[ETA: Which, to be fair, aren't exactly cheerful, so be forewarned.] They don't fit neatly into any particular categories, but I still remember when I heard each for the first time, and they moved me more than I would have thought. The first is by Czeslaw Milosz, translated by Robert Hass:


Gustav Klimt (1862-1918)

Judith (detail)

Ă–sterreichische Museum

O lips half open, eyes half closed, the rosy nipple of your unveiled nakedness, Judith!

And they, rushing forward in an attack with your image preserved in their memories, torn apart by bursts of artillery shells, falling down into pits, into putrefaction.

O massive gold of your brocade, of your necklace with its rows of precious stones, Judith, for such a farewell!

[I heard this one at a reading by Hass—he talked about translating Milosz and calling him because he didn't know what "O!" meant. Was it surprise? Sadness? Ecstasy? Milosz replied that it wasn't really an exclamation, but rather the exhalation one gives when suddenly overwhelmed by something beautiful, and the poem was about soldiers in World War I being overwhelmed by Klimt's painting, to the point that they still had it in their minds as they went over the top.]