here’s to opening and upward, to leaf and to sap
and to your(in my arms flowering so new)
self whose eyes smell of the sound of rain

and here’s to silent certainly mountains;and to
a disappearing poet of always,snow
and to morning;and to morning’s beautiful friend
twilight(and a first dream called ocean)and

let must or if be damned with whomever’s afraid
down with ought with because with every brain
which thinks it thinks,nor dares to feel(but up
with joy;and up with laughing and drunkenness)

here’s to one undiscoverable guess
of whose mad skill each world of blood is made
(whose fatal songs are moving in the moon

–e.e. cummings

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The Call

I have heard it all my life,
A voice calling a name I recognized as my own.
Sometimes it comes as a soft-bellied whisper.
Sometimes it holds an edge of urgency.
But always it says: Wake up, my love. You are walking asleep.
There’s no safety in that!
Remember what you are, and let a deeper knowing
color the shape of your humanness.
There is nowhere to go. What you are looking for is right here.
Open the fist clenched in wanting and see what you already hold in your hand.
There is no waiting for something to happen,
no point in the future to get to.
All you have ever longed for is here in this moment, right now.
You are wearing yourself out with all this searching.
Come home and rest.
How much longer can you live like this?
Your hungry spirit is gaunt, your heart stumbles. All this trying.
Give it up!
Let yourself be one of the God-mad,
faithful only to the Beauty you are.
Let the Lover pull you to your feet and hold you close,
dancing even when fear urges you to sit this one out.
Remember, there is one word you are here to say with your whole being.
When it finds you, give your life to it. Don’t be tight-lipped and stingy.
Spend yourself completely on the saying,
Be one word in this great love poem we are writing together.

-Oriah Mountain Dreamer

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Me gustas cuando callas porque estas como ausente,
y me oyes desde lejos, y mi voz no te toca.
Parece que los ojos se te hubieran volado
y parece que un beso te cerrara la boca.

Como todas las cosas estan llenas de mi alma
emerges de las cosas, llena del alma mia.
Mariposa de sueno, te pareces a mi alma,
y te pareces a la palabra melancolia.

Me gustas cuando callas y estas como distante.
Y estas como quejandote, mariposa en arrullo.
Y me oyes desde lejos, y mi voz no te alcanza:
dejame que me calle con el silencio tuyo.

Dejame que te hable tambien con tu silencio
claro como una lampara, simple como un anillo.
Eres como la noche, callada y constelada.
Tu silencio es de estrella, tan lejano y sencillo.

Me gustas cuando callas porque estas como ausente.
Distante y dolorosa como si hubieras muerto.
Una palabra entonces, una sonrisa bastan.
Y estoy alegre, alegre de que no sea cierto.

—by Pablo Neruda

 

I Like For You To Be Still

I like for you to be still: it is as though you were absent,
and you hear me from far away and my voice does not touch you.
It seems as though your eyes had flown away
and it seems that a kiss had sealed your mouth.

As all things are filled with my soul
you emerge from the things, filled with my soul.
You are like my soul, a butterfly of dream,
and you are like the word Melancholy.

I like for you to be still, and you seem far away.
It sounds as though you were lamenting, a butterfly cooing like a dove.
And you hear me from far away, and my voice does not reach you:
Let me come to be still in your silence.

And let me talk to you with your silence
that is bright as a lamp, simple as a ring.
You are like the night, with its stillness and constellations.
Your silence is that of a star, as remote and candid.

I like for you to be still: it is as though you were absent,
distant and full of sorrow as though you had died.
One word then, one smile, is enough.
And I am happy, happy that it’s not true.

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Si Tú Me Olvidas (If You Forget Me)

[watch this poem recited in Spanish and by Madonna in English]

Si Tú Me Olvidas

Quiero que sepas
una cosa.

Tú sabes cómo es esto:
si miro
la luna de cristal, la rama roja
del lento otoño en mi ventana,
si toco
junto al fuego
la impalpable ceniza
o el arrugado cuerpo de la leña,
todo me lleva a ti,
como si todo lo que existe,
aromas, luz, metales,
fueran pequeños barcos que navegan
hacia las islas tuyas que me aguardan.

Ahora bien,
si poco a poco dejas de quererme
dejaré de quererte poco a poco.

Si de pronto
me olvidas
no me busques,
que ya te habré olvidado.

Si consideras largo y loco
el viento de banderas
que pasa por mi vida
y te decides
a dejarme a la orilla
del corazón en que tengo raíces,
piensa
que en ese día,
a esa hora
levantaré los brazos
y saldrán mis raíces
a buscar otra tierra.

Pero
si cada día,
cada hora
sientes que a mí estás destinada
con dulzura implacable.
Si cada día sube
una flor a tus labios a buscarme,
ay amor mío, ay mía,
en mí todo ese fuego se repite,
en mí nada se apaga ni se olvida,
mi amor se nutre de tu amor, amada,
y mientras vivas estará en tus brazos
sin salir de los míos.

If You Forget Me

I want you to know
one thing.

You know how this is:
If I look
at the crystal moon, at the red branch
of the slow autumn at my window,
if I touch
near the fire
the impalpable ash
or the wrinkled body of the log,everything carries me to you,
as if everything that exists,
aromas, light, metals,
were little boats
that sail
toward those isles of yours that wait for me.

Well, now,
if little by little you stop loving me
I shall stop loving you little by little.

If suddenly
you forget me
do not look for me,
for I shall already have forgotten you.

If you think it long and mad,
the wind of banners
that passes through my life,
and you decide
to leave me at the shore
of the heart where I have roots,
remember
that on that day,
at that hour,
I shall lift my arms
and my roots will set off
to seek another land.

But
if each day,
each hour,
you feel that you are destined for me
with implacable sweetness,
if each day a flower
climbs up to your lips to seek me,
ah my love, ah my own,
in me all that fire is repeated,
in me nothing is extinguished or forgotten,
my love feeds on your love, beloved,
and as long as you live it will be in your arms
without leaving mine.

 

 

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Unde ni sunt visătorii?

[watch Florin Piersic recite this poem]

Nu ştiu, e melancolia secolului care moare,
Umbra care ne îneacă la un asfinţit de soare,
Sau decepţia, durerea luptelor de mai-nainte,
Doliul ce se exală de pe-atâtea mari morminte,
Răspândindu-se-n viaţă, ca o tristă moştenire,
Umple sufletele noastre de-ntuneric şi mâhnire,
Şi împrăştie în lume o misterioasă jale,
Parc-ar sta să bată ceasul stingerii universale;

Căci mă-ntreb, ce sunt aceste vaiete nemângâiate,
Ce-i acest popor de spectri cu priviri întunecate,
Chipuri palide de tineri osteniţi pe nemuncite,
Trişti poeţi ce plâng şi cântă suferinţi închipuite,
Inimi laşe, abătute, făr-a fi luptat vrodată,
Şi străine de-o simţire mai înaltă, mai curată!
Ce sunt braţele acestea slabe şi tremurătoare?
Ce-s aceşti copii de ceară fructe istovite-n floare?…

Şi în bocetul atâtor suflete descurajate,
Când, bolnavi, suspină barzii pe-a lor lire discordate,
Blestemând deşertul lumii ş-al vieţii, în neştire,
Când îşi scaldă toţi în lăcrimi visul lor de nemurire,
Tu, artist, stăpânitorul unei limbi aşa divine,
Ce-ai putea să ne descoperi, ca un făcător de bine,
Orizonturi largi ş-atâtea frumuseţi necunoscute,
Te mai simţi atras s-aluneci pe aceleaşi căi bătute,
Să-ţi adormi şi tu talentul cu-al dezgustului narcotic,
Ca în propria ta ţară să te-arăţi străin, exotic?…
Cum, când eşti aşa de tânăr, e o glorie a spune
C-ai îmbătrânit şi sila de viaţă te răpune,
Că nimic pe lumea asta să te mişte nu mai poate,
Că te-ai zbuciumat zadarnic şi te-ai săturat de toate?

Ştii tu încă ce-i viaţa? Ai avut tu când pătrunde,
Nu problemele ei vaste, încâlcite şi profunde,
Dar un tremurat de suflet, licărirea ta de-o clipă,
Când atâtea-ţi schimbă vremea c-o bătaie de aripă,
În vertiginosul haos de privelişti, ce te-nşală,
Sub imensa şi eterna armonie generală?…

Eşti de-abia în pragul lumii. Ţi-i aşa de sprinten gândul.
Câte n-ar şti el să prindă în viaţă aruncându-l!
Câte frumuseţi ascunse vi s-arată numai vouă,
Fericiţi poeţi: natura, lumea pururea e nouă!
Pe sub ochii tăi tablouri lunecă strălucitoare,
Glasuri, şi colori, şi forme tu le laşi să se strecoare,
Legănând a tale gânduri adormite, ca pe-o apă,
Când atâtea adevăruri nerostite încă-ţi scapă!
Ştiu. Am fost şi eu ca tine amăgit să cred că-n artă
Pot să trec la nemurire cu revolta mea deşartă;
Şi cu lacrimi stoarse-n silă nu mi-aş mai aduce-aminte
Am bocit şi eu… nimicuri, ce-mi păreau pe-atuncea sfinte!…

Dar când m-am uitat în juru-mi ş-am văzut că e o boală,
Şi că toţi începătorii, de abia scăpaţi din şcoală,
Ofiliţi în floarea vârstei de-un dezgust molipsitor,
Îşi zădărnicesc puterea, focul tinereţii lor,
Ca să legene-n silabe, pe tiparele găsite,
Desperări de porunceală şi dureri închipuite,
Când am înţeles c-aceasta e o modă care soarbe
Seva tinereţii noastre, am zis gândurilor oarbe,
Ce-şi roteau peste morminte zborul lor de lilieci,
Să s-abată lăsând morţii în odihna lor de veci,
Şi din florile vieţii să aleagă şi s-adune
În nepieritorul fagur adevăr şi-nţelepciune!
Câte nu-s de scris pe lume! Câte drame mişcătoare

Nu se pierd nepovestite, în năprasnica vâltoare
A torentelor vieţii! Câţi eroi, lipsiţi de slavă,
Nu dispar în lupta asta nesfârşită şi grozavă!
Şi, sub vijelia soartei, câte inimi asuprite,
Câţi martiri pe cari vremea şi uitarea îi înghite!

Şi când lumea asta toată e o veşnică mişcare,
Unde cea mai mică forţă împlineşte o chemare,
Şi când vezi pe-ai tăi cum sufăr, cum se zbuciumă şi luptă
În campania aceasta mare şi neîntreruptă,
Tu, departe de primejdii, razna ca un dezertor,
Să arunci celor ce-aşteaptă de la tine-un ajutor,
Jalea şi descurajarea cântecului tău amar,
Şi să-ţi cheltuieşti puterea celui mai de seamă dar,
Ca să-i faci mai răi pe oameni, şi mai sceptici, şi mai trişti?
Asta vi-i chemarea sfântă de profeţi şi de artişti?…

Unde ni-s entuziaştii, visătorii, trubadurii,
Să ne cânte rostul lumii şi splendorile naturii?
Unde ni-s sămănătorii generoaselor cuvinte,
Magii ocrotiţi de stele, mergătorii înainte,
Sub credinţele sfărâmate şi sub pravilele şterse
Îngropând vechea durere, cu-al lor cântec să reverse
Peste inimile noastre mângâiere şi iubire,
Şi cuvântul lor profetic, inspirata lor privire,
Valurile de-ntuneric despicându-le în două,
Splendidă-naintea noastră să ne-arate-o lume nouă!

—de Alexandru Vlahuţă

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My Papa’s Waltz

The whiskey on your breath
Could make a small boy dizzy;
But I hung on like death:
Such waltzing was not easy.

We romped until the pans
Slid from the kitchen shelf;
My mother’s countenance
Could not unfrown itself.

The hand that held my wrist
Was battered on one knuckle;
At every step you missed
My right ear scraped a buckle.

You beat time on my head
With a palm caked hard by dirt,
Then waltzed me off to bed
Still clinging to your shirt.

—by Theodore Roethke

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I Knew A Woman

I knew a woman, lovely in her bones,
When small birds sighed, she would sigh back at them;
Ah, when she moved, she moved more ways than one:
The shapes a bright container can contain!
Of her choice virtues only gods should speak,
Or English poets who grew up on Greek
(I’d have them sing in chorus, cheek to cheek.)

How well her wishes went! She stroked my chin,
She taught me Turn, and Counter-turn, and stand;
She taught me Touch, that undulant white skin:
I nibbled meekly from her proffered hand;
She was the sickle; I, poor I, the rake,
Coming behind her for her pretty sake
(But what prodigious mowing did we make.)

Love likes a gander, and adores a goose:
Her full lips pursed, the errant note to seize;
She played it quick, she played it light and loose;
My eyes, they dazzled at her flowing knees;
Her several parts could keep a pure repose,
Or one hip quiver with a mobile nose
(She moved in circles, and those circles moved.)

Let seed be grass, and grass turn into hay:
I’m martyr to a motion not my own;
What’s freedom for? To know eternity.
I swear she cast a shadow white as stone.
But who would count eternity in days?
These old bones live to learn her wanton ways:
(I measure time by how a body sways.)

—by Theodore Roethke

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A Thousand Kisses Deep

[watch the author recite this poem]

You came to me this morning
And you handled me like meat
You’d have to be a man to know
How good that feels, how sweet
My mirrored twin, my next of kin
I’d know you in my sleep
And who but you would take me in
A thousand kisses deep

I loved you when you opened like a
Lily to the heat
You see I’m just another snowman
Standing in the rain and sleet
Who loved you with his frozen love
His second hand physique
With all he is, and all he was
A thousand kisses deep

I know you had to lie to me
I know you had to cheat
To pose all hot and hide behind
The veils of sheer deceit
Our perfect porn aristocrat
So elegant and cheap
I’m old but I’m still into that
A thousand kisses deep

I’m good at love, I’m good at hate
It’s in between I freeze
Been working out, but its too late
It’s been to late for years
But you look good, you really do
They love you on the street
If I could move I’d kneel for you
A thousand kisses deep

And I’m still working with the wine
Still dancing cheek to cheek
The band is playing Auld Lang Syne
But the heart will not retreat
I ran with Diz and I sang with Ray
I never had their sweep
But once or twice they let me play
A thousand kisses deep

The autumn moved across your skin
Got something in my eye
A light that doesn’t need to live
And doesn’t need to die
A riddle in the book of love
Obscure and obsolete
‘Til witnessed here in time and blood
A thousand kisses deep

And I’m still working with the wine
Still dancing cheek to cheek
The band is playing Auld Lang Syne
But the heart will not retreat
I ran with Diz, I sang with Ray
I never had their sweep
But once or twice they let me play
A thousand kisses deep

I loved you when you opened
Like a lily to the heat
You see I’m just another snowman
Standing in the rain and sleet
Who loved you with his frozen love
His second hand physique
With all he is, and all he was
A thousand kisses deep

But you don’t need to hear me now
And every word I speak
It counts against me anyhow
A thousand kisses deep

—by Leonard Cohen

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In A Dark Time

In a dark time, the eye begins to see,
I meet my shadow in the deepening shade;
I hear my echo in the echoing wood–
A lord of nature weeping to a tree,
I live between the heron and the wren,
Beasts of the hill and serpents of the den.

What’s madness but nobility of soul
At odds with circumstance? The day’s on fire!
I know the purity of pure despair,
My shadow pinned against a sweating wall,
That place among the rocks–is it a cave,
Or winding path? The edge is what I have.

A steady storm of correspondences!
A night flowing with birds, a ragged moon,
And in broad day the midnight come again!
A man goes far to find out what he is–
Death of the self in a long, tearless night,
All natural shapes blazing unnatural light.

Dark,dark my light, and darker my desire.
My soul, like some heat-maddened summer fly,
Keeps buzzing at the sill. Which I is I?
A fallen man, I climb out of my fear.
The mind enters itself, and God the mind,
And one is One, free in the tearing wind.

—by Theodore Roethke

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The Waking

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I have to go.
We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Of those so close beside me, which are you?
God bless the Ground! I shall walk softly there,
And learn by going where I have to go.

Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Great Nature has another thing to do
To you and me, so take the lively air,
And, lovely, learn by going where to go.

This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
What falls away is always. And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go.

Theodore Roethke

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