Seeing Off Magistrate Han of Loyang on His Trip East by Wei Ying-wu

This bird of the immortals born for the wind
with turquoise lapels and robe of green
regards my feathers as peculiar
as I twitter away thinking I can sing
we flew back and forth across Loyang
amusing ourselves along crystal streams
friendship with the gods wasn’t meant to be
but happiness filled our hearts
now you’re leaving on a distant mission
on a long dark road through the clouds
but we can still drink and enjoy this day
and sleep tonight among different trees
I’ve paid for lodging east of the city
and spread out a feast in the shade of the wall
as I lift this wine and wish you well
the sadness I feel makes it seem heavy

translated by Red Pine

waiting for the sun

candle melted down
wine glass empty
the cat curled up
on the back
of the chair
the ceiling fan turns
disturbing air
but not the silence
that hangs there
waiting for the sun
to show its face
so the day can begin
once again

from Downtown: Pete Hamill on American humor

The creators of the American Yiddish theater also provided what earlier entertainers had given to the Irish and the Germans: the immense gift of laughter.  They used gags, skits, slapstick, and wit to make fun of one another.  Romanians made fun of Hungarians.  Both made fun of Poles. All made fun of Russians.  They skewered the greenhorns, the pompous nouveau rich, the greedy landlords, the humorless goyim, the corrupt politicians; and they added something else, an attitude that forever shifted the New York mind: irony.

That is, they made jokes out of the difference between what America promised and what America actually delivered. Irony remains the essence of American humor to this day.

summer shower

but welcome
a wet head
and shirt
an easy trade
for relief
from heat and sun
and then memory
comes intruding
a summer shower
thousands of years ago
your hair waist length
dripping on my chest
the white of your teeth
the green of your eyes
the touch of a hand
skin on skin
as rain beat down
on a tin roof
a trailer in Ohio
the sound of corn
serenading in the wind
and sleep
when it came
never felt so good

Yunus Emre on what love does

Now and then like the winds I blow,
Now and then like the roads I go,
Now and then like the floods I flow,
Come, see what love has done to me.

Hold my hand, lift me from this place
Or take me into your embrace. . .
You made me weep, make me rejoice,
Come, see what love has done to me.

translated by Talat S. Halman

Tell Me Again by Nigar Hanım

Am I your only love–in the whole world–now?
Am I really the only object of your love?
If passions rage in your mind,
If love springs eternal in your heart–
Is it all meant for me? Tell me again.

Tell me right now, am I the one who inspires
All your dark thoughts, all your sadness?
Share with me what you feel, what you think.
Come, my love, pour into my heart
Whatever gives you so much pain.
Tell me again.

translated by Talat S. Halman