Flightpaths interrupted

Sometimes only poetry will do


In memoriam

In memoriam MH17 and MH 370


image: http://www.wikipedia.org

‘I reason, Earth is short…’

I reason, Earth is short—
And Anguish—absolute—
And many hurt,
But, what of that?

I reason, we could die—
The best Vitality
Cannot excel Decay,
But, what of that?

I reason, that in Heaven—
Somehow, it will be even—
Some new Equation, given—
But, what of that?

 by Emily Dickinson


Earth from sky


image: photopgraphyinspirations.blogspot.com

To the Days

From you I want more than I’ve ever asked
all of it—the newscasts’ terrible stories
of life in my time, the knowing it’s worse than that,
much worse—the knowing what it means to be lied to.

Fog in the mornings, hunger for clarity,
coffee and bread with sour plum jam.
Numbness of soul in placid neighborhoods.
Lives ticking on as if.

A typewriter’s torrent, suddenly still
Blue soaking through fog, two dragonflies wheeling.
Acceptable levels of cruelty, steadily rising.
Whatever you bring in your hands, I need to see it.

Suddenly I understand the verb without tenses.
To smell another woman’s hair, to taste her skin.
To know the bodies drifting underwater.
To be human, said Rosa—I can’t teach you that.

A cat drinks from a bowl of marigolds—his moment.
Surely the love of life is never-ending,
the failure of nerve, a charred fuse?
I want more from you than I ever knew to ask.

Wild pink lilies erupting, tasseled stalks of corn
in the Mexican gardens, corn and roses.
Shortening days, strawberry fields in ferment
with tossed-aside, bruised fruit.

 by Adrienne Rich


image: http://www.sheppardsoftware.com


What Happens

It has happened
and it goes on happening
and will happen again
if nothing happens to stop it

The innocent know nothing
because they are too innocent
and the guilty know nothing
because they are too guilty

The poor do not notice
because they are too poor
and the rich do not notice
because they are too rich

The stupid shrug their shoulders
because they are too stupid
and the clever shrug their shoulders
because they are too clever

The young do not care
because they are too young
and the old do not care
because they are too old

That is why nothing happens

to stop it

and that is why it has happened

and goes on happening and will happen again

 by Erich Fried, translated from the German by Stuart Hood

These poems selected from Being Alive: the sequel to Staying Alive, edited by Neil Astley, published by Bloodaxe 2004




Still waiting

Waders that stay

white egret nla

White Egret (Egreta alba) 1938

Ebenezer Edward Gostelow, Australian naturalist and artist (1867-1944)

From the collection of the National Library of Australia: http://www.nla.gov.au/nla.pic-an3821510-v



Once as I travelled through a quiet evening,
I saw a pool, jet-black and mirror-still.
Beyond, the slender paperbarks stood crowding;
each on its own white image looked its fill,
and nothing moved but thirty egrets wading –
thirty egrets in a quiet evening.

Once in a lifetime, lovely past believing,
your lucky eyes may light on such a pool.
As though for many years I had been waiting,
I watched in silence, till my heart was full
of clear dark water, and white trees unmoving,
and, whiter yet, those thirty egrets wading.

 From Birds: Poems by Judith Wright, National Library of Australia, 2003


Egrets in another country, in another century

Egrets are one of several species commonly called ‘rice birds’: these are cattle egrets (Bubulcus ibis). The title of the poem below refers to Feroke, a small city surrounded by rivers and wetlands in Kerala, India.

 egret in paddy webImage at http://www.samjhanamoon.photoshelter.com/image/I0000Vff_DlgnbYI

The rice-birds fly so white, so silver white,
The velvet rice-flats lie so emerald green,
My heart inhales, with sorrowful delight,
The sweet and poignant sadness of the scene.

The swollen tawny river seeks the sea,
Its hungry waters, never satisfied,
Beflecked with fallen log and torn-up tree,
Engulph the fisher-huts on either side.

The current brought a stranger yesterday,
And laid him on the sand beneath a palm,
His worn young face was partly torn away,
His eyes, that saw the world no more, were calm

We could not close his eyelids, stiff with blood,–
But, oh, my brother, I had changed with thee
For I am still tormented in the flood,
Whilst thou hast done thy work, and reached the sea.

From Last Poems by Laurence Hope, William Heinemann, 1905; also in Selected Poems from The Indian Love Lyrics of Laurence Hope, William Heinemann, 1922