Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Saint Valentine's Day. Three Love Poems.

"Hagar's Last Night in Abraham's House"
By Itzik Manger 

The story of Abraham, Sarah, her servant Hagar, and Abraham and Hagar's son, Ishmael, told as if Hagar were a Polish servant girl in Abraham's house in Poland.

Hagar, the servant, sits in the kitchen,
a smoking oil lamp spills
the shapes of shadowy cats and dogs
to flicker on the walls.

She weeps because her master
fired her today.
"Beat it, you bitch," he told her;
"Can't you let me be?"

It was Sarah who egged him on –
that proper deaconess.
Saying, "Either get rid of the girl
or give me a divorce."

Hagar takes out her trunk
a summer hat of straw;
she takes her green silk apron
and her blood-red beads of coral.

These were the gifts he gave her
once upon a day
when they strolled the meadow
by the railroad right-of-way.

"How like the smoke of a chimney,
how like the smoke of a train
is the love of a man, dear mother,
the love of any man."

God knows where we shall run to,
myself and his bastard child,
unless in some alien kitchen
we are allowed to hide.

She takes the kitchen broom,
she sweeps the kitchen floor,
under her blouse something still says
she loves him – and sweeps some more.

Again, she does the dishes,
and scours the copper pan.
"How like the smoke from a chimney
Is the love of any man." 

From David Roskies' A Bridge of Longing: The Lost Art of Yiddish Storytelling. Harvard University Press

***   ***   ***

When Nothing Remains

By Stanislaw Grochowiak

From An Introduction to Polish Literature
Jerzy Stzetelski, ed. UJ Press

One day I shall seat you naked in splendor.
There will be dresses heavy as water.
There will be stockings with the scent of apples.
There will be head coverings, broad,
and there will be metal.

I want to see you naked in a dark landscape
dense with bronzes, chandeliers, bowls
from which let a vanilla punch steam
into the sniffing nostrils of great Danes.

Rembrandt felt this urge when he painted Saskia
departing further and further into her death
as if he wanted to hold her with the weight of grapes
to clamp her down with the light of precious chandeliers.

***   ***   ***

A great love poem by John Guzlowski. 

1 comment:

  1. so sweet poems.i loved the first one.awesome work man.i love this blog,i would like to visit here again.


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