Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Farewell (2) for Readwritepoem #71


I had done it again.
I slit open the covers
with your ink pen -

The words are raped,
the white pages compromised.
One chance to return and it's lost on you

And I a smiling woman.
I am only thirty. Thirty-three, precisely.
Just the right age to hike alone

Up the hill. Leave it all behind: you, the fig tree...
Falling requires grace and I'm already clumsy.
And like the cat I have nine times to die.

This is Number Three. Yet the crowd is tired.
Too much ado for such an ordinary matter
each book commands a final chapter.

Und so verhalt ich mich denn und verschlucke den Lockruf
dunkele Schluchzens. Ach, wen vermögen
wir denn zu brauchen?Engel nicht, Menschen nicht,

So, I shall slide quietly to read the final cover.

(1)"I have done it again.
And I a smiling woman.
I am only thirty.
And like the cat I have nine times to die.

This is Number Three."

From Lady Lazarus by Sylvia Plath from

Und so verhalt ich mich denn und verschlucke den Lockruf
dunkele Schluchzens. Ach, wen vermögen
wir denn zu brauchen?Engel nicht, Menschen nicht,

Reiner Maria Rilke -Duineser Elegien 

translations by  
A. Poulin Jr. 
So I control myself and choke back the lure
of my dark cry. Ah, who can we turn to,
then? Neither angels nor men,
 Stephen Mitchell
And so I hold myself back and swallow the call-note of my dark sobbing.
Ah, whom can we ever turn to in our need?
Not angels, not humans

more poems inspired by anther's first line at readwritepoem


Paul said...

It's so careful and graceful and intelligent, Ana. And somehow it holds a tone all the way through, even when the language changes. I want to say there is a real European-ness to it, the whole piece comes from a tradition and extends it. I think the work you doing here is very important, beyond bloggoland.

Annamari said...

I had no heart to replace the original...

"is very important, beyond bloggoland." meaning you found me a sugar daddy or an agent or a publisher? I can use one of each, ya'know...

Anonymous said...

I agree with Paul's comment on the gracefulness of the poem, notwithstanding the speaker's claim that "falling requires grace and i'm already clumsy" (itself a wonderful line).

Also, I like the way the poem is almost a conversation between three poets: you, Plath, and Rilke.

Annamari said...

I have to thank you for this comment and for considering my attempt an almost conversation with two amazing poets. As for "Falling requires grace and I'm already clumsy"-if you read Lady Lazarus you can consider it as a reply to "Dying/Is an art..." and so on.
She did it better from both perspectives and if I might wish the same craft when writing... in the other sense maybe I shouldn't.

gautami tripathy said...

Your work too stands out. Loved it.

over the ridge and hard planes

Anonymous said...

even i agree completely with gautami!a great read indeed :)

Wayne Pitchko said...


Annamari said...

gautami, narendra and wayne
many thanks

Julie said...

This is indeed a beautiful and graceful poem. I have just read it, and then I read your post above. If you had not told me you didn't know about her son's death, I would still think it's a beautiful tribute to Plath's work. It is. The language works very well, and I love the flow of the lines. Very powerful work!

Lori said...

I like the meter of this. It's almost hidden in the way you've formed it. But if you look closely you can see it flowing. I liked it a LOT!

Annamari said...

thank you.
It is a tribute to Plath and Rilke equally.I re-read some of my favorites from Plath and Rilke's elegies recently, and they were my inspiration.. Just that the reason for re-reading Plath had nothing to do with her son's death.
I appreciate. Especially that I still wonder in what measure the quote from Rilke is actually breaking the flow and if it would not make more sense to use an English translation...

Raven's Wing Poetry said...

I love how you took off from Plath's poem -- in fact "Lady Lazarus" is one of my favourites. I used a couple of lines of it to jump-start one of my poems. Excellent write.