Thursday, August 06, 2009

ivan kupala poems i)

overexposed wildflowers taken from the ground up, riverlot 56, july 2009


pid sosnoju spala ja
(skazala stara baba)
shyshka mizh nohy vpala –

years ago, said the old woman,
i found the very centre
of the earth: a knotted heart

bursting into a greengreen
green catherine-wheel of leaves
from each pale birch limb

of my body; legs curved
& split swallowtailing as
clever fingers of trees

grazed breezes nipping
at the hem of my skirt –
i remember, she told me,

& i get so homesick now,
my veins heavy & yearning,
thick grey roots of silt – for

how the core rustles, deep
in the cambium a stirring,
how the summer quakes

& holds: sweat sap-sticky
& thunderclouds like dark
ripe berries in the hills

& the mouth says zbyraj mene!
pluck me
while the sun
gets under your skin,

nestles in the tangle
of your belly & births
a hundred swallows flying

out from that swirling hollow,
that well, a whirlpool
made of old old light

ivan kupala poems ii)

lone dandelion, charles simmonds park, edmonton, june 2009


midnight now. & the dark
wavers with the fires of blue
moths, thoughts the colour

of lightning. in this heat
i can’t sleep for trying
to remember what he said

it was like:

a whole meadowful of ferns
all pulled up by their roots
at once –

one fell swoop, sage-white
fingerlings hanging breathless,
all aching for water –

& i go warm now, feel the
salty streak of my cheekbone,
the flooded field of my mouth.

ivan kupala poems iii)

luminous cow parsnip, riverlot 56, july 2009

me in the wildflowers, riverlot 56, july 2009. photographed by jason.


weave a wreath of
yarrow, mallow –

(koło jana)

weave a wreath now
& i will follow

(- tam dziewczęta się schodziły
sobie ogień nałożyły,
tam ich północ ciemna naszła)

for how (your) words
bend willow, how (your)
words fill hollows –

(nocel mała, kopiel moja)

you pull me,

(koło jana, koło jana)

taut veins running hard
with sap tang & pulse
to the rivery resonance

of (your) voice –

arch in me;

(nocel mała, kopiel moja)

gather hypericum,
fold / unfold
the leaves sun-heavy

& logostrophic, weave
a wreath of gentians,
fireweed, burn those

full kernels that burst
when heated – turned
to the warmth of (your)


(tam na górze ogień gore,
na tej górze dwoje drzewa.
jedno drzewo, boże drzewo,
na tym drzewie kolebeczka)

* Polish lines are from Orkiestra Sw. Mikołaja's "Pieśń sobótkowa" -- song for Ivana Kupala / Midsummer Night

ivana kupala poems iv)

not robins, but cedar waxwings, riverlot 56, july 2009


she said it was like
two robins

their red breasts of sun
fluttering against each other
til there was but a blur

of wing & beat & beak
& shriek, a tangle

in the belly, a mouthful
of water spit out in song