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, 22 August 2010

jean-michel basquiat

The Coin Lost In The River Is Found In The River

The sun and moon are travelers in eternity.
Even the years are wanderers.
For those whose life is on the waters or leading a horse through the years
each day is a journey and the journey itself is home

- Basho

kaeri taku kari wa omou ya omowazu ya

are the geese yearning
to depart...
or not?
- Issa

kirawareta yuki mo ichi do ni kie ni keri

the snow I hated
all at once
has melted away

nese-tsukete soto e wa detari natsu no tsuki

it's bedtime
but out I go...
summer moon
- issa

Farewell, my old fan.
Having scribbled on it
What could I do but tear it
At the end of summer
- Basho

Tired of cherry blossoms
Tired of this whole world
I sit facing muddy sake
And black rice
- Basho

When the world blossoms
it can never be put back.
How the petals fall!
- Teitoku

furusato ya uzuki saite mo ume no hana

my home village--
even in summer
plum trees bloom
- Issa

te no konda kusa no hana zoyo mijika yo ni

such intricate
wildflowers bloomed!
in one short night
-- Issa

Saturday, 21 August 2010



(For two voices)

First Voice:

The tulips red

Not yet opened glance

At me

Noticing my eyes.


White with yellow centres


Like her elegant wrist in ruffles--

They turn away

And favour the room

Over me.

The world is not yet safe

It hovers

Tired animal


If I would make

A worthy prey


To dread


Yellow was my fate yesterday

I saw it biting


Voice Two:

Now I try to hide in red

Why is it a sinking


It seems to shift like clay

But its redness

Growls and



The tulips say

Why have I chosen the

Insistence of red?

It’s everywhere like

Cherry orchards.

I should lose myself here instead

In the turquoise folds

Of these velvet curtains that drape

And fold the empty stage.

I long to disappear

Into the soft darkness of their pleats.


Red knows how to laugh

Knows its origins

Are in wildflowers

Indian paintbrush

Painted on faces first

Or else on jars

Red knows mystery

Knows the place where the sacred lies

It is the color of the color

Of our liquid life.

Red knows itself

Through and through

It is the color of desire—

Red knows itself

On the blackbird’s wing—

In the flaming Autumn leaves.

Red knows and knows


As Love.

she was drowning in red (for Meredith Monk)

She was drowning in the music of red.

It seemed to be everywhere ---

In the Songs of Ascension,

In the lipstick that Meredith Monk wore.

The music was red, and

Her strange vocal sounds primitive,

suffused With red.

She thought of the red rocks of Teignmouth

That marked the last

Part of her journey home.

She was drowning in red,

And remembered Sylvia Plath’s tulips –

They wanted to devour her.

She couldn’t imagine where she began,

And they ended.

Red poppies for Remembrance Day---

32 million paper poppies sold

for remembrance they said –

Was that true?

She was drowning in red.

He had suggested red

Velvet curtains

and they had all laughed at this idea,

As if they recalled a bordello,

or an old theatre,

or the grandeur of an opera house.

Red velvet --- something you could sink into though,

But not drown.

She was drowning in red,

And longed for the safety of blue.

Someone she knew invented agapanthic blue,

But she preferred aquamarine or even turquoise.

Like the water around Iona,

surprisingly blue, like the Mediterranean.

She is drowning in red,

and must sink there.

Forget herself

Eternally in red.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010


What I longed for most----
was your hair
Against my stubble.

The golden weight of it
in the shade.

Instead, I poured the memory of it
into a cup,
And stored it away,
So that I could sip a little
Every day
On my parched lips.

The amber liquid bathes
the stones
of my silence.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Correspondences -- Celan and Bachmann

For those of you who have enjoyed reading Celan, please do read the recently published correspondence between Celan and Ingeborg Bachmann in Correspondences translated by Wieland Hoban, and published by Seagull Press in Europe and University of Chicago Press in the US.

If you haven't read Bachmann there are several translations of her poems. Songs in Flight, trans. Peter Filkins is a good place to start. Also in German, a stunning collection of Bachmann's unpublished poems and fragments (published in 2000) called Ich weisz keinne bessere Welt/I know of no better World). .