Τρίτη, 19 Μαρτίου 2013

A. E. (Alicia) Stallings -- 5 poems










After a Greek Proverb
BY A.E. STALLINGS

Ουδέν μονιμότερον του προσωρινού


We’re here for the time being, I answer to the query—
Just for a couple of years, we said, a dozen years back.
Nothing is more permanent than the temporary.

We dine sitting on folding chairs—they were cheap but cheery.
We’ve taped the broken window pane. TV’s still out of whack.
We’re here for the time being, I answer to the query.

When we crossed the water, we only brought what we could carry,
But there are always boxes that you never do unpack.
Nothing is more permanent than the temporary.

Sometimes when I’m feeling weepy, you propose a theory:
Nostalgia and tear gas have the same acrid smack.
We’re here for the time being, I answer to the query—

We stash bones in the closet when we don’t have time to bury,
Stuff receipts in envelopes, file papers in a stack.
Nothing is more permanent than the temporary.

Twelve years now and we’re still eating off the ordinary:
We left our wedding china behind, afraid that it might crack.
We’re here for the time being, we answer to the query,
But nothing is more permanent than the temporary.

Source: Poetry (January 2012).

Another Lullaby for Insomniacs
BY A.E. STALLINGS

Sleep, she will not linger:
She turns her moon-cold shoulder.
With no ring on her finger,
You cannot hope to hold her.

She turns her moon-cold shoulder
And tosses off the cover.
You cannot hope to hold her:
She has another lover.

She tosses off the cover
And lays the darkness bare.
She has another lover.
Her heart is otherwhere.

She lays the darkness bare.
You slowly realize
Her heart is otherwhere.
There's distance in her eyes.

You slowly realize
That she will never linger,
With distance in her eyes
And no ring on her finger.

Source: Poetry (April 2004).

Extinction of Silence
BY A.E. STALLINGS

That it was shy when alive goes without saying.
We know it vanished at the sound of voices

Or footsteps. It took wing at the slightest noises,
Though it could be approached by someone praying.

We have no recordings of it, though of course
In the basement of the Museum, we have some stuffed

Moth-eaten specimens—the Lesser Ruffed
And Yellow Spotted—filed in narrow drawers.

But its song is lost. If it was related to
A species of Quiet, or of another feather,

No researcher can know. Not even whether
A breeding pair still nests deep in the bayou,

Where legend has it some once common bird
Decades ago was first not seen, not heard.

Source: Poetry (February 2006).

Actaeon
BY A.E. STALLINGS

The hounds, you know them all by name.
You fostered them from purblind whelps
At their dam’s teats, and you have come
To know the music of their yelps:

High-strung Anthee, the brindled bitch,
The blue-tick coated Philomel,
And freckled Chloe, who would fetch
A pretty price if you would sell—

All fleet of foot, and swift to scent,
Inexorable once on the track,
Like angry words you might have meant,
But do not mean, and can’t take back.

There was a time when you would brag
How they would bay and rend apart
The hopeless belling from a stag.
You falter now for the foundered hart.

Desires you nursed of a winter night—
Did you know then why you bred them—
Whose needling milk-teeth used to bite
The master’s hand that leashed and fed them?

“Actaeon” from Hapax. Copyright © 2003. Reprinted with the permission of Northwestern University Press,www.nupress.northwestern.edu/.

Arrowhead Hunting
BY A.E. STALLINGS

The land is full of what was lost. What's hidden
Rises to the surface after rain
In new-ploughed fields, and fields stubbled again:
The clay shards, foot and lip, that heaped the midden,

And here and there a blade or flakes of blade,
A patient art, knapped from a core of flint,
Most broken, few as coins new from the mint,
Perfect, shot through time as through a glade.

You cannot help but think how they were lost:
The quarry, fletched shaft in its flank, the blood
Whose trail soon vanished in the antlered wood,
Not just the meat, but what the weapon cost—

O hapless hunter, though your aim was true—
The wounded hart, spooked, fleeting in its fear—
And the sharpness honed with longing, year by year
Buried deeper, found someday, but not by you.

Source: Poetry (May 2002).




http://www.poetryfoundation.org   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A._E._Stallings


A. E. (Alicia) Stallings studied classics in Athens, Georgia and has lived since 1999 in Athens, Greece. She has published two books of poetry, Archaic Smile(1999), which won the Richard Wilbur Award, andHapax (2000). Her new verse translation of Lucretius (in rhyming fourteeners!),The Nature of Things, is published by Penguin Classics. She lives with her husband, John Psaropoulos, editor of the Athens News, and their small argonaut, Jason.