departure and invitation

1:23 PM Posted by James Owens

Last month was, astoundingly, five years since my first post on this blog. It has been good to me. Most essentially, I met all of you! But now it is time for change, a cleaner design, a better format for showing images.

I am more attached to the Klage-Welt than I would have ever expected to become, five years ago. Writing this post feels like turning the key for one last time in the door of the beloved house where I was born, but which has grown too small and cluttered with the debris of the years, and now turning toward the unexplored glow in the West ....

Please visit my my new blog, ein klage-himmel.


a long pull against the heaviness of earth

3:27 PM Posted by James Owens

Poetics in the Season of Migration

After fog, the sun unhitches geese
from the gleaned-over stubble-ground
where they have huddled through the night.

They rise now, clumsy, angling up
to blue, above the planet’s shade,
the mist and morning slurred with calls.

How apologize for poetry?
For how it fails the flock’s long pull
against the heaviness of Earth,

against wind, the mortal shear
of entropy that scatters form?

Their one, blared note sums up a year,

but words falter and trip, waste breath,
lose the smell of dirt or rain,
the wings once more climbing sunlight.

Such a long work, waiting to hear
that hard, scraping honk as song….
No longer clumsy, the geese order

and wheel, squared-off and cutting south,
stars intuited along the way,
written tight into their wedge, and gone.



12:47 PM Posted by James Owens

(click to enlarge)

words fail, cold wind in the separation

11:25 PM Posted by James Owens

take flight at dawn

4:21 PM Posted by James Owens


2:24 PM Posted by James Owens

late March

7:30 PM Posted by James Owens

the gilded phalloi of the crocuses
are thrusting at the spring air

-- Ezra Pound



9:49 PM Posted by James Owens

and is nowhere, and is endless

9:55 AM Posted by James Owens

Rather than words comes the thought of high windows:
The sun-comprehending glass,
And beyond it, the deep blue air, that shows
Nothing, and is nowhere, and is endless.

Philip Larkin
from "High Windows"


5:14 PM Posted by James Owens

Les fenêtres


Ce jour elle fut d'humeur fenestrière:
rien que de regarder lui semblait vivre.
Elle vit venir, d'inexistence ivre,
un monde à son coeur complémentaire.

On aurait dit que son regard arrose
abondamment un doux jardin d'images;
était-ce liberté ou esclavage
de ne pas changer l'indolente pose?

Son coeur, loin de ce qui vit et vire,
semblait un nombre qui soudain s'éclaire
pareil à la Balance ou la Lyre;
un presque-nom d'absences millénaires.

Rainer Maria Rilke

The Windows


That day she was in a mood to window-watch;
to live seemed nothing but seeing.
She saw a world still dizzy from non-being
veer toward her, her heart‘s match.

One might have said that her gaze
watered a garden of images, abundantly.
Was it enslavement or liberty
in her unchanging, indolent daze?

Her heart, far from what lives and desires,
seemed a cipher in sudden incandescence
like the Scales or the Lyre --
an almost-name of ancient absence.

(my translation)


10:07 PM Posted by James Owens

A poem, "Girl in Red," translated from R. M. Rilke: here



6:10 AM Posted by James Owens

to beg

1:06 PM Posted by James Owens

.... par la fatigue, le malheur, la mort, l’homme est fait matière et consommé par Dieu.

Simone Weil
La pesanteur et la grâce

.... through weariness, sorrow, death, man is made matter and consumed by God.

Simone Weil
Gravity and Grace

breath and the beating heart

11:46 AM Posted by James Owens

Que je disparaisse afin que ces choses que je vois deviennent, du fait qu'elles ne seront plus choses que je vois, parfaitement belles.

Je ne désire nullement que ce monde créé ne me soit plus sensible, mais que ce ne soit plus à moi qu'il soit sensible. A moi, il ne peut dire son secret qui est trop haut. Que je parte, et le créateur et la créature échangeront leurs secrets.

Voir un paysage tel qu'il est quand je n'y suis pas...

Quand je suis quelque part, je souille le silence du ciel et de la terre par ma respiration et le battement de mon coeur.

Let me disappear so that these things I see should become, because they will no longer be things that I see, perfectly beautiful.

I desire not at all that this created world should be no more sensible to me, but that it no longer be to me that it is sensible. To me, it cannot say its too lofty secret. Let me part, and the creator and his creation will exchange their secrets.

To see a landscape as it is when I am not there….

When I am somewhere, I sully the silence of the sky and earth by my breathing and the beating of my heart.

Simone Weil
La pesanteur et la grâce