Saturday, January 05, 2019

Poemquotes 9

"He hunted the moon, he left the night."
-Pierre Reverdy, "Chacun sa part" [To Each His Share], from Poèmes en prose [Poems in Prose], 1915, my translation

"Beginning my studies the first step pleas'd me so much, / The mere fact consciousness, these forms, the power of motion"
-Walt Whitman, "Beginning My Studies", from Leaves of Grass, "Inscriptions", 1855-1892

"Spring comes adept with personnel, / Apt for the kill."
-John Ashbery, "Elegy", 1947, from Uncollected Poems

"Of course, there's no need to speak / 'On the level'* ['À l'horizontale'] / Though we no longer find anything to say to each other / While vertical [À la verticale']. / So, in order to kill time / Between this love-session and that, / I grab the newspaper, and my pen, / And I fill in / Both the A's and O's**."
[* “On the level,” “laying down [horizontal next to each other],” etc.]
[** Which is also to say, in accordance with the French pronunciation of the letters, “Both the ‘AH!’s and ‘OH!’s.”]
-Serge Gainsbourg, "Ce mortel ennui" [This Deadly Boredom], from Du chant à la une!... [Songs Torn from the Front Page!...], 1958, my translation

"The going of the glade-boat / Is like water flowing"
-Wallace Stevens, "The Load of Sugar-Cane", from Harmonium, 1923/1931

"I preside in the azure like a poorly-understood sphinx, / I combine a snow heart with the whiteness of swans; / I hate movement that shifts lines around, / And never do I weep, and never do I laugh."
-Charles Baudelaire, "La beauté" [Beauty], from Les fleurs du mal [The Flowers of Evil], "Spleen et Idéal" [Spleen and Ideal], 1857, my translation

"Sweet Levinsky, why so tearful, / sweet Levinsky don't be fearful, / sweet Levinsky here's your earful / of the angels chirping cheerful- / ly Levinsky, sweet Levinsky, / sweet Levinsky, sweet Levinsky."
-Allen Ginsberg, "Sweet Levinsky", 1949, from Empty Mirror: Gates of Wrath (1947-1952) in Collected Poems: 1947-1980 (itself collected in its entirety within Collected Poems: 1947-1997)


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