Poems Of The Human Condition

The Fist

The fist clenched round my heart

Loosens a little, and I gasp

Brightness; bat it tightens

Again. When have I ever not loved

The pain of love? But this has moved

past love to mania. This has the strong

clench of the mad man. This is

gripping the ledge of unreason, before

plunging the howling into the abyss.

Hold hard then, heart. This way at least you live.

Derek Walcott

Song

Desire for a woman took hold of me in the night like madness

OO like madness

Desire for a woman took hold of me in the night

OO like madness

Translated from the AZande, the Congo(Zaire)

Being Sad

I might have resented

the people love

if love

hadn’t taught me

to be sad and to stay sad

Orhan Veli Kanik translated from Turkish by Talat Sait Halman

People

Not all the time

but when I realize

you don’t love me,

I want to see you

From my mother’s lap

The way I watched people

When I was small.

Orhan Veli Kanik

Movement

Towards not being

anyone else’s center

Of gravity.

A wanting

To love: not

To lean over towards

Another, and fall,

But feel within one

A flexible steel

Upright, parallel

To the spine but

Longer: from which to stretch;

One’s own grave spring board: the out flying spirit

Vertical trampoline

Denis Levertov

At mind-ocean

All day I loved you in a fever holding on to the tail of the horse.

I overflowed whenever I reached out to touch you.

My hand moved over your body

Covered with its dress,

Burning, rough, the hand of an animal’s foot moving over leaves.

The rainstorm retiring, sunlight

sliding over ocean water a thousand miles from land.

Robert Bly

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