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Sunday, January 31, 2016

Ante Armanini: 28 Micro-poems for Ezra Pound


Ante ARMANINI:

28 MICRO-POEMS FOR EZRA POUND

Wu Guanzhong, Water Village


1.
In the flood
of lyrical drivel
you thought us
passion & cursing
the present
where curses are flown, where killing is done
without passion


2.

You strolled
from curses
to silence
in the unaired quarters
of our Lady
of High Culture

3.

While the peafowl’s suffering
outlasted
the peafowl’s
tail


4.


When pure suffering
is the falling waterfall
of unclear words
at first, it seems like a noisy waterfall
but
a bit lower down
the stream is clear

5.

I come closer to your picture:

beard & eyes
of an old tiger
in the morning suit
of great learning
without big words




6.

Your language
is the Pacific
And does not teach
anything of true value
except the magnitude and
the quick exchange of waves,
streams, brainstorms
of the sweltering Pacific.




7.

Your rapid moves
only concealed
the quiet power of an elephant
entering the European shop
full of
crystal glass

8.

Not one word on oxen
& morals
but instead a big
almost hellish contempt
for power
& money


9.


The spread of our fluid
stronger than the words
and your fluid
reaching out to China


10.

Your picture, the furrowed face
& grizzled gray beard
suggest a hurricane
and we cannot judge the hurricane
by its looks
only by its power
of Destruction.

11.

In the old God
you do not believe
But you did respect him
like all the other
Rhinos

12.

To publishers you wrote
inscriptions:
Instead of books, you shall publish
Hell


13.

Your English speech
anything but polished
yet
your poem-abyss
opened with the view
into the abyss

14.

Your philosophy of usura
was your ballet du Landy:
seeing the beast,
a flying centaur, you have seen
the coming war
approaching
with the step of a child

15.

Never
were you right
yet
you understood, you saw this
as your greatest right


16.

A boy declared a cat
to be the greatest crone
& locked her
in the mouse cage
(West: the des-tiny of poetry)


17.

O wretched old peafowl
only madness
guided you
with the bloody mask
of Big Politics

18.

Of State, government, police
only a fool will speak
not knowing
any thing
about any thing

19.

Suicide
yet a political one
like that Hamlet
in the rotten kingdom
of chatterbox fates


20.

Of the Politicus
he speaks only in the end
Peafowl does: “damn old hag”
walking the gauntlet from curses
to silence
in the unaired room


21.

You thought us
to speak profoundly
through the clenched teeth
To look into a false profundity
like it were the horse’s mouth

22.

In your lines
none of that enthusiasm
of the grandiose verse
In your eyes of a tiger
poets’ enthusiasm
is a form of mentalis
and of obtuseness

23.

An incisive stream
of sobering
details
blending in the
luminous Pacific of your poems


24.


I can see you seated
behind the desk
drinking the old wine
from Phlegeton


25.


You see knife on the table
like an image of crime
You see wine on the table
like an image of the spilled blood

While our daily bread
prays for blood, crime and tears


26.

Contempt for the gods
is the salt and your only god
Contempt, cursing
through tears,
the gods
heroes and overmen
of all hues
—that is your formula
for eternity

27.

What eases
the contempt
is only a gaze directed at
the bright silence of a beast


28.

You were a sailor
& the Pacific
which shone upon everything
without falling
into talk about the details
of the dark century



Translated into English from the Croatian
by Boris Gregoric 

Ante ARMANINI (1943) is a contemporary Croatian poet, novelist and dramaturgist.  

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