44 posts tagged poetry
Jorge Luis Borges, from an interview of July 1966, The Paris Review. (via barretta)
Borges on poser poets.
(…) Greece both received Egypt’s message and had a revelation of her own: it was the revelation of human misery, of God’s transcendence, of the infinite distance between God and man.
Haunted by this distance, Greece worked solely to bridge it. This was what made her whole civilization. Her…
All of Ms. Odradek’s posts are officially Tragos-endorsed. But this one especially: the echoes out from Dante’s Paradise and back, especially considering the Florentine’s familiarity with troubadour poetry, are treasure.
“No one is a poet unless he [or she] has felt the temptation to destroy language or create another one, unless he [or she] has experienced the fascination of non-meaning and the no less terrifying fascination of meaning that is inexpressible.”
—Octavio Paz, from “Recapitulations” in Alternating Current (Arcade Publishing, 1990)
Baba the pangolin on Flickr.
Pangolins: Tragos- and Marianne Moore-endorsed
Another armored animal–scale
lapping scale with spruce-cone regularity until they
form the uninterrupted central
tail row! This near artichoke with head and legs and
the night miniature artist engineer is,
yes, Leonardo da Vinci’s replica–
impressive animal and toiler of whom we seldom hear.
Armor seems extra. But for him,
the closing ear-ridge–
or bare ear licking even this small
eminence and similarly safe
contracting nose and eye apertures
impenetrably closable, are not;–a true ant-eater,
not cockroach-eater, who endures
exhausting solitary trips through unfamiliar ground at night,
returning before sunrise; stepping in the moonlight,
on the moonlight peculiarly, that the outside
edges of his hands may bear the weight and save the
for digging. Serpentined about
the tree, he draws
away from danger unpugnaciously,
with no sound but a harmless hiss; keeping
the fragile grace of the Thomas-
of-Leighton Buzzard Westminster Abbey wrought-iron
rolls himself into a ball that has
power to defy all effort to unroll it; strongly intailed, neat
head for core, on neck not breaking off, with curled-in feet.
Nevertheless he has sting-proof scales; and nest
of rocks closed with earth from inside, which he can
Sun and moon and day and night and man and beast
each with a splendor
which man in all his vileness cannot
set aside; each with an excellence!
“Fearful yet to be feared,” the armored
ant-eater met by the driver-ant does not turn back, but
engulfs what he can, the flattered sword-
edged leafpoints on the tail and artichoke set leg-and
quivering violently when it retaliates
and swarms on him. Compact like the furled fringed frill
on the hat-brim of Gargallo’s hollow iron head of a
matador, he will drop and will
then walk away
unhurt, although if unintruded on,
he cautiously works down the tree, helped
by his tail. The giant-pangolin-
tail, graceful tool, as prop or hand or broom or ax, tipped like
an elephant’s trunk with special skin,
is not lost on this ant-and stone-swallowing uninjurable
artichoke which simpletons thought a living fable
whom the stones had nourished, whereas ants had done
so. Pangolins are not aggressive animals; between
dusk and day they have the not unchain-like machine-like
form and frictionless creep of a thing
made graceful by adversities, con-
versities. To explain grace requires
a curious hand. If that which is at all were not forever,
why would those who graced the spires
with animals and gathered there to rest, on cold luxurious
low stone seats–a monk and monk and monk–between the
ingenious roof-supports, have slaved to confuse
grace with a kindly manner, time in which to pay a
the cure for sins, a graceful use
of what are yet
approved stone mullions branching out across
the perpendiculars? A sailboat
was the first machine. Pangolins, made
for moving quietly also, are models of exactness,
on four legs; on hind feet plantigrade,
with certain postures of a man. Beneath sun and moon,
to make his life more sweet, leaves half the flowers worth
needing to choose wisely how to use his strength;
a paper-maker like the wasp; a tractor of foodstuffs,
like the ant; spidering a length
of web from bluffs
above a stream; in fighting, mechanicked
like to pangolin; capsizing in
disheartenment. Bedizened or stark
naked, man, the self, the being we call human, writing-
master to this world, griffons a dark
“Like does not like like that is obnoxious”; and writes error
r’s. Among animals, one has a sense of humor.
Humor saves a few steps, it saves years. Uningnorant,
modest and unemotional, and all emotion,
he has everlasting vigor,
power to grow,
though there are few creatures who can make one
breathe faster and make one erecter.
Not afraid of anything is he,
and then goes cowering forth, tread paced to meet an obstacle
at every step. Consistent with the
formula–warm blood, no gills, two pairs of hands and a few
is a mammal; there he sits in his own habitat,
serge-clad, strong-shod. The prey of fear, he, always
curtailed, extinguished, thwarted by the dusk, work
says to the alternating blaze,
“Again the sun!
anew each day; and new and new and new,
that comes into and steadies my soul.”
— Marianne Moore
Odysseas Elytis, 1979 Nobel Literature Laureate: Nov. 2, 1911 - 1996
Greek poet Odysseas Elytis, 1979 Nobel Literature Laureate: Nov. 2, 1911 - 1996
And so they found that the gold of the olive root had dripped in the re-
cesses of his heart.
And from the many times that he had lain awake by candlelight waiting
for the dawn, a strange heat had seized his entrails.
A little below the skin, the blue line of the horizon sharply painted. And
ample traces of blue throughout his blood.
The cries of birds which he had come to memorize in hours of great lonely
ness apparently spilled out all at once, so that it was impossible for
the knife to enter deeply.
Probably the intention sufficed for the evil
Which he met—it is obvious—in the terrifying posture of the innocent.
His eyes open, proud, the whole forest moving still on the unblem-
Nothing in the brain but a dead echo of the sky.
Only in the hollow of his left ear some light fine sand, as though in a shell.
Which means that often he had walked by the sea alone with the pain
of love and the roar of the wind.
As for those particles of fire on his groin, they show that he moved time
hours ahead whenever he embraced a woman.
We shall have early fruit this year.
Translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard
many people know that t.s. eliot was a highly successful banker. but did you also know that he wrote poetry?
one day, i. a. richards had a run-in with one of eliot’s bosses at lloyd’s bank and learned the following about his banking prospects:
Bank Official: Tell me, if you will—you won’t…
Even poets can have dreams.
Louis Édouard Fournier, The Funeral of Shelley, 1889 (via)