On this page you can find some of the readings from our concerts

From: Hiraeth

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

by Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.   

His house is in the village though;   

He will not see me stopping here   

To watch his woods fill up with snow.   

 

My little horse must think it queer   

To stop without a farmhouse near   

Between the woods and frozen lake   

The darkest evening of the year.   

 

He gives his harness bells a shake   

To ask if there is some mistake.   

The only other sound’s the sweep   

Of easy wind and downy flake.   

 

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,   

But I have promises to keep,   

And miles to go before I sleep,   

And miles to go before I sleep.

From: The Art of Flamenco:
Lorca and Falla

Debussy by Frederico Garcia Lorca

 

My shadow glides in silence

over the watercourse.

 

On account of my shadow

the frogs are deprived of stars.

 

The shadow sends my body

reflections of quiet things.

 

My shadow moves like a huge

violet-colored mosquito.

 

A hundred crickets are trying

to gild the glow of the reeds.

 

A glow arises in my breast,

the one mirrored in the water. 

From: On the Metaphysical

Love by George Herbert (1593-1633) 

Love bade me welcome: yet my soul drew back,

Guilty of dust and sin.

But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack

From my first entrance in,

Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning

If I lacked anything.

 

“A guest," I answered, “worthy to be here”:

Love said, “You shall be he.”

“I, the unkind, ungrateful? Ah, my dear,

I cannot look on thee.”

Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,

“Who made the eyes but I?”

 

“Truth, Lord; but I have marred them; let my shame

Go where it doth deserve.”

“And know you not," says Love, “who bore the blame?”

“My dear, then I will serve.”

“You must sit down," says Love, “and taste my meat.”

So I did sit and eat.

The Guest House by Jalal al din Rumi

This being human is a guest house. 
Every morning a new arrival. 

A joy, a depression, a meanness, 
some momentary awareness comes 
as an unexpected visitor. 

Welcome and entertain them all! 
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows, 
who violently sweep your house 
empty of its furniture, 
still, treat each guest honourably. 
He may be clearing you out 
for some new delight. 

The dark thought, the shame, the malice, 
meet them at the door laughing, 
and invite them in. 

Be grateful for whoever comes, 
because each has been sent 
as a guide from beyond.

From:  A Window on Chagall

Twilight by Guillaume Apollinaire

 

Brushed by the shadows of the dead

On the grass where day expires

Columbine strips bare, admires

her body in the pond instead

 

A charlatan of twilight formed

Boasts of the tricks to be performed

The sky without a stain unmarred

Is studded with the milk-white stars

 

From the boards pale Harlequin

First salutes the spectators

Sorcerers from Bohemia

Fairies sundry enchanters

 

Having unhooked a star

He proffers it with outstretched hand

While with his feet a hanging man

Sounds the cymbals bar by bar

 

The blind man rocks a pretty child

The doe with all her fauns slips by

The dwarf observes with saddened pose

How Harlequin magically grows

From: New York Downtown 1960

Song by Allen Ginsberg

The weight of the world
is love.
Under the burden
of solitude,
under the burden
of dissatisfaction

the weight,
the weight we carry
is love.

Who can deny?
In dreams
it touches
the body,
in thought
constructs
a miracle,
in imagination
anguishes
till born
in human--
looks out of the heart
burning with purity--
for the burden of life
is love,

but we carry the weight
wearily,
and so must rest
in the arms of love
at last,
must rest in the arms
of love.

No rest
without love,
no sleep
without dreams
of love--
be mad or chill
obsessed with angels
or machines,
the final wish
is love
--cannot be bitter,
cannot deny,
cannot withhold
if denied:

the weight is too heavy

--must give
for no return
as thought
is given
in solitude
in all the excellence
of its excess.

The warm bodies
shine together
in the darkness,
the hand moves
to the center
of the flesh,
the skin trembles
in happiness
and the soul comes
joyful to the eye--

yes, yes,
that's what
I wanted,
I always wanted,
I always wanted,
to return
to the body
where I was born.

 

From: Legacy

Declaration of Dependence

by Darris Golinski

 

Too much
Too late
Too far gone
Too deep down

In the river mud

with the cast-off shoes

The guilt yap
of a wall-eyed
'In receivership' sign
on the building
which once
soled and heeled
the footwear of the pilgrim

(A category which includes us all)

And alongside that
declaration of bankruptcy,
a faded, just legible
advertisement
for a product that
no longer exists,
painted on the shop soiled side wall
fifty years ago or more;
before the war was won,
or lost
or maybe before it being even declared.

The tricks of capering Time

bleached on some old hessian dial as,

instant by immeasurable instant,

intent bleeds away into some

unanticipated unarticulated destiny

(as all destinies are

bar that last judgement call).

 

Yearnings sold and healed –

Make me not cry.

Make me not tears.

Make me not stupid crying face

and mouth all twisted shape.

 

Make me not cry

 

‘Til the last judgement call.

 

Cradle gravy –

All that would

(and would not)

fit into the skip

before the shutter finally closed

and the shop shut down.

 

And as the eyelids flutter down,

The bolt not only drawn but shot,

The door sign turned to ‘closed’

- a last judgement call.

What we declare in words
is as nothing to the declaration, the testimony
left by our memory
in the minds of those who knew,
or knew of
us

And over that
we have no authority.

Verklaerte Nacht

from a poem by Richard Dehmel (1863-1920)

 

Two people are walking through a bare, cold wood;
the moon keeps pace with them and draws their gaze.
The moon moves along above tall oak trees,
there is no wisp of cloud to obscure the radiance
to which the black, jagged tips reach up.
A woman’s voice speaks:

“I am carrying a child, and not by you.
I am walking here with you in a state of sin.
I have offended grievously against myself.
I despaired of happiness,
and yet I still felt a grievous longing
for life’s fullness, for a mother’s joys

and duties; and so I sinned,
and so I yielded, shuddering, my sex
to the embrace of a stranger,
and even thought myself blessed.
Now life has taken its revenge,
and I have met you, met you.”

She walks on, stumbling.
She looks up; the moon keeps pace.
Her dark gaze drowns in light.
A man’s voice speaks:


“Do not let the child you have conceived
be a burden on your soul.
Look, how brightly the universe shines!
Splendour falls on everything around,
you are voyaging with me on a cold sea,
but there is the glow of an inner warmth
from you in me, from me in you.

That warmth will transfigure the stranger’s child,
and you bear it me, begot by me.
You have transfused me with splendour,
you have made a child of me.”
He puts an arm about her strong hips.
Their breath embraces in the air.
Two people walk on through the high, bright night.

Sonnets to Orpheus, Part One, No I

Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926)

 

There rose a tree. O pure transcendency!

O Orpheus singing! O tall tree in the ear!

And all was silent. Yet even in the silence

new beginning, beckoning, change went on.

 

Creatures of stillness thronged out of the clear

released wood from lair and nesting-place;

and it turned out that not from cunning and not

from fear were they so hushed within themselves,


but from harkening. Bellow and cry and roar

seemed little in their hearts. And where before

hardly a hut had been to take this in,

a covert out of darkest longing

with an entrance way whose timbers tremble,-

you built temples for them in their hearing.

The Guitar

by Frederico Garcia Lorca (1898-1936)

from To Calm Each Troubled Heart

Crimson Lute That Comest in the Dawn by Juana de Asbaje (1651 – 1695)

from To Calm Each Troubled Heart

From Heinrich Heine and the Romantics

Der Doppelgänger by Heinrich Heine (1797-1856)

The night is still, the streets sleeping.

In this very house my sweetheart lived.

It was long ago that she left this town

Yet the house still stands just as it was.

 

Standing also is a man, staring above to the height

And wrings his hands in the violence of his grief,

I shudder with horror as he raises his face

And the moon shows me my own face, my own form.

 

You Doppelgänger, you pale companion

Why are you mocking my anguished love

That tormented me in this very place

So many, many nights in time past?

From A House in Brooklyn

an extract from

'A Member of the Wedding' by Carson McCullers (1917-1967)

It happened that green and crazy summer when Frankie was twelve years old. This was the summer when for a long time she had not been a member. She belonged to no club and was a member of nothing in the world. Frankie had become an unjoined person who hung around in doorways, and she was afraid....

But it was just at that moment that Frankie understood. She knew who she was and how she was going into the world. Her squeezed heart suddenly opened and divided. Her heart divided like two wings. When the old question came to her – the who she was and what she would be in the world and why she was standing there that minute – when the old question came to her she did not feel hurt and unanswered. At last she knew just who she was and understood where she was going. She loved her brother and the bride and she was a member of the wedding. The three of them would go into the world and they would always be together. And finally, after the scared spring and the crazy summer, she was no more afraid.

© ismena collective

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