A Hundred Days, Free to Go by Su Tung-p’o

A hundred days, free to go, and it’s almost spring;
for the years left, pleasure will be my chief concern.
Out the gate, I do a dance, wind blows my face;
our galloping horses race along as magpies cheer.
I face the wine cup and it’s all a dream,
pick up a poem brush, already inspired.
Why try to fix the blame for trouble past?
Years now I’ve stolen posts I never should have had.

*written on his release from prison

translated by Burton Watson

the call of the wild

he sits
intently listening
the call of the wild
feral cats
crying for food
envying him
his comfort
from the storms
the cold
the night
and he
what he’s lost
of his nature
to live
to no man
just his own wits
and I

For Free by Orhan Veli Kanık

We are living for free;
The air is for free, the clouds are for free.
Hills and dales are for free;
Rain and mud are for free;
The outside of cars,
The entrance to movie houses,
The store windows are for free;
It is not the same as bread and cheese,
But salt water is for free;
Freedom will cost you your life,
But slavery is for free;
We are living for free,
For free.

translated by Murat Nemet-Nejat

The Frog by Francis Ponge

When rain like metal tips bounces off the sodden pastures, an amphibious dwarf, an Ophelia with empty sleeves, barely as large as a fist, rises at times from around the poet’s feet, and then hurtles herself into the nearest pool.
Let this nervous one flee. How beautiful her legs are. A glove impermeable to water envelops her body. Barely flesh at all, her long muscles in their elegance are neither animal nor fish. In order to escape from my fingers, the virtue of fluid allies in her with the battle of the life force. She puffs, widely goitered. . .And this heart that beats so strongly, the wrinkly eyelids, the old woman’s mouth, move me to set her free.

translated by Robert Bly