One has just been sent out as a biblical dove, has found nothing green, and slips back
into the darkness of the ark -- Kafka

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

"Signs" by Marina Tsvetaeva

If you've still not read Letters: Summer 1926 (letters between Pasternak, Tsvetaeva, and Rilke) you're missing something BIG.  Maybe Marina's "Signs," which I loved from the very first read and is included in the Epilogue, will entice you to pick up the book (it reads like a love story between three great poets).


As though bearing a mountain in my skirts--
My whole body hurts!
I recognize love by the pain
My whole body's length.

As though a field in me had been rent
For the least deluge.
I recognize love by the distance
Of everything nearest.

As though a lair had been dug inside me,
To the core, the tar.
I recognize love by the vein
Moaning my body's

Length. Fanning out like a mane,
Sudden gust, a Hun:
I recognize love by the crack
Of all the truest

Throat strings; rust in the throat
Crevices. Live salt.
I recognize love by the cleft,
No, by the trill,
My whole body's length!

(translated by Jamey Gambrell)
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