Love Så Flink Like The Wisest Book

file-30
Highlands of Norway in Roan

Lyset

by Halldis Moren Vesaas

Kjære, alt som du viser meg no
– så utenkt som mangt av det er –
kan det vel hende eg ikkje forstod
om du ikkje var meg så kjær.

Eg stansa vel uviss, utan svar,
som framfor eit ukjend land,
om ikkje min kjærleik til deg var
for meg som ei lykt i mi hand.

Den lyser meg fram, så eg kan gå inn
og gjere meg kjend i kvar krok.
Det er ikkje sant at kjærleik gjer blind.
Kjærleik gjer klok.


IMG_6390 (1)
Hiking Companions

 

Lyset

by Halldis Moren Vesaas
Translation by T. A. Fry

Dearest, for all you show me now
– so unimagined in generous beauty –
It may well be beyond my knowing
if you were not so dear to me

I might have halted, uncertain, without answer
as if facing an unknown land,
was not my love of you to me,
A torch blazing in my hand.

It lights me forward, so I can venture
and become familiar with each nook.
It isn’t true that love is blind
Love så flink  like the wisest book.

Love One Another

Kahlil-Gibran
Kahlil Gibran (1883 – 1931)

The Farewell (from The Prophet)

by Kahlil Gibran

We wanderers, ever seeking the lonelier way,
begin no day where we have ended
another day; and no sunrise finds us where
sunset left us.
Even while the earth sleeps we travel.
We are the seeds of the tenacious plant,
and it is in our ripeness and our fullness of
heart that we are given to the wind and are
scattered.


Love One Another

by Kahlil Gibran

Love one another, but make not a bond of love.
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup, but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread, but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone.
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
For only the hand of life can contain your hearts.
And stand together, yet not too near together.
For the pillars of the temple stand apart.
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.

Spawned By A Skinny Mother

-chinook-salmon

 

What Olaf Bull Said

By Robert Bly

“Believe in happiness, Seiglinde, try!”
– Olaf Bull

Happiness is the wind rising
In a field of young plants.

It is a new-fallen apple
Found in the dark earth

Far from the orchard
In plowing time.


Do fish have emotions?  Do fish have an inner life?  Don’t say that instinct alone propels them up water falls to spawn and die, for their is too much joy in the leaping.  Why can’t we as humans project our humanness  the beings that inhabit this earth with us, for then the reverse would also be true?  Do the non-human beings of the earth project onto us only wildness?  Maybe that’s why disorder and chaos and predation of war seem to dominate the 24/7 news cycle as the norm?  Maybe the beings of the earth that are not human are plotting our demise?  Too late I think as we seem to have that trajectory well in hand on our own.

Let’s  hope the salmon swimming upstream are propelled in part by joy.  Let’s hope that they swim to one final act of procreation and then their death with the knowledge of completion and a feeling of fulfillment.  It might inspire us to follow our journey with the same passion, athleticism and conviction in harmony with nature or more in harmony than we live today.  Let’s hope we all can swim back to where we came, in time for one final romance or the completion of a life long one.


Et Overstreget Digt

by Olaf Bull

Bag et gitter af streger
stirrer et daarligt digt.
Et ærligt skind igrunden,
men ikke yppig runden
af sang og stemning og sligt.

Født af en mager moder,
af hjernens skrumpne skjød,
næret af tankefoder,
som hjernecellernes boder
i fattige timer bød — —.

Forstandens hodepine
dirrer i digtets krop –
afmægtig i sin feber
det ramser med tørre læber
sin grimme vise op.

Det rusker i sine streger,
vil løs af det grumme bur; –
det er min farligste fange
trods mange velskabte sange,
som strømmer i min natur.

A Struck-through Poem

by Olaf Bull

Caged-in, a shoddy poem
from bars of strokes peers out.
Honest enough a fellow,
though hardly round and mellow
with song and tuneful clout.

Spawned by a skinny mother
a wizened brain its womb,
mere scraps of thought the fodder
that brain cells had on offer,
in meagre hours consumed – –.

And reason’s fearful migraines
the poem’s body racked –
by fever now prostrated
cracked lips reel off unsated
their ugly tuneless song.

Its bars of notes, it rattles,
its cruel cage that it would force; –
it is my dire captive
though songs well-formed, attractive
course through my whole being.

I Touch You With A Measured Hand

Paal Helge
Paal-Helge Haugen  b. 1945

Clearing Up

by Paal-Helge Haugen

after so many years
this evening opens up:
a shaft downward and
leading back, the light flooding in
where we didn’t believe
it could go

trees move slowly, the evening
rippled by a wind of time
that carries off the weathered remnants
of hatred, confusion
slag, fragments of words with jagged
edges, blindfolds, the sound of
doors that keep slamming

what remains is the outlines –
of precise caresses and wide-open
mornings, lit up from below
and with backs to the darkness, a strong
resolve to understand
what must be understood
the wind moves off, it’s clearing up

I touch you
with a measured hand

 

Oppklaring

by Paal-Helge Haugen

etter så mange år
opnar denne kvelden seg:
ei sjakt nedover
og tilbake, lyset fløymer
inn der vi ikkje trudde
det fanst

tre rører seg sakte, kvelden
krusa av ein vind av tid
som fører bort restane av forvitra
hat, forvirring
slagg, brokkar av ord med opprivne
kantar, bind for augo, lyden av
dører som slår og slår

tilbake blir konturane
av presise kjærteikn og vidopne
morgonar, gjennomlyste nedanfrå
og med ryggen mot mørkret, ein hard samla
vilje til å forstå
det som må bli forstått
vinden dreg forbi, det klarnar opp

eg rører deg
med ei begrensa hand

From Paal-Helge Haugen (1945), Det overvintra lyset, Det Norske Samlaget, Oslo 1985. The english translation comes from Paal-Helge Haugen, Wintering with the Light, Sun & Moon Press, Los Angeles 1997.

Translated by Roger Greenwald

Sistered Wishes Beat These Walls

Rekeyeser
Muriel Rukeyser (1913 – 1980)

If there were no poetry on any day in the world, poetry would be invented on that day….For there would be an intolerable hunger.

Muriel Rukeyser

Sonnet

by Muriel Rukeyser

My thoughts through yours refracted into speech
transmute this room musically tonight,
the notes of contact flowing, rhythmic, bright
with an informal art beyond my single reach.

Outside, dark birds fly in a greening time :
wings of our sistered wishes beat these walls :
and words afflict our minds in near footfalls
approaching with latening hour’s chime.

And if an essential thing has flown between us,
rare intellectual bird of communication,
let us seize it quickly : let our preference
choose it instead of softer things to screen us
each from the other’s self : muteness or hesitation,
nor petrify live miracle by our indifference.


Intolerable hungers pervade us and we somehow are surprised that this is so?   Look around at nature, intolerable hungers are everywhere, we intellectualize them as instinct but tell that to the salmon spawning upstream, returning from the deep ocean to the very river of their creation.  It is an intolerable hunger that propels them up water falls.

Intolerable hunger comes in all shapes and sizes, as many different kinds as there are people and species on the planet.   There are the common everyday hungers of sustenance, sex, vocation, communion and connection.   Then there are the uniquely personal intolerant foibles that define ourselves as a unique human being, a subset of one, on a planet of 7 billion.

What intolerable hunger propels you?   How will you feed and nurture your hunger today?  What will bring you satisfaction and temporarily silence the ache for more?


Twenty One Love Poems

XIII

by Adrienne Rich

The rules break like a thermometer,
quicksilver spills across the charted systems,
we’re out in a country that has no language
no laws, we’re chasing the raven and the wren
through gorges unexplored since dawn
whatever we do together is pure invention
the maps they gave us were out of date
by years… we’re driving through the desert
wondering if the water will hold out
the hallucinations turn to simple villages
the music on the radio comes clear—
neither Rosenkavalier nor Götterdämmerung
but a woman’s voice singing old songs
with new words, with a quiet bass, a flute
plucked and fingered by women outside the law.

While Lingering Whispers Deepen

Maramag
Fernando Maramag

Moonlight on Manila Bay

By Fernando M. Maramag (1893 – 1936)

A light, serene, ethereal glory rests
Its beams effulgent on each crestling wave;
The silver touches of the moonlight wave
The deep bare bosom that the breeze molests;
While lingering whispers deepen as the wavy crests
Roll with weird rhythm, now gay, now gently grave;
And floods of lambent light appear the sea to pave-
All cast a spell that heeds not time‘s behests.

Not always such the scene; the din of fight
Has swelled the murmur of the peaceful air;
Here East and West have oft displayed their might;
Dark battle clouds have dimmed this scene so fair;
Here bold Olympia, one historic night,
Presaging freedom, claimed a people‘s care.


Marmag’s sonnet is written as a sentimental homage to a simpler time before the Philippine’s became a pawn in the imperial conquests of Japan and the United States.  Manila Bay is an important geographical military asset for the country which hoped to control the Pacific ocean.

I harkened at a recent MPR story about the return of a church bell which the United States Navy had taken as a spoil of war in which Maramag’s sonnet is set.  The Balangiga town’s church bells were taken as war trophies during the 1899-1902 Philippine-American War and had languished in relative obscurity in an army warehouse.  But the Philippine town and the country had not forgotten about them and through an act of contrition and forgiveness the bells were returned after 117 years so that they could be restored to the bell towers in which they belonged, to herald hope that someday we might find ways to negotiate in ways that don’t require domination and subjugation as the starting point but rather equanimity, with the mutual goal of creating the best outcomes for a complex world.


To the Man I Married
Angela Manalang-Gloria

I
You are my earth and all the earth implies:
The gravity that ballasts me in space,
The air I breathe, the land that stills my cries
For food and shelter against devouring days.
You are the earth whose orbit marks my way
And sets my north and south, my east and west,
You are the final, elemented clay
The driven heart must turn to for its rest.

If in your arms that hold me now so near
I lift my keening thoughts to Helicon
As trees long rooted to the earth uprear
Their quickening leaves and flowers to the sun,
You who are earth, O never doubt that I
Need you no less because I need the sky!

II
I can not love you with a love
That outcompares the boundless sea,
For that were false, as no such love
And no such ocean can ever be.

But I can love you with a love
As finite as the wave that dies
And dying holds from crest to crest
The blue of everlasting skies.