Tuesday, April 22, 2008


(Octavio Paz)

If you are the amber mare
I am the road of blood
If you are the first snow
I am he who lights the hearth of dawn
If you are the tower of night
I am the spike burning in your mind
If you are the morning tide
I am the first bird's cry
If you are the basket of oranges
I am the knife of the sun
If you are the stone altar
I am the sacrilegious hand
If you are the sleeping land
I am the green cane
If you are the wind's leap
I am the buried fire
If you are the water's mouth
I am the mouth of moss
If you are the forest of the clouds
I am the axe that parts it
If you are the profaned city
I am the rain of consecration
If you are the yellow mountain
I am the red arms of lichen
If you are the rising sun
I am the road of blood

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

One Hundred Poems from the Japanese

No, the human heart
Is unknowable.
But in my birthplace
The flowers still smell
The same as always.

When I went out in
The Spring fields to pick
The young greens for you
Snow fell on my sleeves.
(The Emporor Koko)

~ translated by Kenneth Rexroth


You speak of tough eternity.
I learn through shop windows,
in the new craze for strawberries
printed on sheer silk. Forever
and ever. I think about that,
watching a green wisp in the park.
Everywhere, grasshoppers, like
small children on swings. I repeat
what nobody says. I hope you cry,
take forms. That's what I wander
through the churches for, to look
at the pretty pictures
on the side door, to say
what I please. That you are
my house, this poem, the shell
I rise from. You twist hair
round my body, bind me
to myself. Your angels breathe
into me. I do not
look or listen. When I curl up
behind you and bite your shoulder
I forget who you are, what
your name is. I won't
say it, only give it
color, shape, a shield
of daylight.

~ Katherine Smith


Somewhere beyond zero,
a morning is blue
air, blue ice, and bluebirds
leaping through
the branches of round-leaved holly,
passionate for its night
blue fruit.

In the flock
some dare sky to be
such color,
others, like the weather,
wear clouds on their shoulders.
who later this year will
crowd nests with skies
full of eggs.

Wherever they are, they are
hunters who stay alive like this,
even as the red-tailed hawk with its high
sweet voice,
with its claws, and its vestal mice.

This time in the year
they're a wind.
Blue breathing warm,
and tangible.
Where they are
the world doesn't end.

~ Judith Neeld