The Reproach

You have betrayed me, Eros.

You have sent me

my true love.

 

On a high hill you made

his clear gaze;

my heart was not

so hard as your arrow.

 

What is a poet

without dreams?

I lie awake; I feel

actual flesh upon me

meaning to silence me –

Outside, in the blackness

over the olive trees,

a few stars.

 

I think this is a bitter insult:

that I prefer to walk

the coiled paths of the garden

to walk beside the river

glittering with drops

of mercury. I like to lie

in the wet grass beside the river,

running away, Eros,

not openly, with other men,

but discreetly, coldly –

 

All my life

I have worshiped the wrong gods.

When I watch the trees

on the other side,

the arrow in my heart

is like one of them,

swaying and quivering.

 

Louise Gluck

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It’s This Way

I stand in the advancing light,

my hands hungry, the world beautiful.

 

My eyes can’t get enough of the trees –

they’re so hopeful, so green.

 

A sunny road runs through the mulberries,

I’m at the window of the prison infirmary.

 

I can’t smell the medicines –

carnations must be blooming nearby.

 

It’s this way:

being captured is beside the point,

the point is not to surrender.

 

NÂZIM HIKMET

translated from the Turkish by Randy Blasing & Mutlu Konuk

The Place Where We Are Right

From the place where we are right

flowers will never grow

in the spring.

 

The place where we are right

is hard and trampled

like a yard.

 

But doubts and loves

dig up the world

like a mole, a plow.

And a whisper will be heard in the place

where the ruined

house once stood.

 

YEHUDA AMICHAI translated from the Hebrew by Stephen Mitchell