Dark Elderberry Branch has traveled from my bedside to my purse to my kitchen table since I purchased it several months ago. I’m so glad Jean Valentine and Ilya Kaminsky (who are both wonderful poets in their own right) chose to translate the work of this incredible Russian writer, Marina Tsvetaeva (1892-1941). I posted another part of this particular poem last year, so if you like this selection, journey backwards….
from “The Desk (1)”
Thirty years together–
clearer than love.
I know your grain by heart,
you know my lines.
Wasn’t it you who wrote them on my face?
You ate paper, you taught me:
There’s no tomorrow. You taught me:
Money, bills, love letters, money, bills,
you stood in a blizzard of oak.
Kept saying: For every word you want
God, you kept saying,
doesn’t accept bits and bills.
Nuh, when they lay my body out, my fool, my
desk, let it be on you.