NYU Black Renaissance Noire NYU Black Renaissance Noire Vol 17.2: Fall 2017 - Page 102

* * * * * * * * * * * * I return from my walks in the woods With ever fuller baskets of poems. The wind dances with the last tree Still wearing a coat of copper leaves. They twirl in the air, Jump over the fence, Glide above the harvested field. In their rustling speech They try to tell me About their destiny and mine. We walked this spruce-lined path together once. Now the arm embracing me is the air’s. Soaring above unreal trees on a carpet of snow, I won’t be stopped by either balks or glades. * * * I met my small neighbor at last, Until now never seen, only heard And betrayed by the smell in the kitchen. She sat in a see-through bag of rice. When I turned on the light She crouched on a shelf, Eyeing me beadily and without fear — With interest, rather, and reproach: “This, then, is the intruder who has been bothering me lately, who clears all the crumbs from the table, who always closes the jar lids and shuts tight all cupboard doors”. A moment later she scampered gracefully Down the refrigerator’s electric cord And her short tail Disappeared behind the stove. I will have to leave some cheese on the table This time. I don’t think I will come back in winter. * * * Like a miraculous survivor I sit in a deck-chair for hours on end, Listening to my own thoughts And the distant sounds of the village, Suspended over the colour-changing Ranges of rolling hills. Peace is coming back to me Reluctantly. * * * November makes me a gift Of the last warm nights. The vague croissant of the moon Is tucked behind the misted pane of the sky. I take another deep breath Of solitude. * * * In the morning the garden dew is cold, Air crystals split the lungs with each breath. The neighbours’ guinea-fowls start a commotion. Dark clouds will screen the sun any moment. Smoke rises from the clearing On the opposite-lying slope. One last butterfly has blundered Into this nook of November. I’ve brewed strong tea; The mug scalds my cold fingertips. I am still here, marvelling at all that comes, or comes to pass. Marcówka, November 9 – 11, 1997 The night clouds Pounded the roof With heavy raindrops. In the morning the garden woke up Under a thick coverlet of snow, Though it’s already mid-April And swollen buds harden On the cherry tree. * * * Both the wood and the mountains have disappeared. The world exists only as far as the fence. Beyond there’s only the rustle of whiteness. After a two days’ rain the ditches have turned into clear-running streams. The beech leaves lining their beds are perfectly indifferent, neither complaining nor feeling the cold. They hum a hymn to non-existence — gazing up into the sky through a liquid lens. * * * * * * The hammock’s corpse swathed in snow underneath a stooping cherry tree. Damp fog soaks everything. My hair wet As the crown of the pine over there, Dipped, as the tip of a brush, in milk. * * * * * * The as-yet leafless birch is doubly white. Coal tits make snow fall from the upper branches. * * * In four years My poems haven’t improved the tiniest bit. But this is neither here nor there. * * * I find myself a receptacle for snow mixed with silence. So be it. Translated by Agnieszka Pokojska * * * Imagine the petal touching your nipple. Disinterestedness in white and pink. The leafless birches — two white masts hoisting a flag of blue. My dog is so happy She’s rolling in the dried grass. The mountains stand where they always have, Clouds join and part without reflection. I am the only one who thinks Who feels the need of defense against grief. * * * * * *