ceramic, ceramic tile, ceramic floor tile

October Thoughts

after Jean Follain

Nothing beats

an old wine

savoured alone

as early evening

coppers the hills,

no huntsman now

drawing a bead

on the beasts of the plain.

Our friends’ sisters

(the radio bleats

of wars to come)

look lovelier

(an insect settles

and moves on again).

A Blaze becomes Fire

after Valeria Ferraro


The original text’s embrace

the translator has rendered hug

Where there was written antidote

he puts the word cure in its place,

as if he thinks interchangeable

this instant and eternity.

The text writes poverty.

Bruised limbs

are enobled to wounds.

The past’s lineaments

freightless and frigid

become folk memory,

the art of the ancients.

The text reads contumely.

A blaze becomes fire


the worst luck going.

The text describes an empty sky;

he translates pellucid.

A woman is darning

in a dark kitchen:

the translator writes sewing.


after Wisława Szymborska


Yes, I remember that wall
in our ruined city. A block
gutted almost to the sixth floor.
a mirror on the fourth,

unbelievably intact, still
resolutely attached.

It reflected no one’s face now,
no hands tilted a hat,
there was no door opposite,
nothing you could call
a room, or a flat.

It was as if on vacation –
only the busy sky

preened itself there:
clouds wandering in free air,
bright rains rinsing the dust of ruins,
birds in mid-flight,

stars and rising suns . .

And so, like every well-made thing,
it worked on irreproachably,
with a professional want of surprise.

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after Valeria Ferraro
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cafe with awning, umbrellas nearly-new,
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adolescent seeks luminous balcony
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bassist recruiting like-minded keen
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