Saturday, 29 May 2010


A garden inclosed is my sister, my spouse, a spring shut up, a fountain sealed.

Thy plants are an orchard of pomegranates, with pleasant fruits, camphire, with spikenard,

Spikenard and saffron; calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense; myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices;

A fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon.

Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south, blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.

King James Bible

Tuesday, 25 May 2010


Patience, better than armour, guards from harm.
And why seek enemies, if you have anger ?
With friends, you need no medicine for danger.
With kinsmen, why ask fire to keep you warm?
What use are snakes when slander sharper stings?
What use is wealth where wisdom brings content?
With modesty, what need for ornament?
With poetry's Muse, why should we envy kings?

Translated from the Sanskrit by John Brough

Saturday, 22 May 2010


To him who, purified, would break this vicious round
And breathe once more the air of heaven - greeting !
There in the courts of Hades wilt thou find
Leftward a beckoning cypress, tall and bright,
From out whose roots doth flow the waters of Oblivion.
Approach it not : guard thou thy thirst awhile.
For on the other hand - and further - wells
From bottomless pool the limpid stream of Memory.
Cool, full of refreshment. To its guardians cry thus :
"I am the child of earth and starry sky :
Know that I too am heavenly - but parched !
I perish : give then and quickly that clear draught
Of ice-cold Memory !' And from that fountainhead divine
straightway they'll give thee drink; quaffing the which
Thou with the other heroes eternally shalt rule.

Translated from the Greek; 
Translator anonymous

Wednesday, 19 May 2010


Matter mingled and massed into indissoluble union
Does not exist. For we see how wastes each separate substance;
So flow piecemeal away, with the length'ning centuries, all things,
Till from our eye by degrees that old self passes, and is not.
Still Universal Nature abides unchanged as aforetime.
Whereof this is the cause. When the atoms part from substance,
That suffers loss; but another is elsewhere gaining in increase:
So that, as one thing wanes, still a second bursts into blossom,
Soon, in its turn, to be left. Thus draws this Universe always
Gain out of loss; thus live we mortals one on another.
Burgeons one generation, and one fades. Let but a few years
Pass, and a race has arisen which was not: as in a racecourse,
One hand on to another the burning torch of Existence.

(Titus Lucretius Carus)
96? - 55 BC
Roman Poet 
Author of  De Rerum Natura (On the Nature of Reality)

Translated from the Latin by C.S. Calverley

Photo by J. White

Sunday, 16 May 2010


You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting -
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Mary Oliver
American poet
September 10th 1935

Mary Oliver was born in Cleveland, Ohio and attended Vassar College for women.
She won the Pulitzer Prize in 1984 for her collection American Primitive.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010


Grey goose and gander
Go with cranberry sauce.
I can understand the
World without remorse.
Tombstones are a trouble
Others must endure:
Nothing that a double
Brandy will not cure.

Whither shall we wander
After we are dead?
Sometimes I wonder.
Open up my head.
Take out the Alphabet.
Make me forget.

Upstairs or downstairs
Is not our concern.
Deep in your armchairs
Burn, boys, burn.
Drowned sailors clutter
The hovels of the sea.
It's no great matter.
They can't drown me.

In my lady's chamber
Once I found a skull.
It helped her to remember
That she was beautiful.
If I find the moral
That is all my wish.
Men have fetched up coral
When they trawled for fish.

Dom Moraes
Goan poet
July 1938 - June 2004

Tuesday, 11 May 2010


The Golden Goose Speaks

To remain from birth to death without the Good Law,
that prolongs the bondage.

To desire emancipation, and still deserve a state of woe,
that prolongs the bondage.

To hope for miraculous blessing,
and still have wrong opinions,
that prolongs the bondage.

To neglect those things
which turn the mind towards salvation,
that prolongs the bondage.

To strive for purity of vision,
and yet be blinded by a faulty judgement,
that prolongs the bondage.

To give and yet be checked by meanness,
that prolongs the bondage.

To aim at lasting achievements,
while still exposed to this world's distractions,
that prolongs the bondage.

To try to understand one's inner mind
while still chained to hopes and fears,
that prolongs the bondage.

translated from the Tibetan by Edward Conze

Friday, 7 May 2010


Esrefoglu Mosque


to give the world for nothing is love
to let life flow away is love
offering the lump of sugar in your hand to another
swallowing the poison yourself is love
plagues falling from the sky like rain
holding up your head against them is love
this universe is a sea of fire
throwing yourself into it is love
you Esrefoglu of Anatolia know the truth
making the body mortal is love


Translated from the Turkish by Murat Nemet-Nejat

Tuesday, 4 May 2010


Looking up at the stars, I know quite well
That, for all they care, I can go to hell,
But on earth indifference is the least
We have to dread from man or beast.

How should we like it were stars to burn
With a passion for us we could not return?
If equal affection cannot be,
Let the more loving one be me.

Admirer as I think I am
Of stars that do not give a damn,
I cannot, now I see them, say
I missed one terribly all day.

Were all the stars to disappear or die,
I should learn to look at an empty sky
And feel its total dark sublime,
Though this might take me a little time.

Wystan Hugh Auden

Image Martin Germano

Monday, 3 May 2010


I stood out in the open cold
To see the essence of the eclipse
Which was its perfect darkness.

I stood in the cold on the porch
And could not think of anything so perfect
As man's hope of light in the fact of darkness.

Richard Eberhart
American Poet
b. 1904 d. 2005

Composite image of solar eclipse by Wendy Carlos and Fred Espenak