Thursday, January 19, 2006

THREE POEMS by Regina Derieva
Translated from the Russian by Frederick Smock


Black Mirror


Polish a piece of hematite,
and the black mirror that emerges
mirrors the window
from which each Chinese emperor watched,
as he borrowed the throne.


Polish a piece of hematite
into a black mirror
by which widows
of Chinese emperors watched,
as they borrowed the thrones.


A Difference of Perception

After a number of years
it's not so good to see
and hear. This is not a surprise.
I look on the world
through the eyes of others,
I listen to the world
through the ears of others,
repeating all the time my question.
I'm asking those around me
to explain this or that stain,
and to greet someone on my behalf.
In addition,
I force myself to not answer letters
and to not answer the telephone.
One names my condition
as boorishness, another as wisdom.


Buying second-hand clothes
is easy and convenient.
You are not responsible for them,
since they already had an owner,
who did with them what he wanted.
These clothes always go out of fashion.
But here's an article
whose price is a bargain:
having a previous smell,
and a previous mood,
this clothing in essence has died,
but has not turned to tatters,
having been renewed,
having been filled by others,
having been forced to live.
As new emigrants are forced to live,
a very old Syrian woman
after their children.

Regina Derieva (1949) has published twenty books of poetry, essays, and prose. Her books in translation include Alien Matter (Spuyten Duyvil, 2005). Derieva's work has appeared in Modern Poetry in Translation, Poetry East, Ars Interpres, Salt, Projected Letters, Notre Dame Review as well as in many Russian magazines. Regina currently lives in Sweden.

Frederick Smock is poet-in-residence at Bellarmine University. He has published three books of poems with Larkspur Press. The Iowa Review,Poetry, Shenandoah, The Southern Review, and The International Quarterly are among the many American journals to have published his poetry. His newest book, Poetry & Compassion: Essays on Art & Craft, is forthcoming this spring.