Monthly Archives: April 2016

Cyrano de Bergerac de Rostand-un morceau de sucre

Napowrimo day 30. Last one!!

Because we’ve spent our month looking at poets in English translation, today I’d like you to try your hand at a translation of your own.

Le Bret-
The most beautiful?

Cyrano-
Quite simply put, in this world, only!
The most brilliant, the most svelte, with the best sensibilities, the most silvery blonde!

Le Bret-
Oh my God. So, what is the woman?….

Cyrano-

Mortal without desire of it, exquisite without dream of it
A natural ambuscade, a red musk rose
Within which love crouches in ambush!
Whomever has known her smile, has known perfection.
She is grace without artifice, she holds
Divinity in her hands, however simple her gesture,
And, what would you know, Venus, sublime in your conch
Or you, Diana, as you saunter in your flowered pasture,
Of her, as she merely takes to the streets of Paris in a coach!

Le Bret-
Sapristi! I understand! It is clear!

Cyrano-
It is diaphanous.

-french
Le Bret-La plus belle?
Cyrano-Toute simplement, qui soit au monde!
La plus brillante, la plus fine, avec accablement,la plus blonde!
Le Bret-Eh, mon Dieu, quelle est donc cette femme?…
Cyrano- Mortel sans le vouloir, exquis sans y songer,
Un piege de nature, une rose muscade
Dans laquelle l’amour se tient en embuscade!
Qui connait son sourire a connu le parfait
Elle fait de la grace avec rien, elle fait
Tenir le divin dans un geste quelconque,
Et tu ne saurais pas, Venus, monter en conque,
Ni, toi, Diane, marcher dans les grands bois fleuris,
Comme elle monte en chaise et marche dans Paris!
Le Bret- Sapristi! je comprends. C’est clair
Cyrano- C’est diaphane

 

 

 

For Fate

Napowrimo day 28.(just a few more days to go, a few more poems to post…)

Today we are prompted to write a story in reverse. Here’s my take on it

She went mad and cursed God
For the gift of reckless, ruinous behavior
Hands pressed together couldn’t save her
Her conscience was built to judge her
When his absence tipped her over
What was the harm of his hands upon her?
She always knew she would need a lover
She was a pious wife and goodly mother.

Fractured Fairytale

So today, we collectively challenge you to write a poem with very long lines. You can aim for seventeen syllables, but that’s just a rough guide

The wedding took place in the white depths of the deepest winter ever felt
Now that the ant-like ministrations of harvest, golden summer and pink spring blossoms slept
The guests were free to pimp and plump themselves for these long awaited festivities
Beginning with dawn ablutions and the harassed wriggling into costumes
All the while in anticipation of a repeated stuffing of faces at the greasy feasting table
and the subsequent rise to rumblings of queasy tummies tucked increasingly tightly
but quite happily out of sight , if not the assaulted nostrils

As the night was dragged outside sniggering, candelabras’  gentle light concealed multiple sins of the celebrants
The bride was weighted down will all manner of necklaces and thick, stiff brocades
Decorated, with no room left on pinched flesh for anything but nervousness and subjugation ( of course, left unmentioned)
Her whole body modestly concealed and corseted with it, breath restricted, rigid, as well was meant ( accept it, accept it, they said)
She is an effigy, you see, flung on the fires of possessiveness of men, her, at her wedding
Her virginity and fecundity sold; celebrated at great cost and liquidity by tonight’s host
The guests were resplendent, attending to her, clasping her with clammy hands, plucking off bits of her to relish later
Their lips full of greasy compliments stuck to her innocence and prettiness while spitting up pips
And so, inevitably, they were committed, in solemn sacrifice, on that deepest of winter nights
As man and wife, with all these guests to witness and bear testament to it
The glorious groom looked down upon his beauteous, unsullied bride; reflecting duty too, his thoughts….
He’d bedded better wenches than her, but his father had bartered and bought her
He’d wed and bed and bear the whore and breed a brood of sons off her, indeed

You may kiss the bride. All smiles

He may kiss the bride, in time, but the will be no witness to that, ever after.

Echos of Lost

Napowrimo day 26. Write a call and response poem. Like a call to arms or a hail.

A call I call from a cliff; a precipice
Clothed in the skin of sky so freely given
Still, I long for blue

“Is it you, you?”    “It is me, you. It is”

I can’t hear it
The wind whips it away, I say

A call I call; repeated becomes a habit
A call I call, not a listen

“Is it you, you!?” ” It is me, you. It is”

Yes

“Is it. Is it Is it is is is……?”

Reverberations naked on the wind

“Yes, truly. Yes”

I didn’t believe it. I didn’t hear it. Kept calling it

Desperate voice on a precipice

“Is it you, you?”

Yes. Yes.I felt it. All through skin and sky. Through to my eyes

The Yes. The blesséd Yes.
LIsten

” Yes. It is me, you. But is it truly you?”

Ahhhh, there I fell through

Graveyard

Napowrimo day 25. Write a poem using a existing line from a known poem…..The wasteland: what the thunder said.  First line from T.S Eliot

After the torchlight red on sweaty faces
After the voices white in the silence
After the feet hob-nailed on black peat
After the mist of a thousand sweet breaths
After the deluded folly of full-fleshed liberty
other beings pass
wish to possess
spaces left benign
time imprinted into place
garden hardens where earth cloaked over secrets
dug down brown and deep
sweat reveals scars
stones over-turned
left after death

“come inside and have a cup of tea”

Day 24

write a “mix-and-match” poem in which you mingle fancy vocabulary with distinctly un-fancy words

Hidden and sodden
in a moody glum gehenna
plays a parody of an unhappy umbrella
soaked with tears; untwirled for years
pleas unheard and unappreciated
To the unexpected rescue, went eddying a soporific tea kettle
(well-meaning, as usual)
irredeemably exiled in its turn
it wheezes still, its desiccated whistle peters out
Such a dirge was barely heard
by ethereal puddles and captured cloud
allowed to stand; grounded now in gehenna grim
bared like gravel kept between gritted teeth growl
Such perverse paramours besotted on such nebulous afternoons as these
a travesty as turbid as cream in cooled coffee, unwanted
(oh, please, yes, please! just a supplication for a simple cup of tea, so ignored)
with this mockery of an unembraced umbrella and an embittered kettle
a dancing mandela left uncontrollably uncoloured
wickedness is mirrored here
all a blur
pure and noir

( p.s a gehenna is a place where the wicked are punished after death)

Unnamed

Napowrimo day 23:

Write a sonnet

Ask me how badly tended I have been
each ratchet of desire slipped distinct
heedlessly was I unstitched  and unseamed
ripped apart; among soft hum of insects
he worked at a reverse sewing machine
each one of his brutish, unthinking thrusts
unpicking innocent pleasure unclean
shy protests lost among weeds, dirt and rust
Ask him if he was as lonely as me
prisoner of instinct and strung along
laid out and set adrift on a warm sea
I hold truth hostage, along with my tongue

Can anything be mended, thus blinded?
Taking a tender thread to rewind it?

Gaia

Napowrimo Day 22

write a poem in honor of Earth Day. This could be about your own backyard, a national park, or anything from a maple tree to a humpback whale.
(dashed off real quick at the eleventh hour:-stream of consciousness, fresh and present)

I am earth
death and birth and mirth
mixed up in dirt
an inquisitive nose; seeker of deepest scents
a squirrel collector; a-flitting up-a-down a branch
a threader of spider webs
a captured raindrop plipped and plopped
a summer full lemon tree
a fuzzy, ripe bumble bee
an unexpected undertow tugging
a cashmere shawl on a naked shoulder slipping
a field of wildflowers waving
a pool of muddy water waded
a maze of magic trails
a birds tail feather bouquet
a playful mist
a lover’s tryst
I am earth
I am wine
I am divine

Spare a thought for a melancholy pillow

Napowrimo day 21:-write a poem in the voice of minor character from a fairy tale or myth. Instead of writing from the point of view of Cinderella, write from the point of view of the mouse who got turned into a coachman. Instead of writing from the point of view of Orpheus or Eurydice, write from the point of view of one of the shades in Hades who watched Eurydice leave and then come back.

I had no lips with which to kiss her
and so cradled her head with
all the gentleness I could muster
Gentle as
all the goose down and sparrow feathers I could gather
My only bouquet, for her
Such beauty
She graced me in return with
the soft silk of her hair and it’s perfume
I learned
there was compassion in unspoken tones
whispered between us, day like night
for all the time she lay rosy still upon me
Such happiness as this could not exist
forever after
but bliss it was until
the one who came, with lips
I did not possess
and stole a kiss
from within our bower; stole away my lover
She, my beauty, woke and rose
without a backward glance or sigh
She rose up and into his arms
charmed completely
she left me
My love, my rose, my sleeping beauty
bewitched she was no longer

The sweetest of perfumes infuses me still
but loses itself to memory every time I’m washed
my humble wish is to remain
unwashed and tainted by it
ever after
Love, linger a little longer

In any city you care to mention

Napowrimo day 20: prompt …Kennings were riddle-like metaphors used in the Norse sagas. Basically, they are ways of calling something not by its actual name, but by a sort of clever, off-kilter description — for example, the sea would be called the “whale road.” Today, I challenge you to think of a single thing or person (a house, your grandmother, etc), and then write a poem that consists of kenning-like descriptions of that thing or person.

 

narrow fallow fields where nothing grows
sweat-laid, long ago
sticky toffee when hot
stark glacier when not
black asphalt rivers shimmering
under a one-eyed sky
where metal carcasses swim
and bi-pod bods cross
risking flesh as food for crows

weeds of a different breed
refuse encrusted ribbons
left untasted but usually over-used
by black flapping gums
and pre-occupied soles
against gob-spitted stream

read as a criss-cross tapestry
dashed aground
starkly punctuated in
strips and stripes and bumps and dips
repeated erosion erases bits eventually
bitten out by blackened teeth grinding
yellow backed ants scurry to replace and soothe
confident authority diverting currents temporarily
smoking dragons spitting stuff out
drag wet black sacks of it
hot, stinking
sweat dripping backs
undamned
migrations can continue