Poetry is the journey of the sea animal living on land, wanting to fly in the air. Poetry is a search for syllables to shoot at the barriers of the unknown and the unknowable. Poetry is a phantom script telling how rainbows are made and why they go away. Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance - Carl Sandburg..........Poetry should be great and unobtrusive, a thing which enters into one's soul, and does not startle it or amaze it with itself, but with its subject - John Keats .........Poetry is the breath and finer spirit of all knowledge - William Wordsworth ..........Poets utter great and wise things which they do not themselves understand - Plato .........No man was ever yet a great poet, without being at the same time a profound philosopher. For poetry is the blossom and the fragrance of all human knowledge, human thoughts, human passions, emotions, language - Samuel Taylor Coleridge .........One demands two things of a poem. Firstly, it must be a well-made verbal object that does honor to the language in which it is written. Secondly, it must say something significant about a reality common to us all, but perceived from a unique perspective. What the poet says has never been said before, but, once he has said it, his readers recognize its validity for themselves - W. H. Auden ...........Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash - Leonard Cohen .........There is a pleasure in poetic pains which only poets know - William Cowper .........Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood -T. S. Eliot ..........Poetry heals the wounds inflicted by reason - Novalis...........He who draws noble delights from sentiments of poetry is a true poet, though he has never written a line in all his life - George Sand .........A poem is never finished, only abandoned - Paul Valery ........A poet is a bird of unearthly excellence, who escapes from his celestial realm arrives in this world warbling. If we do not cherish him, he spreads his wings and flies back into his homeland - Kahlil Gibran.............Poetry should strike the reader as a wording of his own highest thoughts, and appear almost a remembrance - John Keats..........To be a poet is a condition, not a profession - Robert Frost........A poem is true if it hangs together. Information points to something else. A poem points to nothing but itself - E. M. Forster.........Publishing a volume of verse is like dropping a rose petal down the Grand Canyon and waiting for the echo - Don Marquis...........Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality. But, of course, only those who have personality and emotions know what it means to want to escape from these things - T. S. Eliot ..........You can tear a poem apart to see what makes it tick. You're back with the mystery of having been moved by words. The best craftsmanship always leaves holes and gaps so that something that is not in the poem can creep, crawl, flash or thunder in - Dylan Thomas .........Poetry is boned with ideas, nerved and blooded with emotions, all held together by the delicate, tough skin of words - Paul Engle......... There is not a joy the world can give like that it takes away! Lord Byron

Poetry in English    Poetry in Translation Culture News About Us Write to Us

Leonard Schwartz - USA


Banned In Iran     


I intuit the brilliance of the moon

in this room without windows or sense of time.


After all, the most archaic unit is the moon

and language is lit with its reflected fire.


It isn't the moon I'm after,

its barracudas at low tide circling the mirror.


It isn't the moon I'm after,

Its a single mother falling asleep next to her child


It isn't the moon I'm after,

it's a woman upbraiding the dawn's indifference


It isn't the moon I'm after,

its a mindful wraith, a rattling mystical June.


Room service, please send up six units of moon.

In solitude waking and dreaming are more easily one


As is impossible with others, unless you happen

to be in love or on the phone with the moon.


It isn't the moon I'm after:

what will not transform is the will to transform.


It isn't the moon I'm after:

rolling a carriage through hutongs in the rain.


It isn't the moon I'm after:

wild dogs, gypsies, desperate men


Camping out in the ruins of Byzantium's walls.

Inside the mosque I think about moons.


Low slung chandeliers and bowed believers

populate the interior of the moon room eclipsed.


Scatter moon dust over the menhir

if you can find moon dust and menhirs.


It isn't the moon I'm after,

its a peal of thunder and a rain of pearls


It isn't the moon I'm after,

its a great imam whose eyes ban idiocy


It isn't the moon I'm after,

its the ghost of a wolf haunting the Luberon


It isn't the moon I'm after,

its those wild dogs tearing up a crescent flag


It isn't the moon I'm after,

its the moon I'm after


Its the wound in the moon, the woo

in the moon, that womb in the moon


The screw in the moon, the spitting cobra

in the closet, the V imprint on the spitting cobra


It's the moon I'm after,

It's the moon I'm after, etc.





  As You Run Up The Stairs 


I seized it and opened it, and in silence I read the first passage on which my eyes fell." St. Augustine, The Confessions.                               


Story of a garden:                                          

in the middle of the story,

an account of the will.

Mysterious process: twisting

and turning in bronze-silver chains.                                                                                                                                ideality leaps in the hands.

Golden reproaches, opening a book,

where the random eye falls.

The shaping of thought a difficult work,

never completed, or never begun.

Searching in thought for what you were thinking:

whirling to look when nothing is there.


Flesh, color, speech:

these exist by the rivalry

amongst little phrases.

The struggle to conceive,               

sounds that palpitate and style the possible:

distant horizons that complicate a ghetto

in a grove, in the shadow of a city

that goes on writing.

Enclosing circles:

 it pained and they gave me something to

quell the pain.

Searching in books for what's to be said:

whirling in thought as you run up the stairs.

The space of the mind in constant retreat from space,

the voices we hear,

no longer coming from things.

A glance at the floor:

no rational argument can ever succeed

in calming such doubts. Yet no one                                                                     

can wield these words, without adding

phantasms to the real. The language supports the facsimile,

ideality leaps in the hands.

Searching in thought for a way to get out:

it pained and they gave me something

to quell the pain.

Enclosing circles: twisting

and turning in bronze-silver chains.

Whirling to leave when no way is there.





Ecstatic Persistence



Continuous revelation of,

no subject but light.


Too, tied to the stake

     of foundational doubt.


Steam off rocks of this perception.


And snow monkeys. On their thrones.

Of stone. In the steam. Illuminated.


Action taken equals miracle.


Burning stake.


Or a world away:

a lament in tones so sweet the tones



This composition,

this drinking

establishment -


  no, never the establishment -


 (we seek to inhabit

what cannot be inhabited)


Yet the eye emerges whole.


Outside in that world


The voice dances as through trees

and who moves is like the bird


Deigning to primogeniture

knowing dark bloods and eye-buds


A snow monkey giving birth in snow

a splash of red, perception fired


Where they eat the golden apples

and never get old and so forth


Figures on a stage

that lead miniature lives, zoo creatures

in the action of language


Wildness withheld, hope to uncover


The being outside the bars

at labor in the steam off those waters.


   Would ask the music for help.


Would listen till I was out of my head

only they'd rightly say




So when the song

      is sealed,

let variously dispersed elves




Let the ale in a glass, amber in color,

be drunk


And be replaced with ale, equally amber


Equally amber


Until the snow monkey


until the snow monkey


until the snow monkey.





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