Speaking In Tongues
Scribbling In Voices

Lena Vasilyeva

Translated by Max Nemtsov

if only the heart could speak from its very heart
I used to be your echo
She's calling God, she wants to ask Him
As only the water might
This poor unfamiliar woman:
I wish I could look

* * *

if only the heart could speak from its very heart
God only knows what had brought me here to you
when they consider the karma to take us apart
with all its fine print, will then the sky be blue

everything passes here, the ancients said
old chummy moon is shining for two of us
old ying is turning my odds into someone's ends
and to ask I-Ching about you I'm too curious

mending the living tissue with brown thread
waiting beside the phone for the day to go
feeding the lamb of love from a flower head
only to lay it down on the broadway snow

yes, oh my ultimate guardian, my strict son
you know when all the reckoning has to end
hours and minutes then will be dragging on
to the slow realm where the grey-headed lovers went

will there be the piper for them at the gate of dawn
will their children's eyes light up in the morning
I won't know it as long as the clock chimes on
and your ring is colder than karma that'd worn it


* * *

I used to be your echo
I used to be a doe for your shoulders
A frequent reason for your laughter
A tea-colored seagull
A trace in the corner of your eye
An approaching shore for your lake of tears
A white lotus in one hundred vases

You were given to me
As the absolute answer
To the only question
I had to ask


* * *

She's calling God, she wants to ask Him
if maybe now it's time to come back to her senses
to padlock with bars of black iron
the gate to her garden

Here, the cats and the light crescent of the moon
are sitting at night on the roofs between huge aerial loops
this is the time when little old women are shedding their tears
and babies are sobbing in their sleep


* * *

As only the water might
drop from the glass and the fingers
the rays are coming through
from the deep springs of your hair
like confused seconds bursting through
your impassable eyelashes
Silence, don't leave the lips
Oh my cast-iron dungeon


* * *

This poor unfamiliar woman:
She sits locked up in her high tower
Warmed by her great expectation
And only magicians know about her

Mornings she talks to the breeze
The breeze plays the sails in the sea
The ship carries all holy sailors
Four masts and one lame parrot

Captain, come into the harbor
Throw your gangway over to the princess' heart
Love her with your eyes and with your voice
Sing her a mediterranean song

You will be closer together, and not cold enough
And you'll understand each other perfectly
And you'll love, by all means you'll love everyone
And be merry


* * *

I wish I could look
Into the eyes of the happy old man
Or out of the Scottish castle windows
Or when the tail
Sheds its lizard

I wish I could read
The guide to the mind's labyrinth
Or leaf through the book of my memory
Or find the proofs
For the torn out page

I wish I could get
The key to the enchanted door
From my childhood to the land beyond
For the boy with silver heart
And the girl with chrysolite eyes

And stay with them forever
And find my own name
And stop
For you



Half of the day is done, I'm tired of crying
All clocks still show the November time
Although I'm not hurrying you

All mirrors, they stand still before the rain
And heaven's gloom demands a lot of patience
November is all over my wet face

All weary partners are long gone
There's only my November puppet staying
In the completely childish theater

Will you forgive my folly so obtrusive
I'm praying with my eyes into the night
But sometimes knives come handy for all veils

November, Jesus, how I need you now
The ice so pale, the water freezes over
And even sonnets look like blades