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There is poetry as soon as we realize that we possess nothing.

After Love

Afterward, the compromise.

Bodies resume their boundaries.

These legs, for instance, mine.

Your arms take you back in.

Spoons of our fingers, lips

admit their ownership.

The bedding yawns, a door

blows aimlessly ajar

and overhead, a plane

singsongs coming down.

Nothing is changed, except

there was a moment when

the wolf, the mongering wolf

who stands outside the self

lay lightly down, and slept.

Maxine Kumin (1925–2014) in Selected Poems, 1960-1990

Self-portrait.

The City

You said: “I’ll go to another country, go to another shore,
find another city better than this one.
Whatever I try to do is fated to turn out wrong
and my heart lies buried as though it were something dead.
How long can I let my mind moulder in this place?
Wherever I turn, wherever I happen to look,
I see the black ruins of my life, here,
where I’ve spent so many years, wasted them, destroyed them totally.”
 
You won’t find a new country, won’t find another shore.
This city will always pursue you. You will walk
the same streets, grow old in the same neighborhoods,
will turn gray in these same houses.
You will always end up in this city. Don’t hope for things elsewhere:
there is no ship for you, there is no road.
As you’ve wasted your life here, in this small corner,
You’ve destroyed it everywhere else in the world. 

—————————————————————————————————————-

Translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard.

(C.P. Cavafy, Collected Poems. Translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard. Edited by George Savidis. Revised Edition. Princeton University Press, 1992) 

There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness.

Friedrich Nietzsche, “On Reading and Writing”