There is nothing beautiful here
However I may want it. I can’t
Spin a crystal palace of this thin air,
Weave a darkness plush as molefur with my tongue
However I want. Yet I am not alone
In these alleys of vowels, which comfort me
As the single living nun of a convent
Is comforted by the walls of that catacomb
She walks at night, lit by her own moving candle.
I am not afraid of mirrors or the future
—Or even you, lovers, wandering cow-fat
And rutting in the gardens of this earthly verge
Where I too trod, a sunspot, parasol-shaded,
Kin to the trees, the bees, the color green.
Copyright © 2013 by Monica Ferrell. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on May 27, 2013.
I was outside St. Cecelia's Rectory smoking a cigarette when a goat appeared beside me. It was mostly black and white, with a little reddish brown here and there. When I started to walk away, it followed. I was amused and delighted, but wondered what the laws were on this kind of thing. There's a leash law for dogs, but what about goats? People smiled at me and admired the goat. "It's not my goat," I explained. "It's the town's goat. I'm just taking my turn caring for it." "I didn't know we had a goat," one of them said. "I wonder when my turn is." "Soon," I said. "Be patient. Your time is coming." The goat stayed by my side. It stopped when I stopped. It looked up at me and I stared into its eyes. I felt he knew everything essential about me. We walked on. A police- man on his beat looked us over. "That's a mighty fine goat you got there," he said, stopping to admire. "It's the town's goat," I said. "His family goes back three-hundred years with us," I said, "from the beginning." The officer leaned forward to touch him, then stopped and looked up at me. "Mind if I pat him?" he asked. "Touching this goat will change your life," I said. "It's your decision." He thought real hard for a minute, and then stood up and said, "What's his name?" "He's called the Prince of Peace," I said. "God! This town is like a fairy tale. Everywhere you turn there's mystery and wonder. And I'm just a child playing cops and robbers forever. Please forgive me if I cry." "We forgive you, Officer," I said. "And we understand why you, more than anybody, should never touch the Prince." The goat and I walked on. It was getting dark and we were beginning to wonder where we would spend the night.
From Lost River by James Tate, published by Sarabande Books, Inc. Copyright © 2003 by James Tate. Reprinted by permission of Sarabande Books and the author. All rights reserved.
translated from the Spanish by Ursula K. Le Guin
Life of my life, what you loved I sing.
If you're near, if you’re listening,
remembering earth, in the evening,
my life, my shadow, hear me sing.
Life of my life, I can’t be still.
What is a story we never tell?
How can you find me unless I call?
Life of my life, I haven’t changed,
not turned aside and not estranged.
Come to me as the shadows grow long,
come, life of my life, if you know the song
you used to know, if you know my name.
I and the song are still the same.
Beyond time or place I keep the faith.
Follow a path or follow no path,
don’t fear the night or the rainy wind.
call me to come to you, now at the end,
and come to me, soul of my soul, my friend.
Canto Que Amabas
Yo canto lo que tú amabas, vida mía,
por si te acercas y escuchas, vida mía,
por si te acuerdas del mundo que viviste,
al atardecer yo canto, sombra mía.
Yo no quiero enmudecer, vida mía.
¿Cómo sin mi grito fiel me hallarías?
¿Cuál señal, cuál me declara, vida mía?
Soy la misma que fue tuya, vida mía.
Ni lenta ni trascordada ni perdida.
Acude al anochecer, vida mía;
ven recordando un canto, vida mía,
si la canción reconoces de aprendida
y si mi nombre recuerdas todavía.
Te espero sin plazo ni tiempo.
No temas noche, neblina ni aguacero.
Acude con sendero o sin sendero.
Llámame a donde tú eres, alma mía,
0201y marcha recto hacia mí, compañero.
From Selected Poems of Gabriela Mistral: Translated by Ursula K. Le Guin. Copyright © 2003 Ursula K. Le Guin. Courtesy of University of New Mexico Press.