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(Translated by Emmy Bean)

You were most wise and fair of all the Angels young,
O god whom fate betrayed and left unsung,

O Satan, have pity on my long misery!

O exiled Prince borne down by many lies,
even mighty in defeat he does arise,

O Satan, have pity on my long misery!

The all-knowing lord of subterranean things,
Who remedies our human sufferings,

O Satan, have pity on my long misery!

To lepers and lost beggars full of lice,
You teach, through love, the taste of Paradise.

O Satan, have pity on my long misery!

You who on Death, your old and ever-faithful wife,
Engendered Hope — the sweetest folly of this life —

O Satan, have pity on my long misery!

You give to men condemned a countenance unbaffled
That they rebuke the thronging mob around the scaffold,

O Satan, have pity on my long misery!

You have seen in darkness and can bring to light
The gems a jealous God has hidden from our sight,

O Satan, have pity on my long misery!

You to whom the secret arsenals are known
Where iron, gold and silver slumber, locked in stone,

O Satan, have pity on my long misery!

Your enormous hand has hidden the abyss
From the sleepwalkers that skirt the precipice,

O Satan, have pity on my long misery!

You who rescue from the trampling horses’ feet
the poor old drunkard who has fallen in the street,

O Satan, have pity on my long misery!

You, to ease the wanderings of our troubled minds
Taught how sulfur and saltpeter are combined;

O Satan, have pity on my long misery!

You who form in subtle friendliness
the wealthy and the merciless,

O Satan, have pity on my long misery!

You pour into the hearts of women
A trifling love of blood full brimming,

O Satan, have pity on my long misery!

Step-father of poor bastards robbed of pardon,
God in his anger exiled us from Eden’s garden

O Satan, have pity on my long misery!

Glory and praise to Thee, Satan, on high,
Where You once reigned, in Hell where you now lie,
Vanquished, silent, dreaming eternally.Grant my soul some day to rest close to Thee
Under the Tree of Knowledge which shall spread
Its branches like a golden Temple overhead.

[See original poem here.]

(Translated by Emmy Bean)

You would take the entire world to bed with you
Spoiled woman! Boredom makes love cruel.
To sharpen your teeth at your one diversion
You need fresh hearts to string up on the rack.
Your eyes, they shine like cheap storefronts,
Or street-fair Christmas lights,
Brazenly using their borrowed gleam
To insult the laws of beauty itself.

Oh deaf-and-dumb machine, you violent tool
You drink the coursing blood of all the world.
Have you no shame and have you not yet seen
In passing mirrors, your beauty spent and faded?
Does the vision of this evil
Cause you to stagger — you, animal!
Woman, vile queen of sin,
You master of depravity?
O gorgeous filth! Magnificent disgrace!

[See original poem here.]

(Translated by Emmy Bean)

I’ll build for you, Madonna, mistress mine
deep in my crypt of woe a secret shrine
And carve out in the darkest corner of my heart,
Far from abject desires and worldly art,
A niche, with gold and azure all about you,
Where you shall dwell, my dear amazed Statue.
On this polished metal trellis my Verses climb
Those bursts of gleaming crystal form the Rhymes
I shall make for your head an ornate Crown,
And from my Jealousy the finest gown,
O mortal Madonna, I fashion it for you
Barbaric, heavy, stiff, with greenish hue
Which, like a safe, protects you, precious dear;
Embroidered not with Pearls, but with my Tears!
Your dress will be my quivering Desire,
Undulant this garment, rippling like fire
Perched on the crests, reposing in the troughs,
Clothes with a kiss your body pink and soft.
Of my Self-respect I’ll make your Slippers fine,
The satin, humbled by your feet divine,
Imprisons them in a delicate embrace,
The contours of your toes they closely trace;
If I can’t, in spite of all my labors spent,
Carve a Moon of silver for your Monument,
I’ll put the Serpent who feasts upon my heart
Under your heels, for you to tear apart,
Triumphant queen, all pregnant with redemptions,
That hateful snake, grown fat on vile pretensions.
You will see my Thoughts like rows of votives lit
Before the Queen of Virgins’ altar sit
Starring all the azure ceiling higher,
And watching you with flickering eyes of fire.
Since nothing in me that you do not stir,
All will be offered, frankincense, and myrrh,
And up to you, white peak, in clouds will soar
My stormy soul, in rapture, to adore.

At last, your role of Mary to perfect
And mingle barbarism with respect —
Of seven deadly sins, O black delight!
Remorseful torturer, to show my sleight,
I’ll forge and sharpen seven deadly swords
And like a callous juggler on the boards,
Taking it for my target, I would dart
Them deep into your streaming, sobbing heart.

[See original poem here.]

(Translated by Emmy Bean)

In ancient cloisters on their frescoed walls
Were painted truths of highest holy writ
Which cheered the pious entrails in the halls
Whose temperaments were cold as they were lit

Back then bloomed Jesus Christ from every seed
And more than one famed monk, forgotten now,
Took for his muse the graveyard strewn with weeds
And sang for Death as well as he knew how.

– My soul is now a tomb, grave cenobite,
I wander here in perpetuity;
And barren are this evil cloister’s walls.

O lazy monk! What will I learn to make
Out of the living dumb-show of my grief,
The labor of my hands and the love of my eyes?

[See original poem here.]

Sepulchre (Sepultre)

(By Chris Schoen)

Let’s say the night is heavy and somber
And some good neighbor out of mercy
Buries your body, the one we’ve all pondered
Behind a pile of old debris

Let’s say the prudish stars have ebbed
Closing their heavy-lidded eyes
Then the spider will connive her web
Then the snake will hatch her babies

Throughout many an endless year
The wounded cries of wolves you’ll hear
Wailing above your cold tormented skull

And the shrieks of ravenous witches
Lustful old men scratching their itches
The whispers of bandits echoing through the rubble.

[See original poem here.]

(By Chris Schoen)

In an ashen land, without leaf of green
To the charred terrain I unburdened my spleen
I carelessly wandered at my heart’s request
As I honed my grievances against my breast

When at brightest day my head was plowed
into by a sodden stormcloud
And accosted by the villains inside
Some gang of trolls on a drunken hell ride

They considered me coldly and gave me the once-
over, like I was the village dunce
Furtively laughing and whispering
Trading winks and toothless grins

- “Let’s leisurely contemplate this lampoon
This would-be Hamlet, this slouching buffoon
His irresolute gaze and his discomfited hair
Such a pitiful sight, this old Devil-may-care

This tramp, this out-of-work clown, this wit
He sure knows his role and how thick to lay it
Trying to seduce, with his gripes and his pains
Eagles, crickets, –the sea! and the rain!

And even to us, who schooled him in this hokum
He belches his diatribes–Don’t you just want to choke him!?” -

My pride is as high as the mountains, it’s true
I could have stared down that cloud and it’s crew
With a simple turn of my sovereign face
If I’d not next seen in that mob’s embrace

The peerless queen of my only heart
As the sun looked on without a start
She laughed with with them at my dark distresses
Without a pause in her lustful caresses

[See original poem here.]

The great hearted maid that made you so jealous
Sleeps her sleep in the forgotten grass
I think that we should bring her some flowers
The sorrow of the dead is so much deeper than ours

And when October bares the trees to their bones
Blowing his somber wind around the headstones
The dead bear the living with such chagrin
To sleep, as we do, so snug in our linens

While they are marooned in black desolation
Without a bed partner, or soft conversation
These frozen old skeletons sculpted by the worm
Each drip of snowmelt so keenly discerned

And the centuries pass without friend or kin
To replace the old tatters that flap in the wind

If some evening while the fire whistles and sings
I should see her sit, calm in her chair, placidly rocking
If on a blue and cold night in December
I found her by the fire, raking the embers

Solemnly returned from her eternal nowhere
To swaddle again the child raised under her care
What could I answer that pious soul in reply
When I saw the tears falling from her excavated eye?

[View original poem here.]

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