Posts Tagged ‘ darkness ’

Galway Kinnell’s “Little Sleep’s-Head Sprouting Hair in the Moonlight”

Little Sleep’s-Head Sprouting Hair in the Moonlight


You scream, waking from a nightmare.

When I sleepwalk
into your room, and pick you up,
and hold you up in the moonlight, you cling to me
as if clinging could save us. I think
you think
I will never die, I think I exude
to you the permanence of smoke or stars,
even as
my broken arms heal themselves around you.


I have heard you tell
the sun, don’t go down, I have stood by
as you told the flower, don’t grow old,
don’t die. Little Maud,

I would blow the flame out of your silver cup,
I would suck the rot from your fingernail,
I would brush your sprouting hair of the dying light,
I would scrape the rust off your ivory bones,
I would help death escape through the little ribs of your body,
I would alchemize the ashes of your cradle back into wood,
I would let nothing of you go, ever,

until washerwomen
feel the clothes fall asleep in their hands,
and hens scratch their spell across hatchet blades,
and rats walk away from the cultures of the plague,
and iron twists weapons toward the true north,
and grease refuses to slide in the machinery of progress,
and men feel as free on earth as fleas on the bodies of men,
and lovers no longer whisper to the presence beside them in the
dark, O corpse-to-be …

And yet perhaps this is the reason you cry,
this the nightmare you wake screaming from:
being forever
in the pre-trembling of a house that falls.


In a restaurant once, everyone
quietly eating, you clambered up
on my lap: to all
the mouthfuls rising toward
all the mouths, at the top of your voice
you cried
your one word, caca! caca! caca!
and each spoonful
stopped, a moment, in midair, in its withering

you cling because
I, like you, only sooner
than you, will go down
the path of vanished alphabets,
the roadlessness
to the other side of the darkness,

your arms
like the shoes left behind,
like the adjectives in the halting speech
of old men,
which once could call up the lost nouns.


And you yourself,
some impossible Tuesday
in the year Two Thousand and Nine, will walk out
among the black stones
of the field, in the rain,

and the stones saying
over their one word, ci-gît, ci-gît, ci-gît,

and the raindrops
hitting you on the fontanel
over and over, and you standing there
unable to let them in.


If one day it happens
you find yourself with someone you love
in a café at one end
of the Pont Mirabeau, at the zinc bar
where white wine stands in upward opening glasses,

and if you commit then, as we did, the error
of thinking,
one day all this will only be memory,

as you stand
at this end of the bridge which arcs,
from love, you think, into enduring love,
learn to reach deeper
into the sorrows
to come – to touch
the almost imaginary bones
under the face, to hear under the laughter
the wind crying across the black stones. Kiss
the mouth
which tells you, here,
here is the world. This mouth. This laughter. These temple bones.

The still undanced cadence of vanishing.


In the light the moon
sends back, I can see in your eyes

the hand that waved once
in my father’s eyes, a tiny kite
wobbling far up in the twilight of his last look:

and the angel
of all mortal things lets go the string.


Back you go, into your crib.

The last blackbird lights up his gold wings: farewell.
Your eyes close inside your head,
in sleep. Already
in your dreams the hours begin to sing.

Little sleep’s-head sprouting hair in the moonlight,
when I come back
we will go out together,
we will walk out together among
the ten thousand things,
each scratched too late with such knowledge, the wages
of dying is love.

from The Book of Nightmares by Galway Kinnell

Kiri Te Kanawa, José Carreras, Leonard Bernstein / “One Hand, One Heart” from West Side Story

The World of Man by Ono Tozaburo (人間の土地 / 小野十三郎) | Entry No. 1

The World of Man by Ono Tozaburo (人間の土地 / 小野十三郎)

A light came on
in the evening mist.
Musashino’s boundless sea.

It gives us
enough hope to go on living.

About ten years ago, a sunset just like this one.
I was wearing the same outfit
standing on the Ikebukuro Tojo platform.

A year of death and darkness.
I looked all around me, but no one was there.
I called out in a loud voice, but no one answered.

A silence fell over Tokyo
I hadn’t heard from anyone
and I didn’t know if they were alive or dead.

I feel like I was here then as well
in the evening mist, watching this light
blink on.

The World of Man by Ono Tozaburo (人間の土地 / 小野十三郎) | Entry No. 1.

At the Window by D H Lawrence | Academy of American Poets

At the Window

The pine-trees bend to listen to the autumn wind as it mutters
Something which sets the black poplars ashake with hysterical laughter;
While slowly the house of day is closing its eastern shutters.

Further down the valley the clustered tombstones recede,
Winding about their dimness the mist’s grey cerements, after
The street lamps in the darkness have suddenly started to bleed.

The leaves fly over the window and utter a word as they pass
To the face that leans from the darkness, intent, with two dark-filled eyes
That watch for ever earnestly from behind the window glass.

– D H Lawrence

I Turn off the Light by 장석남 Jang Seok-Nam

I Turn off the Light

When I turned off the light everything revived with open eyes; I was really afraid.
I shut my eyes.

As I grew up, when I turned off the light
nothing could be seen; that’s good.
Smiles may rise,
tears may suddenly emerge,
that’s good.
And then, after that,
finally turning on the light again,
all at once I’m already thirty, forty or fifty.

When I turn off the light
everything seems just like a pond;
embracing in my arms the air as it slips away,
like wild rose petals falling
I feel my pulse.


– 장석남  Jang Seok-Nam
Brother Anthony of Taizé, translation

from Nine poems by 3 Korean poets

The Apartments – What’s the Morning For?

Jerome Rothenberg & John Bloomberg-Rissman: from the Pre-Face to Barbaric Vast & Wild Poems for the Millennium, volume 5 | Poems and Poetics

Poet John Bloomberg-Rissman

Poems and Poetics: Jerome Rothenberg & John Bloomberg-Rissman: from the Pre-Face to Barbaric Vast & Wild Poems for the Millennium, volume 5.