Monday, May 04, 2009

"From unexpiated sins poems are born"

Last week, this poem arrived in my inbox:

Written Late at Night

Almost all day I sat at the table
And, swapping two pens, wrote letters.
One of them, as a joke, was in gothic script.
I tried to be honest, avoid untruth
As far as the truth about myself and events
In their general contour was accessible to me.
Then a few longer phone conversations
And a short break to read eight poems by Cavafy.
How great! Superb! Who can write like that about desire and love,
Admitting that when they burn out
And the bitter tasting of the body is taken away,
They guide the poet's hand. In them and only in them
All future incantations.

The poem is by Janusz Szuber (translated by Ewa Hryniewicz-Yarbrough), a collection of whose poetry makes its first appearance in English later this month. They Carry a Promise.

And like that, I think I'm in love. It speaks to me! Why? I don't know!

A few of Szuber's poems are available online.

Books in Canada
Three Poems:
— Crowing of Roosters ("Beneath bluish cloud the bluish pith of plums/With ash-grey coating and sticky slit — /There the sweet crusts of dirty amber.")
— A Short Treatise On Analogies
— Six Forty-Five A.M.

Between Ice and Water
Everything Here ("That wet summer abounding in frogs")

Words without Borders
Tiresias's Lesson
Tiresias's Farewell (which opening I've borrowed)

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