Saturday, September 22, 2007


dying is fine)but Death


wouldn't like

Death if Death

when(instead of stopping to think)you

begin to feel of it,dying
's miraculous

cause dying is

perfectly natural;perfectly
it mildly lively(but


is strictly
& artificial &

evil & legal)

we thank thee
almighty for dying

(forgive us,o life!the sin of Death
And now, a quiz

What Your Pizza Reveals

You have a hearty appetite. You are likely to complain if a restaurant has small portions.

You aren't particularly picky about pizza. It's so good... how could you be? You fit in best in the Western part of the US.

You like food that's traditional and well crafted. You aren't impressed with "gourmet" foods.

You are dependable, loyal, and conservative with your choices.

You are cultured and intellectual. You should consider traveling to Vienna.

The stereotype that best fits you is geek. You're the type most likely to order pizza to avoid leaving your computer.

Friday, September 21, 2007


Ten minutes of poetry and prose, read by the poet himself. Includes "i thank You God for most this amazing" and "in Just-/spring," and portions of the Charles Eliot Norton "nonlectures." Takes 30-45 seconds to load, so be patient!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Dublin, Dundee, Humberside ...

Couldn't resist this one. "Panic" by the Smiths:

Some wonderfully mindless fun

The '80s hit "Come On, Eileen" as covered by a group calling itself Save Ferris:

More pentametric practice

in attempted compliance with the rules of Poetry Exercise 2 in Stephen Fry's book The Ode Less Travelled: Unlocking the Poet Within. Twenty lines of straight iambic, single lines or pairs of lines, taking ten minutes for the exercise. I took twenty minutes, and unconsciously used trochees and pyrrhics and feminine endings. Fry said to avoid rhyme, and I did use rhyme in one or two instances. Don't know why I'm sharing these; they are truly lame. And not terribly original (stealing from Wordsworth and Will Rogers).

Anyone reading this blog can easily do better!


Deduct three minutes from the speeding clock.


Hail, Hillary, our president-to-come!
Four years of you will be, oh! so much fun ...


He wanders lonely as a poet pale
Who eats no meat and drinks no Scottish ale.


If I were taller, I could reach that shelf.
As matters stand, I'm only five foot one.

[Not true.]


The Red Sox lately are a stinking mess
While A-Rod and his crew meet with success.

[All too true.]


F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote a five-beat line
And stuck it in his greatest work of prose:
"The eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg."


October is a habitation brisk.


Summer comes back this weekend for a while.


I don't like flies or spiders. Kill them all.


Can I perform this simple exercise
Without resorting to a bunch of spondees?
Oh, no -- I've cheated, with an unstressed ending!
Two in a row! Disaster. I should stop.


Pizza and pasta. Could I live without them?


I never ate a steak I didn't like.


See? Dreadful in the extreme.

I've also done Exercise 3 in Fry's book. The results were even more embarrassing, so I don't think I'll post those unless I revise them for eighteen months.
Theodore Roethke

Who ever said God sang in your fat shape? You're not the only keeper of hay. That's a spratling's prattle. And don't be thinking you're simplicity's sweet thing, either. A leaf could drag you.

from "O, Thou Opening, O"

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


struck dumb
longer than Zechariah:
to verse, to sing, to pray --

then, no benedictus comes,
instead, at best,
a stunted lament:
a scratch on silence

(not speech, not song)
forced, discordant note
cracking the voice
that once could much but now

can nothing do
A arte de perder não é nenhum mistério

Someone made a YouTube video inspired by (the Portuguese version of) Elizabeth Bishop's "One Art."

(The music sounds familiar; is it Enya?)

And here is the original Bishop poem:

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.

— Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

Monday, September 17, 2007

More poetry in translation

A Brazilian poet has translated Elizabeth Bishop's villanelle "One Art" into Portuguese, retaining the structure and the rhyme. "The art of losing isn't hard to master" becomes A arte de perder não é nenhum mistério ("The art of losing is no mystery") -- still, a most skillful rendering.

Here, on one page, are Mr Britto's translation and Miss Bishop's original.
(for exercise)

brave idols of a brazen summer


an excellence conceals itself
is mute


poets will die
their poems live
and grow


the risk of life, its crosses and its joys


our disconnected meditations laugh


pleasant will be each breath
when autumn comes


metropolis, thou many-mouthèd lout!


the quiet candles of an eastern church


admit not Broadway into Sunday Mass


grim entertainment of a needful task


pronounce the casual curse
and forfeit grace


etcetera begins the balladeer
Emily Dickinson
two poems


He ate and drank the precious Words —
His Spirit grew robust —
He knew no more that he was poor,
Nor that his frame was Dust —

He danced along the dingy Days
And this Bequest of Wings
Was but a Book — What Liberty
A loosened spirit brings —



The Bird her punctual music brings
And lays it in its place —
Its place is in the Human Heart
And in the Heavenly Grace —
What respite from her thrilling toil
Did Beauty ever take —
But Work might be electric Rest
To those that Magic make —

Sunday, September 16, 2007

by Alberto de Lacerda (1928-2007)

Ser poeta... é delirar,
Delirar alegre, ou triste,
Fazer versos é sonhar
Co' aquilo que não existe.

Ser poeta... é esquecer,
Da vida a realidade,
É, num abraço, abranger
O mundo e a eternidade.

Ser poeta, realmente,
É viver da ilusão
Nas horas de solidão,

É escrever o que se sente
Dando asas, livremente,
À nossa imaginação.


I know about ten words of Portuguese, and therefore cannot translate this poem in its entirety; but I like the way it sounds when I read it to myself.

Here is what Babelfish makes of it:

To be poet... is to be delirious, To be delirious glad, or sad, To make verses it is to dream Co ' what it does not exist. To be poet... is to forget, Of the life the reality, Is, in one hugs, to enclose the world and the eternity. To be poet, really, Is to live of the illusion In the solitude hours, It is to write what it is felt Giving wing, freely, To our imagination.

And here is an obituary for the recently deceased poet (mind the pop-up).