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Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Anselm Hollo: To Be Born Again


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File:Rime in Lapinlahti Helsinki 1.JPG

Rime in Lapinlahti, Helsinki: photo by Matti Paavola, 11 January 2010



inside my mother
I make a little fist
and then I punch her

enter another plane
walk right into it

the roaring begins

a few hours later
I stride ashore

"welcome to America"

"th-there's a l-lot of b-bastards out there!"
William Carlos Williams
one moment please
to adjust the machine

two a.m. in bed
says "come on out"
some one in my head
"you've been forgiven"



Anselm Hollo (b. Helsinki 1934): To Be Born Again, from The Paris Review 52 (1971), reprinted in Sensation 27 (1972)




File:Standpipe in winter wonderland Helsinki .JPG

Standpipe in snowdrift, Tullisaari park area, Helsinki: photo by Pöllö, 12 January 2010

File:Rime in Lapinlahti Helsinki 2.JPG

Rime in Lapinlahti, Helsinki: photo by Matti Paavola, 11 January 2010


File:Road to Kallahti nature conservation area in Helsinki (Kallvik).jpg

Road in the Kallahti nature conservation area, Helsinki: photo by Pöllö, 23 May 2008

File:Fall colors in Seurasaari.JPG

Fall colors in Seurasaari, Helsinki: photo by Matti Paavola, 4 October 2008

File:Gloria Graham Anselm Hollo.jpg

Anselm Hollo: photo by Gloria Graham. 2005

How is it far if you think of it?

Ezra Pound, from Canto LXXIX

10 comments:

TC said...

Anselm has been a dear friend for a long time. We first met at a small reading in an upstairs room above Trinity Street in Cambridge in the winter of 1963-1964. During my wandering scholar days he and his first wife Josie and family hosted me overnight at their flat in London more than once, and I was always grateful for that congenial shelter from the city streets. For many years Anselm shared his poems with me regularly, and, again with gratitude, I published these where I could -- in my Once Series of mimeo magazines, and in the Paris Review. See e.g. the latter publication's issues #45 and #52 (whence this poem comes).

Since that time we've both been on several planes, had several lives; but then, in another way, maybe it's all just the one life, all the time, until it's not.

Thinking about Anselm here on a winter night in the haunted house with a bite of frost in the air, his native Helsinki seems not so far away.

But then again, really, to have many lives...?

It may be good, opined Sir Thomas Wyatt (though on a somewhat different if equally recursive topic).

Or then yet again, maybe just the one was enough, or possibly even more than enough, after all.

tpw said...

Another wonderful poem by Anselm. It's humbling to think that English is not his native tongue, given his ease and mastery of it.

TC said...

Terry,

Likewise I'm sure. That ease and mastery -- it's taken a long time here to understand that saying fewer words in English may be the secret to saying more.

TC said...

This Morning I Am Born Again: Woody Guthrie lyric, interpreted by Slaid Cleaves.

This morning I was born again and a light shines on my land
I no longer look for heaven in your deathly distant land
I do not want your pearly gates don’t want your streets of gold
This morning I was born again and a light shines on my soul

This morning I was born again, I was born again complete
I stood up above my troubles and I stand on my two feet
My hand it feels unlimited, my body feels like the sky
I feel at home in the universe where yonder planets fly

This morning I was born again, my past is dead and gone
This great eternal moment is my great eternal dawn
Each drop of blood within me, each breath of life I breathe
Is united with these mountains and the mountains with the seas

I feel the sun upon me, its rays crawl through my skin
I breathe the life of Jesus and old John Henry in
I give myself, my heart, my soul to give some friend a hand
This morning I was born again, I am in the promised land

This morning I was born again and a light shines on my land
I no longer look for heaven in your deathly distant land
I do not want your pearly gates don’t want your streets of gold
And I do not want your mansion for my heart is never cold.

STEPHEN RATCLIFFE said...

Tom,

Not quite as cold last night this morning as those rime encased landscapes in Helsinki (but almost?), gold old Anselm being born again and again, and may the light continue to shine on his land.


12.18

light coming into sky above still black
ridge, silver of planet behind branches
in foreground, sound of wave in channel

say in the sense that it is
temporal, all that it

means of expression, in the
hands of, attached to

shadowed green pine on tip of sandspit,
wingspan of pelican flapping toward it

Sandra said...

far is not far...:)

TC said...

Yes, thanks Steve. Gold, yet unsinkable, perhaps a curious new alloy.

And yes also -- frozen appendages in the haunted-house wing of the Old Soldiers' Home -- hard mean little frost over this side of the hill, this morning.

Though city lights shone like jewels in the night, an unreal clarity, no haze for once, worth a crippled man's climb merely to see them.

Yours must be the last long board still upright.

say in the sense that it is
temporal, all that it

means...

And by the by, "this morning we are born again" has gained a certain notoriety by allegedly being a fake Buddha quote. But no, it's a REAL fake Buddha quote. Or wait -- they've attributed it to the golden Buddha, Anselm!

TC said...

Sandra,

Not if you can think it... maybe.

Wooden Boy said...

I love the bravura of it. Every step, every stanza is brass balled. Rebirth as bare-faced cheek.

Lally said...

Thanks for sharing this and your memories of first encountering Anselm. I too haven't seen him as much or been in touch the way we once were, or Josie either, but the older I get the more room there is in my heart for all I've known and loved no matter how distantly.