Abbey Pleviak

Arrows: lovers hunting songs

Note: These poems are excerpted from a collection of spoken-to-written translations, erasures of poems, and in some cases letters, that were first translated from various languages by Jerome Rothenberg and Jeffrey C. Robinson, and then read aloud during the 2007 Naropa University Summer Writing Program lecture, “Translations from Experimental Romanticism.”  Many of the original poems from which this collection is derived can be found in Volume 3 of Poems for the Millennium. Many thanks are due to the translators and especially to Jerome Rothenberg for helping me to piece together the fragments of my memory into proper citations.

after Emily Dickinson

I find my love everywhere.   I advance and retreat.
I shoot my arrows and hide in leaves.

Hawk heart pierced      Downy bosom spread      to pull out the blade
             Shoot back!    Pierce me!     With our words entwined!

                             Say to me,  yours and mine.

                                                   after Dionysios Solomos

A hunter slices through water --- devours a naked warrior.

             Worlds open in the mouth.

                                      I mate with stars,
                                            laughing flowers,
                                                                the sky.
                     I harmonize with sea stones,       bidding stars to rise.

            Can you hear this heart yearn for your face?

                   Stricken in sea foam,     I sweetly kiss my own hands       and fly.

                                                after Percy Bysshe Shelley

                                         We'll construct temples   
                                       with currencies of currents    
                                           for a spirit in stone     
                                             A grave re-grown    
                                        with green viperous hair
                            A radiance that mocks the torture within

                            Light pours from the cave
                                                                           An insane surprise!                                                             
                            Tempestuous flairs fill the midnight sky.

            Her lonely terror     a serpent's dream          
                                                                                 Her countenance locked.

      after Emily Dickinson

The heart of a bird pierced by an arrow    Would you weep    dear one?  

I was made as I am.  
My constructed heart has swollen;   I can't carry it like a baby anymore.

I asked you for revision,     and you altered me.
            My eyes     
                            Your smile
                                                 Our breath.

I would breathe your breath:       I would fill with it. 
I would come nearer to you than I ought.    It's a trick I play on my heart.
I do not see you.  My eyes do not laugh. You do not smile. 

      Your heart, does it sing in the night?   Is it set like mine, a little to the left?

                                   Let Me              
                                    after John Keats

Pardon, when I sing your secrets back to you:

Your wingéd eyes show through singing grass,

Hushing flowers breathe all around you.
                                                                          I fall to embrace you there. 

      No altar to lay your celestial body on.

     Only your sweet mouth loosened like butterflies.

       Let me sing and sigh for you, among your flowers, the grove of you.

                                                                                    No more pines, only aspens.

I'll tremble for you among the bees beneath the mountains.

We'll sleep there.  I’ll leave everything soft and shining for you. 
                                                                                                        Let my warm love in.