Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Poem Sequence: Apparitions

In a Station of the Metro
The apparition of these faces in the crowd; Petals on a wet, black bough. — Ezra Pound
In a Station of the Metro
by Dan Beachy-Quick
Peace fell on the dim lands a sort of abstraction
The metronome counted one petal after another
So the petals fell as or in some music
This song needs no breath just an apparition
With a mouth open and eyes and eyes
The wet smear of eyes beneath pink
Petals in excess of the window frame’s bright
Yellow square and yes spring gathers right now
The moisture from my breath up into clouds
Whose downpour makes of the plum tree in blossom
A diminishing crowd for which the natural symbol
Refuses to exist a plain blue gem on a pin
Faces glowing within the stone like flowers
Within the stone like flaws the mind turns inward
Turns inward its tangle of wet black boughs
A knot pulled tight so tight it ceases to be

A knot yes I’ll say it a knot that becomes angelic
Another example everywhere seen of the angelic
Gears toothless and without cogs a sort of mist
That turns the other gear by drifting through it
As just now through my eye drifts that storm
Battered tree whose broken-petal pocked bark
Asks of me a question my mouth can’t speak
Like a river that dives underground just there
There where the animals thirst the most
A desert fox say or say a toad or let’s speak more simply
About a plum which bursts through its own explosion
Into being and hangs there so ponderously
As if as if not concerned with innocence or
Gravity or other acute angles as they evaporate
Into this poem O no am I speaking again again about
dim lands these dim dim lands of of peace
In Paradise Lost, Book VIII, Adam asks:
“Love not the heavenly Spirits, and how their love
Express they, by looks only, or do they mix
Irradiance, virtual or immediate touch?”
And the angel Raphael replies:
the Angel with a smile that glowed
Celestial rosy red, love’s proper hue,
Answered. “Let it suffice thee that thou know’st
Us happy, and without love no happiness.
Whatever pure thou in the body enjoy’st
(And pure thou wert created) we enjoy
In eminence, and obstacle find none
Of membrane, joint, or limb, exclusive bars:
Easier than air with air, if Spirits embrace,
Total they mix, union of pure with pure
Desiring; nor restrained conveyance need
As flesh to mix with flesh, or soul with soul.”

Ourselves we do inter with sweet derision.
The channel of the dust who once achieves
Invalidates the balm of that religion
That doubts as fervently as it believes.
--Emily Dickinson

Monday, January 2, 2012

Chinese: Character, Rhetoric and a Hippo

Her two fingers clasped a cigarette blowing a long strand of smoke. In the smoke one could just make out that slight, lovely hippo face of hers. Lovely, because her mouth was small compared to a hippo's, though the shape of her mouth, of her nose, of her eyes, all resembled that of a hippo, especially the eyes -- and this pair of eyes was also just as was said of Lin Daiyu, "glaring and not glaring." -- Yang Jiang, Baptism
The source for this is:
林黛玉听了,不覺帶腮連耳通紅,登時直豎起兩道似蹙 非蹙的眉,瞪了兩只似睜非睜的眼,微腮帶怒,薄面含嗔,指 寶玉道:“你這該死的胡說! 好好的把這淫詞艷曲弄了來,還 學了這些混話來欺負我.我告訴舅舅舅母去。” --Dream of the Red Chamber, chapter 23
Lin Tai-yü became, at these words, unconsciously crimson all over her cheeks, even up to her very ears; and raising, at the same moment, her two eyebrows, which seemed to knit and yet not to knit, and opening wide those eyes, which seemed to stare and yet not to stare, while her peach-like cheeks bore an angry look and on her thin-skinned face lurked displeasure, she pointed at Pao-yü and exclaimed: "You do deserve death, for the rubbish you talk! without any provocation you bring up these licentious expressions and wanton ballads to give vent to all this insolent rot, in order to insult me; but I'll go and tell uncle and aunt." -- H.B. Jolly translation