Saturday, December 13, 2014

G - Bb - A - D

...and a decrepit handful of trees.
—Aleksandr Pushkin

And I matured in peace born of command,
in the nursery of the infant century,
and the voice of man was never dear to me,
but the breeze’s voice—that I could understand.
The burdock and the nettle I preferred,
but best of all the silver willow tree.
Its weeping limbs fanned my unrest with dreams;
it lived here all my life, obligingly.
I have outlived it now, and with surprise.
There stands the stump; with foreign voices other
willows converse, beneath our, beneath those skies,
and I am hushed, as if I’d lost a brother.
-Anna Akhamatova, "Willow" (Transl by Jennifer Reeser)

MockingJay Tweets

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Before they were Hungry

Down in the valley, the valley so low
Hang your head over, hear the wind blow
Hear the wind blow, dear, hear the wind blow;
Hang your head over, hear the wind blow.
Roses love sunshine, violets love dew,
Angels in Heaven know I love you,
Know I love you, dear, know I love you,
Angels in Heaven know I love you.
If you don't love me, love whom you please,
Throw your arms 'round me, give my heart ease,
Give my heart ease, dear, give my heart ease,
Throw your arms 'round me, give my heart ease.
Build me a castle, forty feet high;
So I can see her as she rides by,
As she rides by, dear, as she rides by,
So I can see her as she rides by.
Write me a letter,'Send it by mail,
Send it in care of Birmingham Jail,
Birmingham Jail, love, Birmingham Jail,
Send it in care of Birmingham Jail
"The Valley Song"
You were praised, my books,
because I had just come from the country;
I was twenty years behind the times
so you found an audience ready.
I do not disown you,
do not you disown your progeny.

Here they stand without quaint devices,
Here they are with nothing archaic about them.
Observe the irritation in general:

‘Is this’ they say, 'the nonsense
that we expect of poets?’
'Where is the Picturesque ?'
‘Where is the vertigo of emotion?'
‘No! his first work was the best.’
'Poor Dear! he has lost his illusions.’

Go, little naked and impudent songs,
Go with a light foot!
(Or with two light feet, if it please you!)
Go and dance shamelessly!
Go with an impertinent frolic!

Greet the grave and the stodgy,
Salute them with your thumbs at your noses.

Here are your bells and confetti.
Go! rejuvenate things!
Rejuvenate even 'The Spectator.’
Go! and make cat calls!
Dance and make people blush,
Dance the dance of the phallus
and tell anecdotes of Cybele!
Speak of the indecorous conduct of the Gods!
(Tell it to Mr. Strachey)

Ruffle the skirts of prudes,
speak of their knees and ankles.
But, above all, go to practical people
go! jangle their door-bells!
Say that you do no work
and that you will live forever.
Ezra Pound, "Saluation the Second"