Buddhist New Year Song

I saw you in green velvet, wide full sleeves
seated in front of a fireplace, our house
made somehow more gracious, and you said
“There are stars in your hair” — it was truth I
brought down with me

to this sullen and dingy place that we must make golden
make precious and mythical somehow, it is our nature,
and it is truth, that we came here, I told you,
from other planets
where we were lords, we were sent here,
for some purpose

[Les plantes et les planètes] / [Plants and planets]

Les plantes et les planètes
Au même ciel obáissent ;
Du même soleil les bêtes
Et les hommes se nourrissent ;

Et le mátal dans la mine
Couve l'astre minuscule,
Soufre dont la fleur si fine
Vit en chaque corpuscule.

Naines ou gáantes sont
Poudre et bran jetás loin
Qui sans chute ou frein s'en vont
Aux quatre mondes sans coin

Ni angle, d'anges peuplás,
Mais d'autres disent que non,
Dont les mondes envolás
Seraient comme d'un canon,

First Movement

The women bow and flutter in the field.
The grain lies white with wind in the wide shadow.
Summer is dark, as in the ancient time.

This fair cloud that blooms in the northwest
Has darkened now, as in the ancient time,
And clouds are still at dawn on the soft mountains.

Husks after harvest we shall leave for rain
And our heels’ trace in the loam:
The stir of boughs has warned us,
Fruit in the grass reminds us...

Sympathy of Peoples

No but come closer. Come a little
Closer. Let the wall-eyed hornyhanded
Panhandler hit you for a dime
Sir and shiver. Snow like this
Drives its pelting shadows over Bremen,
Over sad Louvain and the eastern
Marshes, the black wold. It sighs
Into the cold sea of the north,
That vast contemptuous revery between
Antiquity and you. Turn up your collar,

Ten Moons

And then came the ten moons
Full in the sun’ s glare, and the seraphim,
And it was light all night in the orchards
And on the plains and even in the towns
And mankind rejoiced, because it was now the case
That the wrecking and equivocating could carry on
The pale night long. Mankind rejoiced
And went forth to those places twelve hours of light
Had not made it worth the while to despoil
And gamboled collectively on the cliff tops
And regarded the night-broiling of the sea
Hitherto forbidden, but now opened in festival.

What the Stars Meant

On a backwards-running clock in Lisbon,
By the marble statue of Pessoa;
On an antique astrolabe in London
Tracing out the sky above Samoa,

Thousands of miles away — in time, in place,
Each night conspires to create a myth
That stands for nothing real, yet leaves you with
The vague impression of a human face.


I just didn’t get it —
even with the teacher holding an orange (the earth) in one hand
and a lemon (the moon) in the other,
her favorite student (the sun) standing behind her with a flashlight.
I just couldn’t grasp it —
this whole citrus universe, these bumpy planets revolving so slowly
no one could even see themselves moving.
I used to think if I could only concentrate hard enough
I could be the one person to feel what no one else could,
sense a small tug from the ground, a sky shift, the earth changing gears.