Wilfred Owen – Apologia pro Poemate Meo

I, too, saw God through mud –
The mud that cracked on cheeks when wretches smiled.
War brought more glory to their eyes than blood,
And gave their laughs more glee than shakes a child.

Merry it was to laugh there –
Where death becomes absurd and life absurder.
For power was on us as we slashed bones bare
Not to feel sickness or remorse of murder.

I, too, have dropped off fear –
Behind the barrage, dead as my platoon,
And sailed my spirit surging, light and clear
Past the entanglement where hopes lay strewn;

And witnessed exultation –
Faces that used to curse me, scowl for scowl,
Shine and lift up with passion of oblation,
Seraphic for an hour; though they were foul;.

I have made fellowships –
Untold of happy lovers in old song.
For love is not the binding of fair lips
With the soft silk of eyes that look and long,

By joy, whose ribbon slips, –
But wound with war’s hard wire whose stakes are strong;
Bound with the bandage of the arm that drips;
Knit in the welding of the rifle-thong.

I have perceived much beauty
In the hoarse oaths that kept our courage straight;
Heard music in the silentness of duty;
Found peace where shell-storms spouted reddest spate.

Nevertheless, except you share
With them in hell the sorrowful dark of hell,
Whose world is but the trembling of a flare,
And heaven but as the highway for a shell,

You shall not hear their mirth:
You shall not come to think them well content
By any jest of mine. These men are worth
Your tears: You are not worth their merriment.

November 1917

Simon Armitage – Killing Time #2

Time in the brain cells sweating like a nail bomb,
trouble with the heartbeat spitting like a Sten gun,
cut to the chase,
pick up the pace;
no such thing as a walkabout fun-run,
shoot yourself a glance in the chrome in the day-room,
don’t hang about, your running out of space, son.

Red light, stop sign, belly full of road rage,
ticket from the fuzz if you dawdle in the slow lane,
pull up your socks,
get out of the blocks;
twelve-hour day-shift grafting at the coal face,
turning up the gas brings blood to the boat race,
strike with the iron or you’re sleeping in the stone age.

Don’t dilly dally or the trail goes cold, sir,
don’t hold back till you’re mouldy old dough, sir,
sprint for the line,
turn on a dime;
sit tight, hang fire, I’m putting you on hold, sir,
too late, snail pace, already sold, sir,
blame it on the kids but it’s you getting old, sir.

Short cut, fast track, trolley dash at Quick Save,
four minute warning, boil yourself an egg, babe,
crack the whip,
shoot from the hip;
close shave, tear arse, riding on a knife blade,
twenny-four-seven in the brain drain rat race,
finger on the pulse but you’d better watch your heart rate.

Cheap thrills, speed kills, pop yourself a pill, mate,
thumb a free ride on amphetamine sulphate,
run with the pack,
don’t look back;
pedal to the floor when you’re burning up the home straight,
her indoors doesn’t want you getting home late,
love’s in the freezer and your dinner’s in the dog-grate.

Ten to the dozen to the grave from the carry-cot,
bolt like a thoroughbred, talk like a chatterbox,
oil the wheels,
pick up your heels;
ginseng tea turns out to be tummyrot,
reach for the future with a hand full of liver-spots,
fuse-wire burns in the barrel of a body clock.

Cut yourself in half doing life at the sharp end,
meet your own self coming back around the U-bend,
get with the beat,
turn up the heat;
sink like a stone by going off the deep end,
fifty quid an hour for a top-flight shrink, said
start killing time, it’s later than you think, friend.

Wendy Cope – From June to December

1 Prelude

It wouldn’t be a good idea
To let him stay.
When they knew each other better –
Not today.
But she put on her new black knickers

2 A Serious Person

It’s nice to meet serious people
And hear them explain their views:
Your concern for the rights of women
Is especially welcome news.
I’m sure you’d never exploit one;
I expect you’d rather be dead;
I’m thoroughly convinced of it –
Now can we go to bed?

3 Summer Villanelle

You know exactly what to do –
Your kiss, your fingers on my thigh –
I think of little else but you.

It’s bliss to have a lover who,
Touching one shoulder, makes me sigh –
You know exactly what to do.

You make me happy through and through,
The way the sun lights up the sky –
I think of little else but you.

I hardly sleep – an hour or two;
I can’t eat much and this is why –
You know exactly what to do.

The movie in my mind is blue –
As June runs into warm July
I think of little else but you.

4 The Reading

In crumpled, bardic corduroy,
The poet took the stage
And read aloud his deathless verse,
Page by deathless page.

I gazed at him as though intent
On every word he said.
From time to time I’d close my eyes
And smile and nod my head.

He may have thought his every phrase
Sent shivers down my spine.
Perhaps I helped encourage him
To read till half past nine.

Don’t ask what it was all about –
I haven’t got a clue.
I spent a blissful evening, lost
In carnal thoughts of you.

5 Some People

Some people like sex more than others –
You seem to like it a lot.
There’s nothing wrong with being innocent or high-minded
But I’m glad you’re not.

6 Going Too Far

Cuddling the new telephone directory
After I found your name in it
Was going too far.

It’s a safe bet you’re not hugging a phone book,
Wherever you are.

7 Verse for a Birthday Card

Many happy returns and good luck.
When it comes to a present, I’m stuck.
If you weren’t far away
On your own special day,
I could give you a really nice glass of lager.

8 Love Story

I thought you’d be a pushover;
I hoped I wouldn’t hurt you.
I warned you this was just a fling
And one day I’d desert you.

So kindly in your spectacles,
So solid in your jacket,
So manly in your big white car
That must have cost a packet.

I grew to like you more and more –
I didn’t try to hide it.
Fall in love with someone nice? –
I’d hardly ever tried it.

The course of true love didn’t run
Quite the way I’d planned it.
You failed to fall in love with me –
I couldn’t understand it.

9 Spring Onions

Decapitating the spring onions,
She made this mental note:
You can tell it’s love, the real thing,
When you dream of slitting his throat.

10 I’ll Be Nice

I’ll be nice to you and smile –
It’s easy for a man to win –
But I’ll hate you all the while..

I shall go the extra mile
And condone your every sin –
I’ll be nice to you and smile.

You will think I like your style;
You’ll believe I’ve given in
But I’ll hate you all the while.

Safe as an atomic pile,
Good as nitroglycerine,
I’ll be nice to you and smile.

I’ll say hypocrisy is vile
And give a reassuring grin
But I’ll hate you all the while.

Set against my wits and guile,
Manly strength won’t save your skin.
I’ll be nice to you and smile
But I’ll hate you all the while.

Luisa-Claudia Sovijärvi – Kevätvala

O poezie pe care am citit-o de pe un stâlp, într-un parc, în decembrie, la Helsinki. (Mi-e din ce în ce mai greu să cred în coincidențe).
Jos kutsut minua nyt
voisin rakastaa sinua ikuisesti
voin unohtaa sinut
tai voimme jotakin muuta
voin ottaa sinut iholleni
tai vain sydämeeni
olen sinulle avoin risteys,
solmu joka aukeaa sormillesi
olet yksi monista
niinkuin yksi elämäni päivistä
loputtoman tärkeistä
kaikki mitä minulla on koskaan ollut
Și o traducere, sper nu prea stângace, a subsemnatului:
Dacă m-ai chema acum,
te-aș putea iubi pe vecie
aș putea să te uit
sau putem alege altceva
vreau să te port pe piele
sau doar în inimă
îți sunt ca o intersecție deschisă
un nod care se desface în degetele tale
ești unul dintre cei mulți
la fel ca una din zilele vieții mele
de o importanță nesfârșită
tot ce nu am avut vreodată
LATER EDIT: Și o poză cu stâlpul.

Orașul și muzica

E a doua însemnare despre Haloo Helsinki! în mai puțin de un an. Ar putea fi un semn că îmi plac.

Data trecută vorbeam puțin despre cum îmi plac melodic și emoțional și propuneam spre ascultare “Rakkaus”, de unde aflăm că dragostea e lipsită de tact…

Un album și multe reascultări mai târziu, vreau să remarc o chestie specială la ei: ei sunt cu adevărat o trupă din Helsinki. În sensul că orașul e parte din povestea lor și e folosit din plin.


În loc să spună “castelul tău de cărți se prăbușește”, spun “Linnanmäki arde”. Noaptea cade peste piața Tallinna. Când amintirile nu te lasă să mergi mai departe, asta e ca bulboanele din râul Vantaa opunându-se cursului apei (și tot de acolo, unul din cele mai faine versuri, “Tahdon tässä elämässä enemmän kuin elää” — “aș vrea în viața asta să fac mai mult decât să trăiesc”). Când e caniculă afară, cauți o consolare în umbrele din Espa. Orașul este, pardon my French, parte din vocabularul liric al formației.

E ceva de spus aici despre valoarea inside jokes. Nu cumva îți scapă cam mult din idee dacă ea se învârte în jurul unor lucruri pe care n-o să le înțelegi dacă nu ești și tu helsinkian? Poate, dar oamenii de pe lyricstranslate, binecuvântată fie-le tastatura, îți mai lasă în general câte o notă de subsol și mai departe te descurci și tu. Asta pe de o parte.

Pe de alta, atunci când în sfârșit ești acolo, ai căștile în urechi și la versul ăla cu soarele strălucind pe scările bisericii, te uiți pe geam spre biserică, sentimentul e fantastic…


Și duce la o legătură mai personală, mai intimă cu orașul. A cântărețului și apoi a ta. (Coincidență sau nu, genul de legătură pe care mi-e greu s-o am cu Bucureștiul după 25 de ani și ceva mai ușor cu Helsinki unde mi-am petrecut o săptămână din viață sau cu Stockholm unde mi-am petrecut poate două…)

Noapte bună!

Simon Armitage – It Ain’t What You Do, It’s What It Does To You

I have not bummed across America
with only a dollar to spare, one pair
of busted Levi’s and a bowie knife.
I have lived with thieves in Manchester.

I have not padded through the Taj Mahal,
barefoot, listening to the space between
each footfall picking up and putting down
its print against the marble floor. But I

skimmed flat stones across Black Moss on a day
so still I could hear each set of ripples
as they crossed. I felt each stone’s inertia
spend itself against the water; then sink.

I have not toyed with a parachute cord
while perched on the lip of a light-aircraft;
but I held the wobbly head of a boy
at the day centre, and stroked his fat hands.

And I guess that the tightness in the throat
and the tiny cascading sensation
somewhere inside us are both part of that
sense of something else. That feeling, I mean.

Lista tuturor felurilor în care sunt finlandez

Fragmente din “Ghidul xenofobului: finlandezii” de Tarja Moles.

Astea sunt doar părțile la care mă simțeam finlandez. Sunt și lucruri în care mă regăsesc mai puțin, cum ar fi chestia cu punctualitatea sau poate sisu.

The Finns are very self-critical and spend a good deal of time gazing at their navels, both individually and as a nation. […] Their obsession is summed up in this tall story:

A Frenchman, a German and a Finn were in Africa and came across an elephant. The Frenchman looked at the creature and straightaway started thinking about the variety of culinary delights he could cook from it. The German pondered the animal’s potential as a vehicle on the savannah and how its performance compared to that of his Jeep. The Finn’s immediate thought was: ‘I wonder what the elephant thinks of me?’


The Finnish economy with words has also been noted in the foreign media. Former Formula 1 world champion Mika Häkkinen became famous for his monosyllabic answers to lengthy questions posed by international journalists. At least the journalists got an answer from him; not all Finnish drivers are so verbose.


Many nations claim to be melancholy. There is something beautiful about it when it implies soulfulness. But Finnish melancholy is something quite different. It can be so extreme that other nations might classify it as depression, citing Finland’s high ranking in the Western world’s suicide statistics as proof.

Naturally, it is easier to get depressed in winter when the sun hardly rises above the horizon. Long winters with their inevitable ice, snow and darkness have spawned Finnish poems such as:

A winter bridge frost
as if the world
ends at the parapet


Finland does not have as many police officers as most countries since it is the people’s own consciences that do most of the policing. Parents don’t slap their children because the State would prosecute them. Shoppers don’t taste the grapes in the supermarket before buying them because it would be considered theft of the most serious kind. Pedestrians don’t cross an empty street if the red man is showing – not even if it’s 3 am on a winter’s morning, -20 C, and there is no car, let alone another soul, in sight.


Take Pekka as an example. His business is going well and the future looks promising. He owns a lovely house and has a beautiful wife and well-behaved children. You pay an innocent compliment and congratulate him on how well he has done for himself. Pekka quickly starts finding fault: the business is not really doing that well and he is very lucky to have survived the recession; the house is just a kit house and wasn’t actually built by him; his children are bound to stop behaving well once they reach their teens […] The Finns’ instinct is to think that good things cannot come easily and that, if and when they do, they cannot last […] Their strong sense of humility dictates that you must neither brag about your accomplishments neither celebrate them.


Finnish honesty is about meaning every word that comes out of your mouth. This is why you have to give the Finns time to think through what it is exactly they want to say. Honesty is also responsible for their bluntness


Finns have never been slaves to fashion trends — practicality and comfort always outweigh any aesthetic considerations. For instance, in winter the need to wear multiple layers of clothes makes you resemble the Michelin man.


The Finns don’t see the point of small talk. Why say anything if there is nothing worthwhile to say?


Not asking your work colleague ‘How’re you?’ isn’t impolite. It’s being respectful of his or her privacy. After all, no-one likes a busybody. Not offering to help or give unsolicited advice is not rude, but an indication you don’t wish to interfere in other people’s affairs. However, if you ever do ask for help, people will take it seriously and make your problem theirs. They won’t rest until the matter is resolved and you have been helped so much that you wish you hadn’t asked.


The Finns embrace eccentricity whole-heartedly. This may sound like a contradiction in terms considering the importance they place on not standing out in a crowd. However, when the entire nation is eccentric, it’s easy to conform.


Finnish humour is witty, dry, sardonic, cheeky and self-deprecating. They love situational comedy and wordplay. Except for jokes about the Swedes.


Finnish children grow up with the Moomins’ profound wisdom. It encourages them to be aware that you only live once, it advocates going back to nature and it warns that owning things only leads to worries, and suitcases you have to carry around with you. It also gives advice on how to distinguish between good and bad people: ‘people who eat pancakes with jam can’t be altogether too dangerous’.


Perhaps the most notable Finnish film director, Aki Kaurismäki, is particularly skilled in portraying these Finnish qualities. His stories focus on inarticulate, alienated and unglamourous characters in gloomy locations who stare into space for long periods of time.


They share an aversion to whinging with the Aussies, but not their social ease with strangers. They envy the Mediterranean people their climate, but do not care for their flamboyant show of emotion.

Voie bună!


Nu e cel mai elegant, cel mai rotund sfârșit de an.

Ies din 2014 cu câteva dileme existențiale, sentimentale și gastronomice. (Eu am zis că duc piftie, dar ei mănâncă piftie? Sau, alternativ, sunt singurul ciudat din grupul ăla care nu mănâncă piftie?)

Și cumva cu sentimentul ăsta, cu cât știu mai multe lucruri, cu atât mi se pare că știu mai puțin. Cu cât mă cunosc mai bine, cu atât mă cunosc mai puțin. Nu-i nici rău, nici din cale afară de bine. Pur și simplu este. (Ca noi toți?)

A fost probabil cel mai încărcat an. De oameni, de experiențe, de locuri. Primul an petrecut integral cu programul de 40 ore. Am călătorit mult, suficient cât să mă întreb când e prea mult. Am iubit și am fost iubit. Am citit cam cât aș fi vrut. Am fost sus și jos prin montaigne rousse-ul ăsta dubios în care ne suie viața la naștere.

Ideea de “prea mult” e una care mă bântuie. Cu cât văd mai multe, cu atât mi-e mai clar că nu mi se asortează lumea asta agitată în care mereu fugim spre altceva, mai repede ca înainte, și nu ne oprim niciodată să ne întrebăm de ce. Am și eu drumul meu și e lung și el … doar are altă viteză și ceva mai multe meandre și bucle. Aș prefera să fac puține lucruri cu puțini oameni, dar să fie mai adânci (new year’s resolution right there). Să nu vorbim despre vreme sau despre ce am mâncat azi, dar să vorbim despre noi. Să pot să stau cu cineva cinci minute și să tăcem și să nu ne fie frică de tăcerea aia. Etc. (Astfel de “cineva” nu cresc pe toate drumurile, dar cred că m-am descurcat destul de bine să-i găsesc până acum)

Momentul clasic clișeistic cu lucruri de făcut anul viitor? Să mănânc mai puțin, să citesc mai mult, să termin cartea despre meditație? Da, dar cele mai importante rezoluții sunt alea pe care nu le faci; sunt luptele de zi cu zi.

Sunt mulți oameni simpatici în lumea mea, care țin la mine și mă iau așa cum sunt. Și viața are obiceiul să mi-i scoată în față când mă plâng mai tare că sunt singur (și atunci mă gândesc că poate totuși Dumnezeu a venit la birou azi și își face treaba o dată). Aș vrea doar să devin tot mai bun la a fi acolo lângă ei, la a le mulțumi și la a ști să-i țin pe aproape. Uneori presupune un drum de 2000 de kilometri cu avionul, uneori o discuție mai lungă într-o cafenea. Merită.

Momentele îți rămân, orice ar urma. 2014 a fost plin de momente trăite cu adevărat.

Trebuie să sap puțin în mine și să mă recuperez. Obișnuiam să râd mai mult și să mă plâng de viață mai puțin (nu pentru că viața nu e odioasă, ci tocmai pentru că e și pentru că să râzi e tot ce poți). Obișnuia să nu-mi fie frică de cuvinte. Acum m-am pierdut puțin după câteva luni prin părțile joase ale montaigne-rousse-ului. Dar cumva simt că e temporar, că deep down eu sunt încă acolo, dormind sub pătura de zăpadă (ca o căpșună?). Puțină muzică, puțin somn, mult gândit, și mai mulți oameni dragi și toate episoadele din Louie. Vin. Revin. Stay tuned.

Hai c-a fost bine (mai puțin când a fost rău). Noi să fim sănătoși. Adio, 2014. 2015, te întâmpin cu un cântec bântuitor și o salată de boeuf simbolică.


Voie bună! La mulți ani!

(Deși, insist, nu e ziua nimănui.)

Cosmin Perța – Poem de spus

Ce mă împresoară pe mine acum este labilitatea.
Sunt un bărbat bun, fac tot ce pot,
Vreau să fac și mai mult.
De multe ori pântecul meu recită poeme absconse
Pe care le reproduc cu fidelitate, în absența inimii mele.

Sunt Whitman, sunt Maiakovski, Ferlinghetti, Petrarca,
Trakl, Celan, sunt toți cei care până la mine au scris ce credeam.
Sunt Gherasim Luca, Villon, Sanguinetti, Pasolini, Lorca, O’Hara,
Sunt Gottfried Benn, David și Mazilescu, din care am scris.

Sunt nimeni, și nimeni e numele meu, locuiesc în aburii fericirii
ce mă-nconjoară,
Nu sunt prietenul vostru, nu vă cunosc,
Locuiesc în aburii fericirii ce mă-nconjoară,
Gândurile mele mă obosesc,

Mătasea inimii mele se înfășoară
În jurul picioarelor mele.
Nu pot exista.


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