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Poems On / About ELEGY  10/31/2014 2:37:36 AM
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Elegy to a Kurdish father

Elegy to a Kurdish father
for Ekim Erdogan

Alone in a green meadow I pray,
not on my knees but hands held high.

I think of the Kurdish girl in the London fog—
her Baba is gone, the night has come.

Behind the East End walls a bluesy soulful note.
The cockney drink bitter beer, rattle and chat.

But she is not there, she is a continent away—

for the Sultans ruled from Constantinople to Budapest
from Medina to Algiers—

and in the muscle of the coffee the tendons of kabobs
there is a tone in her Baba’s voice, a light in a dark green forest.

The tale of the Kardelen—

the Snowdrop, so shy, below the snow,
knows the sun fingers will smother its breath—

so it hides, like the prized nuts of a brown squirrel,
in the custody of winter’s frozen soil.

Still, above ground,

the Snowdropp hears the wind of her lover’s song—

she longs and longs then rises to her lover’s strum
but in a flash her petal’s gone

Yet in that second, that moment
when love was once again made new—

the girl, well beyond the fog and pub dwellers,
hears only her Baba’s granite voice

revealed in the eternal romance of Kardelen
sprouting toward Spring, love and valor.
Leo Briones

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Margrit's Words....Addressing Jim

Elegy to Mary Azevedo - June 2005

Laureen and Kim
And Margrit's words
Addressing Jim

The day a dreary
..One...of June
Its moment...an even

Of death...without
A doubt...expected
...Still..the mind
Outright rejected

The oddity...of
God's will to give
Then snatch away
That right to live

Much.....we fail
....To understand
Yet...clear...the role
Of the fellowman

....An intense glow
Amidst the gloom
...Soothed the soul
That day....in June

...When oxymoron
Lost its meaning
...As joyful sorrow's
Songs were singing

Of Julie....Carissa
...Laureen and Kim
And Margrit's words

Author's note:

The assignment; Pickup Margrit Mondavi at Robert Mondavi Winery, and drive to late afternoon appointment:

Arriving onsite some minutes ahead of scheduled departure, I reclined in the limo, seizing the opportunity to unwind a bit from the rigors of an earlier excursion into San Francisco. Alerted by distant voices, I looked up to see Mrs. Mondavi approaching accompanied by an entourage of four co-workers. Exiting the vehicle, I acknowleged their presence, and exchanged a bit of light banter with a member of the group. Immediately thereafter Margrit addressed me saying, 'Jim I have some bad news. Mary (Mary Azevedo, Robert Mondavi's Adminstrative Assistant) passed away this morning.' I recall closing my eyes, bitting my lip, struggling to maintain composure - sinking ever deeper into the widening abyss of excruciating grief. But just as quickly sensed an oxymoronic relief buoyed by the quintessential gift of friendship exemplified by the presence of these compassionate folks who in their collective wisdom chose to stand with me in spiritual solidarity during this challenging ordeal they surmised would be one of my most difficult. Often I visit that overcast day, still I see them all approaching, that portrait ever more celestial than before. Some years ago, I composed the poem 'Margrit's Words Addressing Jim, ' as a note of appreciation, thanking these special folks whose sensitivity helped transform a moment of paralytic anguish into the luxurious grandeur of consummate bliss.
James B. Earley

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Rilke's First Duino Elegy, rewritten for Roxana Dyer

The First Duino Elegy of Rilke
Rewritten for Roxana Dyer

Who, if I screamed,
from the ranks of the angels would hear me then?
Even imagine one took me suddenly in his arms:
who I am would be lost in his greater Being.
So beauty was nothing
but the beginning of nightmare, from which we will scarcely awake;
we marvel at beauty, because in the end it has never bothered
to destroy us. Every angel message first brings us terror.

So with strong restraint I choke back the temptation
of agonized sobbing. Oh who then to turn to
in need? Not angels, not people,
and the animals hearing my pulse knew already
that I was not really settled
in this world we have named without knowledge.

Perhaps there waits for me a pohutukawa on a hillside,
that I can look at over and over; a country road from yesterday;
the unreasoning certainty of a childhood habit
that pleased me and stayed without interruption
in foreign lands.

Oh and the night, the night, when the wind screams from nowhere,
scratching us in the face...
For whom does She not wait, the desired and gently deceiving,
who stands disturbing before the solitary heart?
Is She kinder to the lovers in bed?
Oh they embrace, but only to hide all they have lost.
Still don't you see?
Throw open your arms that the emptiness
may pass out again into the spaces that we breathe.
Perhaps the air will seem further away to the birds
as they fly along paths the genes remember.

Oh yeah? you mean Spring came only for you;
the stars waited till you noticed them;
a wave rose in the past for you; a violin,
as you walked past a window, rang out for you.
That was all because of you?
But were you strong enough to bear it?
Weren't you always still driven crazy
by waiting, as if every moment would bring you news
of her loss? (Where will you hide her grey eyes,
as the huge new thought strangers go in and out
of your mind, and often stay the night?)

You feel longing, so sing more songs of the lovers
whose famous emotions are not yet immortal enough.
Each of the abandoned heroines you almost envied,
for you thought them so much more loving
than those whose call was answered.

Begin ever anew to praise the mark beyond reach.
Think: the hero lives on, even his end
was only for him a new page of his story,
his latest reincarnation.
But Nature when she's done
takes back the beloved, as if
there was no more strength to renew her.

Did we sing enough the sad sonnets
of Gaspara Stampa, intensifying lost love?
Every girl says, “If only I could love like her! ”
Shouldn’t her old sufferings have borne more fruit?
Is it not time we release lover from loved one,
shaken, to move on, as the arrow that feels the string
released gathers to fly and is more than it was.

Voices, voices! Listen, my heart, as else only
holy men listened, that vast good news lift them
from earth; but they kneeled, inhuman,
on and on, and paid no attention.
That’s how they listened. You cannot bear
the burden of God’s voice - far from it.
Just listen to the soft lament,
the uninterrupted report that rises in silence.
It rustles now towards you in the lilt of her song.
Wherever you stepped inside to pray,
did it not quietly tell you she’s gone?
The plaques on the walls, did they not claim
your attention? What did they ask? That gently
you should untie the knot of injustice, no longer
hamper the flowing motion of those departed.

I guess it is strange no longer to live on this earth,
no longer to need habits just learned,
not to grant roses and other meaningful things
the interpretation of man’s tomorrow,
no longer to be that which one used to
in tirelessly anxious hands, even to get rid
of one’s own name, like a broken toy.
Strange no longer to wish wishes,
strange, to see all that moved or was moved
flutter free in space.

Being dead is a nuisance,
full of errands just to track down
some small eternity.
Being alive is to make mistakes,
distinctions too bold.
Angels, they say, often can’t tell which
they visit, dead or alive.
Rob Dyer

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Again Endorsing the Lady

Horace: Book II, Elegy 2

"Liber eram et vacuo meditabar vivere lecto--"

I was free. I thought that I had entered
Love's Antarctic Zone.
"A truce to sentiment," I said. "My nights
shall be my own."
But Love had double-crossed me. How can
Beauty be so fair?
The grace of her, the face of her--and oh,
her yellow hair!

And oh, the wondrous walk of her! So doth
a goddess glide.
Jove's sister--ay, or Pallas--hath no statelier
a stride.
Fair as Iscomache herself, the Lapithanian
Or Brimo where at Mercury's side her virgin
form she laid.

Surrender now, ye goddesses whom erst the
shepherd spied!
Upon the heights of Ida lay your vestitures
And though she reach the countless years of
the Cumζan Sibyl,
May never, never Age at those delightful
features nibble!
Franklin P. Adams

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