Thursday 17 December 2009

Elsa Cross's Selected Poems, third selection

NB: Some of the spacing is incorrect as it could not be replicated.

Intact, we rose to love one another
while death sang at our side.

last lines of "Tenayuca" (tr. John Oliver Simon)

Now, in this time,
as unlucky days return
I break my dreams like clay jars....

from "Malinalco" (tr. John Oliver Simon)

her shackled tongue sleeps
feigns that it sleeps
stretches into its fullness
savours its own darkness

from "Cantharides" (tr. Ruth Fainlight)

With its blackened heraldry,
its relentless downpours,
the city is dying.

Around the fountain
young people shoot up,
sleep on paving slabs
with runes drawn
on their shoulders.

* * *

only on sweaty faces,
twitching hands.
The perfect illusion shifts elsewhere,

A foreign dialect
with no wish to express
quite simply brings
its clean edge.

opening and closing lines of "Tattoos" (tr. Anamaria Crowe Serrano)

Night accumulated on the walls.

* * *

Oh long kisses,
hand that travels a thigh
like a beach,

the curl in the groin--
(oh summer body).
And thoughts pause
in that flowering

like insects.

from "Reflection in a Sphere" (tr. Anamaria Crowe Serrano)

The touch of day
and the cloud of dreaming

skirt each other.
And deep down
like a cloyed fish
lies consciousness.

Its intimate calm
unbuckles into arborescent light....

* * *

The heat holds up a taut arch mid-way through the day.

* * *

The heat draws its pincers closer, like a crab.

* * *

A transversal cut through meaning.
We look at the oracle, none the wiser.

Everything begins where we close our eyes.

* * *

You can hear the east wind,
the metal of cowbells,
the incipient polyphony of summer.

* * *

And at night, where will clarity suggest itself?
A wave in the sea
where the moon instils its desire?

* * *

Under the shade of the palm tree,
on the banks of the dry lagoon
as much sediment gets superimposed
on stones

as on the mind--
creatures of thought
or desire,
--who engenders them?
which all-fertile god germinates the tiniest impulse,
the most trivial fantasy,
as he goes by,

and turns them
into dark or radiant beings,
whose beauty overwhelms?

* * *

Desires become bright stones,
seeds devoured by birds,
or in the dark they spread their emptiness.

The moon flutters like an insect,
in spirals over the water
and flush with visible things,
in the fissure,
it grows toward a more confined
recess of consciousness.

from "Stones" (tr. Anamaria Crowe Serrano)

Elsa Cross's Selected Poems were published by Shearsman and can be purchased delivery-free from The Book Depository.


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