Appendix I: Rhymed Poems
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RHYMED POEMS (1924-1953)* 207 T U R N I N G P O I N T 2 0 9 SHELLS, CLOUDS But everything went wrong for me and upside down, the nature of things was reborn for me. THE EROTOKRITOS* 211 TURNING POINT Moment, sent by a hand I had loved so much, you reached me just at sunset like a black pigeon. The road whitened before me, soft breath of sleep at the close of a last supper . . . Moment, grain of sand, alone you kept the whole tragic clepsydra dumb, as though it had seen the Hydra* in the heavenly garden. 212 SLOWLY YOU SPOKE Slowly you spoke before the sun and now it's dark and you were my fate's woof you, whom they'd call Billio. Five seconds; and what's happened in the wide world? An unwritten love rubbed out and a dry pitcher and it's dark . . . Where is the place and your nakedness to the waist, my God, and my favorite spot and the style of your soul! 213 THE SORROWING GIRL On the stone of patience you sat at nightfall, the black of your eye revealing your pain; on your lips the line that's naked and trembles when the soul spins and sobs plead; in your mind the motive that starts tears and you were a body that from the verge returns to fruitfulness; but your heart's anguish was unmoaning, became what gives the world a starfilled sky. 214 AUTOMOBILE On the highway like the forked embrace of a pair of compasses, fingers of wind in the hair and miles in the belly, the two of us were leaving, empty, whiplash for the mild gaze; the mind make-up, the blood make-up naked, naked, naked! . . . On a bed, the pillow high and light, how the dizziness slipped away like a fish in the sea . . . On the two-branched highway we were leaving, bodies only, with our hearts on each branch separate, one right, one left. 215 DENIAL On the secret seashore white like a pigeon we thirsted at noon: but the water was brackish. On the golden sand we wrote her name; but the sea-breeze blew and the writing vanished. With what spirit, what heart, what desire and passion we lived our life: a mistake! So we changed our life. 216 THE COMPANIONS IN HADES fools, who ate the cattle of Helios Hyperion; but he deprived them of the day of their return. ODYSSEY* Since we still had some hardtack what stupidity to eat while on shore the Sun's slow cattle, for each was a castle you'd have to battle forty years and become a hero and a star! On the earth's back we hungered, but when we'd eaten well we fell to these lower regions mindless and satisfied. ζ\η F O G Say it with a ukulele* "Say it with a ukulele, grumbles some gramophone; Christ, tell me what to say to her now that I'm used to my loneliness? With accordions squeezed by well-dressed beggars they call on the angels and their angels are hell. And the angels opened their wings but below the mists condensed thank God, for otherwise they'd catch our poor souls like thrushes. And life's cold as a fish —Is that how you live?—Yes, how else? So many are the drowned down on the sea's bed. Trees are like corals their color gone, carts are like ships sunken and lonely. . . 218 "Say it with a ukulele. . ." Words for words, and more words? Love, where's your church, I'm tired of this hermitage. Ah, were life but straight how we'd live it then! But it's fated otherwise, you have to turn in a small corner. And what corner is it? Who knows? Lights shine on lights pallidly, the hoarfrosts are dumb, and our soul's in our teeth. Will we find consolation? Day put on night— everything is night, everything is night— we'll find something, if we search. . . "Say it with a ukulele. . ." I see her red nails— how they must glow in firelight— and I recall her when I cough. London, Christmas 1924 219 THE MOOD OF A DAY We plainly saw that not a soul lived in that fated vessel! EDGAR ALLAN POE* The mood of a day that we lived ten years ago in a foreign country the airy spirit of an ancient moment that took...


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