February 14th, 2013 | Comments Off on Fernweh

Now that I’m back all I can think about is how to leave again.

I must down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.

— John Masefeld, “Sea Fever”

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November 28th, 2012 | Comments Off on

“Not Getting Closer”

Walking in the dark streets of Seoul
under the almost full moon.
Lost for the last two hours.
Finishing a loaf of bread
and worried about the curfew.
I have not spoken for three days
and I am thinking, “Why not just
settle for love? Why not just
settle for love instead?”

-Jack Gilbert

Er hat rechts, oder? Why this Fernweh?

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May 22nd, 2012 | Comments Off on only the kind you won’t miss

kto ci powiedział, że wolno ci się przyzwyczajać?
kto ci powiedział, że cokolwiek jest na zawsze?
czy nikt ci nie powiedział, że nie będziesz nigdy
w świecie
czuł się jak u siebie w domu?

–Stanisław Barańczak

who told you that you were permitted to settle in?
who told you that this or that would last forever?
did no one ever tell you that you will never
in the world
feel at home in the world?
(trans. Frank Kujawinski)

Feelin’ restless. I tell myself it’s because I’ve been cooped up writing my thesis, but I wonder if it’s not because I feel cooped up by something else, something that’s been going on longer than this thesis push.

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January 7th, 2012 | Comments Off on Three things

To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.

— Mary Oliver, “In Blackwater Woods”

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January 27th, 2008 | Comments Off on Woman in Love

So randomly today I started reading about the poet Rilke, and I stumbled across this poem:

“Woman in Love”

That is my window. Just now
I have so softly wakened.
I thought that I would float.
How far does my life reach,
and where does the night begin

I could think that everything
was still me all around;
transparent like a crystal’s
depths, darkened, mute.

I could keep even the stars
within me; so immense
my heart seems to me; so willingly
it let him go again.

whom I began perhaps to love, perhaps to hold.
Like something strange, undreamt-of,
my fate now gazes at me.

For what, then, am I stretched out
beneath this endlessness,
exuding fragrance like a meadow,
swayed this way and that,

calling out and frightened
that someone will hear the call,
and destined to disappear
inside some other life.

Translated by Edward Snow

Now, I’m aware that this is a translation, but it’s still the first time I’ve ever seen “undreamt”… organically, shall we say. Without really looking for it.

(It’s still a lovely poem, isn’t it? Rilke wrote French poems as well as German, so I’ll have to dig those up sometime and just enjoy them.)

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May 27th, 2007 | 2 Comments »

*bemoans the fact that she is sick on her birthday*

On the other hand, I do get to eat green tea ice cream cake.

I was sorting through papers in my room when I stumbled across this poem we looked at briefly in my intro to French lit class, and it seems oddly appropriate for my mood today:

Ce mois de mai tout se resjoie,
Ce me semble, fors moi, lassette!
All things rejoice this month of May
Except, alas, it seems, for me!

(Trans. A. S. Kline)

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Posted in quotidian, snippet