Sunday, February 22, 2015

Nina Kossman - One Poem

Shadow Over the Town
Helen's shadow on Trojan rocks
still burdens the Greeks,
burdens them with the highest taxes
the loved exacts from the lover:
middle-class teashop warmth forsaken,
adding machines count the killed,
a scarce spring, a fruitless autumn,
quiet markets and barren cribs:
see the wretched pass for the mad,
the mad for the licentious
shadows creeping after the main
shadow over the town--
the cruel nudity of the woman
washed clean of mercy,
memory of the guilt reflecting
future centuries' guilt.

Moscow born, English-language publications include Behind the Border (HarperCollins, 1994) and Gods and Mortals: Modern Poems on Classical Myths (Oxford University Press, 2001). Translations of Russian poetry have been anthologized in Twentieth Century Russian Poetry (Doubleday, 1993), The Gospels in Our Image (Harcourt Brace, 1995), The World Treasury of Poetry (Norton, 1998), and Divine Inspiration (Oxford University Press, 1998). My translations of Marina Tsvetaeva's poetry were collected in two books, In the Inmost Hour of the Soul and Poem of the End. Her work was awarded the UNESCO/PEN Short Story Award in London (1995) and an NEA grant (1999).

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