Home > 3. My Poetry & Translations > Ni L’Un, Ni L’Autre

Ni L’Un, Ni L’Autre

It’s odd how things can come together. I read the Odyssey my first year in college, and what with the translation’s 7-beat line (following the original material), the story made a powerful impression on me, and then was forgotten.

Maybe that’s how our fates are set–I’ve done some considerable wandering of my own over the (yikes!) decades since, and now, struggling to finish a poem, the great trickster himself has guided (or been guiding) me home. A long-delayed homecoming & happy… enjoy!

Ni L’un, Ni L’autre

You will have to get rid

 of everything

First, the elegant blue suit with

 its tie soft as butter

Next, the house with its

 chinoiserie, the pain of


Then, the car late at night

        its rage,

the banshee scream

        of the violated wind.

&   everyone

        you thought

 you were—all of them

leader, wanderer, warrior

But that is the least of it—the words

must go too

not just the writing, but

        memory also

abandon yourself–naked


 like cattle & the sun but



        You can’t even know her

    Crashed & strewn out,

lotus-blood, the sirens singing the

luscious term;


you two, and feel the sand,

your scattered


© 2011 The Rag Tree

Related RT Posts: 1) 50 Shades (4th poem).

Image: The Island of the Lotus-Eaters, French illustration, 18th C., WikiCmns, Public Domain.

  1. November 7, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    Wow, this is a poem I would like to read many times over. Caught my interest from the start with this line- ‘the elegant blue suit with its tie soft as butter’- and kept me engaged all the way through. There’s so much to explore here on your blog…look forward to wandering around. Thanks for your visit and for subscribing to my blog.

    • November 8, 2011 at 11:42 pm

      Emma: thanks for the encouragement! I will be following yr blog as well… RT

  1. December 26, 2011 at 10:17 am

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