Early May 2011 Poems

"The place where God calls you is the place where your deep gladness meets the

 world's deep hunger."
  Frederick Buechner, Wishful Thinking                    

Optimistic Little Poem

Now and then it happens
that somebody shouts for help
and somebody else jumps in at once
and absolutely gratis .

Here in the thick of the grossest capitalism
round the corner comes the shining fire brigade
and extinguishes, or suddenly
there's silver in the beggar's hat

Mornings the streets are full
of people hurrying here and there without
daggers in their hands, quite equably
after milk or radishes.

As though in a time of deepest peace.
A splendid sight.

Hans Magnus Enzensberger ( b. 1929)
Translated by David Constantine

N.W. 2: Spring

The poets never lied when they praised 
Spring in England.
                                   Even in this neat suburb
You can feel there's something to
                                                              their pastorals.
Something gentle, broadly nostalgic, is stirring
On the well-aired pavements.
                                                           Indrawn brick
Sighs, and you notice the sudden sharpness
Of things growing.
                                    The sun lightens
The significance of what the houses
Are steeped in,
                               brightens out
Their winter brooding.
                                            Early May
Touches also the cold diasporas
That England hardly mentions.

A.C. Jacobs ( 1937-94)

Sat by the water for hours. Watched nothing but water,
how it was spelt out by light;

its mass like silk blown in slow-moving wind,
                        or the glitter of fisted diamonds that flickered and
as the waves caught the light
from the bounce of the sun and I squinted my eyes
                                             and saw every one

of those diamonds that tickled and swam,

or how the light lay like a curve
in a ripple of time, on that wet pool
and I thought of a painter
jig-sawing brushstrokes of yellow 
over the salty-sea blue.

Amna Ahmed

In the Poem

To bring the picture the wall the wind
The flower the glass the shine on wood
And the cold chaste clearness of water
To the clean severe world of the poem

To save from decay and ruin
The actual moment of vision and surprise
And keep in the real world
The real gesture of a hand touching the table

Sophia de Mello Breyner (b. 1919)
Translated by Ruth Fainlight



The deftest leave no trace: type, send, delete,
clear history. The world will never know.
Though a man might wonder, as he crossed the street
what it was that broke across his brow
or vanished on his tongue and left it sweet

Don Paterson (b.1963)

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