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Friday, 30 August 2013

Marzanna Bogumila Kielar: Four Poems


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Zalew Wislany, Warmia, Poland: photo by LeszekZadio, 19 June 2009



1912

1.

Memory, allegedly birth, always
.................................(its rocky spires
and dune-echoes); I think of us on the ferry, approaching the island.
You sweeping my hair behind my ear,
whispering: "I'll go to synagogue and thank Him for giving you to me" --
the moment when love imparts its mortality
to immortality.

...........................The night sky slopes aside,
eastward. And where the basalt of night is thinnest,
severed by streaks of erosion, dawn rises red-
fleshed. There is no easy passage between light and dark.
There is fire and there is raw black sky. Desert armor of the sea. Body of sleep
that splits along the length of the crevice, icy rust uncovered.

2.

The forest in the depths of the island, dwarfed, leafless,
kneeling -- when dawn strikes the horizon with a blood-shot fin.
And the foal, the day, tries to rise among the shrubs,
surrendering the afterbirth to the mother's tongue,
and each movement gives birth to a glint of sun.
I watch it pause opposite the sea --

and there is nothing that could pass,
and the wind takes its wings from the foam on the rocks, and the sky is unveiled, lit,
like the body after love, thrown on the shore at high tide.

. 

"the sun appears..."



the sun appears only early mornings and late afternoons
like a vibrant plant that wants to hoard the desert dew

grains of ice, gnawed, strewn loose, burning then
in acetylene radiance.
Burning post-glacial gutters and smelting places in icy forests,
ice-jammed lakes with waters the color of iodine that receive
torrents of colossal tomes, dark
volumes of clouds;
burning the world Plato said was shaped from fire, water, wind, and earth.
Of fire -- to be visible.

.
 
She
 
She is home within me with a double skin of glass.
She applies me to her lips like a frozen river.
Licks the sweat from stones.

Her lips whitened from imminent squalls,
her eyes that hold steel skeins as far as the horizon.
She wears wolf's hide, killing off her own wounded young, looking
at me crawling to water --

the luminous, sharp-edged sea strikes the shore
and shreds of life like foam settle on the granite headstones;
memory, that stormy wave, carries within it ample debris: rubble, fragments,
dust.

Clouds above this blood.
A sky that occurs and elapses, seeps into emptiness and frost.

She has owned my face since birth.

She doles out oxygen.
Opens me along a fused seam,
sweeps aside the snow inside me -- she who dreams of me. A knife without a handle.

The breath of the avalanche in which I am born.

She. This.

.
  
"even an hour..."


even an hour ago the morning mist
forecast no such clarity, no such sky, enormous,
nor the brimming over of fish in the warmed waters of the pond;
the happiness of wild ducks bursting into flight,
leaving their traces on the creased sheet
of an August day,
long luring the gaze, calmer and calmer.
The basins of rust-red gardens fill
and spill over in ears of corn.
And you fall silent, strangely guiltless. Pure:

pleasant hills stand in the proud light,
and in the grasses, low, nestles death




Marzanna Bogumila Kielar (b. 1963), poems translated from the Polish by Jennifer Croft, 2003



Sunrise swan, Warmian-Mazurian, Poland: photo by , 16 April 2013


Frombork, Warmia, Poland: photo by LeszekZadio, 8 August 2013



Frombork, Warmia, Poland
: photo by LeszekZadio, 8 August 2013



Frombork, Warmia, Poland: photo by LeszekZadio, 8 August 2013




 Tolkmicko, Warmia, Poland. Stradanka River Valley Nature Reserve: photo by LeszekZadio, 4 May 2013


Kadyny, Warmia, Poland: photo by LeszekZadio, 1 May 2013



 Tolkmicko, Warmia, Poland: photo by LeszekZadio, 23 November 2012



Winter shore, Mazurian, Poland: photo by , 14 April 2013



Landscape with fences. Northeastern Poland, Podlaskie region: photo by Jerzy Radimersky, 12 April 2013


Stanczyki (northern Poland): photo by Patryk Hejduk (paprycjusz), 31 March 2013


Zamarzniety Kawalek Baltyku (Zalew Mislany). Tolkmicko, Warmian-Masurian, Poland: photo by Chris ZaMaloCzasu (xpisto1), 17 March 2013


Northern Poland, frozen lake Kisajno and Dargin: photo by Anna Dymkowka-Kowalski, 17 March 2013



Zalew Wislany, Warmia, Poland: photo by LeszekZadio, 20 February 2011



Stradanka River Valley Nature Reserve, Warmia, Poland: photo by LeszekZadio, 23 March 2013

9 comments:

Wooden Boy said...

Body of sleep
that splits along the length of the crevice, icy rust uncovered.

She doles out oxygen.
Opens me along a fused seam,
sweeps aside the snow inside me - she who dreams of me.

All this dream geology and the haze in those photographs, making us uncertain even of our limits, the distances.

This beautiful poetry works with nature as no fixed concept; a scene against which we're never quite distinct.

Nin Andrews said...

I love this poet! I ordered her book and can't wait for it to arrive . . .

TC said...

"All this dream geology and the haze in those photographs, making us uncertain even of our limits, the distances.

"This beautiful poetry works with nature as no fixed concept; a scene against which we're never quite distinct."

Couldn't have said that better. So won't try.

STEPHEN RATCLIFFE said...

Tom,

"ice-jammed lakes . . . volumes of clouds . . . visible" --in these lovely photos, along with much else in Poland, so real it seems here, and so far away. . .

Annie said...

Amen to that.

Hazen said...

In Kielar, the natural world has found its voice, a beautiful, knowing, human voice. “There is no easy passage between light and dark.”

vazambam (Vassilis Zambaras) said...

This is a marvelous poet marvelously translated into English.

Unknown said...

In Marzanna’s Land

Among the lovely things one might find
reflection of deciduous forest upon still water
berries
sunbursts through thick trees
body of sleep
like the body after love

There is no easy passage
from mortality to immortality

Fire, water, wind, and earth
with a double skin of glass
has owned my face since birth
applies me to my lips

pleasant hills stand in the proud light,
and in the grasses, low, nestles death

Harris Schiff

TC said...

Pleased (and encouraged) to hear others heard and felt this work as I did and continue to do. That is, gratefully.