|Bulgarian journalist and poet Ekaterina Yosifova|
I sorted through a big pile of random papers the other day, trying to get organized (ha!), and found a poem I tore out of a review discovered in a neighbor's free Little Library - didn't remember what review it was that I'd found it in, though I've now looked it up (Black Warrior Review, Fall/Winter 1991.) I re-read the poem and, after maybe a year or two of its being buried in one stack of papers and another, I continue to love it, so I'll share it here today. A small treasure, found, then lost, then found again. As autumn rains come down, and Novembrrrrrrrrr approaches, I begin to think of winter. So - "Beneath Winter's Roof" - what could be there? Here's what Ekaterina Yosifova found:
Beneath Winter's Roof
Let us honor the offerings,
let us cut quinces for the wine,
let us bring out memory's salty grapes.
Yes, it was wonderful,
we experienced all we could
(which wasn't so little, after all)
and pain is joy's companion.
The heart's eternal love song--
this priceless game that can rescind all verdicts.
We'd wake up ready for joy
since we were children, taught to forgive.
We tried out a scream and all kinds of silence,
all kinds of words-- the earth's big enough,
we won't weigh her down
--but we could even keep silent like old friends.
Wonderful world, where
the most important questions go unanswered,
where sweet wells don't run dry,
and the future
will be no less vast without us.
Ekaterina Yosifova (translation by Lisa Sapinkopf)
Here is a link to a brief interview of the poet, who is Bulgarian. In it, she says two things that interest me. First this, about reading and writing poetry:
It doesn’t matter which readers, it doesn’t matter whose poetry – as long as it’s Poetry. It exists. Everywhere and at all times, since man (pre-literacy) felt excited by owning this peculiar sense of understanding, entering…We need it. The encounters are joyful."
That's nice, isn't it, the feeling that poetry is a "peculiar sense of understanding" and that encountering it is "joyful"?
Later in the interview, she talks about being a young woman in Sofia in the late 60's, unable to find poetry translated from the English:
American literature was starting to get published [in Bulgaria]; there were lines in front of the bookstores, more and more fiction was being translated, with “clarifying” forewords. But not poetry. Was it because poetry did not yield to “clarifications”?
Poetry not yielding to clarification. I like that idea.
Don't forget to vote on November 8th!!!
And don't forget right now to head over to the Poetry Friday round-up - it's being hosted by the wonderful Linda Baie over at Teacher Dance (and while you're there, you might just learn a thing or two about "stirdulation." And no, despite the sound of that word, it's not an activity baristas engage in.)