|From the book The Wild Rose|
|Legends and Fantasies|
(1976 - 1978)
A Suite of Landscapes
|1. The Spring|
The first, to those who crowd round the entrance,
smiling at you from their inner eyes,
and who drink and cannot drink up the in-love water –
the healing water of love of oneself.
The three-handed light of pity and glory
and pain, beloved to the end,
stands over you, and the joints glow,
the palm is round, covering the fledgling.
I would like to bring to you
the cup of betrayal, the fabled phial,
resounding as our cleansed heart,
so that Mozart could outsing Horace.
2. A Glade
There was an estate here, and the lime-trees led
to where Erastuses read Foblases,
and feats of arms were in the distance.
The chords blossomed like tiny roses
and Racine’s miraculous phrases ran wild.
A vignette in the country where no vines grew!
But still sometime that could have happened,
when the nightingale choked like a brother,
the untended garden rushing into the pond,
over Liza, over the best of the Ophelias here.
3. In the Bushes
“I too, you know”,
this emerges from hearing, from the dry forest
“I lived sometime.
I was the local little fool, unfit for work, only
to carry water to my parents’ house up the rich
So I lived and carried alien water, and never asked whether
I could drink it.
An old woman with a heavy heart, like a drop on a berry,
suddenly bent over me:
“It’s time,” she says, “get ready.”
The cart started off,
and the wheels thudded on the hump-backed logs.
There was crying, teardrops, squeaks in the house,
but we no longer heard:
slowly, slowly we gathered healing herbs from the darkness:
betony, sweet clover, magic flower...”
Of silver, white, green, grey,
now breathing out, now breathing in,
but round and round on the water’s progress,
over the escape and cold and choking!
Others are ordered to raise the darkness a little,
but they will never be asked about this –
the eternal protectors of the sullen day,
the sucklers of the powerful, bad-weather light.
When the victor, not trusting himself,
crosses the line and looks from the outside
he sees, that there is still a fight to fight,
and the whip of the contest draws closer and closer.
There are races there in honour of Elijah’s eternal day,
in honour of the inner storms, forming the earth,
squinting the eyes and releasing the stirrups,
dropping the post from the heavens from the cart.
The people of soul run out to us
and scatter torn bank notes like flowers
from there where the villages are, where the boy walks
whistling absent-mindedly and lashing the burdock,
where it is one hundred thousand boxes high
and hope lashes and the wrist moans,
and the spirit falls and drops flowers,
overcome by the expansiveness of the project of happiness.
6. The High Meadow
In the slow sultry heat the friend of the meadows
and the friend of light in the slow sultry heat
lies and the face goes away deep
into the hanging, movable mirror.
The space is like the thoughts of the sick:
it can’t overstep the last doors:
“I will get up, get up from the meadow flowers,
but you tell me where I can lie.”
The beating heart will bend over her,
vertigo will bow her to her knees:
you fly as you lie, you fly on your back,
fly like a beggar at everyone’s doorstep.
7. The Village
Like a child to everything alive
wants to find a many-barrelled instrument,
and strokes the keyboard, and begs and beats,
but nothing is right; and so, in frustration,
he bangs the piano lid shut and suddenly sings himself,
so these houses come out unwillingly
from the dark trees, and night comes down.
Like lanterns they hang on the hill.
There seem to be seven of them. But their number
is measurelessly calm, and multiplies itself in the mind.
And an outsider is not worthy to count.
They are anonymous as a common name.
The dead come into them, when they are asked,
and dogs wail, but they can bear that,
and they see the moon, like a big window,
from where they look and come to dream,
and they pour oil into the hanging cups.
8. The Prophetic Bird
There where far away the water mutters
non-Russian speech, and human eyes
see nothing, and the echo,
collapsing there, returns deaf and dumb,
there the prophetic midnight searches the thickets,
and pulls out a black bird-whistle and whistles –
and the bird flies, emerging with difficulty
as though searching for forgotten doors.
Does it want to abandon itself, like a house
of a loss which outlived its time?
But so it should not get lost they follow it
and carry a lantern before it.
“Oh Lord, oh Lord, my body
has long become a likeness of a crevice,
into which those powers that scrutinise me
look at their own business,
and look, rising and falling in it,
I overfill the flying house.”
9. The Forest Road
The flowers smell headier than ever.
Opening the forbidden door
the forest road goes off there
to the invisible dwellings, to the Orcus underworld of birds,
where the stream sings with unopened mouth
about the past life without name and aim,
and the sinful souls sigh
that they are preparing for us a love potion.
And there is such disappeared and secret love
mixed in here with the subsoil moisture,
that this, like blood, will echo in the blood,
will show the road and will scream in the ravine.
10. The Ravine
So it’s scary enough, yet still to there,
slowing down a little, like liquid in a funnel,
the coloured water of the forest edge and cuttings
runs down and perishes and goes round the border.
There the poison berry looks out from the bush
and asks for lips, and presses everyone
to come to the maternity darkness, where height itself
embroiders on canvas the conception of the end.
11.The Sky at Night
This is the threshold of the Pleiades and Hyades,
of the coloured beauty, having said farewell to colour.
We go back along the narrow path
into the needle, toiling over the object.
Diving into the deep fabric, and then
gleaming over the endless tip –
over the black sewing, which states
that there is no one, who is not marked by a star.
“And they set fire to the house, but we do not burn.
They smash the glass, but the air shifts
and the light flares in the unlightable darkness.
They take away the clothes, and we talk
and the scribes hurry after us,
and the pens squeak and no one is too tired
to write and describe that same victory,
and golden Gulistan makes the cherries tremble,
and the poplar stands, like a glass of Latin,
and the mother-appletree is a young Rigveda.”