Sonnet of the Wishing Stone
If I were rain, and on your earth could rain
If I were a candle, could light your way
If I were fire, could set your bed aflame
If I were a pen, could write on your page
If I were sky, carmine blue
If I were desert, scorpion yellow
If I were stone, heavy black
If I were water, froth white
If I were a soul, if I could fly, a bird
If I were flesh, if I could swell, the sea
If I were body, if I could blow, the wind
If I were mist, could drop upon you, morning
If I were cloud, descend to your world, evening
If I were a candle, could expire inside you, night.
poet: Enis Batur
translated: Cas Stockford
at DAM, Istanbul, September 2016
The Peace of Wild Things
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
Deep in the sun-searched growths the dragon-fly
Hangs like a blue thread loosened from the sky:
So this winged hour is dropt to us from above.
Oh! clasp we to our hearts, for deathless dower,
This close-companioned inarticulate hour
When twofold silence was the song of love.
— Dante Gabriel Rossetti
“Life is for the living.
Death is for the dead.
Let life be like music.
And death a note unsaid.”
― Langston Hughes
What makes a nation’s pillars high
And its foundations strong?
What makes it mighty to defy
The foes that round it throng?
It is not gold. Its kingdoms grand
Go down in battle shock;
Its shafts are laid on sinking sand,
Not on abiding rock.
Is it the sword? Ask the red dust
Of empires passed away;
The blood has turned their stones to rust,
Their glory to decay.
And is it pride? Ah, that bright crown
Has seemed to nations sweet;
But God has struck its luster down
In ashes at his feet.
Not gold but only men can make
A people great and strong;
Men who for truth and honor’s sake
Stand fast and suffer long.
Brave men who work while others sleep,
Who dare while others fly…
They build a nation’s pillars deep
And lift them to the sky.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1904)