Robin Davidson

Photo-Robin DavidsonBIO

Robin Davidson is the author of two poem chapbooks, Kneeling in the Dojo (Finishing Line Press) and City that Ripens on the Tree of the World (Calypso Editions), and a full collection, Luminous Other, recipient of The Ashland Poetry Press’s 2012 Richard Snyder Memorial Publication Prize. She is also co-translator with Ewa Elżbieta Nowakowska of The New Century: Poems by Ewa Lipska  (Northwestern UP), and has received, among other awards, a Fulbright professorship at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland, a National Endowment for the Arts translation fellowship, and two Houston Arts Alliance grants. Davidson has long been affiliated with Writers in the Schools-Houston, and is a member of Calypso Editions, an American artists’ collaborative press specializing in small collections of poetry, fiction, and literary translation. She teaches creative writing as associate professor of English for the University of Houston-Downtown.

 

BETWEEN ROSES AND SHADOWS: AN INVOCATION

………………………………………A found villanelle after Cy Twombly and Ingeborg Bachmann1

What’s true, above your grave, will tip the stone.
Night’s cerulean spills shadows roses shadows.
What’s true can part the earth just like a comb.

Wherever we turn in the storm of roses,
the night is lit up by thorns, and the thunder of leaves.
What’s true above your grave, will tip the stone.

Oh how it grows dark. A handful of pain vanishes
and offers you the bowl of the heart.
What’s true can part the earth just like a comb.

Shadows roses shadows. This cloud around me which I keep
as a house, blue eye, blue exile to lift the dead man up.
What’s true above your grave, will tip the stone.

Great Bear, shaggy night, come down.
Cloud-furred one with old eyes, starry eyes, glimmering.
What’s true can part the earth just like a comb.

Wherever the fire of roses is extinguished, an aria of
rain washes us into the river. O blue rose of night!
What’s true above your grave, will tip the stone.
What’s true does not buy time, it cancels it.

 

1 Composed for the Menil Collection reading, “A Scattering of Blossoms,” in response to Cy Twombly’s 2008 painting of blue roses in “Untitled (Roses) Gaeta” which incorporates lines from Austrian poet Ingeborg Bachmann’s “In the Storm of Roses.” Of the 183 words comprising the title and body of this poem, only the 8 italicized words pertaining to the color blue are mine. The rest are taken from Bachmann’s collected poems entitled Songs in Flight and translated from the German by Peter Filkins.

 

LISTEN
…………..for Tony

Where do we go from here, where will the light across the cornice
of our love lead us, you and I, after the carnal breath?
Amaryllis and orchid tree, abelia and hawthorne, bougainvillea trailing
thorns and blossoms. We have made a desert of stones flower
at a seventy-year-old house’s edge. How long will a dying voice
shake this soil? Our bodies in laughter, dance? When will these shoulders
be clouds instead, a shroud, a swaddling, to meet some lake of things
we’ve known by heart. At this window, I watch the western cerulean sky
become blood-rose, study this pause which is not yet night,
the constellations still invisible. A bright memory is on the horizon,
postponed but nearer. We are here, nestled now in the furniture of
a house that speaks, doubles our love. Listen.

 

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