Thursday, 29 September 2011

tomas tranströmer


Jag landsteg en majnatt
i ett kyligt månsken
där gräs och blommor var grå
men doften grön.

Jag gled uppför sluttningen
i den färgblinda natten
medan vita stenar
signalerade till månen.

En tidrymd
några minuter lång
femtioåtta år bred.

Och bakom mig
bortom de blyskimrande vattnen
fanns den andra kusten
och de som härskade.

Människor med framtid
i stället för ansikten.

a page of the night-book

I stepped ashore one May night
in the cool moonshine
where grass and flowers were grey
but the scent green.

I glided up the slope
in the colour-blind night
while white stones
signalled to the moon.

A period of time
a few minutes long
fifty-eight years wide.

And behind me
beyond the lead-shimmering waters
was the other shore
and those who ruled.

People with a future
instead of a face.

trans by robin fulton

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

susan stewart

Yellow Stars and Ice

I am as far as the deepest sky between clouds
and you are as far as the deepest root and wound,
and I am as far as a train at evening,
as far as a whistle you can't hear or remember.
You are as far as an unimagined animal
who, frightened by everything, never appears.
I am as far as cicadas and locusts
and you are as far as the cleanest arrow
that has sewn the wind to the light on
the birch trees. I am as far as the sleep of rivers
that stains the deepest sky between clouds,
you are as far as invention, and I am as far as memory.

You are as far as a red-marbled stream
where children cut their feet on the stones
and cry out. And I am as far as their happy
mothers, bleaching new linen on the grass
and singing, "You are as far as another life,
as far as another life are you."
And I am as far as an infinite alphabet
made from yellow stars and ice,
and you are as far as the nails of the dead man,
as far as a sailor can see at midnight
when he's drunk and the moon is an empty cup,
and I am as far as invention and you are as far as memory.

I am as far as the corners of a room where no one
has ever spoken, as far as the four lost corners
of the earth. And you are as far as the voices
of the dumb, as the broken limbs of saints
and soldiers, as the scarlet wing of the suicidal
blackbird, I am farther and farther away from you.
And you are as far as a horse without a rider
can run in six years, two months and five days.
I am as far as that rider, who rubs his eyes with
his blistered hands, who watches a ghost don his
jacket and boots and now stands naked in the road.
As far as the space between word and word,
as the heavy sleep of the perfectly loved
and the sirens of wars no one living can remember,
as far as this room, where no words have been spoken,
you are as far as invention, and I am as far as memory.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

andrea gibellini

Hedgehogs, Threshing Machines and More

Huge machines, phosphorescent red
in the June sun, dig into the hay already stirred from pre-autumnal
slumbers and thresh it, creating
survival music. That is the place
for vacation, above all things, inside all things,

today again they began to push through the ears standing high in the sky,
a centripetal accusative thrust where everything is reborn from the harvest.
In the sight of sunlit nature, first morning, then afternoon,

hurts the eyes, not because of sun
but hedgehogs cut to pieces on the road, its asphalt
clogged with the flight, at least four or five I saw
squashed in the slow, exasperated scampering that

was useless for gaining refuge, stretching to the maximum
that internal defence of skin and flattened shell of bones.

At first it seemed a large coincidence in the hot asphalt

where the motorway meets trunk roads breathing dust
expelled from the indolent plain: it was a headlong
flight not really en masse but individual, each one’s body

flipped in a different direction beyond the fields and the houses
where you glimpse other fields, other natures.

trans by n s thompson

Thursday, 22 September 2011

marina ivanova tsvetaeva

Every Verse is a Child of Love

Every verse is a child of love,
A destitute bastard slip,
A firstling -- the winds above --
Left by the road asleep.
Heart has a gulf, and a bridge,
Heart has a bless, and a grief.
Who is his father? A liege?
Maybe a liege, or a thief.

trans by yevgeny bonver

Thursday, 15 September 2011

stay on your bike!!!

some typically understated commentary from rob warner et al as danny hart wins in italy.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

les murray


Tuckett. Bill Tuckett. Telegraph operator, Hall's creek,
which is way out back of the Outback, but he stuck it,
quite likely liked it, despite heat, glare, dust, and the lack
of diversion of doctors. Come disaster you trusted to luck,
ingenuity and pluck. This was back when nice people said pluck,
the sleevelink and green eyeshade epoch.
Faced, though, like Bill Tuckett
with a man needing surgery right on the spot, a lot
would have done their dashes. It looked hopeless (dot dot dot)
Lift him up on the table, said Tuckett, running the key hot
till Head Office turned up a doctor who coolly instructed
up a thousand miles of wire, as Tuckett advanced slit by slit
with a safety razor blade, pioneering on into the wet,
copper-wiring the rivers off, in the first operation conducted
along dotted lines, with rum drinkers gripping the patient:
d-d-dash it, take care. Tuck!
And the vital spark stayed unshorted.
Yallah! breathed the camelmen. Tuckett, you did it, you did it!
cried the spattered la-de-dah jodhpur-wearing inspector of Stock.
We imagine, some weeks later, a properly laconic
convalescent averring Without you, I'd have kicked the bucket...

From Chungking to Burrenjuck, morse keys have mostly gone silent
and only old men meet now to chit-chat in their electric
bygone dialect. The last letter many will forget
its dit-dit-dit-dah, V for Victory. The coders' hero has speed,
resource and a touch. So ditditdit daah for Bill Tuckett.

the cycle that wasn't

yes, there was supposed to be a big cycle happening last month and while i do have pictures of what went on that week, cycling wasn't one of them. there were gales, there were hills, of course abundant rain and an abundance of midges that just wasn't funny (i told geo that i was going to camp in morvern and he just laughed and that was before jojo, a cycling acquaintance of much more tenacity than me, bailed out of the great glen as it was all 'just too much').

off to the sea instead for a bit of kayaking and, when we got back, a bit of canoeing. all very lovely.

and then the festival. readings went well and there was a (very) surprise appearance by a couple of old school friends who i hadn't seen since the early eighties. there are few times i am stumped for words but this was one of them.

and finally this week via watching the tour of britain i did manage to get back on my mountain bike. sure it was only glentress but i made a decent enough fist of it considering and didn;t get too annoyed by those trailcentre types who have to 'rest' at every available point right in the middle of the trail. that they couldn't catch up with an out of shape fat man made me feel, well, not too bad really! i even took my shaken bones to this the new peel centre. now that the dust has settled i found it rather nice. very plush in fact.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

anna couani

The Map of the World

The map of the world is felt from the inside. Rough around the coastlines and smooth over the hills and sand dunes. Warm and moist through the rivers which lead outside to the forests like long hair then sparser like shorter more bristly hair to the touch. Reading a glove of the world its topography in relief. Reading with the fingers as though blind. Feeling it with the back, down the spine. Making contact with the nipples and the nose only. Moving at a fast rate underwater trough the oceans and large lakes. Most fo the oceans connect up with each other. Moving so fast you become aware of the earth’s surface being curved. Flying low but fast across the land masses. Make yourself feel like the world. As old but not as troubled.

Friday, 9 September 2011

julia hartwig

Not Eternity and Not a Void

Time is in us and alongside us
but isn’t us
though the clatter of our heart
is also its clock

It is measured by our steps
but like the mythical messenger
light-footed Iris
always moves away from us with an unknown message

Someone might say
it stays close to us like a meticulous accountant
watching capital assets melt away
which willing or not
we must use to the end

Perhaps nothing in the world
is used with such wastefulness
or such stinginess
as time

But princes
ignoring their obligations
order it out of te way
Didn’t Baudelaire say:
It is free tim that made me great

trans john and bogdana carpenter

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

luljeta lleshanaku


Human existence is like a dead language
Of which only an expression, a quotation, or a single word remains.

But a man without sons is a mutation.
His name will move from one ear to another by a clean female whisper
voiced like a dream without conflict
difficult to remember after night’s end.

Six daughters, each birth a failure
like the gold prospector
who brings home only silk and medicinal herbs.

Without a son in the family,
there is no river to carry the toxic remains
of his black-and-white anger,
no one to foresee war in the bones of the pet
sacrificed for dinner;
no wars, no births or deaths
when life gets lazy in peacetime.

His cell is a cave
sketched with naïve carbon drawings:
the hunter against the beast, the hunter against nature,
until the moment a woman appears around the fire.
Then strength moves from his muscles
to his eyes
and the angle of the arrow’s aim shifts.

This is the end of the ice age
the end of clarity.
There is a secret that extinguishes men from the inside
like Dwarf Stars
changing from yellow to white
and then… to black, a smudge across the cosmos.
There is no son to inherit the father’s secret…
not the secret itself
but the art of solitude.

trans by henry israeli and shpresa qatapi

Saturday, 3 September 2011

georg trakl

To Klaus Borromäus Heinrich

Over the white pond,
The wild birds have journeyed on.
At evening an icy wind blows from our stars.

Over our graves
Leans the shattered brow of the night.
Beneath oaks we rock in a silver boat.

Ever the white walls of the city ring out.
Beneath arches of thorn
O my brother, our blind hour-hands climb towards midnight.

trans by will stone

Thursday, 1 September 2011

sound recording

so i have to make a sound recording, something i approach with dread. it used to be i used audacity but now i've got garageband which is widely reputed to be idiot proof. the proof then is in the pudding and, of course, garageband is far from this idiot proof.

problems, as with audacity, start as soon as i put the mic in. of course i can't hear it. it's a posh all singing all dancing mic but in either system it'll only work in mono. not only that but the levels i can achieve are such that i need to peer to see if there's any up and down at all. i check with one of those online tutorial things. do the stuff. doesn't work, because it never works. and there's that curious thing that when i listen to these guys their voices all sound something like normal. mine's, despite the levels being set so low as to be practically unable to see them, makes me sound like i'm recording in a bell, with all the low tones taken out.

i remember in the old days, although tape was expensive, you plugged the mic in, set some basic recording levels, pressed record and you were off. it was finicky but something like enjoyable. this digital recording malarkey tho seems just an exercise in stress esp when everyone and their cat tell me just how 'easy' it is. i wonder if it;s something i'm missing or if there's some quality in the technology that's just passing me by. recording sound used to be time consuming but satisfying. now it's just time consuming!