untitled poem 7 by Fernando Pessoa

Oh ship setting out on a distant voyage,
Why don’t I miss you the way other people  do
After you’ve vanished from sight?
Because, when I don’t see you, you cease to exist.
And if I feel nostalgia for what doesn’t exist,
The feeling is in relationship to nothing.
It’s not the ship but our own selves that we miss.

translated by Richard Zenith

from my balcony

children laughing below
out back
on the lawns
the sprinklers working
in the front
and the wine
in my glass
in hand
warms what’s left
of my heart
there is peace
my neighbor’s acts
of kindness
the plate of dolma
the fruit
from the bazaar
and the cover
on my scooter
the driver’s grin
when I say
iyi akşamlar
the invitation
to go fishing
on weekends
in such a short time
to be at home
I lean back
in the chair
on my balcony
my feet up
a breeze caresses
my face
and I doze off
letting memories
of the past
drift away

After T’ao Ch’ien’s “Drinking Wine” bySu Tung-p’o

This little boat of mine, truly a lone leaf,
and beneath it, the sound of dark swells:

I keep paddling in depths of night, drunk,
pleasures of home, bed and desk,forgotten.

At dawn, when I ask about the road ahead,
I’m already past a thousand ridges rising

beyond ridges. O where am I going here,
this Way forever leaving ever returning?

Never arriving, what can we understand,
and always leaving, what’s left to explain?

translated by David Hinton

E.B. White on New York’s diverse population from his book Here Is New York

The collision and the intermingling of these millions of foreign-born people representing so many races and creeds make New York a permanent exhibit of the phenomenon of one world. The citizens of New York are tolerant not only from disposition but from necessity. The city has to be tolerant, otherwise it would explode in a radioactive cloud of hate and rancor and bigotry. If the people were to depart even briefly from the peace of cosmopolitan intercourse, the town would blow up higher than a kite. In New York smolders every race problem there is, but the noticeable thing is not the problem but the inviolate truce.

from Here Is New York by E.B. White

A block or two west of the new City of Man in Turtle Bay there is an old willow tree that presides over an interior garden. It is a battered tree, long suffering and much climbed, held together by strands of wire but beloved of those who know it. In a way, it symbolizes the city: life under difficulties, growth against odds, sap-rise in the midst of concrete, and the steady reaching for the sun.

untitled poem 6 by Fernando Pessoa

Now that I feel love,
I’m interested in fragrances.
It never used to interest me that flowers have smell.
Now I feel their fragrance as if I were seeing something new.
I know they smelled before, even as I know I existed.
These are things we know outwardly.
But now I know with the breathing at the back of my head.
Now flowers have a delicious taste I can smell.
Now I sometimes wake up and smell before I see.

translated by Richard Zenith