Translations into English by Magdalena Horvat and Fiona Sampson
From “Selected Poems”, © SPE 2006
My Grandfather’s wall has got too old
and fallen down.
It needs a healthy helping hand.
I uncover the foundation and let out a string
to return to it the gracefulness it once had.
I dilly-dally, I fiddle about, I ponder
how to begin, how to get it done.
My Grandfather watched me like this more than once –
green and tangled-up in demanding work –
and, unable to resist,
would step in instead of me,
demonstrating, to finish what had been started.
I tap the stone, I chip at it, I shape it
to open a facet, to make it lie well,
but a foolish thought visits me:
It’s good to hear this sound again!
making my grip child-like,
my aim blind, muddling my order,
and – oops! – pecking me right in the heart.
A red fog thickens
under my fingernail where I’ve hit it
and I see – what!? There he is, my Grandfather,
it’s him, but then again, maybe it’s not.
“You’re almost as old
as the one you still look to;
be careful you don’t short-change
your own potential this way!”
He said this, and vanished in a blue fog.
Yet still, lest the wind carry me away,
as if I were two people in one,
I make hasty grabs, hurrying to place
stone onto stone, stone onto stone,
to wall up