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Poem of the Week: “Périgal-Nohor” by Max Jacob

Périgal-Nohor
Max Jacob
Translated from French by Rosanna Warren

My azure sky surged in its market share
For my epithalamion two lions bowed
And Saint Catherine brandished aloft her blade
To trim my hedges of their honey-colored hair—
Two castles thickly pinnacled with cones—
Crawfish crawled around the turret stones.
Nothing else remained in this capital
And scraps of gardens scattered here and there
And we saw, too, your dainty coiffes of lace
Madame Adamensaur
Pickled-herring-color
Madame Mirabeau, Madame Mirabelle
Nebuchadinosaur, the Queen-Mama, said she.
Back toward the cathedral sailboats raced
One laden with treasure, the other with coal tar
The third caught fire, carrying Abelard
There was something vegetal about the sea
In block letters laboriously I trace
I’ll always be a schoolboy in this art
Scholar foolscap collar we wear a crown that glows
The one who receives is worth him who bestows.

(via Poetry Foundation)

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The Center for Poetry opened in the fall of 2007 to encourage the reading, writing, and discussion of poetry and to create an awareness of the place and power of poetry in our everyday lives. We think about this in a number of ways, including through readings, shows, community outreach, and workshops. We are at work building a poetry community at MSU and in the greater Lansing area. Contact: cpoetry@msu.edu (517) 884-1932 http://www.poetry.rcah.msu.edu

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