Take some Picts, Celts and Silures
And let them settle,
Then overrun them with Roman conquerors.
Remove the Romans after approximately 400 years
Add lots of Norman French to some
Angles, Saxons, Jutes and Vikings, then stir vigorously.
Mix some hot Chileans, cool Jamaicans, Dominicans,
Trinidadians and Bajans with some Ethiopians, Chinese,
Dreams Lost In Water
No distance ever separates
Dreams and desires
No mirror ever dissolves
Reflection and water
In one's eye
What graph would you make
Of lines of thought?
The triangle of pain
Is without any angle
1914 V: The Soldier
If I should die, think only this of me:
That there's some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England's, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.
And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
The Rubaiyat Of Omar Khayyam
Translated into English in 1859 by Edward FitzGerald
Awake! for Morning in the Bowl of Night
Has flung the Stone that puts the Stars to Flight:
And Lo! the Hunter of the East has caught
The Sultan's Turret in a Noose of Light.
Dreaming when Dawn's Left Hand was in the Sky
Theme For English B
The instructor said,
Go home and write
a page tonight.
And let that page come out of you--
Then, it will be true.
I wonder if it's that simple?
I am twenty-two, colored, born in Winston-Salem.
I went to school there, then Durham, then here
I don't know politics but I know the names
Of those in power, and can repeat them like
Days of week, or names of months, beginning with Nehru.
I amIndian, very brown, born inMalabar,
I speak three languages, write in
Two, dream in one.
Don't write in English, they said, English is
Not your mother-tongue. Why not leave
Me alone, critics, friends, visiting cousins,
Every one of you? Why not let me speak in
I Knew A Woman
I knew a woman, lovely in her bones,
When small birds sighed, she would sigh back at them;
Ah, when she moved, she moved more ways than one:
The shapes a bright container can contain!
Of her choice virtues only gods should speak,
Or English poets who grew up on Greek
(I'd have them sing in a chorus, cheek to cheek).
How well her wishes went! She stroked my chin,
She taught me Turn, and Counter-turn, and Stand;
By A Swimming Pool Outside Syracusa
All afternoon I have been struggling to communicate in Italian with Roberto and Giuseppe, who have begun to resemble the two male characters in my Italian for Beginners, the ones who are always shopping or inquiring about the times of trains, and now I can hardly speak or write English.
Don'T Ever Come, O December
Don't ever come now!
Deserts unnumbered have expanded in me.
All my rivers
Are silted with the sands of loneliness.
Now only I
And the weight of my loneliness
Presents From My Aunts In Pakistan
They sent me a salwar kameez
glistening like an orange split open,
embossed slippers, gold and black
Candy-striped glass bangles
snapped, drew blood.
Tell me, O moisture
Halted in the eternity of my eyes
Which stagnant epoch has confined you!
God weeps rain
On some land of pain
Why only one dropp of my tear
Has stuck on His lashes.
Tell me, O breeze of shores
The name of the city
A Far Cry From Africa
A wind is ruffling the tawny pelt
Of Africa, Kikuyu, quick as flies,
Batten upon the bloodstreams of the veldt.
Corpses are scattered through a paradise.
Only the worm, colonel of carrion, cries:
'Waste no compassion on these separate dead!'
Statistics justify and scholars seize
The salients of colonial policy.
What is that to the white child hacked in bed?
To savages, expendable as Jews?
On The Death Of That Most Excellent Lady,
Mueran contigo, Laura, pues moriste,
los afectos que en vano te desean,
los ojos a quien privas de que vean
hermosa luz que a un tiempo concediste.
Muera mi lira infausta en que influiste
ecos, que lamentables te vocean,
y hasta estos rasgos mal formados sean
lágrimas negras de mi pluma triste.
How agreeable it is not to be touring Italy this summer,
wandering her cities and ascending her torrid hilltowns.
How much better to cruise these local, familiar streets,
fully grasping the meaning of every roadsign and billboard
and all the sudden hand gestures of my compatriots.
There are no abbeys here, no crumbling frescoes or famous
domes and there is no need to memorize a succession
of kings or tour the dripping corners of a dungeon.
No need to stand around a sarcophagus, see Napoleon's
What you have heard is true. I was in his house.
His wife carried a tray of coffee and sugar. His
daughter filed her nails, his son went out for the
night. There were daily papers, pet dogs, a pistol
on the cushion beside him. The moon swung bare on
its black cord over the house. On the television
was a cop show. It was in English. Broken bottles
were embedded in the walls around the house to
scoop the kneecaps from a man's legs or cut his
hands to lace. On the windows there were gratings
English Teeth, English Teeth!
Shining in the sun
A part of British heritage
Aye, each and every one.
English Teeth, Happy Teeth!
Always having fun
Clamping down on bits of fish
And sausages half done.
English Teeth! HEROES' Teeth!
Hear them click! and clack!
The Little Black Boy
My mother bore me in the southern wild,
And I am black, but oh my soul is white!
White as an angel is the English child,
But I am black, as if bereaved of light.
My mother taught me underneath a tree,
And, sitting down before the heat of day,
She took me on her lap and kissed me,
And, pointed to the east, began to say:
Spectrogram Of A Pictorial Poem (Translation By Prof. Ghulam Jilani Asghar
The walls have come out of doors
Narrows are the passages, many are the footprints
On the steep rock where the sun lies half reclined
Jumping over one's shadow, falling headlong
Is the ultimate truth, nothing new about it
Dreaming some old dream
Eyes know not how much water has come out
Of their oceanic depths.
It is easy to cross a river
but how difficult it is to find a foothold on its banks.
Arrival At Santos
Here is a coast; here is a harbor;
here, after a meager diet of horizon, is some scenery:
impractically shaped and--who knows?--self-pitying mountains,
sad and harsh beneath their frivolous greenery,
with a little church on top of one. And warehouses,
some of them painted a feeble pink, or blue,
and some tall, uncertain palms. Oh, tourist,
is this how this country is going to answer you
A Dream Fallen Out Of Sleep
Outside the abode of our sleep
Somewhere a dream burns
Somewhere tears sparkle
Somewhere a moon smoulders
Outside the abode of our sleep
Somewhere the sun rises
Somewhere the black beauty - night
Somewhere an earthen lamp