Zócalo Poets will return February 2013 / Zócalo Poets…Volveremos en febrero de 2013

¿Eres poeta o poetisa?

¡Mándanos tus poemas en cualquier idioma!

Are you a poet or poetess?

Send us your poems in any language!



Snowball 1

Snowball 2Snowball 3


与謝野 鉄幹 / Yosano Hiroshi (1873-1935)


yama fukami /deep in the mountains /en lo profundo de la cordillera

haru to mo shiranu / beyond the knowledge of spring /

más allá del conocimiento de la primavera

matsu no to ni / on a pine bough door /sobre una puerta de ramas de pino

taedae kakaru / there are faintly suspended / hay, delicadamente suspendidos,

yuki no tamamizu / beads of liquid snow / gotas de nieve líquida.

.     .     .

Oliver Herford (1863-1935)

“I heard a bird sing”


I heard a bird sing

In the dark of December.

A magical thing

And sweet to remember.


“We are nearer to Spring

Than we were in September,”

I heard a bird sing

In the dark of December.

.     .     .

“Oí un pájaro, cantante pájaro” (Oliver Herford, 1863-1935)


Oí un pájaro, cantante pájaro,

En l’ oscuridad de diciembre

– algo mágico, esa voz, y

Dulce en mi recuerdo.


“Estamos más cerca de la primavera

Que estuvimos en septiembre.”

Oí un pájaro, cantante pájaro,

En la luz tenue, diciembre.

.     .     .

藤原定長 / Jakuren (1139-1202)


kaze wa kiyoshi / the breeze is fresh / fresca, la brisa,

tsuki wa sayakeshi / the moon is bright; / brillante, la luna;

iza tomoni / come, we shall dance till dawn, / ven, bailaremos hasta el alba,

odori akasan / and say farewell to age…  /  y a la vejez diremos Adiós.

oi no nagori ni…


Translations of ‘tanka’ poems by Yosano Hiroshi and Jakuren from Japanese © Michael Haldane

Translations into Spanish / Traducciones al español:  Alexander Best

.     .     .     .     .

“Just enough snow to make you look carefully at familiar streets”: the Haiku of Richard Wright

ZP_El Círculo de Amigos…bajo la nieve

ZP_El Círculo de Amigos…bajo la nieve


Just enough snow

To make you look carefully

At familiar streets.


On winter mornings

The candle shows faint markings

Of the teeth of rats.


In the falling snow

A laughing boy holds out his palms

Until they are white.


The snowball I threw

Was caught in a net of flakes

And wafted away.


Snow Poems 2


A freezing morning:

I left a bit of my skin

On the broomstick handle.


The Christmas season:

A whore is painting her lips

Larger than they are.


Snow Poems 3


Standing patiently

The horse grants the snowflakes

A home on his back.


In the falling snow

the thick wool of the sheep

gives off a faint vapour.


Entering my town

In a fall of heavy snow

I feel a stranger.


In this rented room

One more winter stands outside

My dirty windowpane.


Snow Poems 5

Snow Poems 6

Snow Poems 4


The call of a bird

sends a solid cake of snow

sliding off the roof.


I slept so long and sound,

but I did not know why until

I saw the snow outside.


The smell of sunny snow

is swelling the icy air –

the world grows bigger.


The cold is so sharp

that the shadow of the house

bites into the snow.


What do they tell you

each night, O winter moon,

before they roll you out?


Burning out its time

And timing its own burning,

One lovely candle.

.     .     .

Richard Nathaniel Wright (born Roxie, Mississippi,1908, died Paris, 1960) was a rigorous Black-American short-story writer, novelist, essayist, and lecturer. He joined the Communist Party USA in 1933 and was Harlem editor for the newspaper “Daily Worker”.  Intensely racial themes were pervasive in his work and famous books such as Uncle Tom’s Children (1938), Native Son (1940) and Black Boy (1945) were sometimes criticized for their portrayal of violence – yet, as the 1960s’ voices of Black Power would phrase it – a generation later – he was just “telling it like it is.”


Wright discovered Haiku around 1958 and began to write obsessively in this Japanese form using what was becoming the standard “shape” in English:  5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables, in three separate lines, and with the final line adding an element of surprise – delicate or otherwise.  One of Haiku’s objectives is, to paraphrase Matsuo Bashō, a 17th-century Japanese poet:  In a haiku poem, if you reveal 70 to 80 percent of the subject – that’s good – but if you show only 50 to 60 percent, then the reader or listener will never tire of that particular poem.

What do you think – does Wright succeed?


The 4 Seasons are themes in Haiku;  here we have presented a palmful of Wright’s Winter haiku. Wright was frequently bedridden during the last year of his life and his daughter Julia has said that her father’s haiku were “self-developed antidotes against illness, and that breaking down words into syllables matched the shortness of his breath.”  She also added:  her father was striving “to spin these poems of light out of the gathering darkness.”

We are grateful to poet Ty Hadman for these quotations from Wright’s daughter, Julia.

.     .     .

The above haiku were selected from the volume  Richard Wright:  Haiku, This Other World, published posthumously, in 1998, after a collection of several thousand Haiku composed by Wright was ‘ found ‘ in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library of Yale University.

.     .     .     .     .

Kwanzaa yenu iwe na heri! Harambee! / Happy Kwanzaa – Let’s all pull together!


Vickie M. Oliver-Lawson

“Remembering the Seven Principles of Kwanzaa”


First fruits is what the name Kwanzaa means

It’s celebrated everywhere by kings and queens

Based on seven principles that still exist

If you check out this rhyme, you’ll get the gist


Umoja, a Swahili name for unity

Is the goal we strive for across this country

Kujichagulia means self-determination

We define ourselves, a strong creation.

Ujima or collective work and responsibility

Is how we build and maintain our own community

For if my people have a problem, then so do I

So let’s work through it together with our heads held high.


Ujamaa meaning cooperative economics is nothing new

We support and run our own stores and other businesses, too

Nia is purpose, us developing our potential

As we build our community strong to the Nth exponential

Kuumba is the creative force which lies within our call

As we leave our community much better for all

As a people, let’s move forward by extending our hand

For Imani is the faith to believe that we can.


These seven principles help to make our nation strong

If you live to these ideals, you can’t go wrong

But you must first determine your own mentality

And believe in yourself as you want you to be

And no matter how far, work hard to reach your goal

As we stand, as a people, heads up, fearless and bold.


Ms. Vickie M. Oliver-Lawson is a retired public school administrator, wife, and mother from Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A.  She is the author of several books, including “Vocal Moments”, “In the Quilting Tradition” and “Timeless Influences” (2009).  She contributes to the Examiner news website.

.     .     .

Journalist Will Jones writes:

Kwanzaa was created as an Afrocentric holiday in 1966 by the black-militant history professor Maulana Karenga, and was intended to be a secular cultural celebration rooted in notions of African pride and community empowerment, rather than in any long-standing religious tradition like Christmas or Hanukkah. And in its very nature, Kwanzaa seems as appealing to many as it is appalling to others. It certainly presumes a level of self-awareness and racial identity that some can find off-putting. But at the same time, many who celebrate Kwanzaa or in tandem with Christmas say the holiday is less about being counter to any other mainstream holiday, and more of a vehicle to celebrate African-American culture and a shared heritage.

Kwanzaa, which means “first fruits” in Swahili, revolves around seven core principles, each celebrated on one day of the week-long observance, with simple, often homemade gifts and feasts. Each day a red, black or green candle is lit in a Kinara in honour of each of the seven principles: Umoja, unity; Kujichagulia, self-determination; Ujima, collective work and responsibility; Ujamaa, cooperative economics; Nia, purpose; Kuumba, creativity; and Imani, faith. ”

Kwanzaa, beginning always on December 26th, lasts seven days, being completed on January 1st.

.     .     .     .     .

Karibu, Mgeni? / Welcome, Guest?: a Swahili poem about Hospitality

ZP_The Flag of Zanzibar

ZP_The Flag of Zanzibar

Author Unknown:

A Swahili poem about Hospitality, based on the proverb

Mgeni siku mbili, ya tatu mpe jembe /

If a guest has stayed two days, on the third hand him a hoe


Mgeni siku ya kwanza  . The first day give the guest

mpe mchele na panza   .  rice with flying fish

mtilie kifuani   .  embrace him,

mkaribishe mgeni  .  introduce him to your family.

Mgeni siku ya pili  .  The second day 

mpe ziwa na samli   .   give him milk and butter. 

mahaba yakizidia   .   If love can increase  

mzidie mgeni.  .   give more to the guest.  

Mgeni siku ya tatu    . The third day  

jumbani hamuna kitu    .  there is nothing left    

Mna zibaba zitatu           .  but three bags of rice

pika ule na mgeni           .  boil it and eat.   

Mgeni siku ya nne          .  The fourth day 

mpe jembe akalime           . give him a hoe to farm.

Akirudi muagane            .  When he comes back say

enda kwao mgeni                             .   Goodbye, go home, dear guest. 

Mgeni siku ya tano                           .   The fifth day

mwembamba kama sindano                .    the guest is needle-thin

Hauishi musengenyano                        .    He does not listen to advice,

asengenyao mgeni                               .    the guest is well warned.  

Mgeni siku ya sita                                       .   The sixth day,    

mkila mkajificha                                            .    hide in a corner

mwingine vipembeni                                        .   while you eat,

afichwaye yeye mgeni                                        .   out of sight from the guest.

Mgeni siku ana ya sabaa                                     .     The seventh day

si mgeni a na baa                                                     .   a guest now is a monster  

Hatta moto mapaani                                             .   and has put fire   

akatia yeye mgeni.                                               .     to the roof.  

Mgeni siku ya nane                                                .   The eighth day  

njo ndani tuonane                                                  .    the guest comes in to greet us.

Atapotokea nje                                                      .  When he comes outside

tuagane mgeni                                                        .    we take leave.

Mgeni siku ya kenda                                             .  The ninth day:

enenda mwana kwenenda!                                                .  go now, son, go now

Usirudi nyuma                                                                         .   and don’t come back

usirudi mgeni                                                                                 .   don’t return, oh guest.

Mgeni siku ya kumi                                               .    The tenth day, chase him away,  

kwa mateke na magumi                             .   with kicks and blows. 

Hapana afukuzwaye                                                       .  There is no other such a one    

yeye mgeni.                                                                            . who is chased away this way.

.     .     .

Hospitality poem: courtesy of Albert Scheven and Dr. Peter Ojiambo, The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


Swahili or Kiswahili is a Bantu language of East Africa spoken by various ethnic groups in several contiguous states.  Fewer than 10 million people speak Swahili as their mother tongue but more than 60 million use it as a ‘ lingua franca ‘ for commerce and transnational communication.  It is an official language in five countries:  Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.  Written Swahili once used the Arabic script but now the Latin alphabet is standard.  There have been many Swahili dialects;  modern Swahili is based on the dialect used in Mji Mkongwe (the name of the old-town quarter in Zanzibar City, Zanzibar, Tanzania).

.     .     .

ZP_Árbol de La Navidad al Charlie Brown_A Charlie Brown Christmas Tree

ZP_Árbol de La Navidad al Charlie Brown_A Charlie Brown Christmas Tree

Norval Morrisseau: “María”, Madre de Jesús

ZP_Mary_by Norval Morrisseau   ᐅᓴᐘᐱᑯᐱᓀᓯ born Beardmore Ontario 1932, died Toronto 2007_ Canada's greatest painter of the twentieth century_Norval Morrisseau fue el gran pintor canadiense del siglo XX

ZP_Mary_by Norval Morrisseau ᐅᓴᐘᐱᑯᐱᓀᓯ born Beardmore Ontario 1932, died Toronto 2007_ Canada’s greatest painter of the twentieth century_Norval Morrisseau fue el gran pintor canadiense del siglo XX

Poemas de Navidad: Mary Elizabeth Coleridge y G. K. Chesterton

ZP_ᐅᓴᐘᐱᑯᐱᓀᓯ  Norval Morrisseau_Virgin Mary with Christ Child and St. John the Baptist, 1973

ZP_ᐅᓴᐘᐱᑯᐱᓀᓯ Norval Morrisseau_Virgin Mary with Christ Child and St. John the Baptist, 1973

Mary Elizabeth Coleridge (1861-1907)

“Vi un establo”


Vi un estable, tan bajo, desnudo,

Con un niño diminuto al heno.

Le conocieron los bueyes y cuidaron de Él

– al hombre fue un desconocido.

La seguridad del mundo estaba tendido

Allá en el jacal

– el peligro del mundo, también.


.     .     .


“I saw a stable”


I saw a stable, low and very bare,

A little child in a manger.

The oxen knew Him, had Him in their care,

To men He was a stranger.

The safety of the world was lying there,

And the world’s danger.


.     .     .


G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936)

“The House of Christmas”


There fared a mother driven forth

Out of an inn to roam;

In the place where she was homeless

All men are at home.

The crazy stable close at hand,

With shaking timber and shifting sand,

Grew a stronger thing to abide and stand

Than the square stones of Rome.


For men are homesick in their homes,

And strangers under the sun,

And they lay their heads in a foreign land

Whenever the day is done.

Here we have battle and blazing eyes,

And chance and honour and high surprise;

But our homes are under miraculous skies

Where the Yule tale was begun.


A child in a foul stable,

Where the beasts feed and foam;

Only where He was homeless

Are you and I at home;

We have hands that fashion and heads that know,

Bur our hearts we lost – how long ago! –

In a place no chart nor ship can show

Under the sky’s dome.


This world is wild as an old wives’ tale,

And strange the plain things are,

The earth is enough and the air is enough

For our wonder and our war;

But our rest is as far as the fire-drake swings

Where clashed and thundered unthinkable wings

Round an incredible star.


To an open house in the evening

Home shall men come,

To an older place than Eden

And a taller town than Rome;

To the end of the way of the wandering star,

To the things that cannot be and that are,

To the place where God was homeless

And all men are at home.

.     .     .     .     .

Luke 2: 1-14: “Di Gud Nyuuz bout Jiizas”: El nacimiento de Jesús en la prosa poética de La Biblia / Jesus’ birth in the poetic prose of Renaissance Spanish and English Bibles + Wycliffe(1395), Haitian Creole and Jamaican Patois

ZP_A toy Nativity scene with a coconut shell as the stable, from Haiti. Jwaye Noel means Merry Christmas in Haitian Creole._Jwaye Nwel dice Feliz Navidad en el idioma criollo haitiano.

ZP_A toy Nativity scene with a coconut shell as the stable, from Haiti. Jwaye Noel means Merry Christmas in Haitian Creole._Jwaye Nwel dice Feliz Navidad en el idioma criollo haitiano.

Un fino ejemplo de la prosa poética de La Biblia en su Antigua Versión de Casidoro de Reina (1569) con revisiones por Cipriano de Valera (1602):

Luca 2: 1-14:

“ Aconteció en aquellos días que salió un edicto de parte de César Augusto, para levantar un censo de todo el mundo habitado. Este primer censo se realizó mientras Cirenio era gobernador de Siria. Todos iban para inscribirse en el censo, cada uno a su ciudad. Entonces José también subió desde Galilea, de la ciudad de Nazaret, a Judea, a la ciudad de David que se llama Belén, porque él era de la casa y de la familia de David, para inscribirse con María, su esposa, quien estaba encinta. Aconteció que, mientras ellos estaban allí, se cumplieron los días de su alumbramiento, y dio a luz a su hijo primogénito. Le envolvió en pañales, y le acostó en un pesebre, porque no había lugar para ellos en el mesón. Había pastores en aquella región, que velaban y guardaban las vigilias de la noche sobre su rebaño. Y un ángel del Señor se presentó ante ellos, y la gloria del Señor los rodeó de resplandor; y temieron con gran temor. Pero el ángel les dijo: No temáis, porque he aquí os doy buenas nuevas de gran gozo, que será para todo el pueblo: que hoy, en la ciudad de David, os ha nacido un Salvador, que es Cristo el Señor. Y esto os servirá de señal: Hallaréis al niño envuelto en pañales y acostado en un pesebre.

De repente apareció con el ángel una multitud de las huestes celestiales, que alababan a Dios y decían: ¡Gloria a Dios en las alturas, y en la tierra paz entre los hombres de buena voluntad! ”

.     .     .

Y en el inglés del tiempo de Shakespeare, de la versión del rey Jacobo (1611):

A fine example of the poetic prose of The King James Version (1611) of The Bible:

Luke 2: 1-14:

“And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.  And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.  And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.  And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem;  because he was of the house and lineage of David:  to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.  And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.  And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger;  because there was no room for them in the inn.  And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them:  and they were sore afraid.  And the angel said unto them: Fear not, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.  And this shall be a sign unto you;  Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying:  Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and good will toward men.”

.     .     .

Y en el ‘inglés medio’de dos siglos antes de la versión del rey Jacobo, de la Biblia de John Wycliffe (1395):

And, from The Wycliffe Bible, two centuries earlier (1395) – in ‘Middle English’:

Luke 2: 1-14:

“ And it was don in tho daies, a maundement wente out fro the emperour August, that al the world schulde be discryued.  This firste discryuyng was maad of Cyryn, iustice of Sirie.  And alle men wenten to make professioun, ech in to his owne citee.  And Joseph wente vp fro Galilee, fro the citee Nazareth, in to Judee, in to a citee of Dauid, that is clepid Bethleem, for that he was of the hous and of the meyne of Dauid, that he schulde knouleche with Marie, his wijf, that was weddid to hym, and was greet with child. And it was don, while thei weren there, the daies weren fulfillid, that sche schulde bere child.  And sche bare hir first borun sone, and wlappide hym in clothis, and leide hym in a cratche, for ther was no place to hym in no chaumbir. And scheepherdis weren in the same cuntre, wakynge and kepynge the watchis of the nyyt on her flok.  And lo! the aungel of the Lord stood bisidis hem, and the cleernesse of God schinede aboute hem; and thei dredden with greet drede.  And the aungel seide to hem, Nyle ye drede; for lo! Y preche to you a greet ioye, that schal be to al puple.  For a sauyoure is borun to dai to you, that is Crist the Lord, in the citee of Dauid. And this is a tokene to you; ye schulen fynde a yong child wlappid in clothis, and leid in a cratche.

And sudenli ther was maad with the aungel a multitude of heuenli knyythod, heriynge God, and seiynge, Glorie be in the hiyeste thingis to God, and in erthe pees be to men of good wille. “

.     .     .

En Kréyòl ayisyen / In Haitian Creole / en el idioma de criollo haitiano:

Lik 2: 1-14:

Lè sa a, Seza Ogis te bay lòd pou yo te konte dènye moun ki nan peyi l’ap gouvènen yo.

Premye travay sa a te fèt nan tan Kireniyis t’ap kòmande nan peyi yo rele Siri a.

Tout moun te al fè pran non yo nan lavil kote fanmi yo te soti.

Jozèf te rete nan peyi Galile, nan yon bouk yo rele Nazarèt. Men, paske li te moun nan fanmi ak ras David, li moute, li ale nan Jide, nan lavil David yo rele Betleyèm lan.

Jozèf tapral fè yo pran non l’ ansanm ak non Mari, fiyanse li, ki te ansent.

Antan yo te la, jou pou Mari te akouche a rive.

Li fè premye pitit li a, yon ti gason. Mari vlope pitit la nan kouchèt, li mete l’ kouche nan yon kay kote yo bay bèt manje, paske pa t’ gen plas pou yo nan lotèl la.

Nan menm zòn sa a, te gen gadò mouton ki t’ap pase nwit la deyò ap veye mouton yo.

Lè sa a, yon zanj Bondye parèt devan yo, bèl limyè Bondye a klere tout kote yo te ye a. Yo te pè anpil.

Men zanj lan di yo konsa: Pa pè. N’ap anonse nou yon bon nouvèl ki pral fè tout pèp la kontan anpil.

Jòdi a, nan lavil David la, nou gen yon Sovè ki fenk fèt: se Kris la, Seyè a.

Men remak ki va fè nou rekonèt li: n’a jwenn yon tibebe vlope nan kouchèt, kouche nan yon kay kote yo bay bèt manje.

Menm lè a, yon foul lòt zanj nan syèl la vin jwenn zanj lan; yo t’ap fè lwanj Bondye, yo t’ap di konsa:

Lwanj pou Bondye anwo nan syèl la, kè poze sou latè pou tout moun li renmen.

.     .     .

And…in Jamaican Patois:

Luuk 2: 1-14:

1 Iina dem die de, di Ruoman ruula, Siiza Agostos, gi aada fi rait dong di niem a evribadi iina im kindom.  2 (Dis a di fos taim niem a rait dong sins di taim wen Kiriniyos did a ruul uova Siriya.)  3 Aal im piipl dem did afi go a di toun we dem baan fi get dem niem rait dong, so di govament kyan taks dem.

4 So kaaz Juozif did kom fram Dievid fambili an Dievid did baan iina Judiya, im did afi lef fram Nazaret iina Gyalalii an go a Betliyem iina Judiya.  5 Juozif go de wid Mieri fi get dem niem rait dong. Di tuu a dem did ingiej fi marid dem wan aneda an shi did av biebi iina beli.  6 Wen dem de de, Mieri tek iin fi av biebi,  7 an shi av ar fos pikni, wan bwai. Shi rap im op iina biebi blangkit an put im iina di baks we di animal dem nyam outa, kaaz no spies neva iina di ges ous fi dem.

8 Da nait de, som shepad did a luk aafa dem shiip iina wan fiil, nier we Mieri dem did de.  9 Wan a di Laad ienjel dem kom tu di shepad dem. Wan brait brait lait fram Gad kova dem an it mek dem fraitn so til.  10 So di ienjel tel dem se, “No fried! Mi av gud nyuuz fi unu. Nyuuz we ago mek evribadi api.  11 Di wan we ago siev unu baan tide iina di toun we Dievid kom fram. Im a Krais, di Laad.  12 Mi ago tel unu wa unu ago si, so wen unu si dat unu ago nuo se a im. Unu ago si wan biebi rap op iina wan biebi blangkit an a lidong iina di baks we di animal dem nyam outa.”

13 Aal av a sodn uol iip a ienjel fram evn, jain im. Dem did a priez di Laad an se,  14 “Priez Gad we de a evn, an piis fi evribadi we Gad api wid.”

.     .     .     .     .

Roch Carrier’s “Le chandail de hockey” / “The hockey sweater”: Canada’s Ol’ Time Religion


Religious fanaticism is rare in Canada, except for our devotion to the ice-hot God of Hockey – most especially for boys (and even girls) who grew up in Ontario and Québec.  Fans of NHL games have soured on the sport as a “professional” manifestation, what with a decade of crassly-deliberate violence on the ice, not to mention the current “lock-out” making 2012-2013 a lost season.  But the game itself, played by amateurs lucky enough to be skating on an outdoor rink, perhaps even under a starry sky, remains crisp, clear, good fun.

It’s Christmas Day…so we present to our readers the first page of Roch Carrier’s classic 1979 children’s story, The Hockey Sweater, here translated from French into English by Sheila Fischman:

The winters of my childhood were long, long seasons.  We lived in three places – the school, the church, and the skating-rink – but our real life was on the skating-rink.  Real battles were won on the rink, real strength appeared on the rink.  The real leaders showed themselves on the skating-rink.


School was a sort of punishment.  Parents always want to punish their children and school is their most natural way of punishing us.  However, school was also a quiet place where we could prepare for the next hockey game, lay out our next strategies.


As for church, we found there the tranquility of God:  there we forgot school and dreamed about the next hockey game.  Through our daydreams it might happen that we would recite a prayer:  we would ask God to help us play as well as Maurice Richard *…

ZP_Zócalo Poets’ editor laces up for a go-round the rink...

ZP_Zócalo Poets’ editor laces up for a go-round the rink…

Carrier’s first page in its original French:

Les hivers de mon enfance étaient des saisons longues, longues. Nous vivions en trois lieux :  l’école, l’église et la patinoire : mais la vraie vie était sur la patinoire. Les vrais combats se gagnaient sur la patinoire.  La vraie force apparaissait sur la patinoire. Les vrais chefs se manifestaient sur la patinoire.


L’école était une sorte de punition.  Les parents ont toujours envie de punir les enfants et l’école était leur façon la plus naturelle de nous punir. De plus, l’école était un endroit tranquille où l’on pouvait préparer les prochaines parties de hockey, dessiner les prochaines stratégies.


Quant à l’église, nous trouvions là le repos de Dieu : on y oubliait l’école et l’on rêvait à la prochaine partie de hockey. A travers nos rêveries, il nous arrivait de réciter une prière : c’était pour demander à Dieu de nous aider à jouer aussi bien que Maurice Richard…

.     .     .

* Maurice ‘ The Rocket ‘ Richard (born Montréal, Québec, 1921-2000) was one of the early stars of professional hockey, playing for the Montréal Canadiens (The Habs) between 1942 and 1960.  He was the first to score fifty goals in fifty games, and did so during the 1944-45 NHL season.

.     .     .     .     .

Nawāz, Forughi, ’Attār: Three Sufi poets translated from Persian into English

ZP_Frozen Spheres by Frank Lloyd Wright, 1927

ZP_Frozen Spheres by Frank Lloyd Wright, 1927

Gharib Nawāz (born 1142?, died 1236)

“Make Way for the King!”


From spacelessness Love descends to lover’s heart;

So sweep yourself up for the King of the world

descends to this dust heap

and the soul becomes as flesh

when the Soul of soul plunges into the soul

– and why not?

If treasure is dug in ruins why not love in your heart?

Get out of the doorway!

The King of Love approaches the house:


All you nobodies – OUT!

The guardian of those who have no-one

approaches the house and

once the house is vacant of others

the mercy will descend…


A King is lurking in my closet

but the whole world cannot contain him.

Once he gets here both worlds will implode into dust

and atoms –

for he descends no where but



What is the heart?

The hawk of

High Holy Heaven.

How can it bear to nest in the




is dust on the stoop…

Where else would you expect to find him?



*Mo’in is the poet’s pen-name.

.     .     .


Abbas Forughi Bastāmi (1798-1857)

“Lover’s Craft”


Again and again I polished my eye – now look:

it’s become such a mirror that with a single glance

I can make you fall in love with yourself.  Now look,

look deep into this glass and be aware

of other worlds.

.                              Now like a drunken reveler

pass by the monastery and the mosque:

you will be worshiped as the niche for prayer

by Muslim and Christian alike.

Some night I’ll strip the veil from your face

and you’ll become Sun of the Kaaba,

Moon of the Church.

.                               If your braided tresses fell

In my hands I could forge a thousand chains for your feet;

if they gave me the Trees of Paradise on Judgement Day

I’d trade them both to ransom

one rare embrace.


In Love’s atelier my craftsmanship

reaches an unearthly beauty when

I contemplate your face.

.                                 The whole world knows

I am a reprobate in love – but God forbid

I ruin your reputation as well, my love.


.     .     .


Faridoddin ’Attār (died around 1230)

“The Dullard Sage”


Lost in myself

…I reappeared

……I know not where

a drop that rose

…from the sea and fell

……and dissolved again;

a shadow

…that stretched itself out

……at dawn,

when the sun

…reached noon

……I disappeared.

I have no news

…of my coming

……or passing away –

the whole thing

…happened quicker

……than a breath;

ask no questions

…of the moth.

……In the candle flame

of his face

…I have forgotten

……all the answers.

In the way of love

…there must be knowledge

……and ignorance

so I have become

…both a dullard

……and a sage;

one must be

…an eye and yet

……not see

so I am blind

…and yet I still



…be on my head

……if I can say

where I

…in bewilderment

……have wandered:


…watched his heart

……transcend both worlds

and under its shadow

…now is gone mad

……with love.



Translations from Persian into English:

© Peter Lamborn Wilson and Nasrollah Pourjavady

– in their anthology of Persian Sufi Poetry entitled “The Drunken Universe”

.     .     .

From the Authors’ Introduction:

“Of all the strands of thought, tradition, and belief that make up the Islamic universe, Sufism in its doctrinal aspect stands out as the most intact, the most purely Islamic:  the central strand.  Opponents of Sufism often charge it with having originated outside Islam, but a close study of the various schools of philosophy and theology, and a comparison with “primordial” Islam as revealed in the Qu’ran and hadith (authentic sayings of the Prophet Mohammad), will vindicate the Sufis’ claim of centrality, of strict adherence to the original purity of the Revelation. … Sufism – always insisting on a return to the sources of the Tradition – can be seen to have functioned at times as a positive and healthy reaction to the overly rational activity of the philosophers and theologians.  For the Sufis, the road to spiritual knowledge – to Certainty – could never be confined to the process of rational or purely intellectual activity, without sapiential knowledge (zawq or “taste”) and the direct, immediate experience of the Heart…”

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