knows whose gift was curiosity.
Epimetheus saw her and called her his own
and that occasion was the start of history.

Through each ensuing age--the Golden,
Silver, Bronze and Brass--the gods diluted man,
but with each his malice only increased.
So they took the road that weaves across
the sky at night, the road to the palace
of the gods' king.
                      As one they approached
and called to him, and asked what should be done
with man, who ever bathed the earth in blood.
Jupiter said the experiment had failed.
It was time to work the mud and try again.

Pyrrha Remembers the Flood

Then all was sea. The wolf swam with the sheep,
the fishes moved among the tops of trees
and weary birds gave up and plunged to water.

Deucalion and I, warned by his father,
were sealed inside our casket, where I lay
on him until we landed on Parnassus.

Zeus spared us because we had been harmless.
We threw some stones and made the new race,
a hard people who, like us, are virtuous

if only they can say: My life is harmless.
At last, when none of them objects to wrong
or feels some shame, Zeus will destroy them.

Meanwhile, my uncle, who arranged for men
to keep the good meat for themselves, lies chained,
tortured for his generous mistake.

Dawn Corrigan has published poetry, fiction and nonfiction in a number of print and online journals, most recently Prick of the Spindle. She's an associate editor at Girls with Insurance.