1. The Second Trying

    If I could only get hold of the whole of you,
    How could I ever get hold of the whole of you,
    Even more than the most beloved idols,
    More than mountains quarried whole,
    More than mines
    Of burning coal,
    Let’s say mines of extinguished coal
    And the breath of day like a fiery furnace.

    If one could get hold of you for all the years,
    How could one get hold of you from all the years,
    How could one lengthen a single arm,
    Like a single branch of an African river,
    As one sees in a dream the Bay of Storms,
    As one sees in a dream a ship that went down,
    The way one imagines a cushion of clouds,
    Lily-clouds as the body’s cushion,
    But though you will it, they will not convey you,
    Do not believe that they will convey you.

    If one could get hold of all-of-the-whole-of-you,
    If one could get hold of you like metal,
    Say like pillars of copper,
    Say like a pillar of purple copper
    (That pillar I remembered last summer)—
    And the bottom of the ocean I have never seen,
    And the bottom of the ocean that I can see
    With its thousand heavy thickets of air,
    A thousand and one laden breaths.

    If one could only get hold of the-whole-of-you-now,
    How could you ever be for me what I myself am?


    By Dahlia Ravikovitch
    Translated by Chana Bloch and Chana Kronfeld

     
  2. Animals

    Have you forgotten what we were like then
    when we were still first rate
    and the day came fat with an apple in its mouth

    it’s no use worrying about Time
    but we did have a few tricks up our sleeves
    and turned some sharp corners

    the whole pasture looked like our meal
    we didn’t need speedometers
    we could manage cocktails out of ice and water

    I wouldn’t want to be faster
    or greener than now if you were with me O you
    were the best of all my days


    By Frank O’Hara