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 birdsong
in the composed season a voice
before the frost comes before the wind and the rains
bear me off come to me please
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