POETRY: Kristiina Ehin

With the coming of dusk...
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(c) Jüri J Dubov
From The Scent of Your Shadow (Arc, 2010), translated by Ilmar Lehtpere

With the coming of dusk
and the dropping of leaves I become
more and more nocturnal
I am brimming
with this summer evening’s nameless hum

I become ever more nocturnal
and I don’t need your fire today
the fire of the coals of your feelings
to warm myself

Together with the dusk I become
more like the white lilac
forget-me-not blue
lupin purple
ever more summer-night nocturnal
more nocturnal than this rainless Seven Brothers’ Day night
I fall ever deeper into the lap of night
between the back garden’s nettle bushes

I don’t need your fire today
today I embrace
the big pure moon
to warm myself
I become more and more evening
ever more boat-like
more girlish and young-mannish
more blue-eyed
and milky
in this garden which is full
of foaming waves of white clover
and the hooting of young owls

I become ever more thirsty
and from this thirst my thirst is fulfilled
I become ever more serious
become the truth of this night
ever darker
more delightful
the sister
of this Seven Brothers’ Day night




The smell of white horses can be felt...
From The Scent of Your Shadow (Arc, 2010), translated by Ilmar Lehtpere

The smell of white horses can be felt
Rainwater on the marble steps
slippery and dangerous
Figs
as ripe as my
anger against you

The cold moment of sunset
where nobody falls into
anyone’s arms
Even mother and child
look alone
into the deep valley of their
dreams

A mother who is always
a full-time mother
A child who is still
utterly a child

We wake
A glowing purple streak of day
in the night sky
entices us out
I wheel the child
into the valley of the mother of God

Stars fall
into pieces on the gravel road
Lantern light makes the skirts of passers-by
flutter
Mens’ eyes appear especially black

I am empty
from the beauty of the purple streak in the sky
the horses of the mother of God
and the scent of your shadow
at the bottom of the valley




The snow remembers my shoulders...
From The Scent of Your Shadow (Arc, 2010), translated by Ilmar Lehtpere

The snow remembers my shoulders
my hips my ankles
I carried it with me a long time
I didn’t even know how
to write yet then

The stars were more courteous then
and warmer
They greeted me
when I went alone
naked with my snow

The stars weren’t giant suns yet then
in the distant expanse of the cosmos
They were tiny friendly
spots of light
that suddenly appeared in the evening
in the bottomless hollow of the winter sky
and looked into the bottom of my eyes
wide open in admiration
reflecting my snow
my open nakedness
that was my shield







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