|Best Poems About / On ELEGY
An Elegy On The Death Of Soad Hosni
by Ghazi Al-Gosaibi
Translated by Saleh Badrah
Dusk was strangling the city,
Slaying the soul of chilly, sad London,
Staining its buildings with sighs,
Killing all whom he saw along the road.
I feared he would visit my window
And extend his black nail
Into my eyes, stealing their blackness;
Extend his black fang
Into my chest and wrench my heart.
I spotted the crowd of admirers in the street;
The street erupted with cheers:
Soad! O Soad!
You! O woman with perfect features!
Dusk advanced swiftly like a fearful thief
And London gleamed
Like a wedding night.
I look from my little window:
I am the princess!
I scatter roses at the huge crowds;
My hair flirts with the clouds
And stars twinkle in my hair.
Sing to us O princess!
I sing... and the tune circulates in the breeze;
My old tune
- Abdel Halim! -
We desire a dance,
I dance like a young butterfly,
I fasten the admirers in my hair,
Listen to their cheers:
Come closer, O perfect one!
Come closer, your old admirers
Wish to see you near,
Wish to embrace their precious sweetheart.
The cheers rise.
I'm here my dear fans,
I've come back to you, a young star,
Your old dazzling darling.
Dusk was unashamed
As he killed the princess.
(London - June 2001)
Translated 22 June 2008
Translation Copyright © Saleh Badrah
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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!
Shouldnt 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.
Thats how they listened. You cannot bear
the burden of Gods 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 shes 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 mans tomorrow,
no longer to be that which one used to
in tirelessly anxious hands, even to get rid
of ones 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 cant tell which
they visit, dead or alive.
Read more poems from Rob Dyer >>>
Der Einfall, Remaining Light In Duino
[Beginning with two lines from Duino Elegies by Rainer Maria Rilke]
'You that fall with the
thud only fruits know, unripe, '
here wait to be shaken.
Here we carry, or ought to (driven so much past
bitter root) , sugar,
not for selves but for the gods to sweeten their too
(at least they have tongues/mouths,
we know they have teeth)
to open them into our subjectivity which, secret told, is
what they crave, our realist sufferings, such are sweet
to them, makes them, too, more solid -
what they seek - solidity beyond our capacities to reify
but for Imagination which conducts/births them into material
Our extreme suffering compensates for, gravitates their
too refined coldness toward heat.
They, like scattered flour, having no leaven,
dream/desire us-the-leaven; they seek/swell
into what we have, what we bring, we, the most baked,
to be torn into, eaten, too, for yearning gods' sake.
They come/fall compelled to colors, palettes, ours, upon
worn pallets, these acrobats, as yet enfleshed lovers in
not yet felt world and literal sense, they
do balance, risk, stumble, break, stutter/cry, utter
such further dimension into
desire's bodies, breath, ashes,
importantly, always just arriving
forgetting the arguing seed's
previous vertical discontent.
Such skies already known
limb by limb escape
slowly their shaping.
They suspend, extend then
into their felt fall,
hard land into waking.
What uses for tears there
are gather there from
the eye, pour upon the
cheek from which miscreant
tongues may most drink.
Think again upon these things which go about
in darkness and stumble against us begging no
pardon, intent still on passage, confused for words
or Ibn Arabi's 'Black Light' no light at all, or
thing, but a gnossis found, or given.
Gnossis, most striven for, in minutest motes, is.
All this to say, Ready.
further beyond (yet into)
unsaid street corner,
into inarticulate cathedral,
into unutterable mosque,
into wholly other loci
dependent upon uninhabited
blue field, crust, what
passes for, or has, Light,
just overtones 'beyond the fiddle.'
Now here must stop
in what is remaining light to cook
must bend to the purple cabbage at hand,
the courage of the knife
the helpful drive of hunger,
marvel yet again, it's faceted pattern when
halved, same as the onion, the leek
Such facets in me too reveal when
I dare to be loved in two
**The quote in the poem is from the Duino Elegies
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Margrit's Words....Addressing Jim
Elegy to Mary Azevedo - June 2005
Laureen and Kim
And Margrit's words
The day a dreary
Its moment...an even
God's will to give
Then snatch away
That right to live
Of the fellowman
....An intense glow
Amidst the gloom
...Soothed the soul
That day....in June
Lost its meaning
...As joyful sorrow's
Songs were singing
...Laureen and Kim
And Margrit's words
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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