Friday, March 24, 2017

Celestial Fremont St Octet

half arc of the rainbow realized in one
flash curving over floating traffic signals,

vanishing back of the windowless high rise,
housewrap transfigured in sun surfacing, gold,

going down all at once, those clouds to the west
mirroring the yellow effulgence, except

rolling on, rolling on toward the blue north
counter to the one crow’s diagonal flight

Jack Hayes
© 2017

Thursday, March 23, 2017

March Evening Poetics Octet

the rain is typing letters on my shoulders
or is it poems? poor rain, a poet too—

fallen stars—but optimistic—daffodils
nod & take this all in against the stone wall—

rain’s phrases glint so fast across the pavement’s
mirror pages, there’s no way to follow—still

soul gets no break in that bamboo thicket where
syllables take shape: drizzle leaf flower love

Jack Hayes
© 2017

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Dao De Jing 3

Dao De Jing 3

When the gifted are not valued & employed, there is no strife;
When expensive & rare goods are not valued, thieves are not created;
When things longed for are not made visible, there is no disorder.
The sage ruler, then, will empty the heart-minds of the people, will fill their stomachs, will weaken their willfulness, will make their bones strong.
He will constantly keep the people in a state of not perceiving & not longing, & will keep  those who do have perceptive knowledge from daring to act.
When non-action is practiced, then all is put in order.

Laozi, 道德經
Translation by John Hayes

Unlike with my original poetry & poetry translations, I don’t asset a copyright claim on my translation of the Dao De Jing. It may be freely used under the terms of the Creative Commons license.

Image links to its source on Wiki Commons:
A painting of the Daode Tianzun ('the Heavenly Lord of Dao and its Virtue'), the deified Laozi, one of the supreme divinities of Daoism.
Public domain (as stated by Wiki Commons).

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Sleepwalker Ballad

 Sleepwalker Ballad

Green how I want you green.
Green wind. Green branches.
The ship on the sea
and the horse on the mountain.
With shadows at her waist
she dreams at her railing,
green flesh, green hair,
with cold silver eyes.
Green how I want you green.
Under the gypsy moon
all things are watching her,
and she can’t see them.

Green how I want you green.
Big stars of frost
arrive with the fish of shadows
that clear the way for daybreak.
The fig tree scrapes the wind
with the sandpaper of its branches,
and the mountain, crafty cat,
bristles its acrid agave.
But who will come? And from where…?
She stays at the railing
green flesh, green hair,
dreaming of the bitter sea.

—Friend, I want to swap
my horse for your house,
my saddle for your mirror,
my knife for your blanket.
Friend, I come bleeding
from the gates of Cabra.
Kid, if I could,
the deal would be done.
But I’m no longer I,
and my house is no longer my house.
—Friend, I want to die
decently, in my bed.
One of iron, if possible,
with Holland cloth sheets.
Don’t you see this wound I’ve got
from my chest up to my throat?

—Your white shirt wears
three hundred maroon roses.
Your blood oozes and reeks
all around your sash.
But I’m no longer I,
and my house is no longer my house.
—Let me climb at least
up to the high railings;
Let me climb! let me
go up to the green railings.
Rails of the moon
where the water resounds.
Now the two friends climb
toward the high railings.
Leaving a trail of blood.
Leaving a trail of tears.
Tin lanterns
trembled on the rooftops.
A thousand crystal tambourines
struck the dawn.

Green how I want you green.
Green wind. Green branches.
The two friends climbed.
The long wind left behind
a rare taste in the mouth,
of bile, of mint and basil.
Friend! Where is she, tell me,
where is your bitter girl?
How many times she waited for you!
How many times she would wait for you,
fresh face, black hair,
at this green railing!

Over the cistern’s face
the gypsy girl was rocking.
Green flesh, green hair,
with cold silver eyes.
An icicle from the moon
holds her above the water.
The night turned intimate
as a little plaza.
Drunk Civil Guards
beat on the door.
Green how I want you green.
Green wind. Green branches.
The ship on the sea
and the horse on the mountain.

Federico García Lorca, “Romance Sonambulo” 
Translation by Jack Hayes 
© 2017

The video gives a reading of Lorca’s original Spanish language poem. “Romance Somnambulo” is often sung as a flamenco piece.

Image links to its source on Wiki Commons
Árboles de Alsasua: Aureliano de Beruete, 1876.

Public domain.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Two Esplanade Poems

Esplanade Eternal Return Octet

the sparrow has left the Atlas cedar to find
a place even more ragged to sing: brambles

trailing down to the flotsam & jetsam swirl—
spiral walkway, its columns dressed in ivy,

people ascending two-by-two follow its
repeating curve into undecided sky—

between the Morrison & the Hawthorne, eight
floating seagulls signify infinity


Esplanade Metempsychosis Octet

weeping willows, side-by-side with chartreuse braids,
why so sad? that crow who perched in the cedar

flies straight over your boughs past Hawthorne bridge, the
daffodils swell, the dandelion smiles its

innocent smile above brown dirt, four water
fountains bubble over into brass basins;

if red oak’s leftover leaves are spent cocoons,
look! the plum petals spawning as butterflies

Jack Hayes
© 2017

Sunday, March 19, 2017

“Barn Board Fire”

It’s time for another edition of Sunday Music here at Robert Frost’s Banjo.

We continue our feature on the band Esmerine with a live performance of their piece “Barn Board Fire”, shot at Château de Monthelon.

“Barn Board Fire” is a more recent composition than the music we featured the previous two weeks; it appears on their 2014 Constellation Records release, Dalmak.  Esmerine composed the music for the album & began recording it during a year-long residency in Istanbul; in fact, “dalmak” means “immerse” in Turkish. The recording was completed back in Montreal in 2013. For more information on the recording process, you can follow this link to the Wikipedia entry on the band.

If you enjoy what you’re hearing, please consider supporting Esmerine by purchasing their music.

Image links to its source on Wiki Commons
Château de Monthelon by Wiki Commons user Serein, who makes it available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0Unported license.