Thursday, April 30, 2009

Night (No. 2), 1907
William Orpen

Soho, 1934
Bill Brandt

Shadows in Paradise (1986)
Aki Kaurismäki

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Seeded Grasses and Daisies, September, 1960
Joan Eardley

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Tree, Tree . . .

Tree, tree,
dry and green.

The girl of beautiful face
goes gathering olives.
The wind, that suitor of towers,
grasps her round the waist.
Four riders have passed
on Andalusian ponies,
with suits of azure and green,
and long dark cloaks.
"Come to C
rdoba, lass."
The girl pays no heed.
Three young bullfighters have passed,
their waists are slender,
their suits orange-coloured,
their swords of antique silver.
"Come to Seville, lass."
The girl pays no heed.
When the evening became
purple, with diffused light,
a youth passed by bringing
roses and myrtles of the moon.
"Come to Granada, lass"
But the girl pays no heed.
The girl of beautiful face
still goes on gathering olives,
with the gray arm of the wind
encircling her waist.

Tree, tree.
Dry and green.

The Faithless Wife

So I took her to the river
believing she was a maiden,
but she alread had a husband.
It was on Saint James's night
and almost as if I was obliged to.
The lanterns went out
and the crickets lighted up.
In the farthest street corners
I touched her sleeping breasts,
and they opened to me suddenly
like spikes of hyacinth.
The starch of her petticoat
sounded in my ears
like a piece of silk
rent by ten knives.
Without silver light on their foliage
the trees had grown larger
and a horizon of dogs
barked very far from the river.

Past the blackberries,
the reeds and the hawthorn,
underneath her cluster of hair
I made a hollow in the earth.
I took off my tie.
She took off her dress.
I my belt with the revolver.
She her four bodices.
Nor nard nor mother-o'-pearl
have skin so fine,
nor does glass with silver
shine with such brilliance.
Her thighs slipped away from me
like startled fish,
half full of fire,
half full of cold.
That night I ran
on the best of roads
mounted on a nacre mare
without bridle or stirrups.
As a man, I won't repeat
the things she said to me.
The light of understanding
has made me most discreet.
Smeared with sand and kisses
I took her away from the river.
The swords of the lilies
battled with the air.

I behaved like what I am.
Like a proper gypsy.
I gave her a large sewing basket,
of straw-coloured satin,
and I did not fall in love
for although she had a husband
she told me she was a maiden
when I took her to the river.

Gacela of Unforseen Love

No one understood the perfume
of the dark magnolia of your womb.
No one knew that you tormented
a hummingbird of love between your teeth.

A thousand Persian ponies fell asleep
in the moonlit plaza of your forehead,
while through four nights I embraced
your waist, enemy of the snow.

Between plaster and jasmines, your glance
was a pale branch of seeds.
I sought in my heart to give you
the ivory letters that say always,

always, always: garden of my agony,
your body elusive always,
the blood of your veins in my mouth,
your mouth already lightless for my death.


Thursday, April 2, 2009

Child with Balloons, Luxembourg Gardens, Paris, ca. 1933-39
Josef Breitenbach