The OF Blog: Of the three original genres, I find myself thinking more and more on poetry

Friday, January 17, 2014

Of the three original genres, I find myself thinking more and more on poetry

Perhaps I should do a regular feature on poetry, maybe on Fridays.  Or maybe I should just contemplate it and wait to see what poems have fermented my mind with their symbolic images and music.  Certainly wouldn't hurt to ask, if just this second once, for others to list their favorite poems, like I did nearly three years ago.

Here is one that I recently read in translation, by Czech writer (and Nobel laureate) Jaroslav Seifert (translation by Ewald Osers):


So foolish are the hearts of many women,
of beautiful and ugly ones alike,
their footprints are not easy to distinguish
in the sands of your memory.

But what you minded most
at our final parting
was that in my poor rags
– but was it not the costume of a beggar? – 
you couldn't see your tears as in a suit of armour.  

Goodbye, you swarm of flies
which buzzed into my dreams,
goodbye, my quiet evenings and
my cigarette case with the engraved rosette!

Opening the door I heard the screams
of angels hurtling down to hell.

Any favorites you'd like to share?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I like this one from Erikson:

Soldier at the End of his Days (from Toll the Hounds).

He slid down the last of the trail and he asked of me,

'Do you see what you expected?'

And this was a question breaking loose, rolling free.

Out from under stones and scattered

Into thoughts of what the cruel fates would now decree.


He settled back in the dust and made his face into pain,

'Did you see only what you believed?'

And I looked down to where blood had left its stain

The charge of what's given, what's received

Announcing the closing dirge on this long campaign


'No,' I said, 'you are not what I expected to see.'

Young as hope and true as love was my enemy,

'The shields were burnished bright as a sun-splashed sea,

And drowning courage hath brought me to this calamity.

Expectation has so proved the death of me.'


He spoke to say, 'You cannot war against the man you were,

And I cannot slay the man I shall one day become,

Our enemy is expectation flung backward and fore,

The memories you choose and the tracks I would run

Slayer of dreams, sower of regrets, all that we are.'

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