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Showing posts from January 19, 2014

Pasternak Time: “The Bible improves with years”

Pasternak Time: “The Bible improves with years” The Bible improves with years. How useless the cynic with “It’s all useless!”, The optimist absurd as the pessimist. The psalmist knew many days Who waited with joy for sunrise, Gave thanks for small beauties it revealed. He had seen enough for a lifetime And exile was always just around the corner. Comes a time faith alone is all that’s left. The Bible, returned to as we do to home, Home’s landscape and meetings in all weathers. There rages argument about Russian, Which words in what order work and why. Tongues proliferate across the Soviets, Out across the world of raging nations. And Job sits amidst the results Sorting out how it’s them and it’s him, both: We sit down together gazing at loss. Tyrants may scan the borders, Send their enemies to the bombed frontline, But it is still a child governs the household And hope alone, immaterial hope, persists. The Bible, fragments left from b

Pasternak Time: “She listened long after there was much to say”

Pasternak Time: “She listened long after there was much to say” She listened long after there was much to say. There was always something to say. Winter days, remembering the times all day inside. So much to forget, inside. Imagine no-one to talk to while winter lasts, Sharing the spoken word, while time lasts. Those with no-one to talk to live so long. It is fearsome how much we long. Hermits receive visitors’ needs and uncertainties. Novelists write alone vastly from uncertainties.

Pasternak Time: “Flat on its face the old movie”

Pasternak Time: “Flat on its face the old movie” Flat on its face the old movie Stands up again. It stands up well. Crowds run one way, bullets the other. Someone must lose. A speech is made. They all wore clothes like that, Hard to believe. Broad coats and hats. Clackety-clack like the intercity The film unwinds. Cities disintegrate. One thing about people who disappear: They disappear. You could be next. Opens its mouth without a voice, Only cue card words. We hear no screams. Comedy or tragedy, epic or farce? That is the question. It does not say. Credits are an historic custom To reward the winners. That’s another story. Ah! All the time in the world to consider The captured revolution! The editor died.  

Pasternak Time: “Green glassware and silver bowls”

Pasternak Time: “Green glassware and silver bowls” Green glassware and silver bowls, White linen and wide open windows Are not so much to ask for. Close writing and secret psalms, Firm friendships and wild private visions – Who says there will be no more? Grown ideas and saving themes, Greek knowledge and deep inner doubts – Excuse me, here is the door! Dark vigils and feast day meals, Rich motets through long summer twilights The party will not ignore. Lost mornings and afternoons, Hereafters and pained after effects: After is not like before.

Pasternak Time: “Anti-poems pass by the censor”

Pasternak Time: “Anti-poems pass by the censor” Anti-poems pass by the censor: “The thousand-room castle – tear it down!” “Crumble crumbs for the hungry ants” “At the end of the day there are outcomes” Your kind of anti-poem has sonorous sunsets, It is edged around with indulgence. Her versts of bursts are self-referential, They beg for a visit to Vladivostok. Anti-poems on the fall of the florin, The collapse of the edifice Inevitable. Anti-poems for every occasion: Birthdays, assassinations, funerals. His kind of anti-poem fixates on facial hair, Is too lukewarm about the Great Leader. My kind of anti-poem is whispered round midnight After they’ve hauled the ‘traitor’ away. Follow these rules for partyline anti-poems: 1.  Keep the similes simple. 2.   Use the root word ‘work’ at least once. 3.   Improve your basic crescendo.

Pasternak Time: “The five minute phonecall took no time”

 Pasternak Time: “The five minute phonecall took no time” The five minute phonecall took no time For such a famous phonecall. Yes, comrade. They have talked about it ever since, A lifetime of conjecture. What was the tone? Lives hung in the balance on the weight Of a single sentence. It’s not poetry. A lesser writer would stumble with words Or make false claims. Not Pasternak. He learnt dialectic in the days of glory When his parents wowed  Moscow. The Pasternaks. The Georgian psychopath knew all that But he had a mission. Vendetta. Lifetimes fill with connected incidents To break the receiver. Friendships founder. And time hangs heavy in her two books Who lived to remember her call. Silent decades writing. Where all roads lead to the five minute phonecall, One name traded against another. Hang up! Now! For what is Mandelstam, tell me again, What kind of damn fool name is that? Mandelstam.

Pasternak Time: “The narcissistic psychopath”

Pasternak Time: “The narcissistic psychopath” The narcissistic psychopath Has them all doing his dirty work. Main motive: his own only-ness. Who he wouldn’t kill to keep control, What he wouldn’t say to hold them in sway, What he wouldn’t will. Statues he commissions for town squares, In his own likeness. His own inscription Makes a murderer of millions their liberator. His records reach every room in the land: His signature must be a death’s head. For what is he without his fame, His appetite for his own power Beyond reason to satisfy? O what might they do to dethrone His prospering claims to supremacy? What do to reconstruct the bodies He destroyed in his will to tyrannise? Shall short lines prevail? Witticisms Spotlight his blind acquisition? They could ignore him, leave time alone To end the cruelty of silent assent. They may take up the wisdom that is folly, Render their lives to powerlessness. Share common food. Speak