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As the resident poet at EcoHealth, my verse finds inspiration these days in the spectre of global pandemics. At LMU Munich's Amerika-Institut, where I tutor composition and poetics, I'm anatomizing the sonnets of E. A. Robinson for my dissertation. I also teach at Münchner Volkshochschule and Amerikahaus.

20140718

Vergognando talor ch' ancor si taccia

by Francesco Petrarca
Translated by Marion Shore

  Ashamed sometimes, my lady, that I still 
cannot express your beauty in my rhyme,
I wander to that sweet and distant time
when you alone gained power of my will.
  But even there I find no guiding skill,
no strength to scale a height I cannot climb,
for such a task demands a force sublime,
at whose attempt I fall back, mute and still.
  How often do I move my lips to speak,
and find my voice lies buried in my breast --
but then, what sound could ever rise so high?
  How often in my verses do I seek
to find the words my tongue cannot express,
but pen and hand are vanquished with each try.

Note:  A recitation can be heard here.

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