Sunday, October 16, 2005

To those, who were first to read it:
to Nekoda, to Ewa, to Harold and Varda,
and to David

Friday, October 14, 2005

Contents

In praise of lesser gods
I How is your dog?
II No one is writing to you
III It pains me quite a lot
IV But yet it’s sweet
V There were II many reasons not II
VI Theirs was a disastrous love affair
VII Like many others failing to be happy
VIII Twice inquired about being jealous
IX Too naked to be true
X It seems now you could appreciate more fiction
XI What am I doing with that English of yours?

Told Cecilia
I Cecilia never went to school
II Ve œlu toldot, – told Cecilia
III Cecilia, – told Cecilia
IV It was Cecilia, – told Cecilia
V So it was not for him
VI When Cecilia was nearly raped
VII Los pinceles, – dijo Cecilia, – que usó
VIII When Cecilia was nearly raped
IX Dante Gabriel called him Duns Scotus
X So he didn’t want to see
XI When Cecilia was nearly eight
XII When Cecilia was nearly fourteen
XIII Am I
XIV Excuse me, – told Cecilia
XV Loathing, – told Cecilia
XVI Such a freedom I had
XVII Something should remain untold
XVIII When Cecilia was four, five, six
XIX Somebody should love monsters as well
XX When Cecilia was six months old
XXI But you
XXII This is a sort of post dictum

I’m not Christina Rossetti
I Again I lied
II For once I told the truth
III Oh, but was there nothing besides to relish
IV I almost heard it, when this ear
V-VII Trifoil
V It was that simple: plainly: love for love
VI It is that simple: plainly: pain for pain
VII It’ll be that simple: plainly: love for love
VIII What a pleasing thought
IX It doesn’t ring true
X I could be grateful for the lovely gifts
XI Please, let me, let me

But I also read Tennyson (from the index of first lines)

(c) Gali-Dana Singer
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior permission of the author.

IN PRAISE OF LESSER GODS

- How is your dog?
- Fine, thank you.
In half a year I put it to sleep. Brain cancer it was.
- How is your poetry?
- Well, thanks – howling. A deep well inside a brick wall.
A kind of atoll, of that coral ring
You got for your canine teeth/cancel.
Thanks, they are well, my Poe and my tree (mulberry),
My Inkwell and my Pendulum.
Not a death sentence written in half a year.
My Pen is dull, my Pun is a Dell, i.e. hollow.
Writing in English, it’s worse than not writing at all.
You could question me more.
You have such an influence.
Why not ask me about my God, my life, my love?
I would answer you candidly. They also need an end.

IN PRAISE OF LESSER GODS II

No one is writing to you
No more letters to you, mein kleiner Gott
Those you’ve got
You can take
With every mistake in spelling there was and is
You can keep them
You can keep them adead
You can eat them up alive –
My A, B, C, D in your noodle soup.
Is your last supper at eight?
You can spill them on your checkered breast
There is no one to put you in a corner –
You are your own Dad,
So you miss the plum but not the hornets
Staying at rest just where you are –
at your Wailing Wall.
Isn’t your supper late?
Will it be an ox or a whale for the righteous men
Or should it be Leviathan?
No, you are vegetarian and you are unjust.
Now it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter at all.
Even if you already ate them at five or reread them at six.
You are not supposed to check your sex at the table
(staring in the meanwhile at your perfect socks.)
You are your own spouse, your own ex,
your only one,
your only old flame.
What have I told you, that you became so red?
What have you done me, that I became so rude?
I wonder.

IN PRAISE OF LESSER GODS III

It pains me quite a lot
remembering you as you’ve made yourself dismembered.
Not gray and impotent
but red and superficial
as if scared, scorched by your fear
and growing new skin,
somewhat fishy atmosphere,
an aquarium of a room,
silence coming down in scales
and me coming up from the depths
to break the surface,
asking questions,
asking for a smile,
getting an askew one.


You told me, I don’t know you yet,
you’ll make me unhappy,
But do I now,
When you did?

IN PRAISE OF LESSER GODS IV

But yet it's sweet -
remembrance of things long past repair
I have to carry on for the sake of their incomparable sweetness
sweeter than Roses sick with fervent swell
than morose Musicke
more sweet than sweetest smell of rotting cat from neighbours’ lean-to
sweeter than learning strange ways of strangers
sweeter even than carrion comfit, Despair
for strangers we were in the land of Egypt
and strangers we are in this desert
forty years' Lent forsaken

I told: say yes
to hornet nest of years.
Who called, who killed -
that doesn't count.
I cannot be (mute B of ‘doubt’)
but honest with myself
too numb for numbers
and too dumb to do some sums,
to summon an offender to the court,
to swear curtly
and to pledge him guilty
for trying once to add U to the gilt.

I told (myself):
you are not to run away,
you are to stay till the very end
and to look
and to look cool
now everything is at stake
this is your summer school
to acquire any knowledge
that will not leave you an opportunity
to decide again and again that you made a mistake

All the same
I willed it to be (sound B of 'because')
due to my will
being ill as it was
for the lack of its W

IN PRAISE OF LESSER GODS V

There were II many reasons not II
only one II
just for something
that wasn't there
Come on,
what a triumph of unconditional faith!
what a sacrilegious religion!
But what pains more
is not the uncommitted or uncommon.
It’s a question of un-
of answers unquestioned, unreplied
questions unasked, unanswered

- Perhaps I'm a monster?
- Perhaps you are - I comply, remaining silent.
Why be so undemonstrative?
There lay more demons
on this stratum of clay. -
"It's laid to a great many more than three"
Lying and lies connected too close,
also in Russian.

- I'm not quite a man.
- No, you are not - I agreed
meaning: gentle
not meaning: manner
the greedy undoing of
the miracle worked for years
four and a half, to be precise.
What you didn't complete then and there
I'm unwinding/unwounding slowly, two years late at least.

Greenish light from the garden
much enlivened the watery air.
Trees, you explained, were orange and lemon.
- You can get an orange. – ‘I don't see any.’
- ‘There isn't any,’
- ‘Then it wasn't very civil of you to offer it.’
- ‘It wasn't very civil of you...’ all this stays unsaid.
I wasn't an alice, outspoken and sensible.
you weren't much of March Hare, deranged and impolite,
only sly and, in my case, slaying
as every minor deity should be.

IN PRAISE OF LESSER GODS VI

I drink to the asters of war
O.E. Mandelstam

Theirs was a disastrous love affair…
- That’s the best kind. Always leaves you free in the end.
- Though brings you such a lot of suffering.
How happened that both of us were left right?
- It will destroy all three of us.
- But you will live forever.
In accordance with the correctness of the first pair
may we conclude that the last sentence
rings as true as it is unfair?
And what were our last wishes?
- I fare you well.
- Farewell.
Afterwards: the warfare. Troy.

IN PRAISE OF LESSER GODS VII

Like many others failing to be happy
I try to make happy the world.
Still as happiness happens
(both words coming from Old Norse, happ,
meaning ‘luck’)
what can we do ?
Go round the clock
moaning: be happy, happy,
behave yourself
for I wish you well?
Nursing our misery like a rhyme?
Changing diapers to despair?
Buttering watches with bread knives
as above named March Hare?
Reasoning with hairspring?
Wringing hands of the maimed chronometer?
Seasoning spring air?
Drinking health from the hourglass?
Another etude in tinsel, written, perhaps, in Spanish
“Felicidad”
But what about beatitude?

IN PRAISE OF LESSER GODS VIII

Twice inquired about being jealous
responded contradictory.
Firstly: yes,
secondly: no.
Now I would like to speak rationally, consistently.
- Do you know what jealousy means?
- Yes, a blind.
- Jealousy, not jalousie.
- Still, the same.
- Do you know what jealousy is?
- Yes, a gaol, this lousy gaol,
you insist on keeping yourself within.
- Do you intend: insects, lice?
- No, spiders. Spider’s web, hoary lace and arsenic.
The incestuous interchangeability
of arson and laceration
the single ray of light contemplates
through the spying network
of your cell.

IN PRAISE OF LESSER GODS IX

Too naked to be true
Nothing to deny.
A little necking. No tenderness. No mansuetude
(to counterpoise the necking)
- I’m not quite a man. – No, you are not.
Meaning: human.
Not implying: impish.
Not denoting many other aspects.
Looking for an aspic under the trees
I could be luckier
than prying in the search for the truth in an instant of truce
amidst of worshipping practices and prayers.

You admired my sense of humor
I work hard to keep it; it doesn’t stick by itself like mire
like a humid air
like your damp hair
like a sticker “comrade, we miss you”
What about your capacity for mirth?

IN PRAISE OF LESSER GODS X

It seems now you could appreciate more fiction
or so it seems.
I should feign myself a little lace maker
or a seamstress, an Arachna or else, a milliner,
sewing matching buttons to needless mythologies,
making slight alterations in my needle-point to suit the tastes,
stressing ‘little’ and especially the seeming part.
I adore Isabel Huppert,
but you like the movie.
Her head went completely wrong, when he quitted,
but I quite lost mine.
It could look fine on your altar.
No. But a finishing touch, certainly.
You should appreciate it. But.

IN PRAISE OF LESSER GODS XI

What am I doing with that English of yours?
The tongue in the cheek?
Jamming up King James’?
Making friends? Fiends?
Holy bubbles?
Teasing? Fooling?
Falling in? or never again?

- It’s an idea of a kiss – Yours.
Intended to be French.
Remained Swiss – cheers! – hollowed,
speaking German – on one only and outer face –
like a Mõbius strip

Told Cecilia

      Christina is waiting
      what is your name Christina
      thinks Christina and tries to feel
            Iona Volach. Christina

      by rosy glades
      passed me Cecilia
      spilling blue bells
            Iona Volach. Cecilia

      they chop of my head
      with a gladioli stalk
      and pick up my head
      with two gladioli stalks
      and pack up my head
      in rustling paper.
            Iona Volach. Ionatan


I

‘Cecilia never went to school
without her gladiator’ – it was
Christina Georgina Rossetti’s first poem
dictated to her mother, – told Cecilia. –
Cecilia always liked it,
although never understood.
Christina never went to school.
She couldn’t mean that ‘semivitalized
school’, – told Cecilia, – she and her mother
were, unremuneratively toiling and moiling at’
as brother William Michael wrote once.
Anyway, it was years after.
A mere verbiage on his part,
but it also made itself felt.
“Grown and Flown” – Christina wrote
and then: “Passing and Glassing”.
“Grown and Flown”, it was love,
“Passing and Glassing” was life,
but ‘toiling and moiling’ was Christina,
as brother William nicely put it.

Told Cecilia II

Ve œlu toldot, – told Cecilia, –
and these are the generations of Cecilia
the father of Cecilia
in mount Cecilia:
these are the names of Cecilia’s sons:
Cecilia the son of Cecilia the wife of Cecilia,
and Cecilia, the son of Cecilia, Cecilia’s wife.

Told Cecilia III

Cecilia, – told Cecilia, –
was this tiny old woman,
who had Munchausen stories
in her tiny grave of a room,
with Dore’s grey etchings,
also the grey bun
in the nape of her neck
as if engraved.
There is nothing more
I can tell
about Cecilia. Only she was
a sister of Rebecca,
the obstetrician,
that helped my mother
when Cecilia was born and grey
hospital sheets were itchy.

Told Cecilia IV

It was Cecilia, – told Cecilia, –
that had one mother too many.
Or was it less that one?
She never could decide.
She wasn’t good in arithmetics.
She wasn’t good at all.

My mother is an angel in the sky, –
she used to say, –
my father – an academician in Sweden.
My mother was good in arithmetics.
Perhaps, she is.
My father – in high mathematics.
And I’m good for nothing, one, two, three,
four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten,
eleven, twelve, thirteen, forteen,
fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, nineteen,
twenty, twenty one,
twenty two, twenty three, twenty four, twenty five,
twenty six, twenty seven, twenty eight, twenty nine,
twenty ten, – that’s what counts.

Told Cecilia V

So it was not for him, –
told Cecilia, –
these seven years
she climbed the glassy hill.
These seven years,
they were not for him
but for herself
as if she ever cared for herself.
It was more slippery
than Cinderella’s pair of squirrels.
(Shoo, shoo, – she cried, still one of them stayed),
more elusive than Humpty-Dumpty on a shelf,
more shy than bashful,
yet no better than Sleeping Beast
dreaming of sweet revenge.
You should know better, – her mother
usually told her, when Cecilia
claimed something as hers
or insisted on having her own way, –
told Cecilia. –
So it didn’t immediately occur to me
that those seven were my own,
and I dwarfed them to no purpose.
The hill of glass was also mine,
I should only undermine it
and be cured.
As for myself,
it was always there,
as for me,
I wouldn’t touch it, not for the world!

Told Cecilia VI

When Cecilia was nearly raped, –
told Cecilia, –
her mother felt embarrassment.
Cecilia also felt embarrassment,
years later: why was she spared?
Not because of her braids?
Certainly not.
Not because she was scared, for sure.
Because she prayed?
It was such an improvised little prayer:
God please don’t God please don’t ad infinitum
as it was God himself by the elevator
in this dirty stairroom
that lifted up her skirt.
Wasn’t it God, that muttered:
If I’ll meet you again,
I’ll spear you.
That was, what he muttered.
Not even prick or pierce,
so she couldn’t utterly understand
what he meant.
She never met him since then.

Told Cecilia VII

‘Los pinceles, – dijo Cecilia, – que usó
siempre Rossetti estuvieron hechos
con pelo de mujer’. It was written
in Ramon Gomez de la Serna’s book
“El Alba y otras cosas”.
The brushes that Rossetti always used
were made of woman’s hair.
Rossetti was Dante Gabriel,
and the hair, was it red or black?
If it was Lizzy Siddal’s, long dead,
there one day should be a lack...
or did he prepare a stock?..
or replenish his supply
with sister Christina’s greying lock?

Told Cecilia VIII

When Cecilia was nearly raped, –
told Cecilia, –
her father explained her,
that a man
never can rape a woman.
Only in case she lets him.
Well, – told Cecilia, – I never.
She didn’t, ever.
She always mistook her hairdresser
for a locksmith.

Told Cecilia IX

Dante Gabriel called him Duns Scotus, –
told Cecilia, –
Rossetti even wrote an epitaph:
Here lies Duns Scotus
Who died of lotus.

But D.G. himself was the first to be laid down.

What will our Cousin C say
Poor Duncy D to see? –

asked the unknown author of ‘Nursery Novelties’.

What did Christina Rossetti call William Bell Scott?
Cecilia asked.
Mostly: you.
And then: an absent friend.
And after that: the anguish of a lifetime.
One of her biographers, Lona Mosk Parker, contends
that after ‘Autobiographical Notes’ by W. Bell Scott
containing in the highest degree ill-natured attacks
on the personality of her late brother
were posthumously published
Christina’s lifelong infatuation came to an abrupt end,
as “she could have blinded herself no longer
to Scott’s true character”.

Mistake a U for V just once
And you’ll be written down a dunce.
Imprint the W on your wits
Or you are the next the Master hits.


The Foolish Soul she called her own.
But then, who are those who follow on to love?

Our Master lies asleep and is at rest
---------------------------
The sun ashamed has dropt down in the west.


Yet one has to consider the fact
that this ‘lifelong’ infatuation’ is no more
than a product of imagination on the biographer’s part
and later works on Christina Rossetti’s life
usually don’t take it into account.

Told Cecilia X

So he didn’t want to see
the stuffed two-headed calf, –
told Cecilia, –
it was too hot
and he was in the permanent bewilderment.
Now it’s nowhere to be found.
Not that someone is going to look for it.
The Natural History Museum is closed,
so is the Unnatural History Museum.
Nowhere is to be found at some other place
(Not in German Colony anymore,
at Russian Compound, perhaps,
behind the bars.)
Found and unfound, founded and confounded
are on the loan
at the Supernatural History Museum.

Told Cecilia XI

When Cecilia was nearly eight, –
told Cecilia, –
she got her first Barbie doll,
real figure, breasts and all.
No more of that silly
eastgerman babies for me,
thank you, – Cecilia told.
It wasn’t hers but some other girl’s,
who kindly let Cecilia play with it
to her heart’s content.
So Cecilia washed and sewed and dressed.
Cecilia dressed and undressed
her (not her) first (and last) Barbie doll.
She didn’t know it was Barbie yet.
No one in proximity knew.
She called it Gladys and put needles
in its breasts and between its legs
when she was tired
and nobody looked.

Told Cecilia XII

When Cecilia was nearly fourteen, –
told Cecilia, –
she had a friend, twice her age
and married, with children.
She taught Cecilia
how to make meat rissoles.
Buns should be dry and then
thoroughly soaked in milk,
eggs beaten until frothy.
The main point, knead vigorously
and fry with love.
So she defined love:
when somebody try to lift up your skirt
and you don’t die filled with disgust,
that’s it.
Cecilia tried to die,
but it wasn’t that easy.

Told Cecilia XIII

Am I
imagining this?
Am I seeing things? It wasn’t a case of
amicability, – told Cecilia. –
Did he never tell me he cared?
That it wasn’t easy to tell?
Perhaps, it was only a lack of
imagination on your part, –
I told him once, – told Cecilia
Perhaps, it was, – he answered.
I can swear, he did.
But when I asked:
Perhaps, it was only a surplus of
imagination on my part? –
there were no one to reply.
Better is open rebuke
than love that is hidden.
(Proverbs, 27:5)

Told Cecilia XIV

Excuse me, – told Cecilia
seeking for something under the bed. –
It is so dusty, it’s impossible to see.
Is this the pincussion of my ready-maid heart
I was hunting for for time being
or is this his sickening hatred?
Since both my Grannies died
I stopped playing Red Hiding Hood.
After all, it’s my hairpins I’m after,
not my happiness,
not his.

Told Cecilia XV

Loathing, – told Cecilia. –
Nausea.
Disgust.
Aversion.
Repugnance.
Repulsion.
What am I supposed to do
when I cannot even tell the difference
between the last two.

Told Cecilia XVI

Such a freedom I had, –
told Cecilia, –
headed myself,
such a liberty I took,
heated myself,
did what I liked,
hated myself,
went at large,
heeded myself,
left at home,
hid myself,
hoarded myself,
stood on my rights,
hurt myself,
get the reins,
hit myself.

Hooded as myself
an owl hoots:
Who’ll break the walls
of this prison for me?

Told Cecilia XVII

Something should remain untold, –
told Cecilia, –
I don’t know what thing precisely.
Anything between ‘possession’ and ‘possessions’,
‘longing’ and ‘belonging’ can do.
Any precious thing to keep it dim.
Perhaps, his friend's sneer:
“He is so aroused, I never saw him like that”?
Only it was already told and a sheer snare.
Perhaps, my friend’s conviction
that his name was George?
But he never remembered the unforgettable hers.
It was ‘Strong as death’ in translation.
Perhaps, my 'of course’s unshared.
Perhaps, his promises unkept.
‘Because I would not be ever sure of anything’,
Samuel Pepys wrote.
But then he doesn’t belong here.

Told Cecilia XVIII

When Cecilia was four, five, six, –
told Cecilia, –
she made herself busy giving balls.
Wall-flowers were for wall-flowers,
lady’s slippers – for ladies’ slippers,
gladioli – for their dresses,
goldenlocks – for their tresses,
foxgloves – for petticoats,
clove pinks – for flounces,
ox-eyes – for hats,
love-in-a-mist – for veils,
love-in-idleness – for black-eyed-Susans.
(She tried pansies for thoughts,
but to no avail.)

Told Cecilia XIX

Somebody should love monsters as well, –
told Cecilia, –
green-eyed and otherwise:
three-legged old chickens,
beheaded married women,
bilingual poets (or may I say: tri- ?),
other blue birds, blue beards
in spite of their beauty,
saints and innocents
because of their cruelty,
beasts and beaux...
I don’t know, what kind of body
it should be, exactly.
No boding I have had.
Not busy, in any case.

Told Cecilia XX

When Cecilia was six months old, –
told Cecilia, –
her first word was дай* –
she asked for coral beads.
Long before it was time to die
she changed her mind: די**.



* дай [dī] – give (Russian)
** די [dī] – enough (Hebrew)

Told Cecilia XXI

But you, –
told Cecilia, –
you, who repeat my words,
taking them in
one by one like valeriana drops
in the glass of water,
you, who think they are yours,
don’t learn my mistakes by heart,
your story is different,
your ferry didn’t yet arrive.

Told Cecilia XXII

This is a sort of post dictum,
in case there is such a thing, –
told Cecilia recalling
vertiginous likeness
between two chalk drawings.
One – of Christina Rossetti
at the age of fourty-seven
completed by her brother Dante Gabriel
in 1877,
the other of Alexander Block
by Konstantin Somov
from 1907, when the Russian poet
was twenty-seven years old.

I'm not Christina Rossetti

Winds blowing, waters flowing, trees stirring,
insects whirring (dear me! I’m quite unconsciously
writing rhyme)...
Dinah Maria Mulock Craik. The Little Lame Prince.

...suddenly there uprose from a chair and paced
forward into the center of the room a little woman
dressed in black, who announced solemnly, “I am
Christine Rossetti!” and having so said, returned to her chair.
Mary F. Sanders. Life of Christine Rossetti.


Again I lied. And you
You didn’t trust the truth.
The truth I never knew.
In lying we were two,
or yet we were three.

I came too late, and you?
You didn’t come at all.
T’was neither biting as a rue,
nor bitter to recall
the names of two citrus trees.

The mien of a startled nu
we never overthrew,
we couldn’t start anew,
t’was over through and through
on its way into Poetry.

It wasn’t the abstruse,
the reinvented rain
that swept us, but the ruse
that ruined the quatrain
and washed off our tryst

running down the toothless cleft
under forgotten pine
that still stands on the left
distorted and malign
in the pining Memory

Into the fifth and ruthless line.

II

For once I told the truth.
But you? You never told.
In fear we were one –
I feared you, and you?
Just being old.

You were right and I was left
in fever, hot and cold,
of futile thoughts – what have I done?
why was I so bold?

Forever it will hunt
polar foxes of my brain.
From left to right it will not shunt,
eternal as refrain:

You were right and I was left
in fever, hot and cold,
of futile thoughts – what have I done?
why was I so bold?

In fear we fell apart.
Attempting tears to withhold,
I feared your fear. And you?
Your fears manifold.

III

Oh, but was there nothing besides to relish
but ungainly moments
of slight and anguish,
but the wish-washy green tea
of five o’clock twilight
but the heavy lateness off every movement
bread-n-buttery heaving of darkening ceiling
and relentless tearing, ripping, rending
of infinitive silence?

Oh, besides, there was, but not to publish.

IV

I almost heard it, when this ear
in the middle of nearly everything
became suddenly deaf.
It was a revelation:
you’ll come, when it will be too late,
as I came when it was too late,
as all comes when it is too late,
as always comes,
as revelation usually does.
So, tired as I am, I keep it still:
it’s still a little too early to be late,
it’s being eventide.

V-VII TRIFOIL

It was that simple: plainly: love for love.
This gum elastic overstretched, unseen,
(Lost bands of childhood keeping safe my gloves!)
Striking its own plaintive note in between,

When slightly touched and even not by hand,
By glance, by thought – by distance, by disdain,
By chance itself. And then you tried to rend
The strand so hard. It wasn’t torn. The singing pain

That dazed me, blinding pain, your end have caused
Of loosened rubber band, that struck and then went limp,
But bandaged first my eyes with bloody gauze –
Yet let it go – after me – a twisted limb.

It shouldn’t be an everlasting sting,
But still it’s swinging on its own string.


***
It was that simple: plainly: pain for pain.
I shouldn’t ask for anybody’s aid
In vengeance, as I did. As through the windowpane,
Tenacious, greenish, my remorse has wade.

Nothing but printed words embraced by rubber ring,
Strong, visible, and black, like that which hold
My childhood’s braid so tightly as if meant to wring
All thoughts through it and foretold

Embraced by rubber ring nothing but words,
Embarrassing and straight for you to read,
Reminding of the band that still engirds
Your head in my old dream with such a burning greed.

I send unwritten letter with my friend.
I wish I put it with my own hand.


***
It’ll be that simple: plainly: love for love.
In other words it will be: dust to dust,
Embers to embers, ashes as above
Named dust and dying coals. Anything but just

This future love will be. And the unthinking reed
Will struck its only plaintive note in the wind,
Unwinding it like any funereal screed
For those who neither won nor reached. Unwinged

And in the motion both strained and brusque
For good they will be gone, the darkness and the light.
I hope, soon it’ll come, eternal dusk –
In other words it’ll be not day, not night

But other kind of day, ever unkind
To us – deep in the dimness of the mind.

VIII

What a pleasing thought
I play with all day long
Perhaps, I’ll send you this song
Perhaps, I will not.

If I’ll send it, what
’ll be left to please and play
Instead of unsteady lay?
It seems, there’ll be naught.

If I’ll send you not
This honeysuckled ploy,
Then quickly will start to cloy
My Plutonic plot.

Tired and distraught
For trying to allay
The pain of unjust display
Methinks: to send I ought.

Yet the afterthought
Comes, neither right nor wrong,
But unreliable and strong,
Telling: Send it not.

IX

It doesn’t ring true:
All this suffering.
I don’t believe myself.
Being alive,
It’s something else,
isn’t it?
It’s the same thing also.
Why cleave to the vile mirrors of pain
like ivy, mostly poisonous?
Why not bring my alter ego
as an offering for a change?
Making mistakes in the first place
and in the second. With such a poise, too!
I’ll stick to the superstition, by your leave,
to the misty physique of an error.
Even stars are kinder to us, than we are.

X

I could be grateful for the lovely gifts,
But then, I’m an ingrate, as you can see. The waste!
Why should I owe thanks to the spendthrift’s
Frivolous lavishing of presents and of past?

You gave me what you did not mean to give,
It looks as if I got too much of a good thing...
This verse can freely be described as fugitive,
Fleeing from justice, full of running ink.

And when it’s running, i.e. on the run,
I am supposed to think of my eternal debt.
Endowed with three tongues, I was undone.
I’ll readily return one foreign alphabet

And those two which you have never owned
I’ll keep just for a while, if only as a loan.

XI

Please, let me, let me, –
but do I know, what I’m going to say?
No.
What I’m asking for?
Nay.
Not for a mute metaphor?
No.
Not for the last summer’s snow?
No.
Not for the yesterday?
No.
Not for the ‘yes’?
Aye.
Anyway, did I know before?
Nay.
Please, let me know.

I ALSO READ TENNYSON

(from the list of first lines)

I
A million emeralds break from the ruby budded lime……427
Ah, God! The petty fools of rhyme!………………………230

II
A spirit haunts the year’s last hours…………………………27
A still small voice spake unto me………………………….178
A storm was coming, but the winds were still……………..528
A voice by the cedar tree…………………………………...431

III
Below the thunders of the upper deep……………………….40
Be near me when my light is low…………………………..345

IV
Cold and clear cut face, why come you so cruelly meek…..427
Come not, when I’m dead…………………………………....................407
Come, when no graver cares employ………………………..............478

V
Contemplate all this work of Time………………………….............392
Could I have said while he was here………………………............362
Could I outwear my present state of woe………………….........715
Could we forget the widow’d hour…………………………..............340

Dear friend, far off, my lost desire…………………………..........398
Dear, near and true—no truer Time himself……………….........677

Ere yet my heart was sweet Love’s tomb…………………...........712
Here, it is here—the close of the year……………………….........689

VI
‘Courage!’ he said, and pointed toward the land…………….....90
Courage, poor heart of stone………………………………................458

Dark house by wich once more I stand……………………............321
Dead, long dead……………………………………………........................461

Did I hear it half in a doze…………………………………................435

Do we indeed desire the dead………………………………..................346
Doors, where my heart was used to beat……………………............393

Dost thou look back on what hath been…………………….............352
Dust are our frames; and, gilded dust, our pride…………….....647

VII
Heaven weeps above the earth all night till morn…………......714
Her arms across her breast she laid………………………….............219
Her eyes are homes of silent prayer………………………….............336

Here, it is here—the close of the year………………….............689
How fares it with the happy dead……………………………...............342

VIII
I dream’d there would be Spring no more……………………...........355
I held it truth, with him who sings……………………………318
I sing to him that rests below…………………………………330
I sometimes hold it half a sin…………………………………320
Is it, then, regret for buried time………………………………391
It was the time when lilies blow………………………………212
Lo, as a dove when up she springs……………………………324

IX
I cannot see the features right…………………………………356
I had a vision when the night was late………………………...220
I knew an old wife lean and poor……………………………..121
I know her by her angry air…………………………………...107
I know that this was Life,--the track…………………………..332

I’m glad I walk’d. How fresh the meadow look………………144
I past beside the reverend walls……………………………….368

X
I shall not see thee. Dare I say…………………………………373
I thought to pass away before, and yet alive I am………………88
I trust I have not wasted breath………………………………...393
I vex my heart with fancies dim……………………………….342
I wage not any feud with death………………………………..362

XI
My heart is wasted with my woe………………………………...40
My life has crept so long on a broken wing…………………….465
My life is full of weary days……………………………………..46
My love has talk’d with rocks and trees………………………...377
My own dim life should teach me this…………………………..337
Mistery of misteries………………………………………………28

XII
Nature, so far as in her lies………………………………………685
Now sleeps the crimson petal, now the white……………………307
O Lady Flora, let me speak………………………………...191
O Love, Love, Love! O withering might……………………66
O thou whose fringed lids I gaze upon…………………….714
O true and tried, so well and long…………………………399
O good for him whose will is strong……………………....479
On that last night befor we went…………………………...381

XIII
Sea-king’s daughter from over the sea………………………………….....620
See what a lovely shell………………………………………………….............455
Shall the hag Evil die with child of Good……………………………...715
Slow sail’d the weary mariners and saw………………………………......44
So dark a mind within me dwells……………………………………….........422

XIV
Still on the tower stood the vane………………………………………..473
Still onward winds the dreary way……………………………………...333
Strange, that I felt so gay………………………………………………..450
Sweet and low, sweet and low…………………………………………..255
Sweet is true love tho’ given in vain, in vain…………………………...574

XV
The path by wich we twain did go………………………………………330
The plain was grassy, wild and bare……………………………………...36
The poet in a golden clime was born……………………………………...31
The rain has fallen, the Poet arose……………………………………….227

XVI
The woods decay, the woods decay and fall………………….616
This truth came borne with bier and pall………………………...365
Tho’ truths in manhood darkly join……………………………………...338
Thy converse drew us with delight………………………………………387
Thy voice is heard thro’ rolling drums…………………………………..278
Thy voice is on the rolling air……………………………………………398
‘Tis well; ‘tis something; we may stand…………………………………328
To-night the winds begin to rise…………………………………………326
To-night ungather’d let us leave…………………………………………383

XVII
To-night ungather’d let us leave…………………………………………383
To Sleep I give my powers away………………………………………...491
Unwatch’d, the garden bough shall sway………………………..380
We sleep and wake and sleep, but all things move……………228

XVIII
Uplift a thousand voices full and sweet………………………………….619
Urania speaks with darken’d brow………………………………………339
Vex not thou the poet’s mind……………………………………………..32
Voice of the summerwind………………………………………………..711

XIX
What does little birdie say………………………………………………..615
What hope is here for modern rhyme…………………………………….360
What time I wasted youthful hours………………………………………733
What words are these have fall’n from me………………………………327
Whatever I have said or sung…………………………………………….396
Wheer ‘asta bean saw long and mea liggin’ ‘ere aloan…………..668

XX
When I contemplate all alone……………………………………………676
Who can I say……………………………………………………………729
Who fears to die? Who fears to die?………………………………717
With half a glance upon the sky…………………………………………..30
With such compelling cause to grieve…………………………..334
With weary steps I loiter on……………………………………………..340

XXI
You did late review my lays……………………………………………..730
You might have won the Poet’s name…………………………………...314
You say, but with no touch of scorn……………………………………..376

XXII
You ask me, why, tho’ ill at ease………………………………………..713
You cast to ground the hope wich once was mine……....730
You leave us: you will see the Rhine……………………………………378
You thought my heart too far diseased…......354

Read by Gali-Dana Singer