EXPANSIVE POETRY ONLINE
A Journal of Contemporary Arts 

 

POEMS

 

by

MICHAEL CURTIS
____________

Michael Curtis describes "60" and "35" as follows: 

[These two] are from an inventive translation of “The Priapeia” (I prefer, Carmina Priapeia); inventive because I added verses to, and subtracted verses from the original. As you might know, the last significant translation was the Smithers, Sir Richard Burton which is stilted, though interesting. My version creates something of narrative, delightful and conversational. Illustrations are intended, but I have not yet fashioned the time. “Number 60”, completes the narrative portion; “number 35” is in eulogy to a friend.

 

 

60.
 

Long before you looked upon the sun

I was a fig tree’s knotted trunk

In the coppice of a skilled craftsman              

  Who was, too often, drunk.

Some little time after I was made,

He explained I was to be a bench,

Yet, well, he was over-amorous,

  And then there was this wench…

Well, yes: I laughed too. And so it is

With all of us who come of earth

No matter the chance particulars

  That trip us into birth:

We each and all in joy will sing

When planting seeds in gardening.

 

 

 

35.

 

Today the bailiff raked my garden

To clear away the winter’s loss;

Some succumbed to drought and wind,

  Some to frost.

Last spring we smiled upon the sun

And tucked our toes into the moss;

As one we joyed a-knowing not

  Who would be lost.

Now again the spring is come

And so we greet the summer’s stock;

Our joy is all the keener here

  Knowing the cost:

 

Save what you can; leave nothing good to waste;

As the poet says, “Works and days, works and days”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Epithalamion

 Ahh: May is the month of sweetness & light,
              Of smiles & delights,
              Of love & of life;
May is the month that you marry a wife.
Sing in the Spring, “
Ding, ding-a-ling
              A beautiful thing
              Is a girl in Spring
In white in a ring. O, sing, “
Ding-a-ling
Ding-a-ling, ding-a-ling
.” Joy in a wife.
              Ahh: sing and give life,
              Bring smiles and delight.
O, May is the month of sweetness & light,
Of ding, ding-a-ling & love birds who sing
& flowers who bloom & brides & bridegrooms…
Ahh: sing, “
Ding-a-ling, ding-a-ling, ding-a-ling.”

 

Solstice                                                                                                  

 When you with winter lose your looks
    And I drop all my leaves,
When summer’s warmth has turned to chill
    And spring to memory,
I will my dearest love you still,
    Well though my buds may freeze,
When you with winter lose your looks
    And I drop all my leaves.

 


 

 

 

 

                

 

 

                  

 

 

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