Bronislava Volková is a bilingual poet, semiotician, translator, collage artist, and Professor Emerita of Slavonic Studies at Indiana University. A Czech exile, she lived and taught in the U.S. for over forty years, publishing extensively in Czech and English. She continues to publish bilingual books of poetry, conducts international author readings, and participates in many international poetry festivals as guest of honor and medalist. She currently resides in Prague and is joining us today on Zoom.
Welcome to the Poets Weave. I'm Romayne Rubinas Dorsey. Bronislava, what poems have you brought for us today?
When I meander into the groves
of silent despairs, silent hopes,
I no longer know where the light sleeps,
where lives the rose I so much prefer,
where eternity can strike without embarrassment,
where it sounds with joy.
I no longer know
where we go meet the journeys
saturated with love, shining, fabulous,
like a bird released from the nest,
scented by being, zesty and loud,
journeys, which quicken our heartbeat,
journeys, which promise to make us ring,
journeys, which make our eyes glitter
and the dark long,
I no longer know.
The shriek of crying roses, doomed during the first flood.
Roses, which didn’t arrive by recent mail.
The shriek of tightly closed fists finding no one to strike.
The shriek of stirred up empty walls
and words unpronounced, names long uncalled.
I forsake your spectral power,
world of shadows – world of goods!
You fat fool, grinding clay in your teeth
in times when the heart finds no place of repose.
Steep streams of water
bury themselves in the ground with intoxicating decisiveness.
Rain firmly clenches in its fist
its waves of tears falling to us from the sky.
I am under them on the square
without a home – without a voice,
helplessly searching, looking for your sign.
And in this vain struggle
with your inescapable non-being
I come for a communion – for a spilling
of the body and the blood.
I am coming to be folded in
the freeing joust of earth and water.
You are leaving, you will leave, you have left.
With a bang and without regret.
A friend in poetry and living,
you escape into the unknown, from where you won’t return,
where everything is the way it is supposed to be,
where nothing can be gained and nothing lost,
where there is time for everything and peace,
where cash is not in short supply,
but books, concerts and films
no longer speak to us
and verses are not written
and loved ones wave only from afar.
Good-bye and welcome!
An invitation to be
for a second -– for a moment filled with hope.
For the seeing of what we are blind to
for hearing a child’s voice on our knee
for sleeping deep and without remorse
till the dawn, in which all abandons us
and all accepts us.
I am the moon.
I reflect what shines on me
But I do not reveal it.
I keep you guessing. Wondering.
Dreaming of that which I conceal,
absorb, swallow and refuse to give up.
You've been listening to the poetry of Bronislava Volkova on the Poets Weave. I'm Romayne Rubinas Dorsey.