Yep, Willy Shakes in da house today.
O mistress mine, where are you roaming?
Oh, stay and hear; your true love’s coming,
That can sing both high and low.
Trip no further, pretty sweeting;
Journeys end in lovers meeting,
Every wise man’s son doth know.
What is love? ‘Tis not hereafter;
Present mirth hath present laughter;
What’s to come is still unsure.
In delay there lies no plenty,
Then come kiss me, sweet and twenty;
Youth’s a stuff will not endure.
(C’mon, tell me I didn’t have to explain to you that Willy Shakes means William Shakespeare!)
By Branko Miljkovic, 1934-1961
You wait for a right moment
To attune yourself to words
But there is no such poet
Nor a word fully free
O bitter and blind sea
In love with shipwreck.
By Kshemendra around 1150, originally written in Sanskrit, which is beautiful to look at even if you don’t know what it means.
A poet should learn with his eyes
the forms of leaves
he should know how to make
people laugh when they are together
he should get to see
what they are really like
he should know about oceans and mountains
and the sun and the moon and the stars
his mind should enter into the seasons
he should go
among many people
in many places
and learn their languages.
Anonymous 16th century Vietnam.
The gods DO have a sense of humor. . .
Where were you in the marriage season?
Now all the available men are gone.
You pitch yourself up and moan to the sky,
“O Heaven, O Earth!
Can’t you toss me a little husband?”
The sky pokes out his head and replies,
“You were too choosy when the merchandise was in.
Go home now, we’re all sold out.”
From the one and only Plato; there’s nothing platonic about this!
You were the morning star among the living;
But now in death your evening lights the dead.
circa 850 AD.
A meal of words
made by a moth
seemed to me
when I heard the tale
That such a mite
like a thief in the night
should swallow up
the song of a poet,
the splendid discourse
and its solid setting!
But the strange robber
was none the wiser
for all of those words
and all that eating.
(Yeah, don’t ask me about “pheomenal”; that’s the way it was spelled in the book.)
From the Gathasaptasati, collected (but not written) by King Hala in India about 2000 years ago.
Some things never change.
Even he was abashed
and I laughed
and held him close
when he went for the knot
of my underclothes
And I’d already untied it.