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POUNDIAN POETRIES

______________

 

pesaresi

 

 

MASSIMO MANDOLINI PESARESI

 


 

 

 

Seldom are the beginnings of a process to be seen as a prefiguration of its future developments – pace the Structuralists’ expectations. My first verses were prompted by the reading of Dylan Thomas, an author I kept rediscovering over the years: experiments in Hermetic writing, unwittingly Imagistic in character. Over time, the Modernist voice became more and more self-conscious, and the verses of Hart Crane accompanied my exploration of the worlds of NYC where I lived in the early 80’s. Only later did I approach the oracles of the Cantos:  there I could hear resonate the timeless myths that had haunted my reveries since my Lycaeum days. In Pound I could also face the mortal perils of being true to the unshattered core of one’s own vision. All along, my writing witnessed, discreetly, my studies of poetry in different languages, from the familiar Greek and Latin to new forays in the areas of Arabic and Hebrew. The fascination with the "sacredness" of a word in an ancient/foreign language, opened for me the arcane of Pound’s verbal cameos: some sort of presumption that I too had been there.

Rather suspicious of the stance of the engagé poet, I have always believed that poetry is poetry: its intensity and integrity must not be compromised by programmatic intents, which could introduce a new form of usura into its design. For many years, my views on society were kept carefully insulated from my verses, until I came, almost unexpectedly, to a form of writing that was poignantly responsive to human suffering in a social and "political" context.  The arena for such poems has mostly been the Middle-East, a region whose languages I had passionately studied.

The following verses, with the exception of  "A Dreamer’s Duty" and "Midsummer Triad," have been selected from my collection The Marble Wave (2014), whose title is taken from the last line of  "A Rose Snaps," the single poem on which I labored, adding and changing and reshaping, for almost four years.



 

 

A Dreamer’s Duty

 

Cassia, myrrh, and olibanum

All mixed together

On a November morning

Down to the ships of Kolkhis

And to Andromàkhe’s wedding,

Tender, swift-glancing Andromàkhe

 

So many shores and sands and seas

To weave the tapestry

Of this Autumnall Beautie of a day

 

And the untiring gaze

To hold the hypnotic dance

To the quivering edge

Of a dreamer’s duty

5 November

 

 


 

 

 

 

A bed too small to hold two lives, and yet

The one did not betray

The other did not flee

A common secret holds three

 

Across a forest, a sullen path

To rescue a cracked mold,

Muddled the letters on the palimpsest:

“What was built shall not pass.”

 

A scorched land, a sky of lead

A twisted palm over the days’ sand,

Unforgiving and humble to its last 

The wood wherefrom was carved the bed.



 

 

Safinah

سفينة

 

`Aphinar, ‘Aphinar...

Lonely name in the dreamer’s eyes

Vague as half-forgiven memory

 

His sheet   a sail

And from the window pane

Autumn’s bleak flame

 

In the last grip

Regret dissolves

Leaving a trail

of dazed oblivion

 

Surrender is a fact

A fear no more

   In the empty antechamber

of his dissolving core

 

`Aphinar,

Steal his last gaze!

And like the Egyptian boat

Return him to his endless Summer

At last

And to her silent Weaver.

 

Aphinar was the ship, that,

in Rimbaud’s testament, was meant to take him back home, to Africa.



 

 

 

The Bloom of Dust

 

 

When smoke recedes

And silence is the survivor

A sudden void

The emptiness of grief

 

 

Light’s wound 

The night will not redeem

 

Tomorrow

            If such a thing can be

Shadows will grasp our slumber

In the endless noon

 

And memory

            a word of dust

 

 

            for all those who were murdered in Palestine

 


 

 

 

Shattering the Shadows

 

                                     for Rachel Corrie

 

 

In the unending vigil

Captured the flight

Innocent journey

            of a tormented eye

 

You, visionary voyager,

Now come to unfurl the promise

             a purple cloud

 

After the dusty daze

And the unforgiving rubble

A daring flight with no regrets

           

            to the cradle of dawn

 


 

 

 

 

Moon Blade

 الغبار أم

 (Mother of Dust)

 

 

A torn talleth to cloak

            the day’s last heave

The innocence of seeing

            forever violated

 

All fears condensed

            into a glance’s drop

Ripped the flesh

            beneath closed lids

 

Pity had rotten

            in the dazzling noon

And for oblivion’s secret path

armies of flies

 

On the page the words

            like limbs lie scrambled

While a moon’s blade

       frightened fades

            into the sudden sunset gore

 

Rosh ha-Shanah 5743 

    


                                                       

 

Midsummer Triad

 

 

At-tayr, Dheneb, Waqi’

Immemorial names

Sailing on the routes of Night.

 

At-tayr, the Eagle soars

spiraling in torpid darkness

Never alighting

On the edge of Night.

 

Dheneb is the effulgent tail

Of some straying Pleiad

On the shores of Night.

 

Waqi’, the Eagle descends

Plunging at last

Before sleep steals

The silent gulf of Night.

 


 

 

 

The Daughters of the Moon

 

                                                                        to Stella, Brunilda, and all the women

                                                                        who came from Albania across the sea

 

 

Moon, mangled moon,

Cruel eye of ancient tales

                        Your daughters,

Howling at hazy crossroads

In the chill of the wounded night

remembering…

 

Lured to the maze of a conch

Their dresses’ white petals stripped

They follow the road to the sea

 

There, the sun’s splinters

Dug a scar on the sea’s skin

Festered boil,

 

Aboard, the wind subdues

The last familial vestiges

Smuggled in the jumbled bags.

 

Left behind

The tortured soil refuses

to yield its dew

Puddle of tears.

 

Treacherous Hesperia!

Where the clouds love to swim

Naked in the sunset mess

and waiting….

 

In a lost pond,

A pall of leaves

Guards the furtive shudder

of blanched nights

And longed for rendezvous

 

Here, in the half-dismantled abatoir,

The night denies her mantle

And behind maimed walls

The moon’s milk is sullied

in the hyacinth veins

Of  her daughters

hanging…

 


 

 

 

A Rose Snaps

A fragment

 

                                                for Neda Agha-Soltan

 

 

Many ways to slay a rose

By blade, by dark, by fire,

To every death its shame

To every death its ire.

 

A Spring transfixed

The only ever given,

The stabbing instant when

Light was forever riven.

 

A cloud was wounded

With all her worthless brightness,

A cirrus now distills

In drops of dark her whiteness.

 

A voice was choked and

Hurled along blood’s trail,

Deluded and distorted memory

Of what refuses to be clay.

 

The sail that flew across

The breezes can’t be lifted,

The wings’ blue balance

Has been forever tilted.

 

The ocean’s breath was chilled

Heaved the wind in chains,

Of water’s foamy mouth

A marble wave remains.