Yesterday I completed the final few openings to The New Divan. Earlier in the day I went to the outside auction in Leith to see what poetry had popped up. It was a bumper day actually, & I got all the above ones for a fiver. Its an interesting experience. They auction starts at 11, but at at 10 they put the books out. This brings a gaggle of the city’s booksellers to have a look, & there seems a tacit agreement among them to carve up the spoils, very rarely bidding against each other. Luckily theres not that much money in poetry books (old & new) so I can make my own pretty pile & no bothers me, maybe someone takes a book out & places it n their own pile – you’re allowed to bid for them separately. For example yesterday, I noticed Percy’s Reliques in a guy’s pile, so I took them out to bid separetely. The guy was great tho, & said don’t worry about it & put it in my pile, chit-chatting about a poetry a little & gaurding them fastiduously from predatary sellers. In the end those three books are worth about £40 on their own, but I’m there to study them not sell them.
Another of the books I picked up had a wonderful effect on the day’s transcreation. It was a litttle book of Robert Louis Stevenson’s, whose ‘children’s poetry’ were both octosyllabic & rhyming, & emotive as love! absolutely brilliant transportational abilities & I’ll be doing a Pendragon poetry post on them soon! Reading the poems absorbed the measured music into my mind, & when I sat down with A New Divan, I found very much the whole process of transcreation easier than previously. Having him board has made me realise that the English poets & Scottish Makars & of course the Welsh bards shiould be involved somewhere in The New Divan. To facilitate this idea I shall take me with me on my composition sessions a poet or two from a pantheon, whose words I can bounce off when lacking inspiration, whose music I can draw on to mould a proper mindset. 24 poems to go…
JAAN KAPLINSKI: The Great Axe
Knew everybody since childhood,
He’d dreamt he was a shaft of wood
By axehead topp’d, his foes to fight
To chop off heads & branches smite!
NUJOOM ALGHANEM: The Crimson Shades
If Venus e’er should act a thief
Of hearts once sworn our destiny
Or if Lord Jupiter’s mischief
Would draw upon us furtively
Should ever come to pass these odds
Let us refuse their rudest guiles
Bestow, instead, on Fates & Gods
The Rose of Hope that grows in smiles!
ALES STEGER: Thirst
Each runic bottle teaches me
Beseeching pure humility
If every god can be seduced
By the carafe, & thus reduced,
How fine a drop am I?
Intoxicating, misty dream
I sip between my lips, & seem
Made larger & more eloquent.
ANTONELLA ANEDDA: Three Ghazals
Words you have grasp’d all on your own
I cannot utter unto you
Without inflicting ills to groan
Or causing harm, send thought askew.
I can’t go on, I do not care
To wound or flatter, so I stay
Within my family, to share
Encircled warmth, tho cool as May.
So words be good, be gone into
The silence of a summit bird
My voice it plummets low for you
So much you cannot hear a word.
MOURID BARGHOUTI: The Obedience of Water
Nights of art & erudition
Sacrifice & hesitation
At little, or at great expense,
Must pass, how many, since or hence
Need you to cleverly invent,
A simple gadget’s supplement,
When all we need for tyranny
Are single bendings of one knee!
MOHAMMED BENNIS: Aubade
Goethe, Goethe, poet master
From the furthest lands a-wester
Of the East, I have sung in praise
Of that peace goblet you did raise
To happiness, under the vines,
To goodness dressing all designs.