Catherine Chandler's Poetry Blog

Monday, December 28, 2015

Cuenta atrás 0: Catherine Chandler

Capilla (chapel) on the grounds of Los Pueblitos, Argentina. Photo by Catherine Chandler

Today we leave for Uruguay and Argentina. Over the last ten days I've posted poems by ten Uruguayan women poets. Today I wish to post this poem dedicated to my longtime friend, Nelly, whom we will see during our travels. ¡Hasta pronto, mi amiga!





Prayer on the Pampas

Los Pueblitos. A million miles from Buenos Aires. Slivers of gold shimmer through the tall wooden shutters onto the bed sheet.

we are the dust motes
riding on the morning light—
wayward iotas

A stone fish arcs at each cardinal point on the hundred-year-old fountain. The sundial’s shadow is past noon. Torpor.

cool water plashes
we sit and sip tereré—
a stonefly flits by

Behind the soya fields and cow pastures, the evening sky bleeds orange into purple. Jasmine and eucalyptus fuse.

looking to the west
she whispers a secret wish—
a green granada

Ñacurutú begins his elegy. Wind chimes plink. The swirl of the Earth palpable. Stars spill, Polaris swallowed by latitudes.

she guides me to Crux—
we’ll pilgrimage to Luján
when the sun rises






-- by Catherine Chandler, first published in Passages (Greenwood Centre for Living History, 2010)













Sunday, December 27, 2015

Cuenta atrás 1: María Eugenia Vaz Ferreira

Countdown poem #1:  "La rima vacua" (The Empty Rhyme) by María Eugenia Vaz Ferreira, the greatest Latin American poet of her generation, and in the history of Uruguay.

María Eugenia Vaz Ferreira





La rima vacua by María Eugenia Vaz Ferreira

Grito de sapo
llega hasta mí de las nocturnas charcas...
la tierra está borrosa y las estrellas
me han vuelto las espaldas.

Grito de sapo, mueca
de la armonía, sin tono, sin eco,
llega hasta mí de las nocturnas charcas...

La vaciedad de mi profundo hastío
rima con él el dúo de la nada.


The Empty Rhyme

The croaking of the toad
reaches my ears from the ponds at night . . .
the land is blurred and the stars
have turned their backs on me.

The croaking of the toad, mocker
of harmony, toneless, echoless,
reaches my ears from the ponds at night . . .

The absurdity of my deep loathing
rhymes with him in a duet of nothingness.



(Translated by Catherine Chandler)

La sensación de lo inútil de su existencia llega a la negación de su esencia corporal en "La rima vacua", se ve hundida en las charcas, su canto rima con el de los sapos. La conciencia de su descenso desde lo lúcido e inteligente, hasta identificarse con el más bajo de la sustancia animal, casi nos subleva. ¡Cuánto habrá sufrido la poetisa excelsa para llega a expresar algo que apenas entrevió Doré, o si se quiere Goya! Sólo una persona que capta su disolución propia en una alucinación genial que puede haber concebido esta pesadilla de horror. Desde lo alto de la poetisa -Walkiria hasta la charca de la poetisa- sapo, ha bajado hasta la autohumillación de su divina esencia. -- Hyalmar Blixen





















Listen to a toad croaking.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Cuenta atrás 2: Delmira Agustini

Countdown poem #2: La Ruptura (The Split) by Delmira Agustini. The true side(s) of her story.

Source: dodho.com




La ruptura

Érase una cadena fuerte como un destino,
Sacra como una vida, sensible como un alma;
La corté con un lirio y sigo mi camino
Con la frialdad magnífica de la Muerte... Con calma

Curiosidad mi espíritu se asoma a su laguna
Interior, y el cristal de las aguas dormidas,
Refleja un dios o un monstruo, enmascarado en una
Esfinje tenebrosa suspensa de otras vidas.


The Split

It was a chain as strong as Fate,
sacred as a life, sensitive as a soul;
I cut it with a lily and continue on my journey
with Death’s magnificent indifference . . . with calm

curiosity my spirit looks out of its inner pool
and the mirror of the sleeping waters
reflects a god or a monster, masked as a
dark sphinx bewildered by other lives.





(Translated by Catherine Chandler)








Friday, December 25, 2015

Cuenta atrás 3: Circe Maia

Countdown poem #3: "Escalones" (Steps) by Circe Maia.






Escalones

Cambios pequeños y tenaces.

Bajo el cielo ya un grado
de luminosidad o de tibieza.

Ha caído más polvo sobre el piso o la silla.

Pequeñísima arruga se dibuja o se ahonda.

Hay un nuevo matiz en el sonido
de la voz familiar (¿Lo notarías?)

En un coro confuso de entreveradas voces
faltan algunas, otras
aparecen.

La misma
suma total: no hay cambios.

Millonésima ola golpea
millonésima roca
y el degaste
imperceptíble y cierto
avanza.





Steps



Small, persistent changes.

Beneath the sky already a degree
of brilliance or coolness.

More dust has settled on the floor or the chair.

A tiny wrinkle appears or deepens.

There is a new nuance in the sound
of a familiar voice (Would you notice it?)

Amid the muddled chorus of mixed voices
some are missing, others
appear.

The same
sum total: no substitutes.

The millionth wave strikes
the millionth rock
and the erosion,
subtle and sure,
continues.



(Translated by Catherine Chandler)







Thursday, December 24, 2015

Cuenta atrás 4: Marosa Di Giorgio

Countdown poem #4: "Este melón es una rosa" (This melon is a rose) by Marosa Di Giorgio.





Este melón es una rosa


Este melón es una rosa,
este perfuma como una rosa,
adentro debe tener un ángel
con el corazón y la cintura siempre en llamas.
Este es un santo,
vuelve de oro y de perfume
todo lo que toca;
posee todas las virtudes, ningún defecto,
Yo le rezo,
después lo voy a festejar en un poema.
ahora, sólo digo lo que él es:
un relámpago,
un perfume,
el hijo varón de las rosas.


This melon is a rose

This melon is a rose.
This one smells like a rose.
There must be an angel inside of it
with a passionate, blazing heart.
This one is a saint;
everything it touches
turns to gold and perfume;
it has every virtue, it is flawless.
I pray to it,
and later I am going to celebrate it in a poem.
Now, I only state what it is:
a bolt of lightning,
a perfume,
the son of roses.



(Translated by Catherine Chandler)

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Cuenta atrás 5: Paula Einöder


Countdown poem #5: "Poema roto" (Broken Poem) by  Paula Einöder.

The punctuation (or lackof it) is somewhat disconcerting.

Market Street Bridge over the Susquehanna River, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania


Poema roto

Le quito páginas al río
y cuando digo río
escucho a los pájaros agolparse en los ramajes viscerales
para por fin desmenuzarse en el cielo disuelto
No. Le arranco páginas al río
Quiero decir –intento lo que no se puede
Detener al río no se puede
No se le pueden quitar todas las hojas al río
Detener lo escrito en el agua
Pero le quito las páginas al río
Me defino por eso. Y lo hago
Atravieso una penumbra. Pero el río es una máquina feliz.
Existe aparte de mí. No me espera ni se inmuta
y yo escribo sola
No digo –ahogada- pero pienso que el río
escribe versiones que luego desleo
sintiendo mi problema de enfoque
Igual, las páginas se escriben solas
y yo estoy sola cuando escribo
e intento quitarle páginas al río




Broken Poem



I'm taking pages from the river
and when I say river
I mean the sound of birds perching together on visceral branches 
only to break away into the melted sky
No. I yank pages from the river
That is to say -- I'm trying to do the impossible
You can't hold back the river
Every single page can't be taken from the river 
in order to stop what is written in its waters
But I'm taking pages from the river
This is how I define myself. And I'm doing it
I cross a shadow. But the river is a happy machine.
It exists apart from me. It doesn't wait for me, nor does it change
and I write alone
I wouldn't call myself "drowned", but I think the river
writes down versions that I dilute later on
feeling my problem focusing
Anyway, the pages write themselves
and I'm alone when I write
and try to take pages from the river



(Translated by Catherine Chandler)











Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Cuenta atrás 6: Cristina Peri Rossi

Countdown poem #6: "Oración"  (Prayer) by Cristina Peri Rossi.  After reading the poem (and translating it), I thought of THIS.




Oración

Líbranos, Señor,
de encontrarnos,
años después,
con nuestros grandes amores.


Prayer 

Deliver us, Lord,
from meeting up,
years later,
with the loves of our lives.





(Translation by Catherine Chandler)

 

Monday, December 21, 2015

Cuenta atrás 7: Juana de Ibarbourou

Countdown poem #7: "Rebelde" (Rebel) by Juana de Ibarbourou.


Rebelde

Caronte: yo sere un escándalo en tu barca
mientras las otras sombras recen, giman, o lloren
y bajo tus miradas de siniestro patriarca
las timidas y tristes, en bajo acento, oren.


Yo ire como una alondra cantando por el rio
y llevare a tu barca mi perfume salvaje
e irradiare en las ondas del arroyo sombrio
como una azul linterna que alumbrara en el viaje.


Por mas que tu no quieras, por mas guiños siniestros
que me hagan tus dos ojos, en el terror maestros,
Caronte, yo en tu barca sere como un escándalo


y extenuada de sombra, de valor y de frio,
cuando quieras dejarme a la orilla del rio
me bajaran tus brazos cual conquista de vandalo.



Rebel

Charon: I'll be a scandal in your barque.
Those other souls may pray, lament or cry
beneath your evil patriarchal eye,
while timid spirits murmur in the dark.

Not I. I'll be the lark that flits and sings.
I'll flaunt my savage musk, and I will beam
my bright blue lantern on the bleak black stream,
sailing above the crossing on my wings.

You may not like it; and although you glare
at me with baleful eyes, I just don't care.
Charon, in your barque I'll be a scandal.

Then, when I'm cold and weak and fight no more,
your arms will drop me on the other shore,
vanquished like the captive of a Vandal.

(Translated by Catherine Chandler)

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Cuenta atrás 8: Idea Vilariño

Countdown poem number 8: El mar (The Sea) by Idea Vilariño.

Playa Brava, Punta del Este, Uruguay. Photo by Catherine Chandler
El Mar

Tan arduamente el mar,
tan arduamente,
el lento mar inmenso,
tan largamente en sí, cansadamente,
el hondo mar eterno.

Lento mar, hondo mar,
profundo mar inmenso...

Tan lenta y honda y largamente y tanto
insistente y cansado ser cayendo
como un llanto, sin fin,
pesadamente,
tenazmente muriendo...

Va creciendo sereno desde el fondo,
sabiamente creciendo,
lentamente, hondamente, largamente,
pausadamente,
mar,
arduo, cansado mar,
Padre de mi silencio.


The Sea

So arduously the sea,
so arduously,
the slow, vast sea,
endlessly, wearily,
the deep eternal sea.

Slow sea, deep sea,
deep, immense sea . . .

So slow and deep and endless and so
insistent and tired of falling
like a never-ending lamentation,
heavily,
stubbornly dying . . .

Growing calmly from the depths,
wisely growing,
slowly, deeply, endlessly,
deliberately,
sea,
arduous, weary sea,
Father of my silence.


(Translated by Catherine Chandler)


Saturday, December 19, 2015

Cuenta atrás 9: Ida Vitale



Countdown 9: "Mariposa, poema" (Butterfly, Poem) by Ida Vitale.



Mariposa, poema

En el aire estaba
impreciso, tenue, el poema.
Imprecisa también
llegó la mariposa nocturna,
ni hermosa ni agorera,
a perderse entre biombos de papeles.
La deshilada, débil cinta de palabras
se disipó con ella.
¿Volverán ambas?
Quizás, en un momento de la noche,
cuando ya no quiera escribir
algo más agorero acaso
que esa escondida mariposa
que evita la luz,
                                 como las Dichas.




 
Butterfly, Poem

It was in the air
vague, tenuous, the poem.
Vague as well
the butterfly arrived at night,
neither beautiful nor ominous,
to lose herself among paper screens.
The frayed, thin ribbon of words
vanished with her.    
Will they both return?
Perhaps, at some moment in the night,
when I no longer wish to write
something a bit more prophetic
than that ethereal butterfly  
who avoids the light,
                                              like Happiness.   


(Translated by Catherine Chandler)

Friday, December 18, 2015

Cuenta atrás 10: Amanda Berenguer

With ten days left until I leave for Uruguay, I've decided to post ten poems by Uruguayan women poets.

This one, "Tarea doméstica"  (Housework) is by Amanda Berenguer.

"Woman Sweeping" by Albert H. Krehbiel

Tarea Doméstica

Sacudo las telarañas del cielo
desmantelado
con el mismo utensilio
de todos los días,
sacudo el polvo obsecuente
de los objetos regulares, sacudo
el polvo, sacudo el polvo
de astros, cósmico abatimiento
de siempre, siempremuerta caricia
cubriendo el mobiliario terrestre,
sacudo puertas y ventanas, limpio
sus vidrios para ver más claro,
barro el piso tapado de deshechos,
de hojas arrugadas, de ceniza,
de migas, de pisadas,
de huesos relucientes,
barro la tierra, más abajo, la tierra,
y voy haciendo un pozo
a la medida de las circunstancias.


Housework

I shake off the cobwebs from the dismantled
sky
with the same duster
I use every day,
I shake off the lowly dust
from the same old things, I dust,
I dust the stardust, always the same
cosmic demolition, the forever-dead caress
that blankets earthly furniture,
I clean doors and windows, I clean
their glass in order to see more clearly,
I sweep the floor covered with garbage,
shriveled leaves, ashes,
crumbs, footprints,
glittering bones,
I sweep the ground, deeper, the ground,
as I go along making a hole
according to the circumstances.


(Translation by Catherine Chandler)





Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Abacus

Calculating-Table by Gregor Reisch: Margarita Philosophica, 1503.





 Abacus

A monotone of multipartite prose
divides into a calculated text;
its quirky quotient and remainder pose
as ciphers, cybernetic, multiplexed

a linear equation in disguise.
Well, count me out of that, but count me in
the metric system (though this be unwise),
and let me wallow in my cardinal sin:

an aggregate of sonnet, villanelle,
of terza rima and the odd blank verse,
rondeau, pantoum, the triolet as well.
Go on. Black list me. I can think of worse.

And since I reckon that the rate is prime,
despite the sum of others' wasted wrath,
I'll bloody tick them off and tick off time
until the Galilean aftermath.


-- Catherine Chandler



Monday, November 30, 2015

Ballad of the Picton Castle



I'm pleased to report that my poem, Ballad of the Picton Castle, has been chosen as one of The Rotary Dial's best poems of 2015.

It can be found on pages 14 through 17 HERE.

Thanks, Pino and Alexandra!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Jugando a cunas y tumbas: "Único poema" de María Eugenia Vaz Ferreira




María Eugenia Vaz Ferreira, one of the greatest Latin American poets of all time, at first did not want this poem to be included in her collection, La isla de los cánticos, because, as she told her brother, "no one would understand it".

Único poema

Mar sin nombre y sin orillas,
soñé con un mar inmenso,
que era infinito y arcano
como el espacio de los tiempos.

Daba máquina a sus olas,
vieja madre de la vida,
la muerte, y ellas cesaban
a la vez que renacían.

¡Cuánto hacer y morir
dentro la muerte inmortal!
Jugando a cunas y tumbas
estaba la Soledad…

De pronto un pájaro errante
cruzó la extensión marina;
“Chojé… Chojé…” repitiendo
su quejosa marcha iba.

Sepultóse en lontananza
goteando “Chojé… Chojé…”;
desperté, y sobre las olas
me eché a volar otra vez.


--- María Eugenia Vaz Ferreira

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

"from Leaden Sieves --- "




First snow of the season, Saint-Lazare, Québec. photo by Catherine Chandler
clr gif

It sifts from Leaden Sieves - (311)

Emily Dickinson, 1830 - 1886

 

It sifts from Leaden Sieves -
It powders all the Wood.
It fills with Alabaster Wool
The Wrinkles of the Road -

It makes an Even Face
Of Mountain, and of Plain -
Unbroken Forehead from the East
Unto the East again -

It reaches to the Fence -
It wraps it Rail by Rail
Till it is lost in Fleeces -
It deals Celestial Vail

To Stump, and Stack - and Stem -
A Summer’s empty Room -
Acres of Joints, where Harvests were,
Recordless, but for them -

It Ruffles Wrists of Posts
As Ankles of a Queen -
Then stills its Artisans - like Ghosts -
Denying they have been -


       

































Monday, October 19, 2015

The "mad instead": The motive for metaphor and "uncreation"

A "coursing" mole. Courtesy of TheGuardian.com



Excerpts from an interesting reflection on metaphor (http://hartzog.org) in Richard Wilbur's exquisite Spenserian sonnet, "Praise in Summer":

PRAISE IN SUMMER By Richard Wilbur
 
Obscurely yet most surely called to praise,
As summer sometimes calls us all, I said
The hills are heavens full of branching ways
Where star-nosed moles fly overhead the dead;
I said the trees are mines in air,   I said
See how the sparrow burrows in the sky!
And then I wondered why this mad instead
Perverts our praise to uncreation, why
Such savor's in this wrenching things awry.
Does sense so stale that it must needs derange
The world to know it? To a praiseful eye
Should it not be enough of fresh and strange
That trees grow green, and moles can course in clay,
And sparrows sweep the ceilings of our day?
 
This is a sonnet specifically about the motive for metaphor, but the motive for metaphor is the motive for all figures of speech, all tropes.

The Speaker in the poem feels called upon to praise the glories of summer. So he offers praise by making three statements that are whimsical and fantastic metaphors.

First, "I said The hills are heavens full of branching ways Where star-nosed moles fly overhead the dead;". Here's a statement that is made up of extended metaphors. The Speaker turns the world upside down and imagines the mole holes and tunnels under the ground as if they are a "series of branching ways in the sky(heavens) and the moles as birds flying in their tunnels. He also adds another metaphor--"star-nosed moles." The moles' noses are compared to the stars in the sky.

The second statement: "I said the trees are mines in air." The speaker continues with the basic reversal of perception: To view the earth and what's under the surface as the heavens and now to view the heavens as the earth, with the trees now viewed as if they were mine shafts burrowing into the heavens.

The third statement: "I said See how the sparrow burrows in the sky!" This statement completes the reversal of heaven and earth. The sparrows are compared to the moles. just as the moles are imagined as birds "flying" overhead the dead beneath the surface of the earth, so the sparrow's flying in the heavens is imagined as a mole burrowing in the sky.

Now comes the great reversal. Wilbur has used the sonnet form with one of its common structures: 6 lines and then 8. Notice the first 6 lines consist of praising the summer by means of his series of metaphors. But now he shifts the focus in the last 8 lines. Just as the speaker's imagination is in full flight, doing figure eights with metaphors, he suddenly stops short and questions what's he's just done. He's questioning the reason for metaphor--this strange bending of the language. He does it by means of two questions:

"And then I wondered why this mad instead
Perverts our praise to uncreation, why
Such savor's in this wrenching things awry."
 
The Speaker suddenly wonders what is the motive for metaphor. "Why this mad instead/Perverts our praise to uncreation..." Metaphor is a "mad instead" that "Perverts" praise for the summer--trees and the sky and birds into "uncreation"--metaphorical expressions like "trees are mines in air, "star-nosed moles fly overhead the dead." These images are not part of nature--creation, but the fanciful products of the Speaker's imagination--"uncreation." It is a substitution of one thing for another. A mole for a bird, a mine shaft for a tree trunk. Why not just call a bird a bird and a spade a spade? Notice however, that even in the act of questioning metaphor, the speaker uses one: "Mad" instead is a metaphor comparing the replacement of one thing by another to a crazy person--a personification to boot.

"why Such savor's in this wrenching things awry." The speaker asks another why question. Why is there such pleasure in making metaphor, in "this wrenching things awry." Again, in the act of questioning why there's "such savor's"--such pleasure--in the "mad instead," in turning the world upside down and viewing the heavens as if it were all the tunnels and burrows under the surface of the earth, and the underground as the heavens,--he can't escape using metaphorical language. The pleasure of metaphor is compared to "savor's"--a taste metaphor. The "mad instead" is a savory dish that brings pleasure to the palate. "Wrenching things awry" is also a metaphor, comparing metaphorical language to the act of twisting or bending some object out of shape. So he asks why do we get such pleasure in these language twisting games.

The speaker ends his ruminating on the motives for metaphor by asking two rhetorical questions.

Does sense so stale that it must needs derange
The world to know it? To a praiseful eye
Should it not be enough of fresh and strange
That trees grow green, and moles can course in clay,
And sparrows sweep the ceilings of our day?
 
Now we're getting to the point. It's a lovely ironic statement. Here is the motive for metaphor. The answer to the first rhetorical question is yes. Exactly. Sense is so stale that "it must needs derange the world to know it." In other words, ordinary perception is dull.

And the speaker shows us how dull by asking, "To a praiseful eye/ Should it not be enough of fresh and strange/ That trees grow green... " The irony should be clear. There is nothing fresh and strange about saying "trees grow green." It's a dead, cliched statement without insight or excitement--hardly any kind of "Praise."

An now the final irony. Even in the act of suggesting that we don't need the "mad instead" of metaphor--that it should be enough to talk straight and plain--to say a tree is green, he can't finish his thought without resorting to that same mad instead of metaphors: "and moles can course in clay, And sparrows sweep the ceilings of our day?

Moles "coursing in clay" is a metaphor comparing moles moving in their tunnels to boats or cars navigating a course. The act of sparrows flying in the sky is compared to the act of sweeping a floor with a broom. But a further metaphor--the floor becomes the ceiling.

So this poem, which attacks metaphor in favor of plain speech turns out to be a defense of metaphor. If we want to praise the summer or bring fresh insight into any aspect of human life, we do indeed need the "mad instead." Sense is so stale (another metaphor) that it must needs derange (metaphor) the world to know it. The mad instead of metaphor deranges the world, wrenches it awry out of its conventional patterns in order that we can see it again as "fresh and strange."



This blog post was inspired by a posting today by a Facebook friend who wonders whether she will "even get a dead-small-critter poem out of this?" (a squirrel had fallen down her chimney and was frantically trying to get out).

I'm almost certain she will. Go for it, Maryann!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Oink! Oink!



Pig Wrestling by Carrie Jerrell

Well-greased and terrified, it screeches its way
into the pen where we four high-school girls,
last year’s division champs, anticipate
its first evasive move. It barrels left,
zig-zagging right between us while we slog
barefoot, our jeans rolled to the knees, through the muck
three inches deep. The crowd shouts strategies
as we close in, the pig prepares to dodge
us like a cornered memory that’s stuck
somewhere between forbidden and forgotten.
We spring together, struggle to subdue
it, stop its squealing, feel its slimy skin
beneath us — muscles twitching. When the bell calls time,
it twists off in escape, just like those thoughts
that bolt away after their capture, more
alive than when you pinned them for the count.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Poem in Measure


My sonnet, "Afterwords", has been published in Measure, Volume X Issue I. Actually, it is the 5th and final poem in my long poem, "Almost", which will appear in my next book.

Friday, October 2, 2015

¡ Feliz aniversario !

El casamiento de Cathy y Hugo

Amor

Lo soñé impetuoso,  formidable y ardiente;
hablaba el impreciso lenguaje del torrente;
era un mar desbordado de locura y de fuego,
rodando por la vida como un eterno riego.
 
Luego soñélo triste, como un gran sol poniente
que dobla ante la noche la cabeza de fuego;
después rió, y en su boca tan tierna como un ruego,
soñaba sus cristales el alma de la fuente.

Y hoy sueño que es vibrante y suave y riente y triste,
que todas las tinieblas y todo el iris viste,
que, frágil como un ídolo y eterno como Dios,

sobre la vida toda su majestad levanta:
y el beso cae ardiendo a perfumar su planta
en una flor de fuego deshojada por dos....


-- Delmira Agustini, El libro blanco (Frágil), 1907






Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Beautiful Changes

Photo: garlandcannon (flickr)




The Beautiful Changes

On this first day of autumn, I am reminded of one of Richard Wilbur's most beautiful poems, "The Beautiful Changes", which begins . . .

One wading a Fall meadow finds on all sides   
The Queen Anne’s Lace lying like lilies
On water

You may read the poem in its entirety HERE.


Sunday, September 20, 2015

Sinful Sunday



My audio recording of my poem, "Seven Deadly Sonnets".

Previously published as follows:

Superbia -- sunday@six mag, March 2012
Acedia -- Raintown Review, Volume 10, Issue 2, February 2012
Luxuria -- Fox Chase Review, Winter/Spring 2011
Invidia --  Raintown Review, Volume 10, Issue 2, February 2012
Gula -- Blue Unicorn, Volume XXIX, Number 1, October 2005
Ira -- Raintown Review, Volume 10, Issue 2, February 2012
Avaritia -- Raintown Review, Volume 10, Issue 2, February 2012

Published together in my second collection, Glad and Sorry Seasons (Biblioasis, 2014)

Ahmed's Clock


Recently published in The New Verse News HERE.



Ahmed’s Clock
A clock stopped -- not the mantel's (Emily Dickinson)


the main board
links

the seven-segment display 
the transformer
 
the 9-volt interface
for power-outage battery backup     

in a circuit-stuffed
pencil box

clocks
don’t look

like
that

Ahmed makes
the connection




© Catherine Chandler, September 20, 2015





Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Road Taken


Wyoming Valley Sunset (Flickr.com)

 

 

The Sirens

by Richard Wilbur


I never knew the road
From which the whole earth didn't call away,
With wild birds rounding the hill crowns,
Haling out of the heart an old dismay,
Or the shore somewhere pounding its slow code,
Or low-lighted towns
Seeming to tell me, stay.

Lands I have never seen
And shall not see, loves I will not forget,
All I have missed, or slighted, or foregone
Call to me now. And weaken me. And yet
I would not walk a road without a scene.
I listen going on,
The richer for regret.



"The Sirens" by Richard Wilbur from Ceremony and Other Poems. © Harcourt, Brace & Company, 1950. Reprinted with permission.(The Writer's Almanac, February 9, 2014)



Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Wise-ass






"Another Art", my wise-ass parody of Elizabeth Bishop's poem, has been accepted for publication in THIS ANTHOLOGY.

Thanks, Jerry and Ulf!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

" . . . to unearth all we need to know."



My light/dark sonnet, "For Pluto" has now been published on the light verse site, Lighten Up Online.

You may read it HERE.

Thank you, editor Jerome Betts!


Thursday, August 13, 2015

Emily Brontë: ". . . in evening's quiet hour . . ."

Emily Jane Brontë, portrait by her brother, Branwell


My favorite novel of all time is Wuthering Heights. I can't remember how many times I've read it over the years.

However, I also love the poetry of Emily Brontë.  Her most anthologized poems being "No Coward Soul is Mine", "Remembrance" and "I Am the Only Being Whose Doom".


In her book The Brontës (London: Thames and Hudson, 1969), Phyllis Bentley has this to say:
 
Emily Brontë was a 'space-sweeping soul', to use her own phrase about a philosopher; her thought on life, death, immortality, imagination, liberty, deity, had a depth and a breadth of vision comparable to that of Wordsworth or Shakespeare.

It has been the fashion to speak of her as a metaphysical poet, but I prefer to call her a pantheist; she saw the universe as a whole, and her vision comprehended the lark, the woolly sheep, the snowy glen, the nature of being and God Himself as all part of one great harmony. Nor can her thought be called speculative; she writes with a majestic, almost casual, certainty. These tremendous themes, these minute observations, are both conveyed with an absolute simplicity of language; no purple patches of metaphor or simile, no elaboration of construction, no experiments with metre -- one feels Emily would have thought any such artifices contemptibly vulgar. She merely says what she means in the clearest, hardest hitting terms she can find. But if her metres are conventional and her words austere, her rhythms have a poetry so intense as to be deeply thrilling, in the most literal sense of that expression.


TO IMAGINATION
by Emily Brontë

When weary with the long day’s care,
And earthly change from pain to pain,
And lost, and ready to despair,
Thy kind voice calls me back again:
Oh, my true friend! I am not lone,
While then canst speak with such a tone!

So hopeless is the world without;
The world within I doubly prize;
Thy world, where guile, and hate, and doubt,
And cold suspicion never rise;
Where thou, and I, and Liberty,
Have undisputed sovereignty.

What matters it, that all around
Danger, and guilt, and darkness lie,
If but within our bosom’s bound
We hold a bright, untroubled sky,
Warm with ten thousand mingled rays
Of suns that know no winter days?

Reason, indeed, may oft complain
For Nature’s sad reality,
And tell the suffering heart how vain
Its cherished dreams must always be;
And Truth may rudely trample down
The flowers of Fancy, newly-blown:

But thou art ever there, to bring
The hovering vision back, and breathe
New glories o’er the blighted spring,
And call a lovelier Life from Death.
And whisper, with a voice divine,
Of real worlds, as bright as thine.

I trust not to thy phantom bliss,
Yet, still, in evening’s quiet hour,
With never-failing thankfulness,
I welcome thee, Benignant Power;
Sure solacer of human cares,
And sweeter hope, when hope despairs!



As one who has just completed a new collection of poetry, I can attest to the exhaustion writers often feel at having poured out their heart's essence. The Muse has been an infrequent visitor these past few months, and I sometimes wonder whether she will ever return on a regular basis. Emily Brontë's "To Imagination" gives me hope.

 



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