Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Marina Tsvetaeva : An Attempt at Jealousy

Seated Woman : Pablo Picasso (1960)


How is your life with that other one?
Simpler, is it? A stroke of the oars
and a long coastline—
and the memory of me

is soon a drifting island
(not in the ocean—in the sky!)
Souls—you will be sisters—
sisters, not lovers.

How is your life with an ordinary
woman? without the god inside her?
The queen supplanted—

How do you breathe now?
Flinch, waking up?
What do you do, poor man?

“Hysterics and interruptions—
enough! I’ll rent my own house!”
How is your life with that other,
you, my own.

Is the breakfast delicious?
(If you get sick, don’t blame me!)
How is it, living with a postcard?
You who stood on Sinai.

How’s your life with a tourist
on Earth? Her rib (do you love her?)
is it to your liking?

How’s life? Do you cough?
Do you hum to drown out the mice in your mind?

How do you live with cheap goods: is the market rising?
How’s kissing plaster-dust?

Are you bored with her new body?
How’s it going, with an earthly woman, 
with no sixth sense?

                                                         Are you happy?
No? In a shallow pit—how is your life,
my beloved? Hard as mine
with another man?

~ Marina Tsvetaeva

(Translated from the Russian by Ilya Kaminsky & Jean Valentine)

 Marina Tsvetaeva

Marina Tsvetaeva
 Portrait of Marina Tsvetaeva : By Magda Nachman-Acharya (1913)

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Ludwig Steinherr : A Good Likeness


There are no
good photos of me:
there’s always something
the lighting the distance
friends look for
in vain –
Only that one
you triggered by chance
while hanging the camera
round your neck
(me slantwise from behind
across the overturning
mountain path plunging
out of the picture) –
but there, in turn,
I’m too much
like myself
for anyone to
recognise me

~ Ludwig Steinherr 

(Translated from German by Richard Dove)

Ludwig Steinherr