Poetry

Six poems about life in China

By: Ilya Gutner

Will to life

1
When life comes to you
to take you by the hand
then living nature’s hands are fire
and there is no such word as No.

The beginning of all things
is the night in the beginning
of all things you have not done.

Details waiting for the dawn
are a tediousness not worth mention:
you do not know how many books I burned.

2
I speak in blind obedience to the Spring,
same as a tree, as any flower
in languages life voices of itself.

There is no deep intelligence in silent thought
without returning to the simple words unspoken
because of their simplicity at once.

A woman’s beauty is the voice of change,
the only living language on the Earth
speaking in silence under every thought.

And if life is a struggle to survive
and I am self-defeated in my softness,
to living nature is the victory!

3
I light my life on fire and so burn
without a purpose such as I can see
except unless the purpose of all things is light
and light is flame, light is produced by fire.

But this resembles illness of the nerves, not faith
as taken freely of an unobstructed will, not pain
forgotten in pain’s thoughts of self-constraint while living and
drunk doubts if faith is really faith if lived in.

4
Will to life

Life like a beggar on a platform
with dirty hands and without feet for shoes
comes rolling into view across the street:

face down, bowl pushed before, life scattered;
and the policeman does not stop the cars!

5
Pushkin

Try thinking before dawn about the future:
I guarantee you you will not succeed
to extricate yourself from your own strictness

while Goncharova’s sleep can still disturb you
and Gogol’s unread letters are addressed to you.

6
Language goes and comes again
lacking a good reason to return
like the love of all good people.

The bad reasons are all simple:
for your head of decently-combed hair
and your normal answers to my questions.

Love once had a mirror
to look down on solitary thought,
now a screen-phone serves the purpose.

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Categories: Poetry

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