knew no boundaries


Flowers in a Room
Yehuda Amichai

Flowers in a room are prettier than the weed’s lust outside.
And though they are cut off from the earth
And without hope,
Their self-deluding desire adorns the room
So you, sitting in my room, are beautiful
with love for someone else.

How can I help you.
The happy wear a thin necklace with black hair
And on their forehead the sign of joy.
And a Greek man looks with blue eyes
Into the dark thicket and is dreamed
By a distant woman, unknowingly.

I cannot help you
As I cannot help myself.

I too make square pictures
Out of round love
That knew no boundaries.



Memory of Love – Image
Yehuda Amichai

I cannot imagine
How we shall live without each other,
so we said.

And since then we live inside that image,
Day after day, far from each other,
Far from the house
where we said those words.

Every time a door closes, a window opens,
As under anesthesia, no pain.

Pains come later.

rocky waste of island


Envy of Other People’s Poems
Robert Hass

In one version of the legend the sirens couldn’t sing.
It was only a sailor’s story that they could.
So Odysseus, lashed to the mast, was harrowed
By a music that he didn’t hear — plungings of the sea,
Wind-sheer, the off-shore hunger of the birds —
And the mute women gathering kelp for garden mulch,
Seeing him strain against the cordage, seeing
the awful longing in his eyes, are changed forever
On their rocky waste of island by their imagination
Of his imagination of the song they didn’t sing.

lovers’ hands


Derek Walcott
This coral’s shape echoes the hand
It hollowed. Its

Immediate absence is heavy. As pumice,
As your breast in my cupped palm.

Sea-cold, its nipple rasps like sand,
Its pores, like yours, shone with salt sweat.

Bodies in absence displace their weight,
And your smooth body, like none other,

Creates an exact absence like this stone
Set on a table with a whitening rack

Of souvenirs. It dares my hand
To claim what lovers’ hands have never known:

The nature of the body of another.

Photo by Joel Filipe on Unsplash

Wining the ghosts of yester-year


Villonaud for this Yule
Ezra Pound

Towards the Noel that morte saison
(Christ make the shepherds’ homage dear!)
Then when the grey wolves everychone
Drink of the winds their chill small-beer
And lap o’ the snows food’s gueredon
Then makyth my heart his yule-tide cheer
(Skoal! with the dregs if the clear be gone!)
Wining the ghosts of yester-year.

Ask ye what ghosts I dream upon?
(What of the magians’ scented gear?)
The ghosts of dead loves everyone
That make the stark winds reek with fear
Lest love return with the foison sun
And slay the memories that me cheer
(Such as I drink to mine fashion)
Wining the ghosts of yester-year.

Where are the joys my heart had won?
(Saturn and Mars to Zeus drawn near!)
Where are the lips mine lay upon,
Aye! where are the glances feat and clear
That bade my heart his valour don?
I skoal to the eyes as grey-blown mere
(Who knows whose was that paragon?)
Wining the ghosts of yester-year.

Prince: ask me not what I have done
Nor what God hath that can me cheer
But ye ask first where the winds are gone
Wining the ghosts of yester-year.

to sing and to die


Branko Miljković
Wisdom, innocently the sun rises.
I no longer have the right for simple words!
My heart grows dim, my eyes burn.
Sing wonderful old men while over our heads
The stars burst like metaphors.
What is lofty, vanishes; what is low, rots.
Bird, I’ll make you speak but give back
The flame you borrowed. Don’t blaspheme the ashes.
In a stranger’s heart we heard our heart beat.
To sing and to die is the same thing.

Sun is a word unable to throw light.
Conscience doesn’t know how to sing for it dreads
Its own raw emptiness. Thieves of visions,
Eagles, peck at me from within. I stand
Nailed to a rock that does not exist.
We’ve signed in lieu of stars the night’s
Deceit, so much darker. Remember
That fall into life was a proof of your embers.
When ink ripens into blood everyone will know,
To sing and to die is the same thing.

Wisdom, the stronger one will be the first to yield.
Only rogues know what poetry is.
Thieves of fire, not one of you in the least lovable,
Tied to the mast of a ship followed
Under water by a song more dangerous than reality,
The blackened-out sun in the ripe orchard will know
How to take the place of a kiss that soothes the ashes.
But, no one after us will have the strength
To endear himself to a nightingale
When to sing and to die is the same thing.

Life is deadly but it has a way of surmounting death.
A fatal illness will be named after me.
We’ve suffered so much. Now the domesticated hell
Sings. Let the heart not hesitate,
To sing and to die is the same thing.


-Бранко Миљковић
Мудрости, неискусно свићу зоре,
На обичне речи више немам право!
Моје се срце гаси, очи горе.
Певајте, дивни старци, док над главом
Распрскавају се звезде као метафоре!
Што је високо ишчезне, што је ниско иструли.
Птицо, довешћу те до речи. Ал врати
Позајмљени пламен. Пепео не хули.
У туђем смо срцу своје срце чули.
Исто је певати и умирати.

Сунце је реч која не уме да сија.
Савест не уме да пева, јер се боји
Осетљиве празнине. Крадљивци визија,
Орлови, изнутра кљују ме. Ја стојим
Прикован за стену која не постоји.
Звездама смо потписали превару
Невидљиве ноћи, тим црње. Упамти
Тај пад у живот ко доказ твом жару.
Кад мастило сазре у крв, сви ће знати
Да исто је певати и умирати.

Мудрости, јачи ће први посустати!
Само ниткови знају шта је поезија,
Крадљивци ватре, нимало умиљати,
Везани за јарбол лађе коју прати
Подводна песма јавом опаснија.
Онесвешћено сунце у зрелом воћу ће знати
Да замени пољубац што пепео одмара.
Ал нико после нас неће имати
Снагу која се славујима удвара
Кад исто је певати и умирати.

Смртоносан је живот, ал смрти одолева.
Једна страшна болест по мени ће се звати.
Много смо патили. И, ево, сад пева
Припитомљени пакао. Нек срце не оклева.
Исто је певати и умирати.

Photo by Josh Felise on Unsplash

dismal months


Tomas Tranströmer
Throughout the dismal months my life sparkled alive only when I made
love with you.
As the firefly ignites and fades out, ignites and fades out — in glimpses we
can trace its flight
in the dark among the olive trees.

Throughout the dismal months the soul lay shrunken, lifeless,
but the body went straight to you.
The night sky bellowed.
Stealthily we milked the cosmos and survived.


Under de dystra månaderna gnistrade mitt liv till
bara när jag älskade med dig.
Som eldsflugan tänds och slocknar, tänds och slocknar
– glimtvis kan man följa dess väg
i nattmörkret mellan olivträden.

Under de dystra månaderna satt själen hopsjunken
och livlös
men kroppen gick raka vägen till dig.
Natthimlen råmade.
Vi tjuvmjölkade kosmos och överlevde.

Photo by NASA on Unsplash

strong, thick wings


Mary Oliver
Isn’t it plain the sheets of moss, except that
they have no tongues, could lecture
all day if they wanted about

spiritual patience? Isn’t it clear
the black oaks along the path are standing
as though they were the most fragile of flowers?

Every morning I walk like this around
the pond, thinking: if the doors of my heart
ever close, I am as good as dead.

Every morning, so far, I’m alive. And now
the crows break off from the rest of the darkness
and burst up into the sky—as though

all night they had thought of what they would like
their lives to be, and imagined
their strong, thick wings.