Jaan Kaplinski, from White Butterflies of Night

This poem, translated from Russian by Boris Dralyuk, is in Granta 134 (winter 2016)

It feels like it was only yesterday morning that I got up from my desk
leaving my biography half-written and half-read
I don’t remember whether I believed that I could just
abandon one life to begin another
or whether it was simply a moment of half-consciousness
and returning half a century later proved just as hard
almost like dying and being born again
but the first life had carried on as usual all on its own
without me without my knowledge or desire
what was left on the desk were the contours of my former self
everything to which I’d grown accustomed is now null and void
my biography my views my desk my bed
and no longer did anyone know or remember what ink was
or what an inkwell was or good or bad
what the presence of happiness meant or the meaning of present
while the past and the future had long ceased to exist

house brussels my desk morning 1206.JPG

 

 

Published by

Paul Hodson

Head of Unit "EnergyEfficiency" at European Commission, Directorate-General for Energy

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