Archive for the ‘poetry’ Category


On her CD The mask and mirror, Loreena McKennitt sings a song entitled The dark night of the Soul. Loreena writes in the CD-booklet about this song:

May, 1993 – Stratford … have been reading through the poetry of 15th century Spain, and I find myself drawn to one by the mystic writer and visionary St. John of the Cross; the untitled work is an exquisite, richly metaphoric love poem between himself and his god. It could pass as a love poem between any two at any time … His approach seems more akin to early Islamic or Judaic works in its more direct route to communication to his god … I have gone over three different translations of the poem, and am struck by how much a translation can alter our interpretation. Am reminded that most holy scriptures come to us in translation, resulting in a diversity of views.

Here is the full English translation of this poem from the original Spanish:

St. John of the Cross On a dark night

On a dark night,
Kindled in love with yearnings
–oh, happy chance!–
I went forth without being observed,
My house being now at rest.

In darkness and secure,
By the secret ladder, disguised
–oh, happy chance!–
In darkness and in concealment,
My house being now at rest.

In the happy night,
In secret, when none saw me,
Nor I beheld aught,
Without light or guide,
save that which burned in my heart.

This light guided me
More surely than the light of noonday
To the place where he
(well I knew who!) was awaiting me
— A place where none appeared.

Oh, night that guided me,
Oh, night more lovely than the dawn,
Oh, night that joined
Beloved with lover,
Lover transformed in the Beloved!

Upon my flowery breast,
Kept wholly for himself alone,
There he stayed sleeping,
and I caressed him,
And the fanning of the cedars made a breeze.

The breeze blew from the turret
As I parted his locks;
With his gentle hand
He wounded my neck
And caused all my senses to be suspended.

I remained, lost in oblivion;
My face I reclined on the Beloved.
All ceased and I abandoned myself,
Leaving my cares
forgotten among the lilies.


St. John of the Cross himself has written two books on this poem, explaining its meaning as a metaphor of a soul that unites with God. The books are “The Dark Night of the Soul”, the title Loreena chose for her song, and “Ascent of Mount Carmel“.

Loreena McKennitt’s official website

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Hallidd's Weblog

Last Rites

Maybe you could tell me. The steps coming down the stairs. Your shoulders shaking. Too many pills. Chasing you down the boulevaard. Maybe it was something I ate for Christmas.

Listening to each other. The last syllable hangs in the air. Help you on with your jacket. You ask. Did you tip the waiter. I return to the booth. For my teeth. They’re still talking.

Maybe you could die. And I could start over. I’d divorce the first woman I married. And go through the bitter redress of my complaints. You get the children. You get the house. You get whatever is in our accounts. I get the last breath. From your lungs.

Why does life leave you. Feeling used. And worn out. I can hear the feet going down the stairs. Its Christmas morning. And the kids are laughing.

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reblogged from David Halliday’s Work “No Mention of the Common Cold”

The preface is a quote from Hegel, a very important German philosopher. Who I based my master’s thesis on. He is a very difficult man to read. In English. I can’t imagine he is any easier in German.

Here is the preface:

“Consciousness knows and comprehends nothing but what falls within its experience; for what is found in experience is merely spiritual substance, and, moreover, object of its self.

Mind, however, becomes object, for it consists in the process of becoming an other to itself, ie. An object for its own self, and intranscending this otherness.

And experience is called this very process by which the element that is immediate, unexperienced, ie. Abstract – whether it be in the form of sense or of a bare thought – externalizes itself, and then comes back to itself from the state of estrangement, and by doing so is at length set forth in its concrete nature and real truth, and becomes too a possession of consciousness.”

G. W. F. Hegel

Preface to the Phenomenology of the Mind.

Fun reading, eh? I struggled through Hegel for 8 months. Learned some things. About human nature. Like pretentiousness. Which I was tainted with. I think I’m still a bit of a snob. (I like Starbuck’s coffee.)

The first poem is called Antemath. Its supposed to be some overriding opus on the condition of man. How his journey into consciousness was a mixture of madness and accident. No mention of the common cold.

continue reading…David Halliday’s Work “No Mention of the Common Cold”

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Ernesto Ragazzoni’s “The Ballad Of The Ugly Gourd” (1890s)

Ernesto Ragazzoni was an Italian poet, born in Orta Novarese (near Novara, Italy) in 1870. After collaborating with an Italian gazette, he publishes his first poem collection in 1891. Titled “Ombra” (“Shadow”), it also comprised translations of works by Goethe, Edgar Allan Poe and Victor Hugo. After quitting his job at the bank, he pursues the literary career by publishing a novel titled “L’ultima dea” (“The Last Goddess”) for a local newspaper, though it will then be continued by other authors. He then finds a job in the railway business, but continues to write and in 1901 he’s in charge of the “Gazzetta di Novara” as editor. After being fired for verbally attacking the upper class people, he will be employed as foreign correspondent for the newspaper “La Stampa” in Turin. Most of his works will be published posthumously after the 1970s: “Poesie e prose” (Poems And Prose; 1978), “Le mie invisibilissime pagine” (My Super invisible Pages”; 1993), “I bevitori di stelle e altre poesie” (“The Star Drinkers And Other Poems”; 1997) and “Buchi nella sabbia e pagine invisibili – Poesie e prose” (“Holes In The Sand And Other Invisible Pages – Poems And Prose”; 2000).

The Ballad Of The Ugly Gourd

You called me «ugly gourd».
And that’s fine! But my fault
was really that dry
o Chérie, for such wig as this?

Are you sick or over sick
of me, maybe? Ernest’s right?
You called me «ugly gourd»
Isn’t it much, for my fault?

The remorse is pecking me
as a tooth does to a steak!
I will go as far as Mecca
among Mameluke people.

You called me: «ugly gourd»!!

La ballata della brutta zucca

Mi hai chiamato: «brutta zucca».
E sta ben! Ma la mia pecca
fu davvero tanto secca
o Chérie, per tal parrucca?

Sei tu stucca od arcistucca
di me, forse? Ernesto azzecca?
Mi hai chiamato: «brutta zucca».
Non è assai, per la mia pècca?

Il rimorso mi pilucca
come un dente una bistecca!
Me ne andrò fino alla Mecca
tra la gente Mammalucca.

Mi hai chiamato: «brutta zucca»!!

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Leaves and Flowers

Leaves and flowers are never rated the same:
Flowers put into pots of gold; leaves turn to dust.
Still there are the green foliage and the red blooms.
Folded, stretched out, open or closed: all naturally beautiful.
These flowers, these leaves, long mirror each other’s glory:
When their greens pale, their reds fade —
it’s more than one can bear.

–Li Shang-yin, Chinese poet.


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the diagnosis

first day off painkillers after the unholy invasion
three holes, one you could drive a small suv through
deflate the left lung ,on purpose!, look around ..there it is, take a piece, wash up, pump up and close up
and they call that…noninvasive…holy crap feels like somebody stuffed their hand in and wiggled things
(who ever did the zip up should say away from plastic surgery)
all that just to get a piece..didn’t fix nuthin..in fact i have a few complaints but…wages of sin i figure
next comes the toxic cocktail….not lookin forward to that but
i’ve wrestled with some of the best…narcotic withdrawal, cotton fever…so bring it on
i don’t plan on losin but if i do the score will be close
no regrets, got my money’s worth
…but i’ll play for some overtime.

by Gavin Treadway

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the Labyrinth

the labyrinth


All through life we’re searching, searching,

searching for that someone who

will make our lives worth living/loving —

happiness in one from two.


The search will take us twisting, turning,

in and out and out and in

it may be long, hard and confusing,

and often ends where it begins.


Goals will change, be rearranged,

our guiding light may seem to dimn

Yet somehow while we’re wandering/searching

strength will come from deep within.


So when dreams die and aren’t reborn,

and friends are going, going, gone,

we learn to search inside ourselves

instead of moving ever on…


Oh, all through life we’re searching, searching,

searching for that someone else —

When will we begin to realize

that that person is inside ourself.


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Sweet Anesthesia



listening to them on and on,

hearing Hate, their little son

cried till he was dead inside.


the bitter tears rolled down his face,

outwardly they left no trace,

but inwardly etched deep a scar.


he closed his eyes…his ears…his heart–

round him built a private shell

shutting out his parents’ hell.


and afterwards he felt no pain–

only a dullness deep within

no love, no feeling, could begin.


he didn’t know how long he cried,

he cried till he was dead inside

and comforted then fell to sleep.


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ghosts are the residue of

unvindicated events and unmet emotions

they ruminate

as we do

over the past

tied to a place in time

waiting to dump vengeance

upon the unwitting souls

who cross their path.


doors are time portals

passageways to memories

even if unopened,

they are a way to the place where

what once was


in a room

lying beyond

what we have barricaded…


calendars are records

of days gone by

and days to come

empty pages, full pages

marking the passage of time

a scorecard


that door  needed closure

I was the one keeping it open

preserving it

like a stigmatic wound

 letting a draft in

icy cold breezes of his distant disrespect


holding out my hope

like a handkerchief

a flag of truce

 a  banner advertising a tag sale

the sale of a soul

a red flag tempting the bull

then gored,

I wonder why I thought I was so brave

to leave the door open

to the cold draft

of a ghost of the past


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the signs of the times

signature of the city



on walls

and everywhere



and concerns in color



big and WILD! —

almost child-



with pride

the tribe inscribes

their abode

and makes it Home —


a man-made birthmark

anguished art

city’s soul

spilled in writing

on any vacant wall


I am Here and I am Now :

Look at me!

See me!

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