Poetessa speaks..

Poète, scénariste et parolier....Scottish dilettante and poet. This blog has some of my current poems, as well as those of other poets I admire.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Ich kenne dich...

Ich kenne dich,
Du bist die tief Gebeugte,
Ich, der Durchborte, bin
Dir untertan.

Wo flammt ein Wort, das für
Uns beide zeuget?

Du – ganz, ganz wirchlich.
Ich – ganz Wahn.

by Paul Celan

I know you,
You are the one I bow to….deeply
I am pierced through, and am
Your subject.

Is there a shining word that
Can express our meaning?

You – utterly real,
I – a deluded shadow.

Translation, Rita Cummings

Monday, 5 April 2010

Elegy: To My Mother

I will not soil my hands
with death--
though it come to me ragged--
not royal and threatening.
I will drape
my mother's clothing over me first,
cover my face
and hide.

I will not let the reaper sow
at random.
I will stand firm,
hold ground in the face of chill.
No hood will tempt me
or charm me.
I am immune to black.

I will not kiss the cross of suffering
bend and weep
at rotting flowers.
I will not see yellow flesh
and turn away.
I am abandoned,
but my heart is warm.
I will carry home
and mother with me.

Tectonic Shift


This is her dream:

—cataclysms, the plates shift and we are

Dropping, dropping, dropping…

The earth freefalls…

Everything is rent, submerged, shipwrecked.

The continent divides,

And it is the country of Mexico that is splintered – off.

She is floating freely in this dream,

But irretrievably destroyed—

The shards of her past – obliterated.


All that is left is illusion.

Mexico, a new Atlantis, has emerged,

It is rising in the wide, wide Pacific.

Here is her new beginning,

Her new terrain.

All is changed then in the freefall.

The entrance and the exit ---


It was always like this

Flying and landing somewhere.

Yet, still adrift—

Look how she floats –

So self-contained,

Holier somehow?

Let’s see where she drifts.

What islands she encounters.





She can soon – become

Her own


© Rita Cummings 1998

Tassajara Creek

Great teachers of Zen

Like the Tassajara Creek

I hear you preaching day and night

Even when the sky is full of silence

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Porthmeor Beach

A girl/surfing/
Walks backwards slowly into the sea/
Cold grey waves/

Only feel the emptiness/of walking away/
From the world/
Into the long breath/ of the sea/

Floating out to the empty line/
Which takes her to the Atlantic/
And all she’s left behind/

Barbara Hepworth’s hole in the sky/
Pale alabaster/heartstrings in wood

Batter my heart three-person’d god/
It is a rookery after all/a nest
Above the sea/where she could hammer & chisel/
Out a life/
The pagan hills she called them/a backdrop

The bruise she finds on her side/
A life of pushing up against things/
They go/unnoticed/
But leave their mark/indigo, yellow, mottled/

Still the turquoise sea/beaches of mica and granite/
Shards of pottery from sunken ships/

This is the spot that takes her to the edge of things/
Where she can see through



And so, in the splendour of

The winter leaves, black, yellow, rusty golds –

Where are you?

Why do you haunt me on each path?

I wonder where you are, and a door

Flies open in the wind.

Your shadow sits opposite me on the couch,

I cannot toss you off –

Cannot trudge through you ---

Or make you go away.

Hoping you are the fallen branch,

I climb over, or the dog running in the other direction,

Or the light fading through the bare branches

Of white birches.

Why won’t you disappear ---

And leave me to the forest,

To the pleasures of here,

To my own lonely terror?


I'm almost 60 and now ready to put my poetry on the web! Poet, peacenik, dilettante and rebel, I'm a fan of music of all kinds. Former professor of literature, I seek other likeminded literattti out there who think outside the box. Poets who want to set their works to music -- or create poetical dramas. Also a student of Zen Buddhism for over 30 years...