The Cat Flap is a mainly poetry blog written by Peter Sirr.
The Monster's Breast: Journeying Through Dublin
One by one they dissolve. Calatrava’s Samuel Beckett is tugged back to Rotterdam; off go the O’Casey, the Talbot Memorial, the Loopline, Butt Bridge, O’Connell Bridge, The Ha’penny Bridge, the Millennium Bridge, Grattan Bridge, O’Donovan Rossa Bridge, Fr Mathew Bridge, the first of them all, great bridge, bridge of the Osmen, Dublin bridge; then Mellows Bridge, the slippery James Joyce Bridge, not to be crossed on a wet day, also by Calatrava, through whose steel wings you can see the house of ‘The Dead’, 15 Usher’s Island; the blue bridge that came from St Helen’s Foundry in Lancashire, Frank Sherwin Bridge, Heuston Bridge and so on down past Chapelizod to Lucan Bridge. The quay walls have melted away, the reclaimed land to the east has emptied itself back, and the river, the Ruirthech, ro-ritheach, the strong-running, flexes its muscles and rushes eastward to the nearer sea. And now that the bridges are gone, there is the serious problem of getting across. Read More on Graph Magazine's site
The Meaning of Simplicity
I hide behind simple things so you’ll find me;
if you don’t find me, you’ll find the things,
you’ll touch what my hand has touched
our hand-prints will merge.
The August moon glitters in the kitchen
like a tin-plated pot (it gets that way because of what I’m saying to you),
it lights up the empty house and the house’s kneeling silence–
always the silence remains kneeling.
Every word is a doorway
to a meeting, one often cancelled,
and that’s when a word is true: when it insists on the meeting.
(Translated by Edmund Keeley, published in The Greek Poets: From Homer to the Present, Norton, 2010)
Yannis Ritsos’ output as a poet was enormous. He published more than a hundred collections of poetry, and often wrote with great speed, sometimes producing three collections in a single year. Such protean fluency can interfere with the reception of a poet in his own culture, and it can also inhibit or distort the reception in translation. How do you choose? How much o…
My new book, Sway, Versions of Poems from the Troubadour Tradition, will be published by Gallery Press in October. This one is a riff rather than a version, taking as its starting point a line by the 12th century trobairitz, Beatriz, Countess of Dia.
Riff for Beatriz Ab joi et ab joven m’apais
I feed on joy and youth the rest
forget all texts
abandoned I feed
with joy I feed on you or would
were you here were I there
by the lake in the wood where the
nightingales are I hear them
the buds along the branches roar
the frost withdraw I feast on the season
that you may come to me
like light to the trees I set
my pilgrim heart to roam
I am here your loosened armour your
Saracen hands I feed
on spices and desert air
the rest is argument discourse
the lines unwinding
the lines bound like the twigs of a broom
to sweep you away and pull you back
my dust is yours together we blow through the meadows
I was here but now
a stir of language in the trees bird…