Just a general observation to tumblr: historically, trying to dictate to people who they should be sexually attracted to has been doomed to failure....
The Central Council of German Jews gets a lot of anti-Semitic mail, as one might expect. Recently, some...
The books of Maccabees are not part of the Tanach/are not canonical in Judaism, so no, I don’t know, sorry. Since some kinds of Xianity consider...
I dreamed this,
does that mean it didn’t happen?
Does it have to happen in the world to be real?
I dreamed everything, the story
became my story:
he lay beside me,
my hand grazed the skin of his shoulder
Mid-day, then early evening:
in the distance, the sound of a train
But it was not the world:
in the world, a thing happens finally, absolutely,
the mind cannot reverse it.
Castile: nuns walking in pairs through the dark garden.
Outside the walls of the Holy Angels
children begging for coins
When I woke I was crying,
has that no reality?
I know I will return home, and we will punish each other
long enough to outlast desire. While you pretend to sleep
I will pack quietly and whisper, Electrons. When the storm
wants to strike, something in the earth rises up.
But you already knew that, didn’t you? You already knew
the tree was the answer to the lightning’s question.
God I want you,
In some chaste, Victorian way.
A glimpse of your ankle
just kills me.
Late August, given heavy rain and sun
For a full week, the blackberries would ripen.
At first, just one, a glossy purple clot
Among others, red, green, hard as a knot.
You ate that first one and its flesh was sweet
Like thickened wine: summer’s blood was in it
Leaving stains upon the tongue and lust for
Picking. Then red ones inked up and that hunger
Sent us out with milk cans, pea tins, jam-pots
Where briars scratched and wet grass bleached our boots.
Round hayfields, cornfields and potato-drills
We trekked and picked until the cans were full
Until the tinkling bottom had been covered
With green ones, and on top big dark blobs burned
Like a plate of eyes. Our hands were peppered
With thorn pricks, our palms sticky as Bluebeard’s.
We hoarded the fresh berries in the byre.
But when the bath was filled we found a fur,
A rat-grey fungus, glutting on our cache.
The juice was stinking too. Once off the bush
The fruit fermented, the sweet flesh would turn sour.
I always felt like crying. It wasn’t fair
That all the lovely canfuls smelt of rot.
Each year I hoped they’d keep, knew they would not.
—Seamus Heaney died today.
I can feel the tug
of the halter at the nape
of her neck, the wind
on her naked front.
It blows her nipples
to amber beads,
it shakes the frail rigging
of her ribs.
I can see her drowned
body in the bog,
the weighing stone,
the floating rods and boughs.
Under which at first
she was a barked sapling
that is dug up
her shaved head
like a stubble of black corn,
her blindfold a soiled bandage,
her noose a ring
the memories of love.
before they punished you
you were flaxen-haired,
undernourished, and your
tar-black face was beautiful.
My poor scapegoat,
I almost love you
but would have cast, I know,
the stones of silence.
I am the artful voyeur
of your brain’s exposed
and darkened combs,
your muscles’ webbing
and all your numbered bones:
I who have stood dumb
when your betraying sisters,
cauled in tar,
wept by the railings,
who would connive
in civilized outrage
yet understand the exact
and tribal, intimate revenge.
–Seamus Heaney, 1975
NO. Seamus Heaney was an amazing poet and his translation of Beowulf is stunning. The world has lost a lot of beauty today.
White bone found
on the grazing:
the rough, porous
language of touch
and its yellowing, ribbed
impression in the grass —
¬a small ship-burial.
As dead as stone,
I touch it again,
I wind it in
the sling of mind
to pitch it at England
and follow its drop
to strange fields.
in the tongue’s
I push back
the erotic mayflowers
and the ivied Latins
to the scop’s
twang, the iron
flash of consonants
cleaving the line.
In the coffered
riches of grammar
I found bān-hūs,
its fire, benches,
wattle and rafters,
where the soul
fluttered a while
in the roofspace.
There was a small crock
for the brain,
and a cauldron
swung ar the centre:
Come back past
philology and kennings,
where the bone’s lair
is a love-nest
in the grass.
I hold my lady’s head
like a crystal
and ossify myself
by gazing: I am screes
on her escarpments,
a chalk giant
carved upon her downs.
Soon my hands, on the sunken
fosse of her spine,
move towards the passes.
And we end up
cradling each other
between the lips
of an earthwork.
As I estimate
her knuckles’ paving,
the turning stiles
of the elbows,
the vallum of her brow
and the long wicket
I have begun to pace
the Hadrian’s Wall
of her shoulder,
dreaming of Maiden Castle.
One morning in Devon
I found a dead mole
with the dew still beading it.
I had thought the mole
a big-boned coulter
but there it was,
small and cold
as the thick of a chisel.
I was told, “Blow,
blow back the fur on his head.
Those little points
were the eyes.
And feel the shoulders.”
touched small distant: Pennines,
a pelt of grass and grain
Death of a Naturalist
All year the flax-dam festered in the heart
Of the townland; green and heavy headed
Flax had rotted there, weighted down by huge sods.
Daily it sweltered in the punishing sun.
Bubbles gargled delicately, bluebottles
Wove a strong gauze of sound around the smell.
There were dragon-flies, spotted butterflies,
But best of all was the warm thick slobber
Of frogspawn that grew like clotted water
In the shade of the banks. Here, every spring
I would fill jampotfuls of the jellied
Specks to range on window-sills at home,
On shelves at school, and wait and watch until
The fattening dots burst into nimble-
Swimming tadpoles. Miss Walls would tell us how
The daddy frog was called a bullfrog
And how he croaked and how the mammy frog
Laid hundreds of little eggs and this was
Frogspawn. You could tell the weather by frogs too
For they were yellow in the sun and brown
Then one hot day when fields were rank
With cowdung in the grass the angry frogs
Invaded the flax-dam; I ducked through hedges
To a coarse croaking that I had not heard
Before. The air was thick with a bass chorus.
Right down the dam gross-bellied frogs were cocked
On sods; their loose necks pulsed like sails. Some hopped:
The slap and plop were obscene threats. Some sat
Poised like mud grenades, their blunt heads farting.
I sickened, turned, and ran. The great slime kings
Were gathered there for vengeance and I knew
That if I dipped my hand the spawn would clutch it.