Poetry Tuesday: The Fort of Rathangan

It’s World Poetry Day! And it falls on Poetry Tuesday! What are the odds? (Approx. 1 out of 7, taking leap year into account.)

Here’s an anonymous Irish work about non-permanence a thousand years before Shelley’s Ozymondius.

The fort over against the oak wood
Once it was Bruidge’s, it was Cathal’s,
It was Aed’s, it was Ailill’s,
It was Conaing’s, it was Cuiline’s,
And it was Maelduin’s;
The fort remains after each in his turn–
And the kings asleep in the ground.

;o)

Poetry Tuesday: Sailing Through the Gorges

By Yang Wan-li (1124-1206)

Our boat going upstream barely moves by the inch;
The dark cliffs on both sides deepen into the dusk’s gloom
With a clap of thunder the heavens threaten rain;
A wind rushing in from the South Seas beyond the horizon
Angrily blasts the gorges asunder–
A hundred men shout and beat the big drums,
While a single swain flies up the towering mast.
When the sails are rigged, all hold their hands in their sleeves
And sit down to watch their boat–
a goose feather skimming over the waters.

;o)

Poetry Tuesday: The Gazelle

By Samuel Ha-Nagid, somewhere at the turn of the millennium. . . 1000AD, not 2000.

I’d give everything I own for that gazelle
who, rising at night to his
harp and flute,
saw a cup in my hand
and said,
“Drink your grape blood against my lips!”
And the moon was cut like a D,
on a dark robe, written in gold.

;o)

Poetry Tuesday: Wulf and Eadwacer

Subtitled: A Womanโ€™s Lament

If you were somewhere in England in the early 700sโ€”and who amongst us wasnโ€™t?โ€”you might have heard this story, or possible as a song.

It is to my people as if someone gave them a gift.
They want to kill him, if he comes with a troop.
It is different for us.
Wulf is on one island I on another.

That island, surrounded by fens, is secure.
There on the island are bloodthirsty men.
They want to kill him, if he comes with a troop.
It is different for us.
I thought of my Wulf with far-wandering hopes,

Whenever it was rainy weather, and I sat tearfully,
Whenever the warrior bold in battle encompassed me with his arms.
To me it was pleasure in that, it was also painful.
Wulf, my Wulf, my hopes for you have caused
My sickness, your infrequent visits,

A mourning spirit, not at all a lack of food.
Do you hear, Eadwacer? A wolf is carrying
our wretched whelp to the forest,
that one easily sunders which was never united:
our song together.

;o)

Poetry Tuesday: What He Said

By Oreruravanar, in India approximately 2000 years ago.

Her arms have the beauty
of a gently moving bamboo.
Her eyes are full of peace.
She is faraway,
her place not easy to reach.
My heart is frantic with haste,
a plowman with a single ox
on land all wet
and ready to seed.

;o)