Saturday, December 21, 2013

TC: Solstice ("Cold floating days...")


House sparrow (Passer domesticus) with winter plumage: photo by 3268zauber, 3 January 2009

Cold floating days, difficult to keep body

Temp. up as planet cools off mysteriously

This P.M. two small grey birds bump

Around in the rose bush for a while

A capella (no rush hour for once)

In last rays of tinny Christmas sun

While voluntary trumpets are quietly

Emitted by radio into Jerusalem foiled sky

Far off and to our great astonishment

O blue earth sounds your golden flower

From the bell of its silver horn

I didn’t think it would ever come back on

House sparrow (Passer domesticus) in non-breeding plumage: photo by 3268zauber, 3 January 2009

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

TC: Last Bus


Golden Gate: Gerhard Richter, 1989, oil on photograph, 10 x 15 cm (Gerhard Richter Art)

The last bus one hour and twelve minutes late
at the bleak nearly deserted downtown stop
and when I enquire of the only person waiting
at the kiosk
whether the bus may have already gone past
He says Fuck off don't you try to talk to me
and turns his back
and high above him atop the new tower block
the giant neon lights advertising
the hotel that wasn't there the last time I looked
flash on and off
advertising the five luxury dining rooms.

Tom Clark: Last Bus, from Truth Game (BlazeVOX, 2013)

Untitled (1.5.89): Gerhard Richter, 1989, oil on colour photograph, 15 x 10 cm (Gerhard Richter Art)

File:LandsEnd 665.JPG

Beach at Land's End: photo by DaNASCAT, 4 July 2010

File:Golden Gate Bridge architecture 18.jpg

Golden Gate Bridge: cracks and spalling to the paintwork due to relative movements of the steel cable: Golden Gate Bridge architecture: photo by Tewy, 19 July 2006


Suicide prevention message, Golden Gate Bridge: photo by David Corby, 19 February 2006

Friday, October 18, 2013

TC: Robert Creeley: Generous Life


Ella: Gerhard Richter, 2007 (private collection)

Do you remember the way we used to sing
in church when we were young
and it was fun to bring your toys with you
and play with them while all the others sung?

My mind goes on its own particular way
and leaves my apparent body on its knees
to get up and walk as far as it can
if it still wants to and as it proves still able.

Sit down, says generous life, and stay awhile!
although it's irony that sets the table
and puts the meager food on broken dishes,
pours out the rancid wine, and walks away.

Betty: Gerhard Richter, 1991 (St. Louis Art Museum)

Robert Creeley: Generous Life from Yesterdays (2002)

Sunday, October 13, 2013

TC: Giuseppe Ungaretti: What would I want with images?


File:Gentle waves come in at a sandy beach.JPG

Waves on sandy beach, Cabo Polonio, Uruguay: photo by Johntex, 2006

..These wandering landscapes of the ocean's

Shifting surface, the incisive

Candour of daybreak on these

Or those leaves: these things no longer

Draw me; nor can my old eyes make

Out light from shade against the stones.

..Forgot, what would I want

With images?


Leaves of European Birch (Fagus): photo by The cat, 2006

..Non più m'attragano i paesaggi erranti
Del mare, né dell'alba il lacerante
Pallore sopra queste o quelle foglie;
Nemmeno più contrasto col macigno,
Antica notte che sugli occhi porto.

..Le immagini a che prò
Per me dimenticata?

File:Foggy sunset at Land's End.jpg

Foggy sunset with Brown Pelicans: photo by Mila Zinkova, 2009

Giuseppe Ungaretti: Poem IX (Non più m'attragano i paesaggi erranti) from Cori descrittivi di stati d'animo di Didone (Choruses Descriptive of the State of Mind of Dido), in La terra promessa (The Promised Land), 1950; English translation by TC

Sunday, September 1, 2013

TC: At Matanaka Farm


File:Matanaka - Granary, Privy & Schoolhouse.jpg

This granary, privy and schoolhouse at Matanaka [on the South Island] are New Zealand's oldest surviving farm buildings. The three largest buildings were prefabricated in Sydney, and the granary and stable still have their original "Patented Galvanised Tinned Iron" roofs. The stable has a harness room, stalls for the horses and a gig room. Fodder was stored in the loft and there was a dovecote in the loft at the north end. The storeroom was probably the place where bulk supplies were kept, since there are orders scribbled on the original interior lining. The granary stands, like the stable, on its original site. The privy, which was placed over a large pit, was once nearer the homestead. The school was originally a barn, here in the farmyard, but was shifted nearer to the house in the 19th century for use as a schoolroom. It was shifted back to the farmyard about the beginning of the 20th century. It is divided into a schoolroom and a room for the teacher: photo by Karora, 23 April 2008

This is not a memoir, so that
as we rolled over the small rise
and saw, set on
that bare hill, the plain

wooden farm buildings
painted a uniform
deep red, with faded
and lightly rusted corrugated

iron roofs, and tawny
grasses swaying all about
against the two
tone blue of sea and sky,

we knew
no one would remember
we had once
seen these things.


Matanaka farm building, Otago, New Zealand: photo by travelling light (Derek Smith and Maclean Barker), 30 August 2004


TC: At Matanaka Farm, from Truth Game

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

TC: Now (from Truth Game)


Untitled (window), Berkeley, c. 1957: photo by Dorothea Lange from Dorothea Lange Collection, Oakland Museum of California

The imaginal representation of the mind,
the only world left to you. Continuing on. That poor
second best for which one would give everything
simply to have something to go on. The twisted
oaks. The stone steps descending
through the grove to where the light of morning
no longer bathes the contorted upper limbs
alone, but pierces them, at intervals, in the interstices,
with slender shafts that penetrate
the lower limbs and chequered
patterns of light and shade there made, all the way
to the bottom of the steep path.

Untitled (oak tree), Berkeley, 5 December 1956: photo by Dorothea Lange from Dorothea Lange Collection, Oakland Museum of California

Untitled (oak tree), Berkeley, 5 December 1956: photo by Dorothea Lange from Dorothea Lange Collection, Oakland Museum of California

Untitled (oak tree), Berkeley, 5 December 1956: photo by Dorothea Lange from Dorothea Lange Collection, Oakland Museum of California

Untitled, Berkeley, c. 1957: photo by Dorothea Lange from Dorothea Lange Collection, Oakland Museum of California

Untitled (garden steps), Berkeley, c. 1957: photo by Dorothea Lange from Dorothea Lange Collection, Oakland Museum of California

Untitled (garden steps), Berkeley, c. 1957: photo by Dorothea Lange from Dorothea Lange Collection, Oakland Museum of California

Untitled (garden steps), Berkeley, c. 1957: photo by Dorothea Lange from Dorothea Lange Collection, Oakland Museum of California

Untitled (garden steps), Berkeley, c. 1957: photo by Dorothea Lange from Dorothea Lange Collection, Oakland Museum of California

Untitled (garden), Berkeley, c. 1957: photo by Dorothea Lange from Dorothea Lange Collection, Oakland Museum of California

Tom Clark: Now, from Truth Game, BlazeVOX 2013

Friday, June 7, 2013

TC: The Black Spot (Scott After the Pole)



Robert Falcon Scott (1868-1912), writing in his journal in the Cape Evans hut: photo by Herbert G. Ponting, 1911 (National Archives UK)

Had I but strength to stand, I'd walk out
Upon the ice and show you the strange sights
That glow within the black lights of the Pole.
Natural science cannot explain these lights.
Where nothing living breathes the personal
Must also hold its breath. The stirrings of the men
In restless sleep, their labored breathing.
I must write Wilson's mother a note, deceive
Her if I'm able as to the horror  
Of his end. I'll tell her of his courage,
His selflessness, his loyalty to the men.
She'll have no need for the truth, no more
Than did we to be undeceived. Not till  
Our bones are found will they find my letter.
"29th March. My dear Mrs. Wilson.
If this reaches you, Bill and I will have gone
Out together. We are very near it now  
And I should like you to know how splendid
He was at the end. Everlastingly 
Cheerful and ready to sacrifice  
Himself for others, never a word of blame
To me for leading him into this mess.  
He suffers only mild discomforts.
His eyes have a colorful blue look of hope
And his mind is peaceful with his faith. 
My whole heart goes out to you in pity."
Can't see my marks yet still can grip this stub
And make it move across the page. Black spots
In the dark, marking what cannot be shown.
Black spots blur on white paper: what can  
Be shown cannot be said. The hour grows late
For these meandering trains of thought  
Represented by blurred spots on white paper.
Connect the dots and the limits of my world
Will grow apparent to you. Where in it am I?
This riddle does not exist as problem
In your life, where the light of the personal
Shines. The solution of the problem  
Of life is the vanishing of the problem.  
I am the microcosm, thought Scott 
At the last, in the dark, as night closed in
Over permafrost. A black spot now his world
Growing to fill the whole vast snowbound landscape.

TC: The Black Spot (Scott After the Pole), from Feeling for the Ground, 2010


Robert Falcon Scott's South Pole party on his ill-fated expedition, from left to right at the Pole: Lawrence Oates (standing), Henry Bowers (sitting), Scott (standing in front of Union Jack flag on pole), Edward Wilson (sitting), Edgar Evans (standing). Henry Bowers (1883-1912) took this photograph on the day of the party's arrival at the Pole, 17 January 1912, using a piece of string to operate the camera shutter: photo from Leonard Huxley (ed.), The Return from the Pole, in Scott's Last Expedition (volume 1), New York, 1913 (National Archives UK)

File:Herbert Ponting icebergs Scott Expadition.jpg

Icebergs in McMurdo Sound, as seen from McMurdo Station during Scott's last expedition: photo by Herbert Ponting, 1910; image by Wayne Ray, 31 March 2008 (private collection of Bruce Parker, London, Ontario)

"The worst has happened... All the day dreams must go... Great God! This is an awful place": Robert Falcon Scott, diary entry, 17 January 1912, upon reaching the Pole, only to learn that Amundsen had preceded him by six weeks.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

TC: The Pharaohs Sacrifice Themselves Before Her


File:Goddess nut.jpg

Goddess Nut, arched protectively over Earth and its inhabitants: photo by Golden Meadows, 2006

Time is the sweet cheat that unhinged
The Egyptians. The fugitive object

Of desire keeps fleeing, the symbol
Denoting speed in physics must now  

Precede any expression of her value.
Algebra of desire yields to total

Calculus of need: instant nothingness
In which there flows an invisible current.
When it flows through the tomb, one is forced
To bow down and worship an obscure,
Mysterious and implacable goddess.

File:La tombe de Horemheb (KV.57) (Vallée des Rois Thèbes ouest) -2.jpg

Pharaoh Horemheb and goddess Amunet (as an aspect of Hathor): from the Tomb of Horemheb, Valley of the Kings at Thebes: photo by Jean-Pierre Dalbéra, 2002

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

TC: Philip Whalen: April Showers Bring Rain?


Cherry blossoms in rain: photo by Steve Gravrock, 6 March 2011

Lots of
wind and rain
the most fragile
cherry blossoms
the thinnest
rhododendron petals
not even wrinkled

Rain on rhododendron: photo by Robert Lz, 30 April 2005

Rhododendrons in rain: photo by ironacres, 17 May 2010

The sandpiper
all alone, usually
runs with a cloud
alone today, eating
sea-bugs -- where does he
live at? Where are his books?

Western Sandpiper, Cattle Point, Uplands, near Victoria, B.C.: photo by Alan D. Wilson, 2007

Philip WhalenApril Showers Bring Rain? 7:iv:65 (excerpts)

Monday, March 25, 2013

TC: The Greeks


Scarlet cloud: photo by JarNondo, 1 January 2007

Deep in the air the past appears
As unreal as air to the boy
Or the apple of the world
To a girl whose eyes are pale and mild
Her hair is probably not real gold
Only a good imitation of the Greeks’
Like a map of that world of early days
Where woman lives on a scarlet cloud
While man in colorless blunt noon
Splashes up at the blue variables
That pass by on an airplane of words
Into the sky which distributes gifts of
Rain and light over our lives equally
Infinite gifts we are unable to behold

Sky: photo by Cristina Bozzoli, 2008 
This post dedicated to the eminent Greek scholars Isaac and Oliver

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

TC: Robert Creeley: After Lorca


File:Malaguilla Countryside view2.jpg

Malaguilla, Provincia de Guadalajara, Castilla-La Mancha, Spain: photo by Häkan Svensson, 2004

for M. Marti

The church is a business, and the rich
are the business men.

........................................... When they pull on the bells, the
poor come piling in and when a poor man dies, he has a wooden
cross, and they rush through the ceremony.

But when a rich man dies, they
drag out the Sacrament
and a golden Cross, and go doucement, doucement
to the cemetery.

And the poor love it
and think it's crazy.


Olivar en Alcalá la Real, Jaén, España: photo by Michelangelo-36, 2005

Robert Creeley: After Lorca, 1952

Thursday, February 7, 2013

TC: Vicente Huidobro: Poetry Is a Celestial Transgression

File:Beech tree graffiti - - 686131.jpg

Beech tree graffiti. None of the usual initials inside a heart shape are on this tree by the B6397 near Smailholm. The smooth thin bark on a beech tree has always been a target for youngsters with a penknife: photo by Walter Baxter, 9 February 2008

I'm not here but at the depths of this not being here
There is a waiting for myself
And this vigil is another way of being here a waiting
For myself to come back into myself
While waiting I go out
Into other
In this going out I give away a little of my life
To certain trees certain stones
That have been waiting for me
All these years

Tired of waiting they have given up hope and fallen back
Into themselves

I'm not and I am
I'm not here and I am here
In a waiting
They wanted
My language
To express them
And I wanted theirs
To express
And in this lay the mistake the great

This pathetic state
Carving myself deeper into these plants
My clothes falling away from my bones
My bones reclothing themselves in bark
I'm beginning to feel like I've become
A tree I've been changing myself
Into so many other things how dolorous
How tender

I could cry out but this cry would frighten away the desired
Must keep silent Waiting completely

Vicente García-Huidobro Fernández (1893-1948): La Poesía es un atentado celeste from
Últimos Poemas (Later Poems), 1948; English version by Tom Clark


Vicente Huidobro: Juan Gris, c. 1917

Yo estoy ausente pero en el fondo de esta ausencia
Hay la espera de mí mismo
Y esta espera es otro modo de presencia
La espera de mi retorno
Yo estoy en otros objetos
Ando en viaje dando un poco de mi vida
A ciertos árboles y a ciertas piedras
Que me han esperado muchos años

Se cansaron de esperarme y se sentaron

Yo no estoy y estoy
Estoy ausente y estoy presente en estado de espera
Ellos querrían mi lenguaje para expresarse
Y yo querría el de ellos para expresarlos
He aquí el equívoco el atroz equívoco

Angustioso lamentable
Me voy adentrando en estas plantas
Voy dejando mis ropas
Se me van cayendo las carnes
Y mi esqueleto se va revistiendo de cortezas
Me estoy haciendo árbol Cuántas cosas me he ido convirtiendo en otras cosas...
Es doloroso y lleno de ternura

Podría dar un grito pero se espantaría la transubstanciación
Hay que guardar silencio Esperar en silencio

File:Vicente huidobro.jpg

Vicente Huidobro (1893-1948): photographer unknown, n.d. (Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid)


Tumba Vicente Huidobro
, Cartagena (Chile): photo by provinciasanantonio, 10 August 2009

Vicente Huidobro -- Tout à coup: Pablo Picasso, 1921; image by Iliazd, 30 January 2009

Cienfuegos #33, Santiago, donde vivió Vicente Huidobro: photo by romántica santiaguina (Sara Ruiz), 23 October 2012

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

TC: Giuseppe Ungaretti: A Red Dress (12 September 1966)


Seated Woman: Egon Schiele, Vienna, 1913

You popped up at the gate
In a red dress
To tell me you're the flame
That consumes, yet ignites again.

A thorn from your carmine
Rose has pricked my finger
So that you may taste my blood, as though
It were already yours.

Loitering at the end of that street
That breaks open
The sky from within, I had already known
Long ago that, in suffering
With reckless faith for love,
Age counts as nothing.

That was on a Monday,
To hold hands
And talk pleasantly
We could find refuge only
In a sad garden
Of the convulsive city.

Nude with orange-red cloth: Egon Schiele, c. 1913

12 Settembre 1966
Sei comparsa al portone
in un vestito rosso
per dirmi che sei fuoco
che consuma e riaccende.
Una spina mi ha punto
delle tue rose rosse
perché succhiasse al dito,
come già tuo, il mio sangue.
Percorremmo la strada
che lacera il rigoglio
della selvaggia altura,
ma già da molto tempo
sapevo che soffrendo con temeraria fede,
l’età per vincere non conta.
Era di lunedì,
per stringerci le mani
e parlare felici
non si trovò rifugio
che in un giardino triste
della città convulsa.

Standing Woman in Red: Egon Schiele, 1913

The Green Stocking
: Egon Schiele, 1914

Wally with a Red Blouse: Egon Schiele, c. 1913

Giuseppe Ungaretti: 12 Settembre 1966 (12 September 1966) from Dialogo (Dialogue), 1968: translated by TC