Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Jack Gilbert

Finding Something 

I say moon is horses in the tempered dark,
because horse is the closest I can get to it.
I sit on the terrace of this worn villa the king's
telegrapher built on the mountain that looks down
on a blue sea and the small white ferry
that crosses slowly to the next island each noon.
Michiko is dying in the house behind me,
the long windows opens so I can hear
the faint sound she will make when she wants
watermelon to suck on so I can take her
to a bucket in the corner of the high-ceilinged room
which is the best we can do for a chamber pot.
She will lean against my leg as she sits
so as not to fall over in her weakness.
How strange and fine to get so near to it.
The arches of her feet are like voices
of children calling in the grove of lemon trees,
where my heart is as helpless as crushed birds.

Jack Gilbert


I came back from the funeral and crawled 
around the apartment, crying hard, 
searching for my wife's hair. 
For two months got them from the drain, 
from the vacuum cleaner, under the refrigerator, 
and off the clothes in the closet. 
But after other Japanese women came, 
there was no way to be sure which were 
hers, and I stopped. A year later, 
repotting Michiko's avocado, I find 
a long black hair tangled in the dirt. 

Janusz Szuber

The Crowing of Roosters 

The crowing of roosters at the change in the weather: 
Under a dark blue cloud the dark testicles of plums 
With their ash-gary coating and sticky cracks–
There are sweet scabs of dirty amber. 

Translated from Polish by Czeslaw Milosz