I know that writing this is an avoidance of the real work. I shall keep it short: I borrowed a book of poems from Wellington's Central Library, the only book which contained something by Cesar Vallejo (see my previous post with his poem).
The title of the book is Staying alive: Real poems for an unreal time (Bloodaxe Books, 2002) edited by Neil Astley. I discover that Neil Astley is the editor for me: I like the poems he has chosen very much. My heart quickens as I read them, all of them. He has gathered the poems up by topic; each section has its own title, a good title, a title about what matters. Each section is introduced by a short editorial which is in small print, as if he was apologising for taking a liberty.
That text takes my hand and walks me through the poems. I am usually too impatient to read much poetry. With Neil Astley's help, I can do it. I am still busy with it, one cannot read a book like this like a novel, though I almost finding myself doing so. Many hours have gone by and still I am busy with it.
Lucky that the Vallejo poem is a different one.
Two NZ poets have been included: Kapka Kassabova, (four poems) and Fleur Adcock (five). There are also many Eastern European poets. Kapka K was born in Bulgaria.
From the Body and Soul section, here are the first two verses of Kapka Kassabova's The door: anticipation of wisdom:
One day you will see clearly:There are four more verses. Three of them start with the words 'But not yet.'
you've been knocking on a door without a house.
You've been waiting, shivering, yelling
words of badly concealed and excessive hope.
Where you saw a house, there'll just be another side.
One day you will see clearly:
there is no one on the other side,
except - as ever - the jubilant ocean
which won't shatter
ceramically like a dream
when you and I shatter.
Now I really must go. It is after 3:00 pm. I have had a short snooze somewhere in the middle of all this time, the better to leap forward now.