Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)
“I had no time to Hate”
I had no time to Hate –
The Grave would hinder Me –
And Life was not so
Could finish – Enmity –
Nor had I time to Love –
Some Industry must be –
The little Toil of Love –
Be large enough for Me –
. . .
“They might not need me – yet they might”
They might not need me – yet they might –
I’ll let my Heart be just in sight –
A smile so small as mine might be
Precisely their necessity.
“Who has not found the Heaven – below”
Who has not found the Heaven – below –
Will fail of it above –
For Angels rent the House next ours,
Wherever we remove –
Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906)
O Lord, the hard-won miles
Have worn my stumbling feet:
Oh, soothe me with thy smiles,
And make my life complete.
The thorns were thick and keen
Where’er I trembling trod;
The way was long between
My wounded feet and God.
Where healing waters flow
Do thou my footsteps lead.
My heart is aching so;
Thy gracious balm I need.
. . .
Paul Laurence Dunbar
A little dreaming by the way,
A little toiling day by day;
A little pain, a little strife,
A little joy,–and that is life.
A little short-lived summer’s morn,
When joy seems all so newly born,
When one day’s sky is blue above,
And one bird sings,–and that is love.
A little sickening of the years,
The tribute of a few hot tears,
Two folded hands, the failing breath,
And peace at last,–and that is death.
Just dreaming, loving, dying so,
The actors in the drama go–
A flitting picture on a wall,
Love, Death, the themes; but is that all?
. . .
Guido Guinizelli (1230-1276)
“Of Moderation and Tolerance”
He that has grown to wisdom hurries not,
But thinks and weighs what Reason bids him do;
And after thinking he retains his thought
Until as he conceived the fact ensue.
Let no man to o’erweening pride be wrought,
But count his state as Fortune’s gift and due.
He is a fool who deems that none has sought
The truth, save he alone, or knows it true.
Many strange birds are on the air abroad,
Nor all are of one flight or of one force,
But each after his kind dissimilar:
To each was portion’d of the breath of God,
Who gave them divers instincts from one source.
Then judge not thou thy fellows what they are.
Translation from the Italian: Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1861)
. . .
Luci Shaw (born 1928)
“But not forgotten”
Whether or not I find the missing thing
it will always be
more than my thought of it.
Silver-heavy, somewhere it winks
in its own small privacy
the waiting game for me.
And the real treasures do not vanish.
The precious loses no value
in the spending.
A piece of hope spins out
bright, along the dark, and is not
lost in space;
verity is a burning boomerang;
love is out orbiting and will
. . .
Henri Nouwen (1932-1996)
Hope means to keep living
and to keep humming in darkness.
Hoping is knowing that there is love,
it is trust in tomorrow
it is falling asleep
and waking again
when the sun rises.
In the midst of a gale at sea,
it is to discover land.
In the eye of another
it is to see that he understands you.
As long as there is still hope
there will also be prayer.
And God will be holding you
in His hands.
. . .
“When I heard the learn’d astronomer”
When I heard the learn’d astronomer,
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,
When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them,
When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured
with much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,
Till rising and gliding out I wander’d off by myself,
In the mystical moist night air, and from time to time,
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.
Gwendolyn Brooks (1917-2000)
“Speech to the Young, Speech to the Progress-Toward
(Among them Nora and Henry III)”
Say to them
say to the down-keepers,
“Even if you are not ready for day
it cannot always be night.”
You will be right.
For that is the hard home-run.
Live not for the battles won.
Live not for the-end-of-the-song.
Live in the along.
Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941)
I thought that my voyage had come to its end
at the last limit of my power,
that the path before me was closed,
that provisions were exhausted,
and the time come to take shelter in a silent obscurity.
But I find that Thy Will knows no end in me.
And when old words die out on the tongue,
new melodies break forth from the heart;
and where the old tracks are lost,
new country is revealed with its wonders.
. . .
William Matthews (1942-1997)
How easily happiness begins by
dicing onions. A lump of sweet butter
slithers and swirls across the floor
of the sauté pan, especially if its
errant path crosses a tiny slick
of olive oil. Then a tumble of onions.
This could mean soup or risotto
or chutney (from the Sanskrit
chatni, to lick). Slowly the onions
go limp and then nacreous
and then what cookbooks call clear,
though if they were eyes you could see
clearly the cataracts in them.
It’s true it can make you weep
to peel them, to unfurl and to tease
from the taut ball first the brittle,
caramel-coloured and decrepit
papery outside layer, the least
recent the reticent onion
wrapped around its growing body,
for there’s nothing to an onion
but skin, and it’s true you can go on
weeping as you go on in, through
the moist middle skins, the sweetest
and thickest, and you can go on
in to the core, to the bud-like,
acrid, fibrous skins densely
clustered there, stalky and in-
complete, and these are the most
pungent, like the nuggets of nightmare
and rage and murmury animal
comfort that infant humans secrete.
This is the best domestic perfume.
You sit down to eat with a rumour
of onions still on your twice-washed
hands and lift to your mouth a hint
of a story about loam and usual
endurance. It’s there when you clean up
and rinse the wine glasses and make
a joke, and you leave the minutest
whiff of it on the light switch,
later, when you climb the stairs.
. . . . .
Green growth in a clay pot, citrus peel,
Rakes, staves, a busted clock.
Clackety spinning of rusty wheels.
Nuts and bolts in a bashed-up box,
kicked across the floor.
Hair-raising feelings. A bare ass to the world.
Cool air, and straight-back chair.
Cat’s ear. Basket, of rough weave, trumpet-shaped.
Heavy tasks. Leaves, a stump, some stuff.
Unknown Men and Women.
Hammered tray and coffee pot of
brass / wood, looks like a
sputnik with minaret.
Cat’s chin, offered upward.
A pyramid of lemons. A big-wide
cracked maple bowl
(flung as the lover fled, spent winter
face-down in puddle-deep yard).
Cat sleeping, after the hunt…
no longer hot and full of craft.
Cotton, wool, gravel,
soil of several consistencies.
Sandy-shale pumice for ‘seasonal’ foot.
Rain, sun and cloud,
of course. Remorse.
All cats, contented and cross.
Agéd treetrunks whose bark suffers loss,
cement and copper, dross.
Stones in groups, free-thinking boulders,
grasses tufted tiny and tall.
And, put to no purpose:
wedges, clods, mud.
Fragrance, the Body.
Pig and cow, fowl,
Sardines grilled, and memory of
A meal set down before me.
Ripe hollering, and
Sad or angry anybodies.
The cast-iron gate at the top of the fire escape swings open, swings shut. The skinny girl who lives across the way skips down the metal stairs in her hideous, clunking platform shoes.
The ugly, charming bulldog scampers around the flat tar-and-pebble roof; sniffs, snorts, and whines. Its master opens the door a sliver; inside’s a muddle lit by two computer screens. The dog walks itself in a cold dark built of specific small noises; scratches at the door then disappears.
The clunking girl returns; dances, graceless and free, up the fire escape; the gate talks on its hinges.
Voices banter, in burnt or polished tones. Footfalls approach, on ice, mud and trash;
boots crunch over starchy snow. Regular strangers, alley trudgers.
These…the night sounds through a gap in my window.
Is my face neutral – or grim ?
My face shows nothing, as I sink and rise into the hours of sleep.
Smiling, I am smiling; borne along these sounds of night,
glad to be here, exactly now.
THE VIVID PICTURE
Curls of incense, gusts of cold air, meet in a little room.
Means the world to me, this space; and all objects in it
– broken, brassy – are beautiful.
Here, the eye everywhere falls on
Something that soothes the human animal.
And you, my darling, are come to me – at last –
And you came in your own way, taking me by surprise,
Like the tender return of the wanderer-cat; or the
Kind face of the January sun.
And a crow’s voice tells-it-like-it-is this visionary morning.
You’ve let me touch your body…and it’s a
Reaching-Home after long absence; a
Perfect walk in darkness, the jig of a blind man with his sugar cane.
You and I, we can still speak !
Your field-and-forest feet cover mine richly,
and the whole of us is a vigorous stalk.
You laid your head on my thigh,
Remembered my body’s health to me.
And like a great journey in progress,
Being is strong throughout my limbs.
Lying a-bed after pure-ancient Moment, our
Body arrives at the place of the Soul. And
It’s happened together.
Shall we rest ?
Upon a chunk of earth, Heart takes its ease.
Home is invisible, but
Today I caught a glimpse. And
I’m gonna ’scribe it
Before the vivid picture fades.
CAN’T PUT IT IN WORDS BUT I’LL TRY
Can’t put IT in words but I’ll try…
Didn’t mind being had, hung out to dry. There
Is food in mouldbread, good’s come of bad, I’ve no
Beefs / bitter gripes. And besides:
’T’were a suspect load I dragged.
We’re grown now…berry’s bit, dice sown, and how.
Are green and grey; in places, brown.
My chores ( + questionable deeds ) are done.
Was clever as a knife…carved a jigsaw life.
Spat nails in righteousness, squandered hate
(wrong, delicious) down to the
Last hot penny, glad it’s spent.
Cried a great cry, very late in the day,
And dipped a biscuit in water.
And something worthwhile, many-hued-and-fine,
Came clean via palm-packed cakes of
Sand, peppered-pinecones, ashes and fat.
Crush my spirit, there’s more of us yet, and
Whisk the thick-and-thin mix.
Will not keep telling lies. There’s a mouthful.
Crows: be commas, colons, punctual dots.
Underscore me, and lend me your sceptical weight.
Some plans won’t fly.
Dearly beloved / abandoned, we are
Scattered here today…
Can’t put IT in words but
Olga García Echeverría:
Corazón, no esperes tortillas
recién hechas a mano, redondas
y perfectas como la cara de la luna
las mías, si algún día llego a hacerlas
saldrán cuadradas como hojas de papel
dices tú que en otros tiempos
las mujeres enamoraban con el sudor
el calor y la energía de sus manos
tantas gotas de deseo
envueltas en masa de maíz
de niña me gustaba hacer tortillas
de tierra, me gustaba lo húmedo del olor
y lo negro que se me metía bajo las uñas
mi cocina ideal era un mundo sin paredes
un lugar entre plantas y hierbas, bajo un cielo
que parecía espejo del mar
ahora de mujer
quiero darte mi esencia de comer
que me sientas viva en tu boca
pero la idea de hacer tortillas a mano
¡me choca! aburrida quemaría
una tras otra
una tras otra
lo que quiero es entregarme entera
bailar bajo un cielo
chorreado de estrellas
en vez de tortillas
haré poema tras poema
recién hechos a mano de mujer
calientitos y blanditos
sabor a mango
tamaño a luna entera
redondos y perfectos
como la espiral
de tu ombligo
la palabra, como el maíz, mi amor
también es indígena
Olga García Echeverría es una escritora, también una maestra.
Vive en Los Angeles, California.
Olga nos muestra que ¡La Poesía es Comida del Alma!
Darling, don’t expect
fresh, hand-made tortillas,
perfect circles like the face of the moon
Mine, if one day I
get around to making them, will come out
like sheets of paper
You tell me that in olden times
women used to fall in love with the
sweat – heat – the energy of their own hands
so many drops of desire
enveloped in that cornflour
As a little girl I loved making “mudpies” out of
earth, loved the damp smell
and the black that got under my fingernails
my ideal kitchen was a world without walls
among plants and herbs, a sky above me
that seemed like a mirror of the sea
Now as a grown woman
I want to give you my essence – to eat – so that you’ll
feel me – alive – in your mouth
But the very idea of making tortillas – and by hand –
well, it annoys me ! Bored, I’d burn the lot,
one after another
What I really want is to
give myself over entirely to
dancing under a sky
gushing with stars
Instead of tortillas you’ll get
poem after poem – hot off the press – made of
A Woman who’s a little sizzler and kind-a tender,
Poems full-moon-sized, round and perfect like the
spiral of your navel
Because words, like corn, my love,
are also Native in us…
Olga García Echeverría is a writer and teacher, in Los Angeles, California.
She demonstrates that: Poetry is Food for the Soul !
Translation/interpretation from Spanish into English by Alexander Best
Josefina Beverido de Risso
Diez tortillas en tirita,
de preferencia atrasadas,
epazote, hojas moradas,
caldo, un litro necesita.
Crema espesa, una tacita,
ajo, aceite, Knorr y sal,
chipotle seco, tal cual,
tres cuartos de jitomate,
media cebolla, aguacate,
queso jarocho es usual.
Si quiere una sopa azteca
que sepa y se vea exquisita,
le daré unos tips ahorita
y no esté batida o seca.
Fría la tortilla en manteca
o en aceite del normal,
escurra junto al comal.
Mientras, en cazo muy hondo,
con algo de grasa al fondo,
cueza recaudo habitual.
Ponga jitomate, un ajo,
cebolla, todo molido,
a dejarlo convertido
en un puré de agasajo.
Cuélelo, tire el cascajo,
hierva bien a fuego lento,
y ya llegado el momento
el caldo de pollo añada,
la yerba muy bien lavada
y sazone al cien por ciento.
Aparte para el final
la tortilla ya dorada
y, por cierto, desgrasada,
a que esté en su punto ideal.
Luego prepare el total
de ingredientes del listado,
coloque queso rallado,
chipotle seco, aguacate,
media crema desenlate,
en trastes por separado.
En sopero muy vistoso,
justo en el fondo, hasta abajo,
ponga de tortilla un fajo,
cubra con caldo sabroso.
con adornos exprofeso:
bañe primero con queso,
agregue aguacate en raja,
encima un chipotle encaja,
crema da fin al proceso.
Así, calientita, humeante,
será bastante adulada
por sencilla y elegante.
Hasta el mejor restaurante,
invita a la maravilla
que es la sopa de tortilla;
con ella entera, crujiente,
sin batir, tan sugerente,
que al mejor comensal pilla.
“Sopa Azteca” es un poema-receta por Josefina Beverido de Risso,
de su libro: “Recetario de cocina en décimas espinelas”
(Instituto Veracruzano de Cultura, 2007).
Josefina nos muestra que !La Comida es Amor!