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The Arts

Poetry a ‘powerful catalyst for dialogue and peace’

The United Nations created World Poetry Day in 1999 to celebrate poetic expression in the world’s many languages and to laud poetry as a “powerful catalyst for dialogue and peace.” In honor of the day and the consonance of its values with those of Rochester’s own Language Center and Paul J. Burgett Intercultural Center, students share some favorite poems in the languages in which they were written.

The poems and readers featured here are:


Il trionfo di Bacco e Arianna by Lorenzo de’ Medici
read by Yuxing “Estele” Li ’19

Quant’è bella giovinezza,
che si fugge tuttavia!
Chi vuol esser lieto, sia:
di doman non c’è certezza.
Quest’è Bacco e Arianna,
belli, e l’un dell’altro ardenti:
perchè ‘l tempo fugge e inganna,
sempre insieme stan contenti.
Queste ninfe ed altre genti
sono allegre tuttavia.
Chi vuol esser lieto, sia:
di doman non c’è certezza.
How beautiful our Youth is
That’s always flying by us!
Who’d be happy, let him be so:
Nothing’s sure about tomorrow.
Here are Bacchus, Ariadne,
Lovely, burning for each other:
Since deceiving time must flee,
They seek their delight together.
These nymphs, and other races,
Are full of happiness forever.
Who’d be happy, let him be so:
Nothing’s sure about tomorrow.



L’Eternité by Arther Rimbaud
read by Ian Manzi ’18

Elle est retrouvée.
Quoi ? – L’Eternité.
C’est la mer allée
Avec le soleil.
Ame sentinelle,
Murmurons l’aveu
De la nuit si nulle
Et du jour en feu.
Des humains suffrages,
Des communs élans
Là tu te dégages
Et voles selon.

It has been found again.
What ? – Eternity.
It is the sea fled away
With the sun.
Sentinel soul,
Let us whisper the confession
Of the night full of nothingness
And the day on fire.From human approbation,
From common urges
You diverge here
And fly off as you may.



On the Stork Tower, by Wang Zhihuan
read by Shasha Cui, Warner School

王之涣白日依山尽, 黄河入海流,
欲穷千里目, 更上一层楼。
The sun beyond the mountain glows,
The yellow river seawards flows.
You can enjoy a great sight,
By climbing to a greater height.



Fotoğraf by Melih Cavdet Anday
read by Linnie Schell ’19

Dört kişi parkta çektirmişiz,
Ben, Orhan, Oktay, bir de Şinasi…
Anlaşılan sonbahar
Kimimiz paltolu, kimimiz ceketli
Yapraksız arkamızdaki ağaçlar…
Babası daha ölmemiş Oktay’ın,
Ben bıyıksızım,
Orhan, Süleyman efendiyi tanımamış.
Ama ben hiç böyle mahzun olmadım;
Ölümü hatırlatan ne var bu resimde?
Oysa hayattayız hepimiz.
The four of us had our photo taken in the park
Me, Orhan, Oktay, and Şinasi
Autumn apparently
Some of us in coats, some of us in jackets
Leafless trees behind us…
Oktay’s father hasn’t died yet
I have a mustache,
Orhan hasn’t met Master Süleyman
But I’ve never been so melancholy;
What in this picture would remind me of death?
For all of us are alive



Alô, Liberdade by Chico Buarque
read by Isabella dos Santos ’20

Alô, liberdade. Desculpa eu vir assim sem avisar, mas já era tarde.
Eu tenho tanta alegria, adiada, abafada, quem dera gritar.
E por fugir ao contrário, sinto-me duas vezes mais veloz
Vem, mas vem sem fantasia.
É sempre bom lembrar que um copo vazio esta cheio de ar.
Hello freedom. Sorry I came without warning, but it was already late.
I have so much joy, postponed, suffocating, that I could scream.
And by escaping the opposite, I feel twice as strong.
Come, but come without fantasy.
It is always good to remember that an empty cup is full of air.



Mailied by Goethe
read by Philemon Rono ’21

Wie herrlich leuchtet
Mir die Natur!
Wie glänzt die Sonne!
Wie lacht die Flur!
Es dringen Blüten
Aus jedem Zweig
Und tausend Stimmen
Aus dem Gesträuch
Und Freud’ und Wonne
Aus jeder Brust.

How grandly nature
Shines upon me!
How glistens the sun!
How laughs the mead!
From countless branches
The blossoms thrust,
A thousand voices
From underbrush,And joy ecstatic
Fills everyone.



Warsaw by Julian Tuwim
read by Jolene Bowser

Jaka wielka jest Warszawa!
Ile domów, ile ludzi!
Ile dumy i radości
W sercach nam stolica budzi!
Ile ulic, szkół, ogrodów,
Placów, sklepów, ruchu, gwaru,
Kin, teatrów, samochodów
I spacerów i obszaru!
Aż się stara Wisła cieszy,
Że stolica tak urosła,
Bo pamięta ją maleńką,
A dziś taka jest dorosła.

How great is Warsaw!
How many houses, how many people!
How much pride and joy
The capital is awakening in our hearts!
How many streets, schools, gardens,
Squares, shops, traffic, bustle,
Cinemas, theaters, cars
And walks and areas!Even the old Vistula enjoys,
That the capital has grown,
Because she remembers her as a child
And today she is an adult.



Al-Quds (Jerusalem) by Nizar Qabbani
read by Nuh Shahirah ’19

بـَــكــَــيــْـــتُ .. حــَــتــَّــى اِنــْـــتــَــهــَـــت الــدُّمــُـــوع
صــَـــلــَّــيــْــتُ .. حــَــتــَّــى ذَابــَـــت الــشــُّــمــُـــوع
رَكــَــعــْــتُ .. حــَــتــَّــى مــَــلــَّــنــِــي الــرُّكــُـــوع
ســَــألــْـــتُ عــَــنْ مــُــحــَــمــَّــدٍ فــِــيــكِ ، وعــَــنْ يــَــســُــوع
يــَــا قــُـــدْسُ ، يــَــا مــَــدِيــنــَـــةً تــَــفــُــوحُ أَنــْــبــِــيــَــاءَ
يــَــا أَقــْـــصــَــرَ الــدُّرُوبِ بــَــيــْــنَ الأَرْضِ والــســَّــمــَــاءِ
يــَــا قــُــدْسُ ، يــَــا مــَــنــَــارةَ الــشــَّــرَائــِــــع
يــَــا طــِــفــْــلــَــةً جــَــمــِــيــلــَــةً مــَــحــْــرُوقــَـــةَ الأصــَـــابــِـــعِ
حــَـــزيــنــَــةٌ عــَــيــْـــنــَــاكِ ، يــَــا مــَــدِيــنــَـــةَ الــبــَـــتــُــول
I cried till tears ended
I prayed .. till candles melted
I knelt .. till kneeling got bored with me
In you, I asked about Muhammad and Jesus
O, Quds, O, city scented by prophets
O, you, shortest paths between earth and heaven
O, Quds! O, you, minaret of religions
O, you pretty child with burnt fingers
Your eyes are sad, O, you city of the virgin (Mary)


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