poetry in translation

COIMBRA (extract)

The song had fallen silent
Or something in the song
No one knows
Something
Which no longer had its place
And turned silence into
A lid on an absence of eye

It was unimportant
To commerce or power
Struggles
It was unimportant
Rest assured we could
Do without it: miracle-free speech
Still had its good days

Save with a few maybe
For whom words
Remained unbearably empty
And the soul
The most delicate part of the body
Like a flag
Abandoned on a balcony

Save maybe for the few
In a worse way
In solitudes’ great bed
Where the heart
Is a drop of mercury
Or resin
Slow on the bark of the tree

And a universe we deem indifferent
Because it is remote
While we are inside
The universe we deem to know
Because we are born into it
Though we know so little about ourselves
And the silence inside ourselves

The universe waited wordless
For the song had fallen silent
Or something in the song
No one knows
But a few were thinking
Of the birds that a single winter
Had muted for ever

COLD

At the edge of night
my mother is seated
her clothes in tatters
two fangs
in her toothless mouth

She throws herself on me
and sucks out my marrow

ANISE KOLTZ
(from At the Edge of Night, ARC publications, 2009)

My body
is covered with feathers

My arms hang
like broken wings

I dread the dark –

My shadow is a messenger
from hell

ANISE KOLTZ
(from Soleils chauves/Bald Suns. Unpublished)

The Error

He didn’t wait for night to arrive
to go to bed.
He lay his dreams on a pillow of pebbles.
He was more than a little perturbed by the nearness of love,
but he shrugged it off at the frontier of the journey
he would never complete.

He didn’t wait for the deluge to come but disappeared
into the desert that poured into him.

He had made the mistake of approaching
what could not yet be and of remembering it.

MIMY KINET 1948-1996
Poetry Salzburg Review 8, Autumn 2005)

The wall is still there all through the day
that starts over again and yet I’d been
told: tomorrow when you wake it will have gone
I rose before dawn kept

peering through the curtain I also read
a book to while away the time and you
all through this ordeal you sent
no letters from the other town

JEAN PORTANTE
(from Point/Erasing, Dedalus, 2003)