A Poem in and for Multiple Winters

Sometimes, you just feel old. Or as was the case this morning, you look into the mirror and see the wreckage of age irrevocably playing out on your face. Not quite a fair call to make, when you’ve just woken up early on a frigid day and the blare of a bathroom light has triggered a bout of what Russian literature so often calls screwing up your eyes. But still: the unceasing forward march of time hits you via an unflattering reflection, and Things take on a grim cast.

But that’s about the most complex articulation I’ve been able to produce in a week or so– and although I’ve been reading like a fiend, my capacity for thoughtful reflection upon all those words and ideas has come to and remained at a standstill. Not freed, though, of the desire to say something, if only to the ether, I’ll hand over one of the better bits I’ve come across in the last few days, something that’s also fitting, both weatherwise and, more ominously, in terms of the entirely mindboggling scenarios so many parts of the world are enduring right now. Enjoy, then, a sad-hopeful-unsentimental little vision from Juan Gelman’s poem, “Winter”:

Presidency of the Nation of Argentina, via Wikimedia Commons.

Presidency of the Nation of Argentina, via Wikimedia Commons.

In this city moaning like a madwoman
love quietly counts
the birds that died fighting the cold,
the jails, the kisses, the loneliness, the days
still left before the revolution.*

 

* Juan Gelman, Dark Times Filled with Light: The Selected Work of Juan Gelman, transl. Hardie St. Martin (Rochester, NY: Open Letter Press), 2012: 16.

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