The Wave

A blog full of poetry, colourful art and age-old wisdom: a rose garden whose leaves cannot be touched by autumnal blasts.

Full Day

how would I know

the centre of a poem, the heart of a loaf,

the taste of calm weathers in my mouth,

how would I know

how many springs, how many pictures

I have in my pocket?

 

this afternoon is humming in me,

your eyes are huge, shadowy.

walk, let the streets stretch

walk, let your motherhood increase.

something light, something airy rises in me.

how would I know whether it’s love or helplessness?

 

Turan Koç

 

Translation from the Turkish by Mevlut Ceylan

A beautiful painting (details unknown) by Yu Xiaodong [于小冬], (1963, Shenyang, Liaoning Province, People’s Republic of China), [detail], source: jingtaok.blog.163.com.

A beautiful painting (details unknown) by Yu Xiaodong [于小冬], (1963, Shenyang, Liaoning Province, People’s Republic of China), [detail], source: jingtaok.blog.163.com.

A ceramic tile depicting a group of peacocks in a landscape, square molded decoration painted in polychrome under a transparent glaze form; Qajar art, Iran, 19th century, 28.5 x 28.5 cm, private collection, source: sothebys.com.

A ceramic tile depicting a group of peacocks in a landscape, square molded decoration painted in polychrome under a transparent glaze form; Qajar art, Iran, 19th century, 28.5 x 28.5 cm, private collection, source: sothebys.com.

Fever Tune

It is sad that it rains in autumn,

and out here, it rains every autumn day.

Sad how flowers stoop in autumn;

how the same rain is leaking down the window-panes…

 

Bare trees stand motionless against the grey,

the good old trembling trees, rustling, crying;

but it’s only the wind – singing a tiresome tune,

a low moan, in tones lamenting… 

 

Soon it should come, the quickening step,

now it should come, my peaceful memory;

my sweet grey mother, comforting round the sunken bed

where a feverish warmth dared dream of a light,

and weighing woe burst in silent tears…

 

It is sad that my sorrow should come today,

and listless in the languor of the trees;

It is sad that it rains in autumn…

 

Karel van de Woestijne (1878-1929)

 

For this translation from the Flemish I am heavily indebted to Tony Curtis

 

 

Koorts-deun

’t Is triestig dat het regent in den herfst,

dat het moe regent in den herfst, daar buiten.

- En wat de bloemen wégen in den herfst;

- en de óude regen lekend langs de ruiten…

 

Zwaai-stil staan graauwe boomen in het grijs,

de goede sidder-boomen, ritsel-weenend;

- en ’t is de wind, en ’t is een lamme wijs

van kreun-gezang in snakke tonen stenend…

 

- Nu moest me komen de oude drentel-tred;

nu moest me ’t oude vreê-beeldje gaan komen,

mijn grijs goed troost-moedertje om ’t diepe bed

waar zich de warme koorts een lícht dierf droomen,

en ’t wegend wee in leede tranen berst…

 

…’t Is triestig dat mijn droefheid tháns moest komen,

en loomen in ’t atone van de boomen;

- ’t is triestig dat het regent in den herfst… 

Pietro Perugino [Pietro di Cristoforo Vannucci] (c. 1446/1450–1523): Portrait of a Young Man, possibly a portrait of Alessandro Braccesi, c. 1480, [detail], oil on panel, 26 x 37 cm, Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence, Italy, source: wikimedia.org.

Pietro Perugino [Pietro di Cristoforo Vannucci] (c. 1446/14501523): Portrait of a Young Man, possibly a portrait of Alessandro Braccesi, c. 1480, [detail], oil on panel, 26 x 37 cm, Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence, Italy, source: wikimedia.org.

Pieter Brueghel the Younger (1564-1637/8): Calvary, 1615, oil on oak panel, 99.9 x 147.5 cm, private collection, source: sothebys.com.

Pieter Brueghel the Younger (1564-1637/8): Calvary, 1615, oil on oak panel, 99.9 x 147.5 cm, private collection, source: sothebys.com.

The Spirit is too Blunt an Instrument

The spirit is too blunt an instrument

to have made this baby.

Nothing so unskilful as human passions

could have managed the intricate

exacting particulars: the tiny

blind bones with their manipulating tendons,

the knee and the knucklebones, the resilient

fine meshings of ganglia and vertebrae,

in the chain of the difficult spine.

 

Observe the distinct eyelashes and sharp crescent

fingernails, the shell-like complexity

of the ear with its firm involutions

concentric in miniature to the minute

ossicles. Imagine the

infinitesimal capillaries, the flawless connections

of the lungs, the invisible neural filaments

through which the completed body

already answers to the brain.

 

Then name any passion or sentiment

possessed of the simplest accuracy.

No. No desire or affection could have done

with practice what habit

has done perfectly, indifferently,

through the body’s ignorant precision.

It is left to the vagaries of the mind to invent

love and despair and anxiety

and their pain.

 

Anne Stevenson

Oszkár Glatz (1872-1958): Siblings [Testvérek], 1933, oil on canvas, 69 x 53 cm, private collection, source: abigail.hu.

Oszkár Glatz (1872-1958): Siblings [Testvérek], 1933, oil on canvas, 69 x 53 cm, private collection, source: abigail.hu.

Paulus Theodorus van Brussel (1754-1795): Flowers in a Vase, (1789), oil on mahogany, 78.4 x 61.2 cm, The National Gallery, London, United Kingdom, source: nationalgallery.org.uk and liveinternet.ru.

Paulus Theodorus van Brussel (1754-1795): Flowers in a Vase, (1789), oil on mahogany, 78.4 x 61.2 cm, The National Gallery, London, United Kingdom, source: nationalgallery.org.uk and liveinternet.ru.

A Poem from South-Korea: At a River Village at Dusk

Even in my insensitivity I come to think of you sometimes

Sorrow moves like a mountain shadow across your eyes

 

A bird cries like an echo in a glazed pot but the river, a bigger pot, contains her

 

In the distance between you and me

between the darkness of this place and that of the village beyond

the river like a big round wheel flows

 

A cow cries at the village across the river

I cannot help the cow whose cries dampen the cold river with drizzle

Perhaps she just lost her baby or her love

I cannot help the cow who cries till her voice gets hoarse

I cannot forget the crying cow’s white round eyes

 

Even in my insensitivity I come to think of you sometimes

 

Moon Tae-jun [문태준]

 

Translation from the Korean by Chae-Pyong Song and Darcy Brandel