Monday, July 10, 2017
Vermeer beholds the world and answers the riddle in a painting. Tranströmer beholds Vermeer's work and answers the riddle in words. and Patty Crane manages a translation that gives Tranströmer's poem what it needs—galvanizing force.
i find myself upon reading this poem, this particular translation, overcome. weeping.
VERMEER by Tomas Tranströmer
No sheltered world...Right behind the wall the noise begins
the tavern begins
with laughter and complaint, rows of teeth, tears, clanging bells
and the deranged brother-in-law, the murderer that everyone trembles before.
The great explosion and the delayed trampling of rescuers,
boats swaggering at anchor, money creeping down into the pocket of the wrong man
demands heaped on demands
gaping red blossom-cups sweating premonitions of war.
And from there straight through the wall into the bright studio,
into the second that goes on living for centuries.
Paintings that call themselves "The Music Lesson"
or "Woman in Blue Reading a Letter"—
she's eight months along, two hearts kicking inside her.
On the wall behind her hangs a wrinkled map of Terra Incognita.
Breathe calmly...An unfamiliar blue material is nailed to the chairs.
The gold rivets flew in with extraordinary speed
and stopped dead
as if they had never been anything but stillness.
The ears ring from either depth or height.
It's the pressure from the other side of the wall.
It sets every fact afloat
and steadies the brush.
It hurts to go through walls, and makes you sick
but it's necessary.
The world is one. But walls...
And the wall is part of you—
whether you know it or not, it's the same for everyone,
except small children. For them, no wall.
The clear sky has leaned against the wall.
It's like a prayer to the emptiness.
And the emptiness turns its face to us
"I am not empty, I am open."
Monday, May 29, 2017
From "Light Journal" by Charles Wright
To speak the prime word and vanish
into the aneurysm
Unhealed and holding the walls open,
Trip and thump of light
up from the fingernails and through
The slack locks and stripped vessels
At last the inarticulation of desire...
What did I think I meant then, Greece, 1959:
Beauty is in the looking for it,
The light here filtered through silk,
The water moving like breathing,
Moving in turn to the tide's turn,
black thread through the water weave.
Whatever it was, I still mean it.
Monday, May 22, 2017
Monday, March 27, 2017
at the edge of the trail i stop and stare
what is it that pulls me?
a metaphysical arrangement -
the trees obeying some ancient law
what is the text?
why is it so compelling?
as though the shaman were striking me with tensile braids of sweetgrass
my thoughts converge into rows
or are my thoughts those things spraying out between the trees into darkness?