a land not mine

A land not mine, still
forever memorable,
the waters of its ocean
chill and fresh.

Sand on the bottom whiter than chalk,
and the air drunk, like wine,
late sun lays bare
the rosy limbs of the pine trees.

Sunset in the ethereal waves:
I cannot tell if the day
is ending, or the world, or if
the secret of secrets is inside me again.

Anna Akhmatova

summer afternoon

Seeing delightful things, hearing sweet sounds,
since a man becomes sad even though they please him:
Surely, he remembers in his heart something he is yet
unaware of,
– friendships in another life, whose emotion is constant.

See, shy one, the Sun
hanging in the West has made
With his long image in the water of the lake
a causeway as of gold.

The Moon, combing the darkness with his beams,
as if with his fingers the massy hair of night,
Seems to kiss her face
whose eyes – the lotuses – have closed into their buds…

Kalidasa

this is bad

Someone hands you an English thriller,
highly recommended.
You don’t read English.

You’ve worked up a thirst
for something you can’t afford.

You have deep insights,
brand new, and they sound
like an academic glossing Hölderlin.

You hear the waves at night
ramping against the shore
and you think: that’s what waves do.

Worse: you’re asked out
when at home you get better coffee,
silence, and you don’t expect to be amused.

Awful: not to die in summer
under a bright sky
when the rich dirt
falls easily from the shovel.

Gottfried Benn

the goat

I had a conversation with a goat.
She was tied up, alone, in a field.
Full up with grass, wet
with rain, she was bleating.

That monotonous bleat was brother
to my own pain. And I replied in kind, at first
in jest, and then because pain is eternal
and speaks with one voice, unchanging.
This was the voice I heard
wailing in a lonely goat.

In a goat with a Semitic face
I heard the cry of every woe on earth,
every life on earth…

Umberto Saba