Open Session: Poems of Bad Luck: Sunday, September 8th, 4 PM


Persons of the Parallel Octave!
We have resolved
to convene all interested actors, musicians, singers, and friends or foes of the poets John Milton Hay, Baudelaire, Ralegh, Donne, Tayyi, Cawein, and more,
for an open session upon the theme of

When: Sunday September 8th, 4-6 PM
Where: Mattin Center, JHU campus, SDS room (the big orchestra room next to room 108 where we sometimes meet).

At this session, we will rehearse poems to be performed at The Duc D’Angelos upcoming event on Friday the 13th at An Die Musik: Word Sound Image 2 @ An Die Musik. ***It’s necessary to attend this rehearsal in order to perform with us on the 13th.***

We hope to see you there. BYOinstruments, and beware the 13th of September!

Poems follow:

Ill Luck
by Charles Baudelaire (tr. Cyril Scott, 1909)

This heavy burden to uplift,
O Sysiphus, thy pluck is required!
And even though the heart aspired,
Art is long and Time is swift.

Afar from sepulchres renowned,
To a graveyard, quite apart,
Like a broken drum, my heart,
Beats the funeral marches’ sound.

Many a buried jewel sleeps
In the long-forgotten deeps,
Far from mattock and from sound;

Many a flower wafts aloft
Its perfumes, like a secret soft,
Within the solitudes, profound.
Good And Bad Luck. Translations. After Heine.

By John Milton Hay

Good luck is the gayest of all gay girls,
Long in one place she will not stay;
Back from your brow she strokes the curls,
Kisses you quick and flies away.

But Madame Bad Luck soberly comes
And stays, – no fancy has she for flitting, –
Snatches of true love-songs she hums,
And sits by your bed, and brings her knitting.

Fortune Hath Taken Thee Away, My Love – Sir Walter Ralegh

Fortune hath taken thee away, my love,
My life’s soul and my soul’s heaven above;
Fortune hath taken thee away, my princess;
My only light and my true fancy’s mistress.

Fortune hath taken all away from me,
Fortune hath taken all by taking thee.
Dead to all joy, I only live to woe,
So fortune now becomes my mortal foe.

In vain you eyes, you eyes do waste your tears,
In vain you sighs do smoke forth my despairs,
In vain you search the earth and heaven above,
In vain you search, for fortune rules in love.

Thus now I leave my love in fortune’s hands,
Thus now I leave my love in fortune’s bands,
And only love the sorrows due to me;
Sorrow henceforth it shall my princess be.

I joy in this, that fortune conquers kings;
Fortune that rules on earth and earthly things
Hath taken my love in spite of Cupid’s might;
So blind a dame did never Cupid right.

With wisdom’s eyes had but blind Cupid seen,
Then had my love my love for ever been;
But love farewell; though fortune conquer thee,
No fortune base shall ever alter me.

Song: John Donne

Go and catch a falling star,
Get with child a mandrake root,
Tell me where all past years are,
Or who cleft the devil’s foot,
Teach me to hear mermaids singing,
Or to keep off envy’s stinging,
And find
What wind
Serves to advance an honest mind.

If thou be’st born to strange sights,
Things invisible to see,
Ride ten thousand days and nights,
Till age snow white hairs on thee,
Thou, when thou return’st, wilt tell me,
All strange wonders that befell thee,
And swear,
No where
Lives a woman true, and fair.

If thou find’st one, let me know,
Such a pilgrimage were sweet;
Yet do not, I would not go,
Though at next door we might meet;
Though she were true, when you met her,
And last, till you write your letter,
Yet she
Will be
False, ere I come, to two, or three.


“He Thinks of his Children” by Hittan Tayyi, tr. Charles Lyall

Fortune has brought me down—her wonted way—
from station great and high to low estate;
Fortune has rent away my plenteous store:
of all my wealth honor alone is left.
Fortune has turned my joy to tears: how oft
did fortune make me laugh with what she gave!
But for these girls, the kata’s downy brood,
unkindly thrust from door to door as hard—
Far would I roam and wide to seek my bread
in earth that has no lack of breadth and length.
Nay, but our children in our midst, what else
but our hearts are they, walking on the ground?
If but the breeze blow harsh on one of them
my eye says no to slumber all night long.


By Madison Julius Cawein

Once a rabbit crossed my road
When I went to see my aunt;
And another time a toad
Hopped right in my way. You can’t
Kill toads, for that makes it rain,
And would spoil your day again.

But the rabbit if I could
I’d have killed him. For one day
Once a boy he told me, “Should
A wild rabbit cross your way,
Look out for bad luck that is,
If your fingers ain’t cross-criss.”

But if I had shot him dead
I’d not been unlucky; no;
And not fallen out of bed
That same night; or stumped my toe
Playing”I Spy”; nor the string
Broken when I went to swing.

Talk about bad luck! I guess
That old rabbit brought it. Well;
Maudie had on her new dress,
And I pushed her, and she fell
In a creek-hole, where you’re bound
To get wet so Maudie found.

I I pulled her out that is,
Buddie helped me. Bud’s a boy
Who was fishing there. And Liz,
Maud’s old nurse, she took my toy,
My toy-whip, and she was mad
Whipped my legs and called me bad.

Then she said Maud might have drowned;
And the creek was full of”dumb
Pollywogs and snakes “; a sound
Whipping just might help me some:
Maybe Maud would catch a cold
And my mother should be told.

No, sir. I don’t want to see
Any rabbits anyways
Cross my road. Why, gemenie!
(That’s a swear-word Maudie says)
If I saw one only one,
I would turn and run and run.

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