Saturday, December 22, 2012

please note John Irons blog, and Elizabeth Eybers poem:

please note an addition to my list of blog links:

John Irons—

... his blog is filled with his wonderful translations from the verse of various countries—

I found it by looking via google for poems in English of the Afrikaans poet Elizabeth Eybers.


and: here's a trans by Jacquelyn Pope of Eybers, from PoChiMag:

Here's the trans I found, by John Irons (from his blog):

Poem by the Afrikaans poet
Elisabeth Eybers

The prayer of  stiffening souls

Make us immortal for one single hour,
grant us the folly of one mindless deed!
The eye that for no lasting goal would scour
but, feverish and wide, would only heed
what’s caught in a pale face – the instant’s flare –
not mourning for the ashes when it’s spent,
a scream that hangs there in the listless air
like blood-red rose held in a haze of scent!

Our hearts have never been so still, so bare...
The darkness like a wall begins to tower,
dividing us from life-and-death, and there
we talk of it while late-night hours recede...
Make us immortal for one single hour,
grant us the folly of one mindless deed!  



I quite liked this poem "for younger readers" :


poems of this genre which succeed (as this one does) are often more enjoyable and give more pleasure

and are yes better-written
than most of the "adult" verse in magazines and books . . .


Sunday, December 16, 2012

a poem by Erich Fried, trans. Stuart Hood:

Erich Fried on the pietistic hogwash of Khalil Gibran

Erich Fried:
THE PROPHET (on Khalil Gibran's The Prophet)
      (trans. Stuart Hood)

The prophet said: 
'Only when you drink of silence
will you truly sing
Only when you reach the mountain-top
will you begin to climb
Only when the earth embraces you
will you truly dance'

They made you drink
from the river of silence
but you did not sing
They drove you up
to the highest mountain-top
but you climbed no further
The earth has embraced
your limbs
but you do not dance

The prophet was a false prophet
he erred
or he lied

Those who drowned our dead
did not teach them
to sing
Those who cast down our dead
did not teach them
to climb
Those who bulldozed earth onto our dead
were not their dancing-masters
but their murderers

The murderers will sing
words that have barely changed
to the old tune
The murderers still climb
from peak
to higher peak
The murderers dance over graves
and dungeons

Smilingly the murderers
tolerate the sayings of the prophet
his homilies which still
make everything


Monday, November 19, 2012

on Tom Clark's blog today:


It may be good like it who list
but I do dowbt who can me blame 

for oft assured yet have I myst 
and now again I fere the same 
The wyndy worde[s] the Ies quaynt game
of soden change maketh me agast
for dred to fall I stond not fast
Alas I tred an endles maze
that seketh to accorde two contraries
and hope still & nothing hase
imprisoned in liberte[s]
as one unhard & and still that cries
alwaies thursty & yet and nothing I tast
for dred to fall I stond not fast
Assured I dowbt I be not sure
and should I trust to suche suretie
that oft hath put the prouff in ure
and never hath founde it trusty
nay sir In faith it were great foly
and yet my liff thus I do wast
for dred to fall I stond not fast

Hase: hazard, attempt
ure: use

Thomas Wyatt (1503-1542): It may be good like it who list: transcription from original text (British Library Egerton MS 2711, fol. 22) by Richard Harrier in The Canon of Sir Thomas Wyatt's Poetry, 1975

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

a few of my books

Selected Poems 1960-2012
Collected Sonnets 1970-2012  
The Moon's Memoirs: Collected Short Poems 1960-2012 
Laugh at the End of the Word: Collected Comic Poems
Babblegate: Poems from Childhood  
Love Poems 1960-2012  
Selected Syllabic Verse  
Selected Surrealist Verse  
Never Lend Your Umbrella to a Submarine and Other Poems for Young Readers  
One Hundred Rhyming Poems Selected from the Books of Bill Knott  
Aloft: Poems from the Heights  
Downrhymes: 99 Poems of Defeat Despair and Disappointment
A Salt of Seasons: Winter Spring Summer Fall Poems  
Movie Muse: some Film Poems  
One Hundred Sonnets [—a "Selected Sonnets" in disguise]  
Selected Political Poems 1965-2012  
Cemetery Poems   
I Hate to Write Prosepoems: a Selection 
Bucks on Roses (Selected Quintains)   
Ekphrastiques du mal  
Orphead: Poems after Classical Myths
Forthfable and other poems derived from Biblical Myths
The Condition: Poems about Music, with a few song lyrics appended
3 Verse Plays: The Sewing Machine / Playing Chicken with Van Gogh / Who's There: a Play for Two Sentries 
Plaza de Loco
Excerpts from the Diary of [deleted]
An Incomplete Inventory of Dorian Gray's Closet
The Naomi Poems
Rome in Rome
The Unsubscriber
Aurealism: A Study

Monday, October 22, 2012


Looking through some papers this morning I found one of the the "haiku" handouts I distributed to my annual Forms class at Emerson College,

and in it I rediscovered this beautiful little poem by Margherita Guidacci, with an English translation by a  translator whose name to my regret I didn't include and can't remember . . . maybe it's by Ruth Feldman, who translated at least 3 books by Guidacci—

in any case, here's her poem in the original Italian, followed by the trans., which is followed by my "version":


É crollata la diga del sole, crollato
l'ultimo rosso, l'ultimo rose, l'ultimo grigio.  Sul mondo
ora le grandi acque oscure dilagano in pace.
E no entriamo nell'arca fino alla prossima aurora.



The dam of the sun has given way, gone too
is the last red, the last rose, the last grey.  Now
across the world the great dark waters overflow in peace.
And we take refuge in the Ark until the next dawn.


My variant version:

Now the sunset's dam breaks—
waters of darkness drown the world.
What Ark will bear us safe to dawn?


And may I please recommend this wonderful book:

A Book of Sibyls, by Margherita Guidacci, translated by Ruth Feldman,

published in 1989—

you can find some inexpensive copies at:


The first poet on this planet was probably a sibyl, a woman shaman who spoke from earth-evoked and bodily wisdom, and Guidacci's book of sibyls presents the voices of many of those most ancient and renowned: Cumean, Delphic, Phrygian, etc.  Cthonic-timeless its perspectives view us.


postscript 11/02/12:

another translation, by Catherine O'Brien, from "In the Eastern Sky / Selected Poems of Margherita Guidacci". . . published by the Irish press Dedalus in 1993:


The dam of the sun has collapsed, gone too
the last red, the last pink, the last grey.  Across the world
now the great dark waters overflow unhindered.
And we go into the ark to wait for the coming dawn.



Saturday, October 20, 2012


What a horrible nightmare last night: I dreamt I was writing prosepoems!  

Or rather in the run-on montage drift-shift of dreams I was sort of writing prosepoems and simultaneously viewing them on pages in magazines with my name plastered above them, printed out in the same magazines (I somehow knew) which had rejected my real poems, my verse poems, they were publishing these damn prosepoems purporting my authorship,

and in the dream I was consumed with feelings of ugh this is horrible, I hate prosepoems, why am I writing/publishing these disgusting things, and yet simultaneously I was feeling somewhat gratified and pleased by the sight of my name in these illustrious journals which had always shunned my work,

but the ultimate emotion I felt was bitterness as these never-to-be-written prosepoems appeared there in prestigious print to mock me  . . . 

I've had worse nightmares of course, dreams filled with fear and insecurity, but this one last night remains in my mind today as a particularly distasteful and miserable visitation . . .

I've written a few prosepoems in the past, though as I insist in the preface to the tiny chapbook of prosepoems I self-published under the title of "The I Hate to Write Prosepoems Book," every one of the twelve or so prosepoems I did write in my life seems to me to be a failed real poem, meaning a poem I was unable to turn into verse. 



There should be an app that lets you take a "prose poem" and instantly lineate it,

break it up into lines,

(syllabic or generic blank verse lines, for example),

so that it could then be read to ascertain whether there is indeed any poetry in it—

otherwise, how can you tell?



Sunday, September 16, 2012

Hekigoto and Pound

from Modern Japanese Haiku, by Makoto Ueda:

[Kawahigashi] Hekigoto . . . was a tireless experimenter, and restlessly went from one experiment to another throughout his career.

Of all his experiments [one of the most] controversial [was his] idea of 'haiku without a center of interest,' which he began to advocate in 1910.  [This concept] was based on his belief that a poem should come as close as possible to its subject matter, which is part of life or nature.  He thought that if the poet tried to create a center of interest in his poem he would inevitably have to distort his subject matter for the sake of that interest.

Hekigoto said: 

"To do away with a center of interest and to discard the process of poeticizing reality would help the poet to approach things in nature as close as he can, without being sidetracked by man-made rules.''

Hekigoto also challenged traditional syllabic rules:

as Donald Keene writes in Dawn to the West,

"By 1915 Hekigoto had come to oppose a fixed form for the haiku. . . . [His] free haiku no longer had the familiar haiku shape, but tended to run on to prosaic lengths. He himself preferred to call them 'short poems' (tanshi). This poem, written in 1918, was typical of his new manner:

ringo wo tsumami
kurikaesaneba naranu

I pick up an apple;
I've said everything that was to be said,
But still must repeat.

[Keene notes:] The poem has twenty-four syllables . . . [T]his is hardly a haiku. Konishi Jin'ichi wrote of such poems, 'When one reaches this point . . . haiku disappear[s], both in name and in reality. . . . Hekigoto valiantly forged ahead on his own road, [and came] finally to destroy the road before him.' "

(An interesting metaphor: by advancing on his own road, he destroyed the road before him.)

Ueda again:

"An example of 'haiku without a center of interest' which was cited by Hekigoto himself" is the following:

Sumo / noseshi / binsen-no / nado / shike / to / nari
Wrestlers / aboard / ferry's / why / storm / thus / becoming

Ueda's translation:

Wrestlers are aboard
the ferry; why has it become
stormy weather?

If even the strongest among us must take the ferry in obeisance to the obstacles presented by the physical world, why is it necessary for Nature to present still more signs of its ruthless power? Will none of our submissions and sacrifices appease that deity?

Remember that T.S. Eliot (looking back in a 1953 lecture) asserted that "[T]he starting-point of modern poetry is the group denominated 'imagist' in London about 1910."

Compare the Wrestlers haiku above to Pound's "In a Station of the Metro":

The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.

Pound's note on this poem quotes an unattributed Japanese haiku ('The fallen blossom flies back to its branch: A butterfly.'), and then says:

"The 'one-image' poem is a form of super-position, that is to say it is one idea set on top of another."

Both poems, to use Pound's phrases, set an idea (or representation) of the human 'on top of' an idea (or image) of nature.

Wrestlers/ferry : storm.

Faces/subway : spring petals on a wet [rained-on] branch.

Note that both present the human idea in transit, in modes of transportation (ferry, train), in linear (singular/irrevocable) passage as opposed to the perennial recurrent manifestations of nature.

The human idea is an apparition compared to the ever-embodied, ever-physical presence of the environment.

Thought as opposed to substance.

(Of course rainstorms and petals are more transitory forms of nature than mountains or oceans, but doesn't this heighten the poignancy of the "super-position"?)

Isn't Pound's poem really a simile which refuses to use its "like": the pale European faces seen against the badly-lit gloom of the subway terminal are like white petals on a black branch.

The Hekigoto is not comparing the wrestlers to the storm, or is it?

—Are the sumo here on the ferry when they should be in the sky struggling with the elemental forces to which they seem most akin?

Apples ripen and fall yearly, the human picks one up and says he's picking one up, and then says that's all there is to be said about the matter, though in response to the repetitive patterns of nature he acknowledges that he too must repeat himself.

Donald Keene: 

"Hekigoto [advocates] in 1910 the principle of "no-centeredness" (muchushin-ron), by which he meant that natural phenomena should be described exactly as they are without imposing any human standards."

In 1912 Pound writes: "I believe that the proper and perfect symbol is the natural object. . . ."

A year later, in 'A few Don'ts of an Imagiste,' he insists that "the natural object is always the adequate symbol."

I've taken these quotes from William Pratt's introduction to The Imagist Poem. Pratt comments:

"Pound [is making a] distinction between the image and the symbol . . . the symbolic meaning must have its source in the literal meaning, and not be imposed upon it."

Here, at the "starting-point of modern poetry," Hekigoto and Pound seem to be of one mind:

"Super-position," yes; imposition, no.


verlaine 2

see my note to the previous post for an introduction to the origins of this chapbook—


Published February 1997


As the name implies, Captain Hook Books
is a pirate press.   From time to time, we will
publish books which ought to exist.

P A U L   V E R L A I N E ' S




a collection of translations



WILFRED  THORLEY:                                        

Your soul's a happy pastoral where trimly
  The lawns are kept and merry dancers go
To melody of lutes, still wondering dimly
  Behind their masks if they are happy so.

And happy life that hath sweet love for guerdon
  They praise in sad notes of the minor scale,
But with wry faces that belie the burden
  That melts away into the moonlight pale.

And the calm moonbeams fill the birds a-sleeping
  With silver dreams, and the tall fountains spear
The dusk with silver jets that fall a-weeping
   On marble basins for a bliss too dear.


Your soul is an exquisite landscape
That bergamasks have charmed.  Enchanting bands
Playing the lute and dancing to escape
The sadness left untouched by mummers' hands.

Chanting the while upon the minor mode
Of happy love and of life's long delight
Shyly they tread upon the happy road
And their sweet sighs in the moonlight.

In sad moonlight, serene in its beauty,
Birds cease their song and dream under its spell;
And graceful waters sob in ecstasy
Surging from the marble in which they dwell.  



Your soul is like a chosen scene
Where masqueraders, quaintly clad,
To tune of lute strings dance serene—
Yet 'neath their strange disguise are sad.

In singing thus in some lighter vein
Of vanquishing love, and of life opportune,
They seem to forget its glad refrain,
And their song is lost in the light of the moon.

In the pensive moonlight, calm and clear,
Which lulls the nightingale to sleep,
The fountain‑sprays—each drop a tear—
From the bowls in a mist of silver leap.


ALAN CONDER:              

Your soul's a charméd landscape wherein go
Fantastic routs beneath enchanted skies;
They dance and lute, and yet it seems as though
Some sadness haunts them 'neath their gay disguise.

They sing of Conquering Love, of draining all
Life offers; yet the mode's a minor one,
For doubt pervades the ghostly festival,
Whose song is bathed in radiance of the moon,

The calm sad moon that sets the still birds dreaming
In spell-bound trees and fills with ecstasy
The slim and sobbing fountains tall and gleaming,
While marble statues look on silently.



Your soul is like a chosen country set
  To be traversed by rout and masquerade,
Dancing unto the sound of lutes; and yet,—
  'Neath their disguise fantastic these are sad.

All of them sing within some minor key
  Of conquering love, and the life void of care;
Heedless they seem of happy destiny;
  Their chorus mixes with the moonbeams fair.

The moonbeams fair and clear, yet pensive too,
  That lull the birds upon the boughs to sleep,
And make the water jets' glad tears to flow,—
  The tall thin jets that 'mid the statues leap.


ARTHUR SYMONS:                 

Your soul is a sealed garden, and there go
With masque and bergamasque fair companies
Playing on lutes and dancing and as though
Sad under their fantastic fripperies.

Though they in minor keys go carolling
Of love the conqueror and of live boon
They seem to doubt the happiness they sing
And the song melts into the light of the moon,

The sad light of the moon, so lovely fair
That all the birds dream in the leafy shade
And the slim fountains sob into the air
Among the marble statues in the glade.


ARTHUR O'SHAUGHNESSY:                

Your soul is like a landscape choice and fair,
   Joyous with dancing, lutes, and masquerade,
Wherein the folk, though gay the garb they wear,
   Look almost sad throughout the long parade.

All singing in the minor of love's kisses,
   And life the willing slave of love the strong,
They seem as though they doubted of their blisses,
   And dreamy moonlight mingles with their song:

The dreamy moonlight of a Watteau painting,
   That silences the birds, and where one sees
The sobbing fountains all like figures fainting,
   Tall, slim, amid the statues and the trees.



Your soul is like a landscape always glad,
Peopled by merry maskers with bright eyes,
Who play the lute and dance yet are half sad
Beneath the tinsel of their quaint disguise.

Who sing upon a strangely minor mode
Of love's success and life so opportune,
As they go tripping lightly on their road,
Mingling their songs with rays caught from the moon,

The moonlight rays so sad but O how fair!
That make the drowsy birds dream in their trees,
And sob with ecstasy the fountain clear
That from its marble bed jets in the breeze.   



Your soul is like a chosen landscape where
In masque and bergamasque a magic lies;
Some touch the lute; some dance; on all an air
Of sadness rests under each strange disguise.

While they are praising in the minor key
All-conquering love, the life that goes aright,
They seem to doubt their own felicity;
Their song is caught up in the moon's calm light.

Mournful and lovely is the moon's calm light,
Which moves the bird upon the bough to dream
And makes the fountains sob in quick delight,
The slim tall fountains where the marbles gleam. 


C.F. MacIntyre:

Your soul is like a painter's landscape where
charming masks in shepherd mummeries
are playing lutes and dancing with an air
of being sad in their fantastic guise.

Even while they sing, all in a minor key,
of love triumphant and life's careless boon,
they seem in doubt of their felicity,
their song melts in the calm light of the moon,

the lovely melancholy light that sets
the little birds to dreaming in the tree
and among the statues makes the jets
of slender fountains sob with ecstasy. 



How like a well-kept garden is your soul,
With bergomask and solemn minuet!
Playing upon the lute!  The dancers seem
But sad, beneath their strange habiliments.
While, in the minor key, their songs extol
The victor Love, and life's sweet blandishments,
Their looks belie the burden of their lays,
The songs that mingle with the still moon-beams.
So strange, so beautiful, the pallid rays;
Making the birds among the branches dream,
And sob with ecstasy the slender jets,

The fountains tall that leap upon the lawns
Amid the garden gods, the marble fauns.



Enid Rhodes Peschel:

Your soul is a selected landscape that maskers
And bergamasche go about beguiling
Playing the lute and dancing and quasi
Sad beneath their fantastical disguises.

While singing in the minor mood
Triumphant love and life that is opportune,
They do not seem to believe in their good fortune
And their song mingles with the moonlight,

With the calm moonlight sad and beautiful,
That makes the birds dream in the trees
And the fountains weep with ecstasy,
The great svelte fountains amid the marble statues.



Your soul is like a sylvan scene where pass
To sound of lute and dancing charmingly
Masquers and bergamasquers, all, alas,
Half-wistful 'neath their guise of fantasy.

Chanting a minor melody's distress
In praise of conquering love and fortune's chance
Scarcely they seem to feel their happiness,
As their song mingles with the moonlight's trance,

With the calm moonlight sad and silvery
That charms the birds within the boughs to dream
And breaks with sobs the slender ecstasy
Of fountains plashing to the marble's gleam.


GERTRUDE HALL:                   

Your soul is as a moonlit landscape fair,
  Peopled with maskers delicate and dim,
That play on lutes and dance and have an air
  Of being sad in their fantastic trim.

The while they celebrate in minor strain
  Triumphant love, effective enterprise,
They have an air of knowing all is vain,—
  And through the quiet moonlight their songs rise,

The melancholy moonlight, sweet and lone,
  That makes to dream the birds upon the tree,
And in their polished basins of white stone
  The fountains tall to sob with ecstasy.


JACQUES LE CLERCQ:                           

Your soul is a choice countryside astir
With charming lovers masked in graceful guises,
Dancing and playing lutes and, as it were,
Half-sad under their curious disguises.
So, as they sing, always in minor key,
Of Love (how brave!) and Life (how opportune!)
They seem to doubt their own felicity,
While their blithe song blends with the pallid moon
In calm clear light that only sad skies capture,
Making the nesting birds dream as it mounts,
As the tall jets of water sob with rapture,
The tall svelte jets rising from marble founts.



Your soul's a countryside extraordinary
Where masks and bergomasks enchanting roam,
Playing the lute and dancing, melancholy,
Under wild disguises quite unknown.

Although they're singing in a minor key
Of love triumphant and life opportune,
They do not seem to feel felicity,
Their song fades in the brightness of the moon,

The moonlight calm and sad and beautiful,
Which sets the birds a-dream on branches high;
Tall fountains sob with passion over-full,
And marble statues see their ecstasy.



Your soul is like a fair and favoured haunt
Of dancers and lute-players, mime and masque,
Of wanderers whose sadness seems to flaunt
The brave disguises of their frolic task.

They sing of love, but in a minor key,
Of love triumphant and of life's delight,
But have no faith to share the ecstasy
Their music mingles with the clear moonlight;

That light, so calm and sad between the branches,
Which brings the birds their benison of dreams,
Makes marble fountains sob with joy, then stanches
Their throbbing with the softness of its beams.


MURIEL KITTEL:                

Your soul is a landscape rare
Where masks and bergamasks charming pass,
Playing the lute and dancing, and almost
Sad beneath their fancy dress.

And while they sing on a minor note
Of conquering love and a favorable life,
They seem not to believe their happy lot,
And their song mingles with the soft moonlight.

With the calm moonlight, beautiful and sad,
That brings dreams to the birds in the trees
And sobs of ecstasy to the fountains,
To the tall fountains, slender among the statuary.


"S. K. T.":

Your soul is like a landscape rare
  Where masques and bergamasques hold sway,
Touching the lute and dancing, half aware
  Of sadness, underneath their guises gay.

Though singing in a minor mood
  Love the triumphant, life the fair
A strain of sorrow seems to brood
  Within their song, a moonlight-blended air;

A melody of moonlight, sad and clear,
  Wooing the birds within the trees to dreaming,
Charming to sobs the fountains far and near,
  The slender founts, amid the marbles gleaming.


WILLIAM FAULKNER:                 

Your soul is a lovely garden, and go
There masque and bergamasque charmingly,
Playing the lute and dancing and also
Sad beneath their disguising [fantasy].

All are singing in a minor key
Of conqueror love and life opportune,
Yet seem to doubt their joyous revelry
As their song melts in the light of the moon.

In the calm moonlight, so lovely fair
That makes the birds dream in the slender trees,
While fountains dream among the statues there;
Slim fountains sob in silver ecstasies.



Your spirit is a landscape exquisite
Where masks and mummers flutter merrily,
Strumming the lute and dancing, yet a bit
Sad in their quaint fantasticality.
In minor key the fluting notes express
Victorious love more joyous than our dreams;
Yet, half mistrustful of this happiness,
The lute-strains faint among the pale moonbeams--
Calm, pallid beams that sorrowfully mount
Where leaf-hid songbirds twitter drowsily,
And tossed in silver spray the slender fount
Among white marbles sobs in ecstasy.




The first of these versions (by Arthur O'Shaughnessy) appeared in 1881; the most recent is from 1975 (Richardson).

This booklet contains most of the verse translations I was able to find in the Boston Public Library.

The O'Shaughnessy is probably the best, though my attitude toward even the inferior ones is like Frank O'Hara's toward the various actors who portrayed Tarzan.  He was, he exclaimed in a poem, unwilling to "prefer" Johnny Weismuller over Lex Barker.  Similarly, I am unable to choose favorites among these—even the least seems worth my time: I won't apologize for gathering them here, no matter how "dated" they may appear to cynical eyes. 

I have changed nothing from the translations as they originally appeared in books and mags.                                

                   —"Captain Hook"

verlaine 1

This is sort of a reproduction of a book I "published" in 1997 after I had become a bit accustomed to using a wordprocessor and printer.  This was way before I acquired a scanner, so the texts here were all laboriously typed out one by one.  I think I printed about 20 copies and gave most of them to the Grolier Poetry Bookshop. 

I did this chapbook and another one, also a selection of verse translations (which I will post here next).  I was going to edit and print a bunch of these pirates (hence the name of my "press"), but it became too much of a tedious process, and I was uneasy about the copyright questions—though indeed many of the versions below were or are now in public domain. . . .

I believe that there can never be too many translations (or imitations if you prefer) of great verse.  Even the least of these efforts I find delightful, or at least challenging in their choices.  Theoretically there may be a time-limit, or a number beyond which any further translations of a given work would be redundant.  But they're still Beowulfing and Danteing and Catullusing, so who's to say when there should come an end to Verlaining?

There have been recent booklength translations of Verlaine by Norman T. Shapiro and Karl Kirchwey, both of which deserve the high praise they have received. 

And please let me recommend the versions by Louis Simpson, in a collection devoted to his brilliant translations: Modern Poets of France, 1997 (Story Line Press).


Published February 1997.

The translations here have been reproduced
as faithfully as possible—I have used the same
titles/capitalization/indentations/italics as the
original sources.  I have not changed or added

                   —"Captain Hook"


CAPTAIN HOOK BOOKS is, as the name implies,
a pirate press.  From time to time we will publish
books which ought to exist.


                  IN ENGLISH

        captain hook books




The long sobs in
The violin
Of autumn, harry me
With incubus
Of langourous
And sad monotony.

I suffocate
And pallid wait
As that lost hour nears,
It used to bring
A joy now turned to tears—

And I rush out
To windy rout,
That whirls me and my grief
Through troubled air,
Now here, now there,
Another withered leaf.

—Lilian White Spencer



Long sobbing winds,
The violins
    Of autumn drone,
Wounding my heart
With languorous smart
    In monotone.

Choking and pale,
When on the gale
    The hour sounds deep,
I call to mind
Dead years behind,
    And I weep.

And I, going,
Borne by blowing
    Winds and grief,
Flutter, here—there,
As on the air
    The dying leaf.

—Bergen Applegate



The sobs are long
    On the violins
Of the barren throng
    Where no leaf spins;
And my heart's heavy
    And listless grown
At hearing ever
    Their monotone.

I catch my breath
    And I blanch, aghast
As the loud clock saith,
    "Thine hour is past."
And I remember
    The days long flown,
And thinking on them
    I weep alone;

And away I go
    In the evil wind
That starts to blow
    Like a thing unkind,
Hither and thither
    From sill to stone—
A drifting flotsam,
    A dead leaf blown.

—Wilfrid Thorley



The long wail thins
On the violins
Of autumn song,
And wound my heart
With langourous dart,

I suffocate,
Grow pale, when late
Resounds the hour;
And I recall
The past, and all:
The hot tears shower.

And my spirit finds
The evil winds
Which bear its grief
Hither and there
Upon the air,
Like a dead leaf.

—William A. Drake



When a sighing begins
In the violins
Of the autumn-song,
My heart is drowned
In the slow sound
Languorous and long.

Pale as with pain,
Breath fails me when
The hour tolls deep.
My thoughts recover
The days that are over,
And I weep.

And I go
Where the winds know,
Broken and brief,
To and fro,
As the winds blow
A dead leaf.

—Arthur Symons



Autumn begins:
her violins
        sigh and sob. 
They fill my breast
with dull unrest,
        leaden throb.

I gasp, I pale,
my senses fail;
        slow hours creep.
I think upon
days that are gone,
        and I weep.

My course is blind;
by an ill wind
        my thoughts are hurled
now here, now there,
as in the air
        dead leaves whirled.

—Brian Hill



The long sobbings
Of violin-strings—
    Autumn's own—
Wound my heart's core
With a languor
    Of monotone.

I stifle, pale
As death, the while
    The hour is tolled.
My memory strays
To former days:
    I weep, grow cold

And I am spinned
In the ill wind
    That carries my grief
Now here, now there,
Tossed everywhere
    Like a dead leaf.

—Gerard Previn Meyer



With long sobs
the violin-throbs
    of autumn wound
my heart with languorous
and monotonous

Choking and pale
when I mind the tale
    the hours keep,
my memory strays
down other days
    and I weep;

and I let me go
where ill winds blow,
    now here, now there,
harried and sped
even as a dead
    leaf, anywhere.

 —C.F. MacIntyre


Song of Autumn

Leaf-strewing gales
Utter low wails
         Like violins,—
Till on my soul
Their creeping dole
         Stealthily wins. . . .

Days long gone by!
In such hour, I,
         Choking and pale,
Call you to mind,—
Then like the wind
         Weep I and wail.

And, as by wind
Harsh and unkind,
         Driven by grief,
Go I, here, there,
Recking not where,
         Like the dead leaf.

—Gertrude Hall



The fiddles long
  Sob out their song
    Of autumn's moan,
      Wounding my heart
        With languid art
          In monotone. 

Choking and pale
  When without fail
    The hour tolls deep,
      I think at last
        Of old days past
          And I weep . . .

And I go hence
  In the violence
    Of the wind's grief,
      Hither and yon,
        Ever anon
          Like a dead leaf.

 —Jacques Le Clercq



When the violins
Of the autumn winds
Begin to sigh
My heart is torn
With their forlorn

And when the hour
Sounds from the tower
I weep tears
For I recall
The loss of all
My perished years.

And then I go
With the winds that blow
And carry me
There and here
Like a withered and sere
Leaf from a tree.

 —"Helen Haggerty"  

( Note:
Helen Haggerty is a character in The Chill (1964), a novel by Ross MacDonald, who presumably wrote this version himself. )



The sobs long drawn
Of the autumn
Cause a wound in
Mv heart of a monotonous

Quite choking
And pallid, when
The hour is tolling,
I remember
The days gone by
And I cry;

And I go off in
The evil wind
That carries me ahead
To this area
And that, like the
Leaf that is dead.

—Enid Rhodes Peschel



In mournful sob
The viols throb
      With autumn's moan
And wound my heart
Whose languors start
      Grief's monotone.

When sorrow's pall
Spreads over all,
      This hour I know—
In dreams I gaze
On happier days
      And tears must flow.

And I am cast
Upon the vast—
      The wind of grief;
Forever whirled
About the world—
      A withered leaf.

—Richard Burdick Eldridge


Autumn Song

The heavy thrall
Of the sobbing call
       Of the fall
Weighs, nor departs
Like my heart's

And dumb,
       As the hours creep
I see the haze
Of olden days
       And weep.

And I go away
The wind's prey,
       In barren, brief
Whirl hither and yon
Like a wan
       Dead leaf.

—Joseph T. Shipley



The wailing note
That long doth float
   From Autumn's bow,
Doth wound my heart
With no quick smart,
   But dull and slow.

In breathless pain,
I hear again
   The hour ring deep.
I call once more
The days of yore,
   And then I weep.

I drift afar
On winds which bear
   My soul in grief.
Their evil force
Deflects its course,
   Like a dead leaf.

—Ashmore Wingate



The viols' cry
In winds that die
    Whilst autumn dies
My heart hath torn
With its forlorn
    And languid sighs.

Weary and white
When through the night
    The hours are tolled,
Once more I fain
Would weep again
    For days of old.

And on the vast
Remorseless blast
    Upborn I go,
Hurled hence afar
As dead leaves are
    Blown to and fro.

—F.C. Evans



The slow sobbing
Of the violins
    Of autumn
Wounds my heart
With a monotonous

And pale, when
    The hour sounds,
I recall to mind
The days of old
    And I weep.

And I go
With the evil wind
    Which carries me
To and fro,
Just like
    A dead leaf.

—Roland Gant/Claude Apcher


Autumn Music

My heart-strings throb
When violins sob
    In autumn woods;
Again relive
Days fugitive
    And languorous moods.

Vainly distraught
By haunting thought,
    I cannot sleep;
But all alone,
All woebegone,
    I dream and weep.

And then I go
Where wild winds blow,
    Drifting in grief
Now here, now there,
I ask not where,
    Like a dead leaf.

—William Frederick Giese



Autumn begins
With violins
Of lament,
Wounding my breast
With dull, oppressed

Roused by the shocks
Of stricken clocks
From pale sleep,
I think upon
Sweet nights now gone;
And I weep.

And my heart flies
Down wailing skies,
In my grief
Blown here and there
As down night air
The dead leaf.

—Watson Kirkconnell



The sobbing slow,
Like violins low,
    Of the autumn wind
Wounds my tired heart,
With languid dart
    My weary mind.

With stifled breath,
All pallid, Death
    Seems near to creep.
I dream in pain
Old days again
    And softly weep.

Forth I go blind
In the wild wind;
    Am rudely thrown
Now here, now there
To dark despair
    Like a leaf blown.

—Christian Malloch



In sobbing tones
Of violin, moans
    Autumn's breath,
Wounding my heart
With languorous art
    Drear as death.

Stifled and faint
At sad complaint
    Of time outworn,
On distant years
I muse, and tears
    Fall forlorn.

And I, resigned
To evil wind
    Fraught with grief,
Am whirled about
In endless rout
    Like withered leaf.

—Dorothy Martin



The Autumn's long
Drawn, sobbing song
           My soul
Wounds with a slow,
Monotonous throe
           Of dole.

Pale, without power,
Whenas the hour
           Chimes deep,
The old days all
'I'o mind I call
           And weep.

And off so I
On the wind fly
           Of grief,
Which this, that way,
Bears me, like a
           Dead leaf.

—John Payne



The wailing tones
And viol-moans
      Of Autumn make
A wound that grieves
My heart and leaves
      A weary ache.

All breathless—pale—
I hear the tale
      Of hours chime,
And weeping sore
I see once more
      The vanished time.

Then I—I go
As haps to blow
      The storm—and sped
Or there, or here,
Like a leaf I veer,
      The leaf that's dead.

—Mabel Peacock


Autumn Song

The long sobbing
Of violins
    On autumn days
My heart doth wound
And I despond

All words are gone.
Sallow and wan,
    When the moment nears,
I then recall
Time's funeral
    And I shed tears;

It is my end,
And the rough wind
    Bears me, in grief,
This way and that,
    Like a dead leaf.

—Joanna Richardson


An Autumn Song.

The long-drawn sighs,
Like violin-cries,
    Of autumn wailing,
Lull in my soul
The languorous shoal
    Of thoughts assailing.

Wan, as whom knells
Of funeral bells
    Bemoan and banish,
I weep upon
Days dead and gone
    With dreams that vanish;

Then helpless swing
On the wind's wing;
    Tossed hither and thither
As winter sweeps
From swirling heaps
    Worn leaves that wither.

—W.J. Robertson



Les sanglots longs
Des violons
    De l'automne
Blessent mon coeur
D'une langueur

Tout suffocant
Et blême, quand
    Sonne l'heure,
Je me souviens
Des jours anciens
    Et je pleure;

Et je m'en vais
Au vent mauvais
    Qui m'emporte
Deçà, delà,
Pareil à la
    Feuille morte.