RWB Workshop Poem of the Week – Feb 25, 2015

February 27, 2015

RWB Workshop Poem of the Week (2/25)
Richard Greene

Here’s a translation of Catullus’s famous funeral poem known as “Hail and Farewell”. I’m a believer in translations that stay as close to the original as possible. Sometimes departures from the original are necessary because of differences of usage in the languages involved, to maintain the flow, music, of the language, or if the original poem rhymes and one chooses to rhyme the translation, since there may be no translation of the original wording that produces rhymes.

Places where I’ve departed from the original for the first two reasons are highlighted in the translation, below. Rhyming wasn’t a problem, since the original didn’t rhyme.

Following the translation is a literal translation of the original, and following that the Latin original and a pre-modern, rhyming translation by Aubrey Beardsley.

Hail and Farewell

Through many lands and over many seas,
I come, brother, to this sad ceremony,

to confer on thee this final service to the dead,
and address in vain your mute ashes.

Since fate has taken thee from me,
Oh, brother, torn away too soon,

I give thee these last offerings,

blessed by the tradition of our fathers.

Accept them, though sodden with fraternal tears,
and, for eternity, brother, hail and farewell.

Literal Translation

Carried through many peoples and many seas
I come to these sad funeral rites, brother,

that I might confer on thee the final service of death
and address in vain your mute ashes,

since fortune has taken thee thyself from me.
Alas poor brother unfairly carried away from me!

Still now meanwhile these gifts, which by the ancient rites of parents
are given as a sad duty at funerals,

take them dripping with much fraternal weeping
and in perpetuity brother hail and farewell.

Original Latin

multas per gentes et multa per aequora vectus 
advenio has miseras frater ad inferias 

ut te postremo donarem munere mortis 
et mutam nequiquam adloquerer cinerem 

quandoquidem fortuna mihi tete abstulit ipsum 
heu miser indigne frater adempte mihi 

nunc tamen interea haec, prisco quae more parentum 
tradita sunt tristi munere ad inferias 

accipe frataerno multum manantia fletu 
atque in perpetuum frater ave atque vale

Aubrey Beardsley Translation

By ways remote and distant waters sped,
Brother, to thy sad grave-side am I come,
That I may give the last gifts to the dead,
And vainly parley with thine ashes dumb:
Since she who now bestows and now denies
Hath ta’en thee, hapless brother, from mine eyes.
But lo! these gifts, the heirlooms of past years,
Are made sad things to grace thy coffin shell;
Take them, all drenched with a brother’s tears,
And, brother, for all time, hail and farewell!

Blog – http.//redwheelbarrowpoets.wordpress.com
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Twitter – @RWBPoets


GV – Marisa Frasca and Lisa Bianco

February 20, 2015


The Magic Circle returns to GainVille Café in Rutherford, NJ on Friday, Feb. 27 for poet MARISA FRASCA reading from her new book Via Incanto: Poems from the Darkroom. Opening for Marisa will be our favorite rock and roller LISA BIANCO. Marisa’s book, from Bordighera Press, features poetry inspired by her early years in Sicily and more recent years in America. Lisa is just back from doing the annual Light of Day fundraiser with Bruce Springsteen and Willie Nile, and has done two national tours with her new band, Hunter Valentine.

The Red Wheelbarrow Poets’ Bring Your A Game open mic will follow, with generous reading times.

17 Ames Ave, 7 PM.

$7 donation includes coffee/tea and dessert.

(201) 507-1800.


RWB Workshop Poem of the Week – Feb 18, 2015

February 19, 2015

Claudia Serea


My childhood bike was bright blue
with a shiny bell I used to ring
to make the bullies snarl.

I named it Peggy,
from Pegasus, of course,

and rode it everywhere,
thankful for empty streets,
smooth asphalt,
and small freedoms.

Two lives later,
I find it in New York,

chained to a pole,
buried in snow.

I wish I could hop on it,
I wish I could
hop on it and be
12 again, I wish
I could ride it downtown
as if I rode the wind,

I wish Pegasus
would get back its wings,

and I’d ring the bell,

and suddenly
it would be summer.

Blog – https://redwheelbarrowpoets.wordpress.com
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/RWBPoets
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WCW – Judith A. Christian

February 16, 2015

Wednesday, March 4, 2015, 7 p.m.

Williams Center for the Arts
One Williams Plaza, Rutherford NJ

Plus the words of William Carlos Williams
and open readings from the floor

Judith A. Christian is an editor and poet. She is formerly President of South Mountain Poets, workshop leader, and editor of the anthologies Gathered on the Mountain, The Final Lilt of Songs, and Off Line (South Mountain-Watchung Poets, 2006, 2008, 2010). Her poems appear there and in The Stillwater Review and Voices From Here (Paulinskill Poetry Project, 2009). Her haiku “rising from your bed” is the subject of an essay in The Haiku Aesthetic by Jean LeBlanc (Cyberwit, 2013). She is a long-time student of Buddhist philosophy and continues to receive teachings from exiled Tibetan monks and the scholarly descendants of the fi rst Lama to bring Tibetan Buddhism to the United States. After leaving a career in technical publishing two decades ago, she has worked a series of part-time jobs, most recently, in a grocery store.

Contact: John Barrale – john.barrale@gmail.com

Who puts purple with green
is no one, yet it is done again on the ivy
in a mottled array maybe more maroon
than purple. Who shot the deer
for the ivy to return is no one.

In a dream I am telling you this
no one sitting beside a tangle
of stems of Russian sage
as white as the coming and going
of everything as light.


Muslim Schoolgirls On The Train

February 15, 2015


The train is filled with girls
whose hair is hid in scarves.

The girls smile easily, their round faces
young though it is autumn.

Ahead, huddling over a screen, two girls’ covered heads
are as close to each other as it is possible to be.

Their eyes are dark and bright.
Their scarves, too, are dark and bright.
Their eyebrows are bright and dark somehow.

Outside, the scarves of the trees are red and yellow.
America whispers its greatness to me.

I do not need to see their hair
to know if they are beautiful.

I do not need to see their hair.



RWB Workshop Poem of the Week – Feb 11, 2015

February 12, 2015

Zorida Mohammed


This skin I live in,
that I was born wearing,
can teach elastic a thing or two
about resiliency and stretch.

It has gone from covering a mere 6-7 lb. babe
to a chubby blubby 150 lb. teenager,
then settling into a svelte 115 lbs.,
premarital, lyric of a girl-woman.

This forgiving skin stayed in idle at 125 lbs.
until madam menopause levied her hand
in my late forties, pushing me off the scale
into territory approaching 130 lbs.

At 60, things are still nicely intact but,
I can see that any false moves
and wrinkles will graduate into little folds,
and the whole old skin will hasten
its downhill trend as sure as if it were
conforming to something larger than itself,
something imbedded in the very fabric of skin,
in the beginning,
even before I was born.

Blog – https://redwheelbarrowpoets.wordpress.com
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/RWBPoets
Twitter – http://twitter.com/RWBPoets


RWB Workshop Poem of the Week – Jan 28, 2015

February 3, 2015

Richard Greene

Remembering Vientiane

Known among early European visitors
for their gentleness and insouciance,
they lingered in a backwater
of this turbulent century.

I lived in their capital
near the broad Mekong
on a dirt lane
bracketed by old wooden temples,
unpainted and weather-stained,
with their muffled bells
and slow traffic of orange-robed monks.

Only roosters
disturbed the peace
until tanks came
clogging the narrow streets,
grinding them under ridged treads,
spewing manic metal
onto roofs and shutters,
like the rhetoric
of clashing ideologies.

And bodies erupted
from the river’s smooth surface.


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