Poems by Mária Ferenčuhová



•     •    •

absent-mindedness won’t save your ears, of old
we have our knowledge. (others’ too, if we

we will go on surfaces with new contours,
as if in dusk, as if they had a face in dark

in the rustle of language

in the grain of voice

in the empire of signs (this already is too much)

self-will is measured by the strangeness
in which nothing hurts. where merely grimaces
are congregating vainly. to meet with a smile,
in hope of a chance of mutual comparison

at least:

at least (au moins): of their mythologies

French window

With an ache in the throat: to lap up silence,
breathe it in.

To renounce colour with a plastic eye.
(The barrier’s there so that the gaze won’t leap
straight to the void.)

•     •    •

I didn’t say what I’d expected: what I’d lifted
the receiver for. I only smiled: between one
chilly finger and the next – between a thumb
and index – I twirled a glass by the moulded
stem. I looked at my feet sunk in water. Green
reflection: movement exceeding space:

towel. room. lamp. dark.

in two countries live the silent and
the screaming fact: right and left profile of
banality: and a face between them that belongs
to no one.

letters are typed and e-mails, lustreless.
the radio is switched on, low and loud by turns.
I disconnect the phone. the rustle
is unceasing: in the house opposite ever new
windows fill with light.

A/ The place must be at least a little roomy:
mark out the division: table, wardrobe, bed.
Suddenly you’re aware that the spare, terse
books, which are not manuals, take up most
of your space on their shelves, that is their
luxury. Now you live on the ground floor, just
above a grocery. Someone outside is in a fury,
shouting that the trolleybus is late.

B/ But certain towns, they say, are trying still
to keep their promises, which lured to them
their legends.

Kiss, 19.1.2002

In your book, dear Lo, there’s a lot of silly
things and one beautiful sentence about ailing
Buda. And besides, something on floors.
I have no reason to write something more
to you. I want to have you here, smooth,
neighbour to your orange-coloured book,
without the pencil notes. Here I want to have
you, in this memory, it is resolved. I do not ask
a kiss: I speak one.

•     •    •


shake me. traverse me.

along the crust, along the light. flip me on my
belly. all the while walking. lodge me between
two sides. sew me up. drink me down. nest in
me. turn me upright. pre-prepare me. leap me in
mirrored rays.

talk to anyone about me. scatter me. incite
words against me. silence me. hush me. sketch
me in a waiting room. profit by all you’ve

words slip between us two, I cling to you:
... to follow  the   linear   event  of   what  is     gone

first   there,  where  it   lies  passive:

country after cataclysm, volcano ...

Translated by John Minahane