To begin ...

As the twentieth century fades out
the nineteenth begins
it is as if nothing happened
though those who lived it thought
that everything was happening
enough to name a world for & a time
to hold it in your hand
unlimited.......the last delusion
like the perfect mask of death

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Irakli Qolbaia: Healing Poem

[An example of the geographic & cultural range of English-language writing, this one a recent work. from the Georgian poet and translator Irakli Qolbaia.  Qolbaia, who has appeared earlier in Poems and Poetics, writes elsewhere of the deep sources of language & psyche“:  “Could the embrace of all languages and all consciousnesses not then be seen as only an initial stage on the journey beyond the strictly human and into all-language / all-psyche: vegetal-language, animal-language, night-language, dream-language? If so, then I hope this may be our contribution to Paul Celan’s command: ‘there are still songs to sing beyond mankind’. And, finally, in evoking dream or dream-language or dream-work, I also have in mind Stevens’ ‘the vast ventriloquism of sleep’s faded papier-mâché’ which, of course, ever leads to ‘a new knowledge of reality.’”  What follows, here, is the latest instance from his own work in English. (j.r.)]

     Yesterday all cries                where we lay
                                   our hearts to their
dead       and everyone that met me struck me as familiar
       stranger                they see me and cover their
    face                  everyone I met       another and me
in him         at the place between me and myself
           am by myself    without me       but quiet
quiet      something is heard       white noise has increased too much
lately         thickened, grown     nothing ever knows
          how to grow on its own        and this feeling, misborn
      mine,      towards you       will grow so much with what is missing
until “it overcomes the ways of year and sun”       Virgil
                                     has these words for you               I
have adorned with hellebore the silence, where
              your wound says, has
healed                               music unknown, inscaped, otherous
                         inborn,   as if all night long I’ve been listening
to your ear,           when my feelings towards you are over,
       my misborn       feeling for you                the solstice of my life
will cradle the vision of you        as for now, my nightside is breathing you-air
—I am up to this pain: am adeep with it           “I lose you to you, that
is my snow consolation”     —your snow skin, a honeysuckle to
your eyes,     your deep scent     its lavender flesh        I wanted for
                 from you         as grass in the summered
                                   sun                           by my life
                                                                       I kissed it, that scent, and it gave me
                                                                 present hunger, though full
I am   (as Will & Walt before us)     “I find I contain gneiss
                       coal, longthreaded
                            moss, fruits, grains     esculent
                   roots     /    and
               am stucco’d with quadrupeds and birds
all over”                                —in the garden, where I slept, that which
                  was to disappear, wherein I was
                        to disappear,     the sun was borne, the rays
have flown, from the garden, as rays has flown the garden, and returned
                          through the front, to which it hooked itself
as threads, to my solar plexus,       the garden
                             spectre, I heard, rustled         with grave steps            mirror
deepened with our dreams?
         no, my dreams are beyond the mirror      and only my
mourning deepens the mirror                    we lay our hearts to
their dead            où leur conscience d’etre soit moins
douloureuse                when you lose everyone you hold
              dear to you         remember me        so that
my waters          can      pass into
               new vessels                   flow of animals
is expected             if it be your will
                take this cup from me
                   am I the healer or the sickness
                               am I the healing or
                       the rupture        am I the solitude or
        the multitude       am I inspired or
                       am I the curse     am I boundless
or am I blindness     am I boundless or
           am I the bound
                   am as beautiful as
             dream in stone
you shall be a swan tonight, and question me
                                                                                          we lay our hearts to their dead
        we cannot lay her in this cold earth, say
             all seven of them                her      in cold earth, the woman
that loved me                         for a night              (“I shall tell you
       of elsewhere that is
                 inside”)         in the earth, where
I enwrapped my guirlande inside hers’, my hair
      in her occino      in her dream-hair      in winter’s
             wet leaves                    her winter earth
grassscent               cannot wake her, cannot take
       my eyes off her, cannot
           take my eyes off her        I fail not to
look at her, must            not to lend my
      shoulder for her oreiller    to lay her head      I want
her to sleep,      I want stones
            I’d be for her,      the stone where her heart
pounds           and dream in stone         of those who dead from stone
              to dead from stone, to dead from stone
to dead from stone
                these dreams, the ones
I love                     each one of them a killing dream in stone, lethal
stones in my way      none of them am I willing to
             get over

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