Soon it will be winter and soon
a nightingale with a bandaged throat,
a plum tree in bloom, and a white
hill pushed up against the door.
Illness arrives like Mozart,
sits down at the black piano
and its voice touches with a single note.
I see January, a blockade,
you’re sketching Paul Klee’s boat,
big on petite.
It sails along, the fool, not knowing —
can’t brush the wave from its eyelash.
Somewhere a shutter bangs shut,
and you bend toward the sketch.
Mozart creates like a god!
And the two of us, childless.
We’d be husband and wife,
together forever it seemed.
But burned by Greeks and barbarians
we fled, leaving no trace.
Translated by Andrew Wachtel
Polonskaya has been a fellow at the Cove Park Scottish Arts Council, the Hawthornden International Retreat for Writers, The MacDowell Colony, Bellagio, and the Villa Sträuli in Zurich. Translations of her poetry have appeared in World Literature Today, Poetry Review, American Poetry Review, and the International Poetry Review. In 2012 a bilingual edition of her new poems titled Paul Klee’s Boat will be published by Zephyr Press.
On October 22, 2011 Kursk: An Oratorio Requiem–a collaboration between Polonskaya and composer David Chisholm–will premiere at the Melbourne Festival. The libretto for Kursk consists of ten of Polonskaya’s poems, which are a tribute to the 118 lives lost in the tragic sinking of the Kursk submarine in August of 2000. For more information about Anzhelina Polonskaya, please visit her website.
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“Paul Klee’s Boat” © Anzhelina Polonskaya. Printed with permission by the author.