beyond love

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Beyond Love
Octavio Paz

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Más allá del amor

Todo nos amenaza:
el tiempo, que en vivientes fragmentos divide
al que fui
del que seré,
como el machete a la culebra;
la conciencia, la transparencia traspasada,
la mirada ciega de mirarse mirar;
las palabras, guantes grises, polvo mental sobre la yerba,
el agua, la piel;
nuestros nombres, que entre tú y yo se levantan,
murallas de vacío que ninguna trompeta derrumba.

Ni el sueño y su pueblo de imágenes rotas,
ni el delirio y su espuma profética,
ni el amor con sus dientes y uñas nos bastan.
Más allá de nosotros,
en las fronteras del ser y el estar,
una vida más vida nos reclama.

Afuera la noche respira, se extiende,
llena de grandes hojas calientes,
de espejos que combaten:
frutos, garras, ojos, follajes,
espaldas que relucen,
cuerpos que se abren paso entre otros cuerpos.

Tiéndete aquí a la orilla de tanta espuma,
de tanta vida que se ignora y se entrega:
tú también perteneces a la noche.
Extiéndete, blancura que respira,
late, oh estrella repartida,
copa,
pan que inclinas la balanza del lado de la aurora,
pausa de sangre entre este tiempo y otro sin medida.

Photo by Matt Brockie on Unsplash

prophet township

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Prophet Township
Jared Carter

Only that it was a place where snow
and ice could seal off whole sections
for half the winter, where the ground—
even when you dug down to it—could not
be budged.
If you had someone to bury,
you waited for spring thaw. Children
died from diphtheria and scarlet fever,
old-timers came down with pneumonia,
horses reared up suddenly in the barn.

The coffin would be kept in the parlor
for three days and nights. The watchers
took turns. After the funeral, neighbors
helped carry the box up to the attic
or set it out in one of the back rooms
so it would stay cold but not freeze.
Before the men tacked down the lid,
they filled it up the rest of the way
with rock salt. This was a custom
learned from their grandparents—
how to make it through till spring,
how to handle hardship on their own.

But there were times when no one lasted,
fierce winters when the wood gave out,
when there was nothing left to eat,
no hay to pitch out for the stock,
no way to break down through the ice
on the horse trough, or get the pump
working again.
With no heat, no money
for seed, they knew they had no choice
but to pack up and leave—head back
to town, try to get a stake together,
go somewhere else. They brought along
what they could carry. Everything else
was left behind: piles of old clothes,
root cellar full of empty Mason jars,
string of peppers tied to the rafters.

This is a long migration, a traveling
back and forth, over many harsh years.
Even now, people move off the land—
realize they’re not going to make it,
understand there’s no point in trying.
The old farmhouses are stripped clean,
emptied out, made ready for lightning
or for a final warming fire built
in the middle of the parlor floor
by some transient, some jobless family
camped for the night.
Grass grows
knee-high around the pump, the catalpa
holds up its brown and purple flowers.
Wind, searching along the kitchen shelf,
knocks a last jelly glass to the floor.
Soot bleeds from the hole in the wall
where the flue went in.
By December
if no fire breaks out, cold weather
clamps down. The freeze and thaw
eats at the plaster—spitting out nails,
breathing in dust, over and over—
gnawing it to the marrow.
Now and then
when I drive past one of these places
set back up the lane—doors unhinged,
windows broken out, lilacs choked up,
willow drooping in the side yard—
I’m never in much of a hurry to stop,
poke around.
Sometimes I sit there
in the driveway for a few minutes,
thinking about it, knowing that if I
step up to the front porch, or find
my way through the weeds to the pump,
there will be a slight breath of wind
just ahead of me, something rustling
through the timothy grass.
It will pause,
stopping each time I do, waiting
until everything gets quiet again.
I can’t catch up with it, or come
face to face with whatever it is.
I can sense only that it’s pleased—
by the way it turns, every so often,
to make sure I’m still coming.

Photo by Adam Chang on Unsplash

 

true lovers

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e.e. cummings

true lovers in each happening of their hearts
live longer than all which and every who;
despite what fear denies, what hope asserts,
what falsest both disprove by proving true (all doubts, all certainties, as villains strive
and heroes through the mere’s mind poor pretend
– grim comics of duration: only love
immortally occurs beyond the mind) such a forever is love’s any now
and her each here is such an everywhere,
even more true would truest lovers grow
if out of midnight dropped more suns than are
(yes; and if time should ask into his was
all shall, their eyes would never miss a yes)

all all and all

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All All and All the Dry Worlds Lever
Dylan Thomas

I

All all and all the dry worlds lever,
Stage of the ice, the solid ocean,
All from the oil, the pound of lava.
City of spring, the governed flower,
Turns in the earth that turns the ashen
Towns around on a wheel of fire.

How now my flesh, my naked fellow,
Dug of the sea, the glanded morrow,
Worm in the scalp, the staked and fallow.
All all and all, the corpse’s lover,
Skinny as sin, the foaming marrow,
All of the flesh, the dry worlds lever.

II

Fear not the waking world, my mortal,
Fear not the flat, synthetic blood,
Nor the heart in the ribbing metal.
Fear not the tread, the seeded milling,
The trigger and scythe, the bridal blade,
Nor the flint in the lover’s mauling.

Man of my flesh, the jawbone riven,
Know now the flesh’s lock and vice,
And the cage for the scythe-eyed raver.
Know, O my bone, the jointed lever,
Fear not the screws that turn the voice,
And the face to the driven lover.

III

All all and all the dry worlds couple,
Ghost with her ghost, contagious man
With the womb of his shapeless people.
All that shapes from the caul and suckle,
Stroke of mechanical flesh on mine,
Square in these worlds the mortal circle.

Flower, flower the people’s fusion,
O light in zenith, the coupled bud,
And the flame in the flesh’s vision.
Out of the sea, the drive of oil,
Socket and grave, the brassy blood,
Flower, flower, all all and all.

Photo by Alexis Chloe on Unsplash

infernal

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The Infernal Powers
Carlos Drummond de Andrade

 

Translation

Os poderes infernais

Photo by Philipp Pilz on Unsplash

ivan

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Ivan
Laura Kasischke

Our rooster’s name is Ivan.
He rules the world.
He stands on a bucket to assist
the sun in its path
through the sky. He
will not be attending
the funeral, for God

has said to Ivan, You
will never be sick
or senile. I’ll
kill you with lightning
or let you drown. Or

I’ll simply send
an eagle down
to fetch you when you’re done.

So Ivan stands on a bucket
and looks around:

Human
stupidity.
The pitiful
cornflakes in their bowls.
The statues of their fascists.
The insane division of their cells.
The misinterpretations
of their bibles.Their
homely combs— and,

today, absurdly, their
crisp black clothes.

But Ivan keeps his thoughts
to himself, and crows.

Photo by David Brooke Martin on Unsplash

the lunatic

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The Lunatic
Charles Simic

The same snowflake
Kept falling out of the gray sky
All afternoon
Falling and falling
And picking itself up
Off the ground,
To fall again,
But now more surreptitiously,
More carefully
As night strolled over
To see what’s up

Photo by Raisa Milova on Unsplash