tour guide

holds high a wand or staff
tufted with yellow ribbon
so followers can spy her flag
each group an ectoplasm
that forms and bubbles around
nuclear leader who directs all
to see what cannot be seen:
underlay of history burnt off
by sun and sea breeze, her
rapid-fire iteration of details
they can’t find on their own
eyes blurred by overload

I watch always for the one
who strays away, pulled toward
sea or street ephemera as if
he can only connect
when silence surrounds him
not mob hubbub pierced by
shrill voice in charge

I want to walk beside this
wanderer, tell him to plunge
down narrow streets, go blank
in plazas, feel panic rising
to be so alone, without
a language and without a sign
except for dog-peed corners
church bells clanging, gathering
crones and a few old men

familiars he grows fond of
when he sits on a quiet bench
as one who wears the momentary
mantle of local garb, his hands
though, still holding pamphlets

and does he remember then
the guide’s arm, how it must ache
in the evening, and how her voice
croaks when she speaks to
her lover of her clever phrases
intended to inspire but flattened
made dull by day-after-day delivery
that erodes pride of place and
hollows out where breath comes from?
 


on the usually overlooked

between sidewalk slabs a little dirt
collects, in the place where concrete
meets and allows itself to open
to the earth that falls in and the earth
that seeps up, sweeps in, takes up
residence, waiting for good seed
to arrive via a bird dropping twigs
or splatter, or a bigfoot dog finally
shaking burr seeds from his coat
or from gusts of wind bursting

the grass in the crack is never quite
so green as its counterpart on the lawn
never so robust, seldom maturing
yet still it grows, it does not judge
nor does it descend into self-pity
it sees itself as the hardier
withstanding boots and sandals
hildren with their digging fingers
each small tuft of green isolated and
individual, drawing the child's attention

either one or one of the multitude
what matters more is how each differs
in being trod upon, though what springs back
for air and sun is the same need
for light if not for the caprice of rainfall

© David Zieroth

meditácia o zvyčajne prehliadnutom

medzi platňami chodníka sa zbiera trochu nečistoty
v mieste, kde sa stretá betón a dovolí si otvoriť sa
zemi, ktorá padá dnu, i tej zemi,
ktorá prenikne hore, nametie sa dovnútra,
ujme sa svojho sídla čakajúc na úrodné semená,
ktoré majú priletieť za pomoci vtákov odhadzujúcich
vetvičky či trus, alebo psa s veľkými nohami konečne
vytriasajúceho semená ježohlava zo svojej srsti,
alebo z nárazov búšiaceho vetra

tráva v tej pukline, ktorá nie je nikdy celkom
tak zelená ako jej náprotivok na trávniku,
nikdy tak robustná, zriedka dozrievajúca,
predsa ešte rastie, neodsudzuje,
ani neupadá do sebaľútosti,
vidí seba samu odolnejšiu
znášajúc topánky a sandále
detí s ich prstami ryjúcimi
každý jeden malý trs zelene, izolovaný a
osobitý priťahujúci pozornosť dieťaťa

buď ako jednotlivý alebo ako jeden z masy,
na čom však záleží viac je ako sa každý jeden líši,
keď po ňom šliapu, hoci to čo vykočí späť
pre vzduch a slnko, je tá istá núdza
po svetle, ak nie po rozmare dažďa


preložil: Ľubomír Gottpreis


gypsy music


1. in the plaza


in a big red chair in Ružinov
I read an American novel of lust and power
characters with names of a certain
echelon—Vivian, Travis—when I hear
two accordions, at first faint
and from this sixth floor I see
a man and a woman cross the plaza below
sending urgent sounds to those above— 
he in black sweatpants and brilliant white cap
she in red blouse, embroidered jeans, his
instrument smaller, hers played with more vigour


I lean out to hear them better
and the man, who has been looking up
spots me, waves, I wave back
and when he speaks words I don't understand
and I shout down that I only know English
he replies with “money, money” 
I throw out two silver and gold coins
watch them fall, one larger, heavier
so they will not land at the same time
and as they spin and flash
I am dropping with them
and now a man in a suit enters the plaza
pointedly ignoring this entreating music
and by the time I close the window, they are gone


2. in me


I return to my red chair with
the gypsy music resonating in me— 
unchanged, the novel
continues its entanglements
and I wish now for some swarthy splash in these familiar
pale, languid, New World lives, an evident wildness
beyond the customary ache in heart and groin


and perhaps I will yet turn a page and read of a plan
for a way I can throw myself beyond all I am
and create a music that will cause others to cheer
and to offer a little largesse, tossed with pleasure

Cigánska hudba


1. Na námestí 


Vo veľkom červenom kresle v Ružinove
čítam americký román o vášni a sile
postavy majú mená istej triedy – Vivian, Travis – 
keď začujem dve harmoniky, najprv slabo, 
a zo šiesteho poschodia zazriem
muža a ženu prechádzajúcich dole cez námestie
vysielajú do výšky naliehavé zvuky ľuďom nad nimi – 
on má čierne tepláky a žiarivo bielu čiapku
ona červenú blúzu, vyšívané džínsy, 
on má menšiu harmoniku, ona hrá s väčšou vervou


Vykloním sa, aby som ich lepšie počul
muž sa pozerá nahor, zbadá ma, 
zakýva, aj ja mu zakývam
prehovorí slovami, ktorým nerozumiem
zavolám mu, že viem len po anglicky
odpovie “money, money” 
Vyhadzujem z okna dve strieborno zlaté mince
dívam sa ako padajú, jedna z nich väčšia ťažšia
takže nedopadnú naraz
krútia sa a trblietajú 
padám spolu s nimi
teraz muž v obleku vstupuje na námestie
vyzývavo ignoruje zaklínajúcu hudbu
zatváram okno a ich tam už niet


2. Vo mne


Vraciam sa k môjmu červenému kreslu
znie vo mne cigánska hudba – 
Román nezmenene pokračuje zápletkami
a mne sa zachcelo temných výšplechov v povedomých
bledých, lenivých životoch novom svate, 
zachcelo sa mi zjavnej divokosti
mimo známej bolesti v srdci a vo vírivej vode
a možno ešte obrátim stranu a budem čítať o pláne
cesty na ktorú sa môžem vydať mimo všetkého čím som
a skomponovať hudbu, ktorá ostatných rozjasá 
aby ponúkli veľkú maličkosť, hodenú s radosťou

Preložil – Ondrej Herec
 


admission


my interest in the earth deepens
as a blue grey heron glides overhead – 
I am less enchanted by the dead
now that April life awakens


starts to grow noisy, crows announcing
claims to territory, these black holes
of caw caw, while underground moles
burrow upward to light – do they sing


in their tunnels of the pull toward sun? 
is there a turning moment even for them
when the sunbeams fall and thrum
like the harp? – and not to be outdone

 
a songbird sends out his need
for ongoing life, which I catch and hold
and though this joy was often foretold
in winter, digging down, I paid no heed


by David Zieroth

 

priznanie


môj záujem o svet sa prehlbuje
keď plachtí sivá volavka nad hlavou – 
mŕtvi ma už facsinujú menej
teraz, keď sa život v apríli prebúdza

 
začína byť hlučný, ako vrany oznamujú 
svoj nárok na územie, tie čierne
krá-krá prieduchy, zatiaľčo krty pod zemou
sa prehrabávajú hore k svetlu – vari spievajú 


vo svojich tuneloch o svojom ťahu smerom k slnku? 
existuje dokonca aj u nich kritická chvíľa, 
keď slnečné lúče spadnú a zabrnkajú 
ako harfa? – a aby ho len neprekonali, 


spevavý vták vysiela svoju požiadavku
na pokračujúci život, čomu rozumiem a verím
a hoci túto radosť už často predpovedali
v zime, hlboko sa zakopávajúc, bolo mi to jedno 


Preložil – Ľubomír Gottpreis



Glove

glove lies on the sidewalk, sodden black

thumb folded in to rest on the palm 

open to the sky and rain, calm 

in its dereliction, all fingers slack 

 

and swollen, tubular, intended 

to protect against the bite of frost 

with fake leather, fuzzy and soft 

and man-made, near splendid 

 

with decorative stitches and dots – 

some man’s hefty right hand 

now somewhere naked, withstands 

the cold, its owner’s thoughts 

 

on the lost one: the trouble with loss 

is what’s left behind, so he throws 

the left one to the discarded clothes 

but finally even from there it's tossed

 

A new poem – glove - online from The Goose (scroll down):

http://scholars.wlu.ca/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1233&context=thegoose

Complete issue of The Goose here:

http://scholars.wlu.ca/thegoose/

To read previous poems in The Goose:

http://www.alecc.ca/uploads/goose/The_Goose_Issue_11_Summer_2012.pdf

 


Rozprávanie o vode a farbách zeme

The stories of the water and colours of earth 

Decorative photographs-pictures by Ľubomír Gottpreis

A total of 20 photographs that serve at the borderline between photography and painting – from trips around Europe and Canada

The exhibition will continue from 8.12.2015 to 16.1.2016 Open: Monday - Thursday 10:00 – 18:00, Friday 10.00 – 16:00 Venue: Cik Cak Centrum, Jiráskova, Bratislava-Petržalka Vernissage: December 8, 2015 at 5:00 pm including

‘a summer story of water and earth,’ a poem by David Zieroth, Canadian poet and Slovakophile, commissioned for the exhibition and read by Andrea Jex in English and by Theresa Dlhošová in Slovak

Musical guests: Miloš Slobodník, Jakub Gabriel

light refreshments

 

a summer story of water and earth

by David Zieroth

 

I fly across the landmass
of Canada, above the Atlantic
to Vienna, take the train over leafgreen fields
where blue sky finds a home
in rivers, arrive in Bratislava
and hear my name called by a boy
who runs toward me, his smile
the sun under which I will grow
in the days with his father and grandfather

we drive to the Adriatic
where we walk along its edge
tramping on white stones
the sandals of Roman legionnaires
once felt, let the glitter
of sun on waves enter us, so nothing
needs saying, nothing that the water
and then land perfumed with
mint and dust have not already said

 in the harshest heat of the day
we retreat into the shade of trees
born from the soil and watered
from the sky, and we doze
and later dive again into waves
that will continue after we're gone
a consoling knowledge Earth
sends every day, just as
thinking of this boy
shining on a future earth
makes old men happy
to follow his eagerness
along the path to the beach

Pohľad na rozlúčku - Farewell sight

Pohľad na rozlúčku - Farewell sight

 

letný príbeh vody a zeme

translated by Ľubomír Gottpreis 

letím naprieč zemskou masou Kanady, 
ponad Atlantik do Viedne, 
nasadnem na vlak cez zelené polia farby listov, 
kde belasá obloha v riekach
nachádza svoj domov, 
prichádzam do Bratislavy a
začujem chlapca bežiaceho oproti
volať moje meno, 
pod slnkom jeho úsmevu budem rásť 
počas dní s jeho otcom i starým otcom

uháňame k Jadranu a tam
kráčajúc po jeho okraji
sa túlame na bielych skalách, 
ktoré kedysi okúsili sandále rímskych legionárov, 
nechávame ligot slnka na vlnách vniknúť do nás, 
takže nie je treba slov, nič, čo voda a potom
 zem navoňaná mätou a prachom už vyslovili, 

v najväčšej páľave dňa
sa utiaheme do tieňa stromov
zrodených zo zeme a zalievaných z oblohy, 
driemame a neskôr sa vnárame do vĺn, 
ktoré neustanú ani keď sa my pominieme, 
utešujúce to poznanie
Zem nám vysiela každý deň, 
práve tak ako pomyslenie na tohto chlapca
žiariaceho na budúcu zem
uštedruje starým mužom pocit šťastia, 
keď nasledujú jeho dychtivosť 
na chodníku k pláži



 


How do you say... in Slovak? | David Zieroth Poems & interview - Kathryn Para


DAVID ZIEROTH IS A GOVERNOR General’s Award winning poet and memoirist. His writing career began in the 1970s with his first publication, Clearing: Poems from a Journey, which was nominated for a Governor General’s Award. He won the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize in 1999 for How I Joined Humanity at Last, and the Governor General’s Award for English language poetry in 2009 for The Fly in Autumn. After a 25-year career as a creative writing instructor at Douglas College, in New Westminster, BC, Zieroth has retired to write full time.

I met David in 1999 at Douglas College. We’ve remained in touch largely through a mutual friend and enjoy comparing our reading lists. Once every summer I look forward to discussing literature with David over a glass of wine on a brick patio overlooking Shoal Channel in Gibsons, BC. He’s broadly read, has an incisive mind, tells traveller’s tales with aplomb and loves to laugh at his own failings.

—Kathryn Para

Continue reading the full interview and new poems here!