Archive for the ‘Robert Pinsky’ Tag

Stary Sacz, A Poem by Adam Zagajewski     Leave a comment

Red-bellied Woodpecker (Kingwood, Texas) — Image by Hugh Poland

Stary Sacz

A woodpecker in his red cap suddenly brought back
the stationmaster in Stary Sacz.
Over the station rose a little town,
that is, an enormous market and convent of Poor Clares;
each house had one window holding jars of borscht and pickles.

The innkeeper’s daughter was so thin
that she kept bricks in her backpack to outwit the wind
when she crossed the viaduct above the train tracks.
The wind never got her, but other elements weren’t idle,
especially Nothingness and her rich suitor, Mr. Time.

Adam Zagajewski

******

Robert Pinsky wrote in The New Republic: “[In the poetry of Adam Zagajewski] the unmistakable quality
of the real thing–a sunlike force that wilts clichés and bollixes that categories of expectation–
manifests itself powerfully . . . Like a fish breaking water . . . the achievement of these poems [“Without End”]
is partly in that act of rising above a lived-in element. In Zagajewski’s work, the engulfing, ferocious
historical reality appears as our habitat–not a well of horrors to be borrowed for rhetorical thunder,
not an occasion for verse punditry, not a mere backdrop for sensibility. And the perception of that habitat
has a mysterious, elating power.”

My Tongue Is My Choir Singing To My Heart And Soul — Robert Pinsky’s Samurai Song   4 comments

Whitman 2010Poetry lovers at a Walt Whitman Reading, the Corner Pub, Conroe, Texas — Image by kenne

That which eludes this verse and any verse,
Unheard by sharpest ear, unform’d in clearest eye or cunningest mind,
Nor lore nor fame, nor happiness nor wealth,
And yet the pulse of every heart and life throughout the world
incessantly,
Which you and I and all pursuing ever ever miss,
Open but still a secret, the real of the real, an illusion,
Costless, vouchsafed to each, yet never man the owner,
Which poets vainly seek to put in rhyme, historians in prose,
Which sculptor never chisel’d yet, nor painter painted,
Which vocalist never sung, nor orator nor actor ever utter’d, 10
Invoking here and now I challenge for my song.

— from “A Riddle Song” by Walt Whitman

If you are one of those who think poetry is boring and you can’t relate to it, I suggest you read Robert Pinski’s poem, “Samural Song.” Then watch Akron/Family‘s performance of Pinski’s beautiful poem.

I love poetry. It sings to me — my tongue is my choir singing to my heart and soul.

kenne

Samurai Song

When I had no roof I made
Audacity my roof. When I had
No supper my eyes dined.

When I had no eyes I listened.
When I had no ears I thought.
When I had no thought I waited.

When I had no father I made
Care my father. When I had
No mother I embraced order.

When I had no friend I made
Quiet my friend. When I had no
Enemy I opposed my body.

When I had no temple I made
My voice my temple. I have
No priest, my tongue is my choir.

When I have no means fortune
Is my means. When I have
Nothing, death will be my fortune.

Need is my tactic, detachment
Is my strategy. When I had
No lover I courted my sleep.

 
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