Charms for Defence of the City

In the name of the night
may all your bullets strike true
throwing clueless belligerent men
into soft beds of nettles or the pond

So they may immediately limp home
to their mothers, or to see their dog

*

In the name of the wind
may all bombs that fall find
they are caught in spider-webs
spun round and tightly held

So that you may take them down
disassemble them and bury them

*

In the name of thunder
may all their machines fail
to bring them any closer
May their wheels fall off

Roll down the hill, and splash
into the river, heading to sea

*

In the name of the sun
may the tyrant find himself
lost among people
unable to speak

Cold and dark
screaming for his father.

*

In the name of an angel
may all your children be wrapped
in invincible spheres of gold
to deliver them from evil

So they may someday speak
and we may someday listen

Freedom by Paul Éluard

A translation for Ukraine, and all the besieged.

“…a very simple wish, an everyday wish, a hardworking wish, to free oneself from the occupier.” – Paul Éluard

In my school-books
On my desk, on the trees
On the sand and on the snow
I write your name

On every page I read
On every blank page
Stone, blood, paper and ash
I write your name

On perspex screens
On soldiers’ guns
On the tyrant’s jewels
I write your name

In the forest on the steppe
On the nests on the thyme bush
On the echo of my childhood
I write your name

On the events of the night
On the day’s white bread
In the married seasons
I write your name

On all my sky blue rags
On the sun dried pool
On the vibrant lake of the moon
I write your name

On the fields of the horizon
On the wings of birds
And on the shadow’s engines
I write your name

On each wave of the dawn
On the sea on the boats
On the lost mountain
I write your name

On the froth of the clouds
On the sweat of the storm
On the thick and tasteless rain
I write your name

On the sparkling shapes
On the colours’ bells
On the real truth
I write your name

On the waking paths
On the rolled out roads
In the packed city squares
I write your name

With the light we switch on
With the light we switch off
On our gathered houses
I write your name

On the apple, cut in two
Of my mirror, and my room
On my bed’s empty frame
I write your name

On my gentle dog who eats so well
On her raised ears
On her clumsy paws
I write your name

On the diving board of my doorstep
On my everyday objects
On the surge of blessed fire
I write your name

On all the flesh of lovers
On the face of my friends
On every hand that’s offered
I write your name

On the window with its surprises
On attentive lips
Well above the silence
I write your name

On my destroyed shelters
On my fallen lighthouses
On the walls of my despair
I write your name

On unwanted absences
On naked loneliness
In my steps with death
I write your name

On the return of health
When risk has disappeared
On hope without memory
I write your name

And by the power of a word
I begin my life again
I was born to know you
To name you

Freedom.

V.125 The Seventh Day

Only the finest and most active animals… – Nietzsche

On the seventh day, I rested.
I took my little boots, went out
and sat in the memorial garden.
Tears were licked from my eyes by time.

Cherry blossom was on the trees
a rusty angel holding wreaths.
I thought how, once built, a bridge lasts –
a stone bridge outlasts us, and sings.

Dreams of war danced in the cold night.
In rooms, piles of ancient books loomed.
The sun isn’t something missing
it’s an overflow of hot thoughts –

that dances on the horizon
and tricks us by travelling so slow.
I wanted to say this: thank you,
here is a Picquot tray of tea.

Like tidal waves upon a cliff
this came to me, this old feeling,
made me take a seat and begin
thinking the odds and ends again.

Oh, all my help and those I harmed
– joy hands on joy to us and then,
like lava at tectonic rifts
from this, may things begin again

V.124

I’ve loved you all my waking life.
and it’s rare like atmospheric
crystal rainbow clouds, in the night
catching the moon’s light. Called moon-dogs.

Though rareness isn’t a good sign –
rare diseases are rare, okay,
but I’m trying to find something
like a mock moon has its anchor –

I see your hesitancy through
your 22° halo –
Could we after all have found more
in others. Could is a puzzle,

and I’ve loved you, my waking life.
The tautology has my throat –
like a jet necklace. And the joy
you bring me has long years in it.

We are vintage. We can say that,
and others cannot. Exclusive
isn’t necessarily good,
okay… But the world falls away

when you laugh, or you say my name.
And that’s not good either, okay,
or is it. You are my chapel!
my holy book! my holiday!