Category Archives: Poems

Portia, I love thee for who thou art.

Regarde! Jusqu’où cette petite bougie jette sa lumière, brille une bonne action dans un monde méchant.
Marchand de Venise, Acte 5, Scène 1, William Shakespeare

Rich, beautiful, gracious, and smart, if a suitor had to choose only one quality in his fair Portia, which would it be?

candle_black

The Merchant of Venice is a play in which the women clearly outsmart the men. In considering what love is, one is reminded of Elizabeth Barret Browning, How do I love thee, let me count the ways…

Love should not come down to a choice, but if it did what would your choice be?

C’est l’amour un choix?

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Duende

Duende, Spanish, a noun. Duende is a spirit, a quality of passion and inspiration. Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca wrote in “Teoria y Juego del Duende” that duende is a power deep within us that sleeps and asks to be awakened and wrestled, often at a cost that is dear. To possess it is to have soul and authenticity. To lack it is to be soulless.

Let me know
Where You go
Will you be on the beach,
Alone and out of reach,
But still in touch
With the wind and the sand
And the sea
And me?

beach_sit

White on blue

A trip to Flathead Lake in Montana (the largest lake west of the Mississippi) inspires many thoughts. The season is ending, the tourists are going home, the kids to school, and all too soon, I am back to work.

sailboat on Flathead Lake, Montana

White on blue
Standing on the shore of Flathead Lake,
I spy a solitary sailboat
Spreading her white sails to the breeze and the water
Oh, my heart aches to be there,
I long to be gone
A speck of white
Where the blue of the lake meets the blue of the sky
Long do I gaze while the boat disappears
When the cold wind kicks up, and
With a sharp tug on my pants
My sons says to me,
Why are we here?

Un grain de blanc en bleu

Au bord de la rive de Flathead Lake
Je regarde un bateau à voile
Diffuser ses voiles blanches à la brise et à l’eau
Oh, mon cœur a mal à être là,
J’aimerais être parti
Un point de blanc
Où le bleu du lac rencontre le bleu du ciel
Long je regarde pendant que le bateau disparaît
Lorsque le vent froid se lance, et
Il y a un pistolet sur mon pantalon
Pourquoi sommes-nous ici, me dit-il mon fils?

1 flathead lake boat_close

Mr. Nobody

skydivingNobodiness is a malady
That affects almost everybody.
Won’t somebody tell everybody,
Sir or madam, as the case may be,
Won’t you please, please, please
Say a kind word to me

It is bloody hell being a nobody
One damn day after another

Some things are lost in translation.

Les nullités sont seuls modestes.

Nur die Lumpen sind bescheiden.

le mot

word-german_bible

Un nom, c’est juste un mot
Rien de plus ni moins
Qui, seul, attend un verbe avant
Qu’il ne remonte de son sommeil
Alors, il vit, il aime bien
Il sourit et rit et pleure parfois

Et dois le verbe
Décide de partir et cherche et conjoint
Un autre nom
Le nom ne parle plus
Et meurt une mort
Solitaire

Si tu ne comprend pas les mots francais

A noun is just a word
Alone, it waits for a verb
Before it stirs from its sleep
Then, it lives and loves
And laughs and cries

Now should the verb
Decide to leave
And find another spouse
The noun speaks no more
And dies a lonely death

words_font

The importance of being human

“Ha, ha, ha” is how we write laughter, but it is no substitute for the real thing.

An American English major visiting the chateaux along the Loire, needing mightily take a leak, spots a French pissoir.

Going in he is Russian. Inside he is European. Leaving he’s Finnish.

When done, is he Danish?

Without humans, there would be no humor in the world, no laughter nor guffaws, and not even the hint of a smirk. A bird flying from pole to pole would find, on returning home to his nest for a well earned rest, sadly not even a smile.

smile

There once was a movie called Truman
That asked, “Is it important to be human?”
Said the fly as he visits the freshly laid turd,
If man was gone from the face of the earth,
Would one cockroach care?

Une fois un film a été appelé Truman
Qui demandé, « Est-il important d’être humain? »
Dit la mouche comme il visite l’étron fraîchement pondus,
Si l’homme avait disparu de la face de la terre,
Voudrais les cafards cesseraient-ils?

Einmal war ein Film Truman genannt
Das fragte: „Ist es wichtig, ein Mensch zu sein?“
Sagte die Fliege, als er die frisch gelegte Kackwurst besucht,
Wenn der Mensch aus der Erde verschwunden,
Würde Kakerlaken unglücklich sein?

loreno (7)

To be or not the bee

To be or not the bee

bee

Let it be Rosemarie

Don’t read this, it’s meant
Just for me and not for you
Who stumbled on this poem
Just by accident.

Like Rosemarie
Who smelled a pretty red, red rose
Dreaming of her handsome sweet, sweet love
And so, was stung by a bee

Was it on her lip or on her nose?
I’ll let you guess
What became
Of Rosemarie, her love and the bee

Comme ce soit c’est fois

Ne lisez pas cela
C’est seul pour moi
Pas pour toi
Qui a arrive a ce poème
Juste par accidentellement
Comme Rosemarie
Qui sentait une rose rouge rouge
Rêver de son amour doux doux
Et a été piqué par une abeille
Était-ce sur sa lèvre ou nez?
Je vous laisse deviner

bee-in-the-approach

Nothing Gold Can Stay – Robert Frost

dandelion-seed

Just a word before I go. It seems we are forever saying farewell. Often we say it casually, in which case, “goodbye” is appropriate. Now, if one wants to interject a little feeling into the goodbye, one says “farewell”. “Fare thee well” if one likes pomposity and English verse.

Farewell also suggests a more permanent departure. In the military, staff and friends put on a “hale and farewell” for departing members of a unit. Hail and Farewell being a translation of “ave atque vale”, Gaius Valerius Catullus’ last words of the poem Carmen 101.

All this leads me to the thought that nothing is permanent. Goodbyes and farewells are in order. And as I will be away for a few days, I will just say “goodbye” or maybe “so long”.

Personally I have always like the French way, saying “À bientôt!”

Robert Frost’s Nothing Gold Can Stay was first published in 1923 and is I believe still under copyright. For that reason, I will quote only the first two lines and the last two in English and give the full translation into French. Therefore, it is an academic study and exempt from copyright laws.

If not, I will hear a “hello” from someone.

Premier vert de la nature est l’or,
Difficile sa teinte à tenir.
Au début sa feuille une fleur;
Seulement si une heure.
Puis la feuille affaisse à la feuille.
Alors Eden a sombré à la douleur,
Comme l’aube va à jour.
Rien de l’or ne restera.

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.

So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

butterflies-wide

Lost

Lost in Buenos Aires

pulperia

Perdido…

Toma un descanso,

Respirar.

Abre tus ojos

Ahora cuente hacia atrás de tres …

Dos, uno.

Tienes quince años, niño inmaculado y

En absoluto lo que tu madre piensa

Solo ir a caminar

En una calle oscura

Se ve la pulperia

Estaba abierto, estaba cerrado

¿Qué secretos estaba dentro,

Mama mia

Te preguntas…

Que te costará

Lost…

Take a moment,

Breathe.

Open your eyes

Now count backwards from three…

You’re fifteen, spotless child and

Not at all what your mother thinks

She sent you to the mini-mart

And along the way you saw the pulperia

Was it open, was it closed

What secrets lay inside, mama mia

You wonder…

What will it cost

Mistakes

The unripened grape, the ripe bunch, the raisin, all are changes, not into nothing, but into something which does not exist yet. Marcus Aurelius
Le raisin non mûr, le grappe de raisins, le raisin sec, tous sont des changements, pas dans rien, mais dans quelque chose qui n’existe pas encore. Marcus Aurelius

Which leads me to wonder, ‘If I were I younger and knew what I know now would I not make the same mistakes?’

Si j’étais plus jeune et je savais ce que je sais, n’effectuerais-je pas les mêmes fautes?

Mistakes happened and books were written, knowledge exists and lessons are taught, and history will still repeat itself.

boy-2

The Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, 167 A.C.E.

Book Two

Begin each morning saying to thyself, ‘The busy-body, ingrate, arrogant, deceitful, envious, unsocial, all these beings happen by reason of ignorance of what is good. But I who have seen the beauty of good and the ugliness of bad, and the nature of him who does wrong; they exist as do I, but I can not be injured by any of them, for no one can fix on me what is ugly, nor can I be angry with my kinsman, nor hate him, for we are made to act jointly, like feet, hands, and eyelids, like the chatter of the teeth. To act against one another is contrary to nature, to be vexed and turned away.’

Tous sont fous, sauf moi, mais, avec toi, je dois ensemble toujours coexister.