Best Poems From
(13th September 1941)
Glosses on two poems by the Albanian poet Petro Marko (1913-91)
1. SUCH BURDENS ON THE MIND
turp dhe mëkate
per jeten e tërbuar...'
- APOLOGJIA IME (JETES)
Shame and rage
greed and pain:
life is a gaoler
bejewelled and vain.
Life made misery.
Life made Man.
In the wastes of desire
the grotesque can-can.
...as faliu ligjes sime,
bindu i çmendur endërrtar...
'Wer, wenn ich schriee, hörte mich...? '
How can it possibly matter in which language I am unread?
Or, even if read, not understood?
The warmth and the words of the dead are my comfort,
the greatest intimacy our grief beyond time
and its terror and hatred and bitterness.
Along the valley of death I've always been walking
and listening to the blood-pools talking,
bones and bonfires everywhere,
black and blue and red in the air.
Poisoned the water, bitter the rain.
Life itself is in love with pain.
Our comfort-manufactured metal hearts dissolve in rust
so that 'Old myths renew as passionate as dusk.'
...të shpirtit, në një kend,
lindi një shqetësim
që çeli varrin tënd...
If 99% of the ever-expanding Universe is unknowable
Dark Matter (The True God)
and an infinitesimal percentage of the remaining 1% is the
living matter we are so intent on corrupting and destroying,
the whole of life is the tiniest blemish
on the otherwise marvellous Universe,
no matter how many billions of synapses are in my brain,
no matter that life itself is in love with pain.
2. FLYING OVER EUROPE
Above us the blue.
Beneath us an old, old map.
I cannot see the borders or the armies
only rivers and forests.
The machine we are in
(eating sandwiches which taste of Treblinka and Gulag)
wipes through the mildew
wipes through the blight
of history. Those millions
of terrible events might not have happened.
But they are still happening now
out of sight, day and night.
Good news is something misreported.
At the cenotaphs
the holders and the representatives of power,
the generals, the admirals, the air-vice-marshals
pretend to mourn
the powerless that their predecessors murdered
by proxy as dictators also do
through words like Glory and Defence
and Fatherland and Honour
and Western Way-of-life - which we've now reduced to lifestyle.
Masters of claptrap, they call
but horses are the inevitably-unsung heroes
the unremembered victims
before replacement by the tank
and the Holy Grail is in the basement of a bank.
I, a priest of egregiousness
cursing miserable wisdom
met the Buddha of Hairiness
as we loafed together in saintliness
in the Garden of Togetherness.
Some claim to have heard the Spirit
even to have seen the Spirit - but I have
smelt the Spirit in the Garden of Togetherness.
Spirit is smell of connection,
genderless but not sexless
odour of earth, beyond tired, trite
worlds of words.
I said to the Buddha of Hairiness:
The only people who know wisdom
are those who have never imagined
that wisdom existed - and those who have not
succumbed to consciousness
but conquered it.
He showed me twins floating
in a womb beyond world,
and one was the Buddha of Hairiness
and the other was the melancholy priest.
This was the answer:
Flow beyond language, the barrage of consciousness,
flow is in smell and (naturally) in noses.
Flow is a nose as well as a smell,
and flow is breath, and stone, and death,
and orgasm needs neither friction nor fountain -
and enlightenment is a cell.
Illusions in Three Parts (Haiku Sequence) II
The moon in a veil
as if it had coldly evolved an ego.
Frost Kings were crowned
again last night: my garden
is bedecked with lace.
Digging: a fine red worm.
Wisdom: to see everything
as from the grave.
Thinking about my death
I enthusiastically clean out
the septic tank.
Dogshit on pavements:
the unconscious calligraphy
lie on each other lovingly
Morning. My erection
does not belie regret
at my father’s.
The day in silence.
At night the telephone rings.
It’s a wrong number.
Winter solitude: gorse-bush
flowering in a muddy field.
Red sky at morning:
the blood of global greed
has reached the very clouds.
Between life and death
I am always hoping to climb
Out of myself.
trying to pull my shadow
out of the shade...
Water on the knee…
Water on the brain…and now
Water on the moon!
With my dog: a cold wet day
is an oceanic experience.
Our lives intertwined,
Oscar and I check up on
each other’s fæces.
Community of luxury:
I drink the wine
while Oscar chews the cork.
Quiet rain. My dog expresses
so much silently – why must we
make so much noise?
Every night, before
we go to bed – a brief
strip-show for my dog.
Ice on a puddle:
the brittle transience of wisdom.