сряда, 8 февруари 2012 г.

THE REFUGEE

This is meant for my friends who speak English. Yesterday I published in my blog a short interview about America, about my personal America. America is something different for everyone. For me, America is the place where I spent 13 years of my life, it was my home, my son grew up there. I also published the Bulgarian version of four poems from my latest American poetry collection The Refugee. The first poem was written in Bulgarian back in the late 1980's, long before I could even imagine that one day I will live in Washington, DC. The other three poems were written there, first in English, and then they were translated in Bulgarian. The Refugee is my fourth American book of poetry. Most of the poems in it were translated into English by me with the help of the poets Alicia Suskin Ostriker and Henry Taylor. Henry Taylor is a Pulitzer Prize winner.

I am publishing here the same four poems in English. In "No Man Is an Island" I have inserted three quotations from famous poems by John Donne, Walt Whitman, and Dylan Thomas, and of course "let this cup pass away from me" is from the Bible.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Refugee-Vladimir-Levchev/dp/192858957X

                             


THE REFUGEE

1.

Every minute
has its countless cities
and skies,
briefly illuminated clouds,
windows lit by the sunset. . . .
Every minute
has its secret corridors
leading to dark rooms.

Who lives there?
What would we have said to each other?
How would we have lived there?
I don’t know.

Every minute I pass
endless doors
to eternal life. . . .


2.

My soul,
we have guilty knowledge
of our loneliness, of the end.
And our guilt keeps us
from Paradise.
                  
The clock is that cherub
with  two swards 
which guards
the paths of minutes
we might have traveled
to Eternity.



NO MAN IS AN ISLAND
( 9/11/2001)

“No man is an island entire of itself. . .”
We all live in Manhattan. . .
At 8:45 in the morning
I was walking downtown.
The streets went murky, the towers stood bright,
the House was deserted, the wind slammed a door. . 
A radio kept singing: “Downtown, downtown. . .”
Then I saw the tower of the world,
the sunny double tower.
And I saw the airplane hijacked by a dream,
I saw the swift shadow of the Unconscious,
  I saw the archangel of death
  sink in the mirror,
  sink in the sunny high tower
downtown. . .
Тhen the blast of bad dreams…
Then the late summer snow
of a million silenced letters and pictures,
the delicate snow of memories
pouring over the world. . .

“Flood-tide below me! I see you  face to face!
Clouds of the West –– sun there half an hour high –– I see you also face to face. . .
Stand up, tall masts of Mannahatta! stand up, beautiful hills of Brooklyn!”

. . . a snow of letters, pictures and shoes
falling, falling on Mannahatta.
Then I saw the black wall,
the hundred and ten storied wall of depression
approaching on the narrow streets,
midnight approaching at noon
downtown,
I met the midnight of global madness. . .
“ if it be possible, let this cup pass away from me. . .
Then the night passed away and I saw
Durer’s St. Anne with swollen big eyes
in a nurse’s green dress
walking through the rubble,
through dusty asbestos ambulances and wind . . .
I saw the faces of the dead and the faces of the living
walking together downtown.
I saw the faces of the world.
I saw your faces.
“And death shall have no Dominion.”


FIVE YEARS AFTER 9/11
                   For Rainna
It's been like in those dreams:
you are at the beach,
in August, in high school,
green airy waves and laughter
of girls and seagulls.
And the snow begins to fall:
slow letters and shirts
from a heavenly explosion.
And the smiling faces
of teachers and kids
morph into monsters.
Later black kites and ravens
fly by low
over the leaden ocean.
And you realize
that your dream has come true:
you have grown up.
And you can't wake up anymore
back in that warm other country.
                   9/11/2006


EXILE

After the rain
a pyramid of sunlight
fell on the floor of my dark room.
I looked through the window
аnd saw a rainbow in the east.

This pyramid of light
is where I want to live.
This bridge in the sky
is the way
to my home in another country.



                                                                                                                                                        From the back cover of the book:

 
“Vladimir Levchev’s work has been for several decades an important poetic bridge between Bulgaria and the US. This book will surely strengthen that reach.”
—Elizabeth Kostova

“These spare, beautiful poems—so imaginatively rich and expertly distilled—vibrate with a restless brilliance, reminding us, as Levchev writes in The Refugee, that ‘every minute/ has its secret corridors/ leading to dark rooms.’ Reading them, I felt as if I could hear the silences from which they are made now begin to gather themselves into these true and necessary words.”
                         —Richard McCann,
 author of “Mother of Sorrows”

“Vladimir Levchev’s poetry: An original voice, wise beyond its years. A dark vision, but beautiful all the same.”
—The late William Meredith,
Poet Laureate of the United States
                       
“His poetry is a place you’ll never want to leave. We are in the presence of a large spirit who writes in the greatest tradition of European masters. The world of literature is lucky to have him.”
                                                                                                                                                                                 —Grace Cavalieri,
                                                                                                Prooducer/Host “The Poet and the Poem from the Library of Congress”










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