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I Am the Spring in Tartu


 

Fatherland homeland 

Fatherland 
homeland 
words become meaningless 
in the Western world 
in modern poetry 

Words losing their 
(eco) logical niche as fish 
as suffocating fish from some 
used up lake 
some waterless body of water

I am fish too 
a fish from a lake called 
Estonia 
perhaps you know where 
it-is somewhere 
not far from Thule 
on the other side of 
the Iron Curtain 
somewhere 
in the colourless 
voiceless void 

far far from everything 
civilized 
Homeland 
where our spirits 
have been living for two 
thousand years 
on the same place 
in the same tree

Could I have thought they 
would drive them out 
would chop me down 
chop down my old 
sacred home-tree 
dry up my sacred home-like 
my roots, my old roots 
lie naked in the 
voiceless void left  
of my homeland 
home-wood 
home-lake 

I have little voice 
little voice left 
to talk in Polish 
or in any 
other foreign language 
used up dried up 
suffocating 
in the bottom 
of some foreign city 
they call Warsaw or Cracow 
somewhere 
beyond the edge of the world 
full of elegant 
multicoloured fish 
poets artist 
souvenir shops jewelers 
and good Catholics 
whom I never relly me

They asked me 
do I feel myself 
at least a bit Polish 
what could I answer them 
what did I answer them 
an Estonian non-Catholic 
non-Protestant 
a fish from a far-off lake 
looking upon them 
through these multicoloured 
reefs and waves 
what words have they 
heard from my mouth 
grown up in another language 
in another world 

Yes I think talked with Tadeusz Rozewicz 
in a dream in a coffee-house 
at the sea bottom 
where there was a Mickiewicz 
and many doves white gray and blue 
he drank beer and probably 
asked me about something 
but I am sure he didn`t hear 
what I was trying to answer 
through the salty sparkling water 
I a fish from Estonia

Of course I am not mute nor dumb 
fishes have their speech 
their languages 
but to listen to them you must 
have very expensive microphones and 
tape recorders 
and much patience 
and it may take a long time to wait 
for a fish to come out of water 
and speak 
Indo-European 
to foreign writers and correspondents 

His father was Polish indeed 
dead in Russia long long ago 
and his brothers and sisters have 
become fish in an unknown sea 
and are dead or gone or lost 
In a midday dream I swam over the 
sunlit warm bottom of the sea of Cracow 
there were many nice colourful fish 
with sparkling scales and voices 
I tried to speak to them 
it made no sence 
they had beautiful voices 
as they talked Indo-European 
swimming over multicoloured corals 

Then I awoke here 
in a dried up ancient salt lake 
called Tallinn 
with some foreign books and papers in my hands 
"est-ce qu'il fait très froid 
en Pologne ... en Estonie?" 
asked Wislawa Szymborska 
or someone else 

Light comes in through the windows 
cyclones come across Scandinavia 
fish we buy and cook are caught somewhere 
very far from here in the Antarctic seas