Great Poetry Circle

Great Poetry Circle

About the Poetry Blog

Selection of Great Poetry and some from Tommy Stroller - choose your category - and see my other sites -

A Prison Evening

Great PoetryPosted by Graham Thompson Thu, December 03, 2015 18:52:19

Each star a rung,
night comes down the spiral
staircase of the evening.
The breeze passes by so very close
as if someone just happened to speak of love.
In the courtyard,
the trees are absorbed refugees
embroidering maps of return on the sky.
On the roof,
the moon - lovingly, generously -
is turning the stars
into a dust of sheen.
From every corner, dark-green shadows,
in ripples, come towards me.
At any moment they may break over me,
like the waves of pain each time I remember
this separation from my lover.

This thought keeps consoling me:
though tyrants may command that lamps be smashed
in rooms where lovers are destined to meet,
they cannot snuff out the moon, so today,
nor tomorrow, no tyranny will succeed,
no poison of torture make me bitter,
if just one evening in prison
can be so strangely sweet,
if just one moment anywhere on this earth.

Fair Ahmed Faiz, Pakistani poet d. 1984

Thanks to Salman for introducing me to this wonderful poet

The Horses by Jorge Guillén

Great PoetryPosted by Graham Thompson Wed, November 25, 2015 15:05:51

Shaggy and heavily natural, they stand

Immobile under their thick and cumbrous manes,

Pent in a barbed enclosure which contains,

By way of compensation, grazing-land.

Nothing disturbs them now. In slow increase

They fatten like grass. Doomed to be idle,

To haul no cart or wagon, wear no bridle,

They grow into a vegetable peace.

Soul is the issue of so strict a fate.

They harbor visions in their waking eyes,

And with their quiet ears participate

In heaven’s pure serenity, which lies

So near all things --- yet from the beasts concealed.

Serene now, superhuman, they crop their field.

The Tankards

Great PoetryPosted by Graham Thompson Mon, November 23, 2015 14:19:33
At the long tables of time
The Tankards of God carouse,
They empty the eyes of the seeing and the eyes of the blind,
The hearts of the ruling shadows,
The hollow cheek of evening.
They are the most mighty tipplers:
They drink up the full and they drink up the empty
And never foam over as you do or I.

Paul Celan
Translated from the German by Ingo Seidler

Always For the First Time

Great PoetryPosted by Graham Thompson Mon, November 23, 2015 14:14:45

Always for the first time

Hardly do I know you by sight

You return at some hour of the night to a house at an angle to my window

A wholly imaginary house

It is there that from one second to the next

In the inviolate darkness

I anticipate once more the fascinating rift occurring

The one and only rift

In the facade and in my heart

The closer I come to you

In reality

The more the key sings at the door of the unknown room

Where you appear alone before me

At first you coalesce entirely with the brightness

The elusive angle of a curtain

It's a field of jasmine I gazed upon at dawn on a road in the vicinity of Grasse

With the diagonal slant of its girls picking

Behind them the dark falling wing of the plants stripped bare

Before them a T-square of dazzling light

The curtain invisibly raised

In a frenzy all the flowers swarm back in

It is you at grips with that too long hour never dim enough until sleep

You as though you could be

The same except that I shall perhaps never meet you

You pretend not to know I am watching you

Marvelously I am no longer sure you know

Your idleness brings tears to my eyes

A swarm of interpretations surrounds each of your gestures

It's a honeydew hunt

There are rocking chairs on a deck, there are branches that may well scratch you in the forest

There are in a shop window in the rue Notre-Dame-de-Lorette

Two lovely crossed legs caught in long stockings

Flaring out in the centre of a great white clover

There is a silken ladder rolled out over the ivy

There is

By my leaning over the precipice

Of your presence and your absence in hopeless fusion

My finding the secret

Of loving you

Always for the first time


Andre Breton Translator unknown

Toujours pour la première fois

C’est à peine si je te connais de vue

Tu rentres à telle heure de la nuit

dans une maison oblique à ma fenêtre

Maison tout imaginaire

C’est là que d’une seconde à l’autre

Dans le noir intact

Je m’attends à ce que se produise

une fois de plus la déchirure fascinante

La déchirure unique

De la façade et de mon cœur

Plus je m’approche de toi

En réalité

Plus la clé chante à la porte de la chambre inconnue

Où tu m’apparais seule

Tu es d’abord tout entière fondue dans le brillant

L’angle fugitif d’un rideau

C’est un champ de jasmin que j’ai contemplé à l’aube

sur une route des environs de Grasse

Avec ses cueilleuses en diagonale

Derrière elles l’aile sombre tombante des plants dégarnis

Devant elles l’équerre de l’éblouissant

Le rideau invisiblement soulevé

Rentrent en tumulte toutes les fleurs

C’est toi aux prises avec

cette heure trop longue jamais

assez trouble jusqu’au sommeil

Toi comme si tu pouvais être

La même à cela près que

je ne te rencontrerai peut-être jamais

Tu fais semblant de ne pas savoir que je t’observe

Merveilleusement je ne suis plus sûr que tu le sais

Ton désœuvrement m’emplit les yeux de larmes

Une nuée d’interprétations entoure

chacun de tes gestes

C’est une chasse à la miellée

Il y a des rocking-chairs

sur un pont il y a des branchages

qui risquent de t’égratigner dans la forêt

Il y a dans une vitrine

rue Notre-Dame-de-Lorette

Deux belles jambes croisées prises dans de hauts bas

Qui s'évasent au centre d’un grand trèfle blanc

Il y a une échelle de soie déroulée sur le lierre

Il y a

Qu’à me pencher sur le précipice

et de ton absence

J’ai trouvé le secret

De t’aimer

Toujours pour la première fois

Vallejo's Corner

Great PoetryPosted by Graham Thompson Thu, November 19, 2015 17:39:28

In this corner where we slept together

so many nights, it pleases me now to

wander about. The bed of the dead love

has been pushed aside or perhaps carried away.

You were always on time for other things,

yet you have not arrived. It was in this corner

where, one night by your side,

I read between your tender breasts

a tale by Daudet. This is the corner we loved -

please don't deny it.

I have set myself to recording the summer days

now past, your coming and going,

small and brave and pale, through these rooms.

On this rainy night

so far removed from the both of us, I suddenly leap up,

there are two doors opening and closing,

two doors that come and go in the wind

shadow to shadow.

Vallejo (Peru 1892 - 1938)

Cesaric's Room

Great PoetryPosted by Graham Thompson Thu, November 19, 2015 17:36:24

Blessed morning, the light tumbling

like a waterfall into this room,

but I'm no longer afraid of pain,

as the body rests dead in its grave.

But maybe you could ignite

a spark from these ashes

for look how the light stirs

our longing for the sun, lilac.

We share a certain quiet delight

when I see row upon row of your books

on the shelf - and all the hidden meanings

the face of a room full of worries.

For me, something is missing

from this narrow bed without a cross,

the smile on the loved one's lips,

flowers in a glass of water.

Blessed morning as long as you dress

this room with radiance,

I'll have no fear of death ,

only please give back love to this Job.

Dobriša Cesaric from Croatia (1902-1980), sent in by Lady T.

Sentenced to Life

Great PoetryPosted by Graham Thompson Sat, June 06, 2015 23:34:55

Sentenced to life, I sleep face-up as though
Ice-bound, lest I should cough the night away,
And when I walk the mile to town, I show
The right technique for wading through deep clay.
A sad man, sorrier than he can say.

But surely not so guilty he should die
Each day from knowing that his race is run:
My sin was to be faithless. I would lie
As if I could be true to everyone
At once, and all the damage that was done

Was in the name of love, or so I thought.
I might have met my death believing this,
But no, there was a lesson to be taught.
Now, not just old, but ill, with much amiss,
I see things with a whole new emphasis.

My daughter’s garden has a goldfish pool
With six fish, each a little finger long.
I stand and watch them following their rule
Of never touching, never going wrong:
Trajectories as perfect as plain song.

Once, I would not have noticed; nor have known
The name for Japanese anemones,
So pale, so frail. But now I catch the tone
Of leaves. No birds can touch down in the trees
Without my seeing them. I count the bees.

Even my memories are clearly seen:
Whence comes the answer if I’m told I must
Be aching for my homeland. Had I been
Dulled in the brain to match my lungs of dust
There’d be no recollection I could trust.

Yet I, despite my guilt, despite my grief,
Watch the Pacific sunset, heaven sent,
In glowing colours and in sharp relief,
Painting the white clouds when the day is spent,
As if it were my will and testament –

As if my first impressions were my last,
And time had only made them more defined,
Now I am weak. The sky is overcast
Here in the English autumn, but my mind
Basks in the light I never left behind.

Clive James 2014

Ode to the Tomato

Great PoetryPosted by Graham Thompson Tue, February 03, 2015 19:42:59
Oda al Tomate

La calle
se llenó de tomates,
la luz
se parte
en dos
de tomate,
por las calles
el jugo.
En diciembre
se desata
el tomate,
las cocinas,
entra por los almuerzos,
se sienta
en los aparadores,
entre los vasos,
las matequilleras,
los saleros azules.
luz propia,
majestad benigna.
Debemos, por desgracia,
se hunde
el cuchillo
en su pulpa viviente,
es una roja
un sol
llena las ensaladas
de Chile,
se casa alegremente
con la clara cebolla,
y para celebrarlo
se deja
esencial del olivo,
sobre sus hemisferios entreabiertos,
la pimienta
su fragancia,
la sal su magnetismo:
son las bodas
del día
el perejil
las papas
hierven vigorosamente,
el asado
con su aroma
en la puerta,
es hora!
y sobre
la mesa, en la cintura
del verano,
el tomate,
astro de tierra,
y fecunda,
nos muestra
sus circunvoluciones,
sus canales,
la insigne plenitud
y la abundancia
sin hueso,
sin coraza,
sin escamas ni espinas,
nos entrega
el regalo
de su color fogoso
y la totalidad de su frescura.

Ode to the Tomato by Pablo Neruda

The street
drowns in tomatoes,
light is
and the streets
with its juice.
In December*
the tomato
cuts loose
the kitchen,
it enters at lunchtime,
at rest
on sideboards,
with the glasses,
butter dishes,
blue salt-cellars.
It has
its own radiance,
a goodly majesty.
Too bad we must
the knife
into its living flesh,
a fresh,
floods the salads
of Chile,
beds cheerfully
the the blonde onion,
and to celebrate:
the filial essence
of the olive tree,
onto its gaping hemispheres,
and pimento
its fragrance,
salt, its magnetism;
we have the day’s
its little flag,
thump to a boil,
the roasts
beat down the door
with their aroma
it's time!
come on!
and upon
the table,
belted by summer,
stars of the earth,
stars multiplied
and fertile,
show off
their convolutions,
and plenitudes
and the abundance,
no pit,
no husk,
no scale or thorns,
grant us
the festival
of ardent colour
and all-embracing freshness.

Tr. Nathaniel Tarn

* December in Chile, of course June in the northern hemisphere

See "Ode to the Potato" by Tommy Stroller

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