Saturday, June 01, 2013

Yesterday's visit, elderberries and a desk

Here's another from yesterday--in this one you can more clearly see the difference in color between the good mother and her young, Today I didn't see any wildlife, not even the Lone Blue Jay who is the only partaker of the suet cakes I put out a week ago. It rained early, softening the ground for Marvin who came and pulled  some more weeds. The fields and woods are stunningly,  impossibly, early summer-green.
I was writing a haiku essay and wanted to find a haiku with the word "elderberry" in it. Usually, Google magic helps me with these quests. Instead I found the title of a short book of translations of a few of Marina Tsvetaeva's poems and short texts, which soon came like a flash from Amazon. The book is called Dark Elderberry Branch: poems of Marina Tsvetaeva; a reading by Ilya Kaminsky and Jean Valentine. There is a CD with it, which I haven't listened to yet. The small book is beautifully produced with stunning endpapers and a lovely folded paper cover. I like holding it in my hands. The title is from this poem by Anna Akhmatova,

There are four of us

On paths of air I seem to overhear
two friends, two voices, talking in their turn,

Did I say two? ... There by the eastern wall
where criss-cross shoots of brambles trail,
---Oh, look! That fresh dark elderberry branch
is like a letter from Marina in the mail.

(November, 1961) (In delirium)
from Poems of Akmatova, tr. Stanley Kunitz and Max Hayward, Little, Brown & Co. 1973

I think that dark elderberry branch is just gorgeous! I want to remember that forever!

Here is Marina's poem about her desk from page 26:

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:
Today, today.

Money, bills, love letters, money, bills,
you stood in a blizzard of oak.
Kept saying: For every word you want
today, today.

God, you kept saying,
doesn't accept bits and bills.
Nnh, when they lay my body out, my fool, my
desk, let it be on you.

Marina Tsvetaeva
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