Skip to main content

Songs




Songs


after Marina Tsvetaeva

for H.


Where did our tenderness come from?
As if yours were the first curls
I’d felt close, ran fingers through.
You’ve kissed lips darker than mine.

The night came cold and starless,
snowstorms swept in from the east.
Though others’ eyes have met mine
with that same, uncertain peace.

But I've never known songs like these,

songs that still go on … the dark
pulled close, my head on your chest,
and the world clear-cut for once.

Where did our tenderness come from?
What to make of it? Love,
I imagine you passing me by –
your azure eyes, sharper than anyone’s.




poem by Ben Wilkinson



Comments

ermferrari said…
Grand how quiet but lingeringly intense this is. Could you recommend a few Tsvetaevas to start with?
Ben Wilkinson said…
Glad to hear you enjoyed it, Ed. All credit to Tsvetaeva though; her pitch-perfect tone is about the only thing my version halfway salvages from the original! Afraid I don't know many other poems by her - her oeuvre is very uneven, and not much has been adequately translated into English - but there are a few bare-bones translations here to give a flavour.

http://www.poetryloverspage.com/poets/tsvetaeva/tsvetaeva_ind.html
ermferrari said…
Thanks, more than enough to be getting on with!

Popular posts from this blog

Poetry in Motion

POETRY IN MOTION
Why one Reds supporter is committing his love for Liverpool FC to verse


Liverpool FC and poetry have a lot of previous – from John Toshack’s Gosh It’s Tosh collection in the late 70s, to the verse of Dave Kirby and Peter Etherington in the fanzine Red All Over the Land, to the lines written by poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy, a University of Liverpool graduate, in the aftermath of 2012’s Hillsborough findings. Now there’s Ben Wilkinson, Reds fan and book critic for The Guardian and the Times Literary Supplement, who’s compiling a series of poems commemorating the club’s legends. “Football is part of the fabric of life, and anything that’s important to people finds its way into poetry,” he says. “Wilfred Owen’s poem 'Disabled' describes a soldier who loses the use of his legs, meaning he can never play football again. Philip Larkin’s 'MCMXIV' compares boys queuing to join the army to fans outside Villa Park. These poems have stood the test of time because t…

Way More Than Luck: 27.2.18 - the launch

Louis MacNeice

‘World is crazier and more of it than we think, incorrigibly plural’. Even if you’re not that well-versed in modern British and Irish poetry, chances are you’ll still know ‘Snow’, or a line or two from the poem will seem naggingly familiar. While still in his twenties, Louis MacNeice wrote it in 1935, and since then, it’s been a favourite with readers, writers and editors, cropping up in every kind of poetry anthology.

Weird, then, that MacNeice’s work has often been seen as a footnote to that of his illustrious pal W.H. Auden, when he’s so clearly a hugely original poet in his own right. And when, among more recent generations, the likes of Seamus Heaney, Michael Longley, Derek Mahon, Don Paterson and Conor O’Callaghan have all cited him as a major influence in their own writing. It’s not like ‘Snow’ was a one hit wonder, either. Despite some of the less exciting – and often lengthy – stuff he wrote in the early 50s, MacNeice only got better, perfecting his moving, atmospheric and pow…