– Gwendolyn Brooks. The Rites for Cousin Vit
And some time make the time to drive out west
Into County Clare, along the Flaggy Shore,
In September or October, when the wind
And the light are working off each other
So that the ocean on one side is wild
With foam and glitter, and inland among stones
The surface of a slate-grey lake is lit
By the earthed lightning of a flock of swans,
Their feathers roughed and ruffling, white on white,
Their fully grown headstrong-looking heads
Tucked or cresting or busy underwater.
Useless to think you’ll park and capture it
More thoroughly. You are neither here nor there,
A hurry through which known and strange things pass
As big soft buffetings come at the car sideways
And catch the heart off guard and blow it open.
– Seamus Heaney. Postscript
Except by returning to libate the soil
With the Cock of Abuja’s blood,
Will exile not offend martyred ones?
For all its refuge, the foreign home
Remains a night whose dawn
I wish arrives before its time.
– Tanure Ojaide. excerpt from When It No Longer Matters Where You Live
And when you sit this way by the
and its gold plays over your inclined
the light drizzles through your fingers,
and in the mirror of your black silk
the flame’s splendour dances.
Apples on your table glow in the
a wealth of golden grapes overflows
and blessing gives off its ripe scent.
The forest thunders and roars
and sweet is its song
from within the stillness
of your precious corner.
– Avraham Ben Yitzhak. excerpt from I Scarcely Knew Myself
translated by Robert Alter
Your description puts
an end to all narration.
Your precious name becomes
the seal of my lips.
My loaf of bread stays
dry like the watermill,
Parched like my tongue
inside my mouth.
The physician failed to catch
the ailment within.
The tongue was silent,
the pulse even more so.
The furnace of the sky
was short of firewood.
To bake my bread it
stokes itself with my desire.
Engrossed such in praising
your dark eyes,
The tongue in my mouth has
turned a kohl stick.
The world’s hunting ground
still holds a promise for me.
Searching for a prey,
my bow might hunt itself.
Scattered around the millstone
are my white strands.
Grains to the sky’s revolving mill
are my bones.
– Ghani Kashmiri
translated by Mufti Mudasir Farooqi & Nusrat Bazaz
i’ve been a woman
with my legs stretched by the wind
rushing the day
thinking i heard your voice
while it was only the nite
making room for the dawn.
– Sonia Sanchez. Poem No. 8