I want to be a cow
and not my mother’s daughter.
I want to be a cow
and not in love with you.
I want to feel free to feel calm.
I want to be a cow who never knows
the kind of love you ‘fall in love with’ with;
a queenly cow, with hips as big and sound
as a department store,
a cow the farmer milks on bended knee,
who when she dies will feel dawn
bending over her like lawn to wet her lips.

I want to be a cow,
nothing fancy –
a cargo of grass,
a hammock of soupy milk
whose floating and rocking and dribbling’s undisturbed
by the echo of hooves to the city;
of crunching boots;
of suspicious-looking trailers parked on verges;
of unscrupulous restaurant-owners
who stumble, pink-eyed, from stale beds
into a world of lobsters and warm telephones;
of streamlined Japanese freighters
ironing the night,
heavy with sweet desire like bowls of jam.

The Tibetans have 85 words for states of consciousness.
This dozy cow I want to be has none.
She doesn’t speak.
She doesn’t do housework or worry about her appearance.
She doesn’t roam.
Safe in her fleet
of shorn-white-bowl-like friends,
she needs, and loves, and’s loved by,
only this –
the farm I want to be a cow on too.

Don’t come looking for me.
Don’t come walking out into the bright sunlight
looking for me,
black in your gloves and stockings and sleeves
and large hat.
Don’t call the tractorman.
Don’t call the neighbours.
Don’t make a special fruit-cake for when I come home:
I’m not coming home.
I’m going to be a cowman’s counted cow.
I’m going to be a cow
and you won’t know me.

Selima Hill


Human Beings

look at your hands
your beautiful useful hands
you’re not an ape
you’re not a parrot
you’re not a slow loris
or a smart missile
you’re human

not british
not american
not israeli
not palestinian
you’re human

not catholic
not protestant
not muslim
not hindu
you’re human

we all start human
we end up human
human first
human last
we’re human
or we’re nothing

nothing but bombs
and poison gas
nothing but guns
and torturers
nothing but slaves
of Greed and War
if we’re not human

look at your body
with its amazing systems
of nerve-wires and blood canals
think about your mind
which can think about itself
and the whole universe

look at your face
which can freeze into horror
or melt into love
look at all that life
all that beauty
you’re human
they are human
we are human
let’s try to be human


Adrian Mitchell

Alternative Anthem

Put the kettle on
Put the kettle on
It is the British answer
to Armageddon.

Never mind taxes rise
Never mind trains are late
One thing you can be sure of
and that’s the kettle, mate.

It’s not whether you lose
It’s not whether you win
It’s whether or not
you’ve plugged the kettle in.

May the kettle ever hiss
May the kettle ever steam
It is the engine
that drives our nation’s dream.

Long life the kettle
That rules over us
May it be limescale free
and may it never rust.

Sing it on the beaches
Sing it from the housetops
The sun may set on empire
but the kettle never stops.

John Agard, “We Brits”.

Arrogancia y convicciones.

Arrogance as the last means of comfort. If a man accounts for a misfortune, or his intellectual inadequacies, or his illness by seeing them as his predetermined fate, his ordeal, or mysterious punishment for something he had done earlier, he is thereby making his own nature interesting, and imagining himself superior to his fellow men. The proud sinner is a familiar figure in all religious sects.
Conviction is the belief that in some point of knowledge one possesses absolute truth. Such a belief presumes, then, that absolute truth exists; likewise, that the perfect methods for arriving at them have been found; finally, that every man who has convictions makes use of these perfect methods. All three assertions prove at once that the man of convictions is not the man of scientific thinking; he rands before us still in the age of theoretical innocence, a child, however grow-up he might be otherwise.

Friedrich Nietzsche, “Man Alone with Himself”.


Tanto monta

Te dirán
que vales
lo que eres
y no lo que tienes.
Y tendrán
sin dinero
es cuando vales
lo que eres:


Es como siempre
habías querido
y no podías
hasta que
de repente
lo estás
y entonces
ya no quieres
estar solo
pero claro
quién no quiere
lo que no tiene.



El odio son las cosas
que te gustaría hacer
con el locutor deportivo
de la radio del vecino
esos domingos por la tarde.

El odio son las cosas
que te gustaría hacer
con el macaco de uniforme
que sentencia -arma
al cinto- que el semáforo
no estaba en ámbar, sino en rojo.

El odio son las cosas
que te gustaría hacer
con el cívico paleto
vestido de payaso
que te dice
que no se permiten perros
en el parque.

El odio son las cosas
que te gustaría hacer
con la gente que choca contigo
por la calle
cuando vas cargado
con las bolsas de la compra
o un bidón de queroseno
para una estufa
que en cualquier caso
no funciona.

El odio son las cosas
que te gustaría hacer
con los automovilistas
cuando pisas un paso de peatones
y aceleran.

El odio son las cosas
que te gustaría hacer
con el neandertal en cuyas manos
alguien ha puesto
ese taladro de percusión.

El odio son las cosas
que te gustaría hacer
cuando le dejas un libro a alguien
y te lo devuelve en edición fascicular.

El odio es una edición crítica
de Góngora.

El odio son las campanas
de la iglesia
en mañanas de resaca.

El odio es la familia.

El odio es un cajero
que se niega a darte más billetes
por imposibilidad transitoria
de comunicación con la central.

El odio es una abogada
de oficio
aliándose con el representante
de la ley
a las ocho de la mañana
en una comisaría
mientras sufres un ataque
de hipotermia.

El odio es una úlcera
en un atasco.

El odio son las palomitas
en el cine.

El odio es un cenicero
atestado de cáscaras de pipa.

El odio es un teléfono.

El odio es preguntar por un teléfono
y que te digan que no hay.

El odio es una visita
no solicitada.

El odio es un flautista

El odio
en estado puro
es retroactivo
e intransferible.

El odio es que un estúpido
no entienda
tu incomprensión,
tu estupidez.

El odio son las cosas
que te gustaría hacer
con este poema
si tu pluma
su pistola.

Roger Wolfe.

One Art

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.

Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

Elizabeth Bishop.

New Hotel Krakow

In February the poplars are even slimmer
than in summer, frozen through. My family
spread across the earth, beneath the earth,
in different countries, poems, paintings.

Noon, I’m on Na Groblach Square.
I sometimes came to see my aunt
and uncle here(partly out of duty).
They’d stopped complaining about their fate,

the system, but their faces looked like
an empty second-hand bookshop.
Now someone else lives in that apartment,
strange people, the scent of a strange life.

A new hotel was built nearby,
bright rooms, breakfasts doubtless comme il faut,
juices, coffee, toast, glass, concrete,
amnesia-and suddenly, I don’t know why,
a moment of penetrating joy.

Adam Zagajewski en GRANTA 114, “Aliens”.


In broken images

He is quick, thinking in clear images;
I am slow, thinking in broken images.

He becomes dull, trusting to his clear images;
I become sharp, mistrusting my broken images.

Trusting his images, he assumes their relevance;
Mistrusting my images, I question their relevance.

Assuming their relevance, he assumes the fact;
Questioning their relevance, I question the fact.

When the fact fails him, he question his senses;
When the fact fails me, I approve my senses.

He continues quick and dull in his clear images;
I continue slow and sharp in my broken images.

He in a new confusion of his understanding;
I in a new understanding of my confusion.
Robert Graves.