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last update: 18 Jul 14

 

 

Going, Going…                  The Longest Journey                  Arbour
 

The Woods Are Full of Poets               
And Every Taxi Driver has a Novel

 

 

Going, Going…

At this tail-end that might unwind a longer tale
than I would care to tell, how vividly I see,
under the microscope’s unfocused lens, the child
I was and, viewed through sharper eyes, I still may be,
wriggling on the slippery slide on which I’m caught,
none the wiser in this, than that, lost century.
 
Born with, though not quite silver, nonetheless a spoon
to overfeed my avid mouth – that I now find
myself your specimen is no catastrophe
perhaps, but I do feel a victim, and I mind
my length of life, assiduously extended
by right attitudes, has got me in this bind.
 
You find yourself impatient with my sentences
which start out one way, turn around and start again
most often in the middle; then, just when you think
there’s no hope of an ending, suddenly do end –
but some place in the middle, yet again. A dash
will do, as in ‘I must’ – and dash I would, my friend,
 
if only… Slowly do I rise and slowly sit,
and those who face a working day each morning sigh
when offering their hard-won seats on buses to the
likes of me. Embarrassed, I’d rather stand, but try
as I might with smiles and all five feet of solid
inner pride, it’s the outer me I can’t deny.
 
As if I am an actor made to play the part,
and nature applied the putty and the grease-paint,
I walk out on the stage, an extra in the scene,
to no applause. Indeed, I feel I am a faint
shadow in the backdrop, something that the artist
tried unsuccessfully to hide, something too quaint
 
for the production that the playwright had in mind.
And so is this alexandrine, a rhythm slow
yet jogging quite irregularly, like the walk
of one unsure of how or where she’s meant to go.
Wherever, however, it’s not the way I’d choose.
Odds on, I bet my life that I will get there, though.
 

Leah Fritz

in collection, Whatever Sends the Music Into Time: New and Selected Poems, 2012, Salmon Poetry



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The World is Full of Poets
And Every Taxi Driver has a Novel

If it were only so
                (tygers in all the forests
                a song to every meter
                the whittling of words
                outside the general store)
                                if only it were so!
 
                                poets are radioactive, they breathe
                                fire to ignite your eyes; even
                                in a proletarian age
                                they die elite
                                of their own burning truths.
 
                (along the highway river and traffic
                                throb the driver’s tale and
                                                 in the woods there is
                                                                 an ominous ticking)
 

Leah Fritz

in collection, Whatever Sends the Music Into Time: New and Selected Poems, 2012, Salmon Poetry



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The Longest Journey

     for my father
 
Now you’re preparing for that longest of journeys,
                 deciding how best to take your leave;
choosing the clothes that you’ll wear on departure,
                 your spirit clinging to the air you still breathe.
 
For you, death seems almost a sporting thing,
                 though desire wanes with your body’s decline.
Holding on to the light that’s fast retreating,
                 you rescue last thoughts from a drowning mind.
 
Having kept a tight vigil, your path’s become clear,
                 though dreams fade away into wandering.
A longing for life only briefly returns
                 as you ready yourself for eternity,
 
but wisdom, holding itself in reserve,
                 courageously helps you subdue your cries.
You seem to extend your hand to the darkness,
                 a sweet resignation lighting your eyes.
 
You’re preparing now for that longest of journeys.
                 Its vision draws you away too soon.
Sadly we see, as you’re dressing to leave,
                 your eyes have the look of one already gone.
 

Leah Fritz

in Deepening the Mystery, poetry by Cristiana Maria Purdescu, translation by Leah Fritz
and Alina-Olimpia Miron, published in Eng/Rom by Editura SemnE, Bucharest



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Arbour

A canopy of vines – hope,
magic –
 
‘Here’s a goblet that’s an ivory elephant… and, look, vice versa, a circus spectacle, ha…!’ and he
inhales the sweaty trapeze artist’s
scent, his restless hands
clutching jasmine
(in case you’d refer to him
as a ‘gentleman’)…
 
in Autumn, at 7a.m., people’s moods are
calm, every face cosmetically aglow to mask
their inner
uneasiness –
I put some stylish background music on…
 
the bosom of your dress
glistens with dew drops…
 
Now I’m a magician ready to anoint you,
to poison the candles kept in boxes
by those who are bored
to death
at a tea party where couples sit on edge
looking through
each other, exasperated … the way an angry person
stares out the window when it rains
and taps his leg, tam tee tam…
 

Leah Fritz

in Born in Romania, poetry by Liviu Ioan Stoiciu, translation by Leah Fritz and Ioana Bușe,
illustrated by Cristina Ioana Young, published in Eng/Rom by Contemporary Literature Press
(University of Bucharest), available as free download



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