Monday, 27 February 2012

isabel fraire

My Love Reveals Objects

My love reveals objects
silken butterflies
concealed in his fingers

his words
splash me with stars

night shines like lightning
under the fingers of my love

My love invents worlds where
jeweled glittering serpents live

worlds where music is the world

worlds where houses with open eyes
contemplate the dawn

My love is a mad sunflower that forgets
fragments of sun in the silence

Saturday, 25 February 2012

cesar vallejo

To My Brother Miguel in memoriam

Brother, today I sit on the brick bench outside the house,
where you make a bottomless emptiness.
I remember we used to play at this hour of the day, and mama
would calm us: "There now, boys..."
Now I go hide
as before, from all these evening
prayers, and I hope that you will not find me.
In the parlor, the entrance hall, the corridors.
Later, you hide, and I do not find you.
I remember we made each other cry,
brother, in that game.

Miguel, you hid yourself
one night in August, nearly at daybreak,
but instead of laughing when you hid, you were sad.
And your other heart of those dead afternoons
is tired of looking and not finding you. And now
shadows fall on the soul.

Listen, brother, don't be too late
coming out. All right? Mama might worry.

trans by robert bly

Friday, 24 February 2012

TV-seriesnygg eller Söderhipster

dear mr jörgen andersson

i was interested to see your unsual job ad the other day (maybe it's my swedish but the wording seems to have changed - i wonder why?) esp as my swedish relatives have been banging on for some time that i should be looking at getting a job over there, coincidentally enough at your very hospital. not only that but a while back we had someone come back from södersjukhuset and, as the only person in my hospital with any capacity for reading swedish, i was most impressed with the documentation and the care the patient had received, something much discussed amongst my colleagues. many questions were asked, what was swedish healthcare like, how do nurses work, all that sort of stuff. well, i said, it's sweden, it's all really professional. and again, even moreso, when my partner's mother was admitted, again i think to your very hospital, not so long ago, the care was second to none.

oddly tho, altho both these people had lots great to say about their care, neither mentioned how hot their nursing staff were. maybe i've made a mistake and they didn't go to your establishment but it was in fact somewhere else - you'll excuse me but i don't know the swedish for 'hospital with the ugly nurses up the road'. perhaps it's a cultural thing. i was aware that you swedes are allowed to refuse service if, how shall i put it, your public servants are a bit too brown but i wasn't aware that they copuld do so if their health care professional had, in their eyes, a kinship with a welder's bench.

would it be impertinent then to ask if the hospital has perhaps an affinity for the sweden democrats?a local hospital for local people? i only ask as these jobs are advertised to cover for the locals, natives if you like, getting away for their summer holidays. and given what appears to an immigrant, unused to the fine nuance of swedish humour, a blatantly sexist ad, the notion of a hospital known as the white pearl gives me pause.

you say, mr jörgen andersson, in what is surely the type of healthcare management bullshit recognised by healthcare workers the world over, you've received no negative feedback over this advert. perhaps you've heard of a new fangled thing called the internet. all over the globe it seems, tabloid newspaper types are falling over themselves to draw attention to your ad, accompanying it with some stock picture of a 'hot nurse' (maybe it's the way i'm googling it but no male nurses in their pants?). again, i know that the sense of humour on the northern latitudes is far more developed than that of your pedestrian european cousins but for the rest of us (and specifically the uk) i can pretty much assure you that if i tried putting out an ad like that i'd be in some serious bother. (what's that you say, today you and your nurse buddies have released an apology? but if you had 'no negative feedback'.... then that would make what you said untrue. surely a mistake in translation.)

it was a strange gambit i have to say, using a 'quote' from a patient in a job advert (i can only assume you utilise a patient story approach and will have evidence to back this up). myself, of all the things i've seen and heard over my years in healthcare, a demand for hot, hipster nurses isn't one of them. call them quirky but most folk seem to want that competency thing happening to them.

so despite coming from that terrible uk, i don't think i'll be up for applying to your hospital anytime soon. it's not that i don't like an onsite gym, avoid a grill at work, especially if it comes with karoake nor am i averse to a 58 kroner tea. it's not about the salary which, let's face it, is a wee bit on the short side. i would avoid any categorisation as one of those skinny jeans wearing singlespeed riding wannabes but i would have to admit that in my day, yes it's possible, i could have been described in the modern parlance as a hipster. my partner t will affirm my looks as smokin hot. yes, she will.

no, i'm lucky enough to work with a bunch of people who, whatever their sartorial shortcomings, are professionals, who work on and on and on in circumstances that, frankly, i couldn't. you, mr jörgen andersson would do well to be a lot more circumspect in your attempts at humour and to treat them with a little more respect

*i should point out that these comments are those of an individual and none of the above should be taken as representative of any organisation or profession associated with healthcare in the uk. one thing sweden has going for it far more than the uk is an actual commitment to freedom of expression no matter how much they may not like it.

also, i'm sure mr jörgen andersson has had enough pelters about this along with his colleagues and i'm not suggesting anything more needs done beyond today's apology. he'll be getting enough grief from his countryfolk for making the place look bad.

further, i want to say again that swedish healthcare, if you've got the right insurance, is in my experience, rather excellent. some swedish people may disagree with this but, in the main, i think they're mistaken.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

matthew arnold

Dover Beach

The sea is calm to-night.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits; on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand,
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!
Only, from the long line of spray
Where the sea meets the moon-blanch'd land,
Listen! you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
At their return, up the high strand,
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in.

Sophocles long ago
Heard it on the Agean, and it brought
Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
Of human misery; we
Find also in the sound a thought,
Hearing it by this distant northern sea.

The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furl'd.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

wallace stevens

The Idea of Order at Key West

She sang beyond the genius of the sea.
The water never formed to mind or voice,
Like a body wholly body, fluttering
Its empty sleeves; and yet its mimic motion
Made constant cry, caused constantly a cry,
That was not ours although we understood,
Inhuman, of the veritable ocean.
The sea was not a mask. No more was she.
The song and water were not medleyed sound
Even if what she sang was what she heard,
Since what she sang was uttered word by word.
It may be that in all her phrases stirred
The grinding water and the gasping wind;
But it was she and not the sea we heard.

For she was the maker of the song she sang.
The ever-hooded, tragic-gestured sea
Was merely a place by which she walked to sing.
Whose spirit is this? we said, because we knew
It was the spirit that we sought and knew
That we should ask this often as she sang.
If it was only the dark voice of the sea
That rose, or even colored by many waves;
If it was only the outer voice of sky
And cloud, of the sunken coral water-walled,
However clear, it would have been deep air,
The heaving speech of air, a summer sound
Repeated in a summer without end
And sound alone. But it was more than that,
More even than her voice, and ours, among
The meaningless plungings of water and the wind,
Theatrical distances, bronze shadows heaped
On high horizons, mountainous atmospheres
Of sky and sea.

It was her voice that made
The sky acutest at its vanishing.
She measured to the hour its solitude.
She was the single artificer of the world
In which she sang. And when she sang, the sea,
Whatever self it had, became the self
That was her song, for she was the maker. Then we,
As we beheld her striding there alone,
Knew that there never was a world for her
Except the one she sang and, singing, made.

Ramon Fernandez, tell me, if you know,
Why, when the singing ended and we turned
Toward the town, tell why the glassy lights,
The lights in the fishing boats at anchor there,
As the night descended, tilting in the air,
Mastered the night and portioned out the sea,
Fixing emblazoned zones and fiery poles,
Arranging, deepening, enchanting night.

Oh! Blessed rage for order, pale Ramon,
The maker's rage to order words of the sea,
Words of the fragrant portals, dimly-starred,
And of ourselves and of our origins,
In ghostlier demarcations, keener sounds.

Monday, 20 February 2012

marie ponsot


In a skiff on a sunrisen lake we are watchers.

Swimming aimlessly is luxury just as walking
loudly up a shallow stream is.

As we lean over the deep well, we whisper.

Friends at hearths are drawn to the one warm air;
strangers meet on beaches drawn to the one wet sea.

What wd it be to be water, one body of water
(what water is is another mystery) (We are
water divided.) It wd be a self without walls,
with surface tension, specific gravity a local
exchange between bedrock and cloud of falling and rising,
rising to fall, falling to rise.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

maya angelou


Lying, thinking
Last night
How to find my soul a home
Where water is not thirsty
And bread loaf is not stone
I came up with one thing
And I don't believe I'm wrong
That nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

There are some millionaires
With money they can't use
Their wives run round like banshees
Their children sing the blues
They've got expensive doctors
To cure their hearts of stone.
But nobody
No, nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Now if you listen closely
I'll tell you what I know
Storm clouds are gathering
The wind is gonna blow
The race of man is suffering
And I can hear the moan,
'Cause nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

joyce kilmer

A Blue Valentine

For Aline

Right Reverend Bishop Valentinus,
Sometime of Interamna, which is called Ferni,
Now of the delightful Court of Heaven,
I respectfully salute you,
I genuflect
And I kiss your episcopal ring.

It is not, Monsignore,
The fragrant memory of your holy life,
Nor that of your shining and joyous martyrdom,
Which causes me now to address you.
But since this is your august festival, Monsignore,
It seems appropriate to me to state
According to a venerable and agreeable custom,
That I love a beautiful lady.
Her eyes, Monsignore,
Are so blue that they put lovely little blue reflections
On everything that she looks at,
Such as a wall
Or the moon
Or my heart.
It is like the light coming through blue stained glass,
Yet not quite like it,
For the blueness is not transparent,
Only translucent.
Her soul's light shines through,
But her soul cannot be seen.
It is something elusive, whimsical, tender, wanton, infantile, wise
And noble.
She wears, Monsignore, a blue garment,
Made in the manner of the Japanese.
It is very blue-
I think that her eyes have made it more blue,
Sweetly staining it
As the pressure of her body has graciously given it form.
Loving her, Monsignore,
I love all her attributes;
But I believe
That even if I did not love her
I would love the blueness of her eyes,
And her blue garment, made in the manner of the Japanese.

I have never before troubled you with a request.
The saints whose ears I chiefly worry with my pleas
are the most exquisite and maternal Brigid,
Gallant Saint Stephen, who puts fire in my blood,
And your brother bishop, my patron,
The generous and jovial Saint Nicholas of Bari.
But, of your courtesy, Monsignore,
Do me this favour:
When you this morning make your way
To the Ivory Throne that bursts into bloom with roses
because of her who sits upon it,
When you come to pay your devoir to Our Lady,
I beg you, say to her:
"Madame, a poor poet, one of your singing servants yet on earth,
Has asked me to say that at this moment he is especially grateful to you
For wearing a blue gown".

Saturday, 11 February 2012

dora malech

Each year

I snap the twig to try to trap
the springing and I relearn the same lesson.
You cannot make a keepsake of this season.
Your heart's not the source of that sort of sap,
lacks what it takes to fuel, rejects the graft,
though for a moment it's your guilty fist
that's flowering. You're no good host to this
extremity that points now, broken, back at
the dirt as if to ask are we there yet.
You flatter this small turn tip of a larger
book of matches that can't refuse its end,
re-fuse itself, un-flare. Sure. Now forget
again. Here's a new green vein, another
clutch to take, give, a handful of seconds.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

edward thomas

The Lane

Some day, I think, there will be people enough
In Froxfield to pick all the blackberries
Out of the hedges of Green Lane, the straight
Broad lane where now September hides herself
In bracken and blackberry, harebell and dwarf gorse.
To-day, where yesterday a hundred sheep
Were nibbling, halcyon bells shake to the sway
Of waters that no vessel ever sailed ...
It is a kind of spring: the chaffinch tries
His song. For heat it is like summer too.
This might be winter's quiet. While the glint
Of hollies dark in the swollen hedges lasts—
One mile—and those bells ring, little I know
Or heed if time be still the same, until
The lane ends and once more all is the same.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

owls and beavers - get your tings!

if there's one type of bird that finds firm favourite stays in my lexicon of birds it is the owl. a post on such a topic would not be complete without either...a owl, which cannot but remind us of t's londonshire roots

but also, following the last post i couldn't not draw your attention to the following, and with it, the true nature of simon cowell....

*i feel it only fair to point out that i'm so into this weebl madness at the moment (esp after this morning's dose of mango pirates) that i must go and see my wee three year old pal and sing lots of songs. her mother will thank me. yes she will....

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

krautrock and other radio whatnots

one of things about locking oneself away in a more of paint is the opportunity to listen to a whole mess of radio. radio 4 is, obviously, a bit of a staple but after a while there is only so much of it a body can take even interspersed with radio 3 so this last week i've found myself getting more into the world of 6music. a handy thing then that they just so happen to be running a bit of a kraftwerk retrospective which can never be a bad thing.

i've been particularly taken with jarvis's cocker's show whether it was him interviewing leonard cohen or as part of the kraftwerk thing - there should've been more neu and faust tho, or more afrika bambatta, in fact just more of everything.

more interviews came while i was back at radio 4 this time with art spiegelman which, despite james naughty is worth a listen. there was also a thing on 6music about swedish music that, albeit a bit perfunctory, did contain references to that most swedish of fears - badgers. don't ask me to explain this. when we first heard about it we thought we'd got the translation wrong but no, it's not boar they're afraid of in the forest, but the badger. so much so that swedish children are advised not to go out in the forest without a stick in their boots as when the fearsome badger attacks it will not let go until it hears the bone (or stick) break. we mentioned it again while on the phone and were firmly reassured that such attacks did happen and that the person we were phoning (whose name must remain anonymous) had himself been chased by a badger weighing 'at least' a hundred kilos.

searching for some veracity in these tales lead nowhere except to this. swedes should look away now.

t found this so funny that i can't not post this or this. the evilness of ducks naturally led to pingu in the thing. none of which should be taken as in any condoning the exploitation of animals and should there be any doubt then there's always napalm death to remind us of the wrongness.

we haven't been wasting our time in the internet whatsoever...!

Monday, 6 February 2012

barbara ras

You Can't Have It All

But you can have the fig tree and its fat leaves like clown hands
gloved with green. You can have the touch of a single eleven-year-old finger
on your cheek, waking you at one a.m. to say the hamster is back.
You can have the purr of the cat and the soulful look
of the black dog, the look that says, If I could I would bite
every sorrow until it fled, and when it is August,
you can have it August and abundantly so. You can have love,
though often it will be mysterious, like the white foam
that bubbles up at the top of the bean pot over the red kidneys
until you realize foam's twin is blood.
You can have the skin at the center between a man's legs,
so solid, so doll-like. You can have the life of the mind,
glowing occasionally in priestly vestments, never admitting pettiness,
never stooping to bribe the sullen guard who'll tell you
all roads narrow at the border.
You can speak a foreign language, sometimes,
and it can mean something. You can visit the marker on the grave
where your father wept openly. You can't bring back the dead,
but you can have the words forgive and forget hold hands
as if they meant to spend a lifetime together. And you can be grateful
for makeup, the way it kisses your face, half spice, half amnesia, grateful
for Mozart, his many notes racing one another towards joy, for towels
sucking up the drops on your clean skin, and for deeper thirsts,
for passion fruit, for saliva. You can have the dream,
the dream of Egypt, the horses of Egypt and you riding in the hot sand.
You can have your grandfather sitting on the side of your bed,
at least for a while, you can have clouds and letters, the leaping
of distances, and Indian food with yellow sauce like sunrise.
You can't count on grace to pick you out of a crowd
but here is your friend to teach you how to high jump,
how to throw yourself over the bar, backwards,
until you learn about love, about sweet surrender,
and here are periwinkles, buses that kneel, farms in the mind
as real as Africa. And when adulthood fails you,
you can still summon the memory of the black swan on the pond
of your childhood, the rye bread with peanut butter and bananas
your grandmother gave you while the rest of the family slept.
There is the voice you can still summon at will, like your mother's,
it will always whisper, you can't have it all,
but there is this.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

derek walcott

The Sea is History

Where are your monuments, your battles, martyrs?
Where is your tribal memory? Sirs,
in that grey vault. The sea. The sea
has locked them up. The sea is History.

First, there was the heaving oil,
heavy as chaos;
then, like a light at the end of a tunnel,

the lantern of a caravel,
and that was Genesis.
Then there were the packed cries,
the shit, the moaning:

Bone soldered by coral to bone,
mantled by the benediction of the shark's shadow,

that was the Ark of the Covenant.
Then came from the plucked wires
of sunlight on the sea floor

the plangent harps of the Babylonian bondage,
as the white cowries clustered like manacles
on the drowned women,

and those were the ivory bracelets
of the Song of Solomon,
but the ocean kept turning blank pages

looking for History.
Then came the men with eyes heavy as anchors
who sank without tombs,

brigands who barbecued cattle,
leaving their charred ribs like palm leaves on the shore,
then the foaming, rabid maw

of the tidal wave swallowing Port Royal,
and that was Jonah,
but where is your Renaissance?

Sir, it is locked in them sea-sands
out there past the reef's moiling shelf,
where the men-o'-war floated down;

strop on these goggles, I'll guide you there myself.
It's all subtle and submarine,
through colonnades of coral,

past the gothic windows of sea-fans
to where the crusty grouper, onyx-eyed,
blinks, weighted by its jewels, like a bald queen;

and these groined caves with barnacles
pitted like stone
are our cathedrals,

and the furnace before the hurricanes:
Gomorrah. Bones ground by windmills
into marl and cornmeal,

and that was Lamentations—
that was just Lamentations,
it was not History;

then came, like scum on the river's drying lip,
the brown reeds of villages
mantling and congealing into towns,

and at evening, the midges' choirs,
and above them, the spires
lancing the side of God

as His son set, and that was the New Testament.

Then came the white sisters clapping
to the waves' progress,
and that was Emancipation—

jubilation, O jubilation—
vanishing swiftly
as the sea's lace dries in the sun,

but that was not History,
that was only faith,
and then each rock broke into its own nation;

then came the synod of flies,
then came the secretarial heron,
then came the bullfrog bellowing for a vote,

fireflies with bright ideas
and bats like jetting ambassadors
and the mantis, like khaki police,

and the furred caterpillars of judges
examining each case closely,
and then in the dark ears of ferns

and in the salt chuckle of rocks
with their sea pools, there was the sound
like a rumour without any echo