The Poet's Lies | Here and Now | A Summit-Meet
Habitat-I | Habitat-II | Pointblank |  Index

Summit Meet

The creative artist is at his peak. Not that he is unaware of the uphill / downhill journey or of the abyss, but in the autonomy of expression he is at the summit. Here is a record of the conversation among some of the poets in a summit-meet. 

Silence is a temple that needs no gods, but offers countless alternative rites : to the rebel, the ascetic, the child, the lover, the jester within the poet... The poet's voice may coo or caw or neigh or roar : it all depends on the animal inhering it... 

Arkepy presents an apocryphal conversation amongst variegated voices (words from their poems), cutting across space, time and sequence.

A sampler of poems follows : Habitat-I and Habitat-II

Adonis : I hear the voice of time in poems. In the touch of hands. And the gap from infancy to immolation disappears. 

Shuntaro Tanikawa : Now don't let perking up your ears to one sound, to one voice. It means shutting up your ears to another sound, to another voice. 

Allen Ginsberg : I send up my message beyond some one to hear me there. I send up my poem-rocket to land on the final planet where the Great Brain of the Universe sits waiting for a poem??

Shuntaro Tanikawa : Let your ears perk up to a trillion years ago and the roar of the universe. 

Brian Patten : Poetry is the monster hiding in a child's dark room. 

Nancy Morejohn : The dream of my reason produces monsters. Monsters of myself, you have the nobility the epoch requires. My beloved scorpion, squander your sensibility upon my act of poetry. 

Shuntaro Tanikawa : Let your ears perk up to the suru suru of snakes, to the groan of dying dinosaur. 

Ted Hughes : Stare at the famous poet, the demeanour is of mouse, yet is he monster : a steggosaurus, a lumbering obsolete arsenal of gigantic horn and plate, set to blink behind the bars at the zoo. 

Tomas Transtromer : He laid aside his pen. It rests still on the table. It rests still in the empty room. 

Giovanni Rabboni : Even I who write to you, I no longer have any sight or certainty. It's as though, all of a sudden, the pen had slipped from my hand and I were writing with my elbow or my nose. 

Czeslaw Milosz : I sit, a sly and angry poet. And, weighing a pen in my hand, I plot revenge. I poise the pen and it puts forth twigs and leaves, it is covered with blossoms. And the scent of that tree is impudent, for there, on the real earth, such trees do not grow. 

Shuntaro Tanikawa : Let your ears perk up to the kasa kaso of leaves of trees and as a smouldering fire is about to disappear there in the deep darkness. 

Czeslaw Milosz : But the scent of that tree is like an insult to suffering humanity. Since I opened my eyes I have seen only the glow of fires, massacres, only injustice, humiliation and the laughable shame of braggarts. 

W.S. Rendra : Yes, vampire bats descend from the dark grey sky. Smell of munitions in the air. Smell of corpses. And horseshit. Yes, my brothers, I know this is a view which satisfies you for you have worked so intently to create it. 

Giovanni Rabboni : Eyes quartered, horseheads, nice days of Guernica. Splinters turn to pulp here. 

Shuntaro Tanikawa : Neighing of horses. Twang of bow strings. Sound of a spear thrust through armour. Next to your ear the whine of a shot. Dragging of chain. Whack of a whip. Sounds of gallows. Mushroom clouds. 

Czeslaw Milosz : To me is given the hope of revenge on others and on myself. For I was he who knew and took from it no profit for myself. 

Tadeusz Rosewicz : He came to us and said: you are not responsible either for the world or for the end of the world. Play. And they play. They forget that modern poetry is a struggle for breath. 

Dennis Brutus : But I must speak. When your heart answers some strong assertion of the truth in blood or action or belief and seeks for words, let then my echoes rise unbidden in the tunnels of your mind. 

Vasko Papa : The paper would go red at once! 

Miroslav Holub : Or is it like Minotaur's thought: the sound of my own roar reaches me from a great distance! 

Leopold S. Senghor : No, listen. Son of Man, Son of Lion, who roars in the hollowing hills. His male voice. 

Tomas Transtromer : There is too much that can neither be written nor kept silent. 

Roberto Juarroz : To speak is to live another way, but also to die another way. 

John Ashbery : What is writing? Well, in my case, it's getting down on paper. Not thoughts, exactly, but ideas, may be. Thought not precisely what I mean. Some day I'll explain. Not today though. 

Nicanor Parra : Somebody behind me reads every word I write. I look but there is nobody there, still I know someone is watching me. 

Gabriel Okara : Mine is terrestrial song. My song vainly climbs like smoke from humble hearths, but it is muffled by racing clouds. 

Brian Patten : Poetry should be kind. It is the eventual sameness of contradictions. It should never weep until it is alone and only after it has covered the mirrors and sealed up the cracks. 

Yevgeny Yevtushenko : We are dwarf birches in the kingdom of everlasting frost. The big trees of warmer zones, I must tell you: Colleagues, self-importantly you decide as trees we are not your equals, but that a kind of green however ugly is progressive where frost is permanent. Thank you; we shall somehow endure ourselves, under the heavens and brutally contorted by the wind, without your moral support. 

Helmut Zenker : In poems I hide behind a barricade of words because I am speechless. 

Roberto Juarroz : After the word, in its root a space opens where there is neither passion nor sarcasm, a space out of which the most human absence can go freely. 

Octavio Paz : From one word to the other what I say vanishes. I know that I am alive between two parentheses. 

Gunter Kunert : That's how it should be Purposeless and meaningful. 

Jacques Dupin : This sluggish lucid pyre mitigated by no production of ashes! 

Bella Akhmadulina : It is our fool's fancy to play with fire. Our fate is still unresolved, obscure, still hidden in the bunching smoke, whether we bring our skins out whole or melt into the flames for ever. 

Henrik Nordbrandt : I saw a child and thought it was my child. It shook its head, as if wishing to say: Do not use me again in your dreams: You are dead and have no right to murder yourself once more. 

Adonis : But, sometimes, the gap from infancy to immolation disappears, as if a star emerged at once from nowhere and returned the world to innocence. 

Ferenc Juhasz : Like the boy who changed into a stag standing at the Gate of Secrets, uttering: Only to die will I return, yes, I will come. And then, when my flesh falls apart and lies in its own stench, yet deep in flowers, then shall I feed on your blood, be your body's fruit, then shall I be your small son again... 

Ernesto Cardenal : Even worn-out things: smashed china, rusty metal, cracked pipes, twisted bits of wire, saw dust, corrugated iron, old plastic, tyres beyond repair: all are waiting for the Resurrection, like ourselves. 

Kofi N. Awoonor : My god of songs was ill. The Cure God said I had violated my god. He said, take him to your father's gods but, before they opened the hut, my god burst into songs, new strong songs, that I am still singing with him. 

Vasko Popa : There is another story. Once upon a time there was an infinity of echoes. They served one voice, built it arcades. The arcades collapsed. The echoes left the dangerous service, became petrified. They flew off petrified, to find to tear to pieces the mouth the voice had come out of. They flew who knows how long. And blind fools didn't see, they were flying round the very edge of the mouth they were looking for! 

Shuntaro Tanikawa : Never perk up your ears to one sound, to one voice... 

Roberto Juarroz : A little water flowing through the dream of the world... 

Yang Li Huang : And look there, there are two vines plaited tightly together, you can't tell one from the other. 

Leopold S. Senghor : Colour which is life, form which is beauty! Earth's promise. Ripe fruit of firm flesh, deep rapture of dark wine. Savanna of pure horizons, savanna trembling at the East Wind's eager kisses... 

Shuntaro Tanikawa : Yesterday's raindrops, Sounds that have continued for who knows how long of people's footsteps. Striking lightning. Shriek of a burning tree. Your own crying at birth. Creak of a door. Whispers. Laughter. Echoing of a mother's lullaby. A grandfather's faroff cough. Blown by breeze some Amens. Sound of thoughts... 

Chong Hyon-Jong : I plant an exclamation mark by a tree, I have an exclamation mark bloom by a flower, I pronounce an exclamation mark by a bird, I bare an exclamation mark by a woman... 

Ferenc Juhasz : Day by day a hundred bullets knock me from my feet and day by day I rise again, a hundred times more complete... 

Chong Hyon-Jong : I let an exclamaton mark cry by sorrow, I let an exclamation mark laugh by joy and I go my way non-challantly... 

Ferenc Juhasz : Day by day I die three billion times, day by day I am born... 

Chong Hyon-Jong : Like an exclamation mark upside down. 

Ferenc Juhasz : Three billion times 

Roberto Juarroz : Every silence is a magic space with a hidden rite, the womb of a summoning word, and an essential detail of antisilence. The rite may be the solitude of a poem, the word the sign that every poem hides, and the point of antisilence the sound of the hand calling from inside the poem. Silence is a temple that needs no god