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This poem appeared in: Contemporary East European Poetry: An Anthology, ed. George Emory. Oxford University Press, 1993.



Astrīdē Ivaska

Astrīde Ivaska




K. H.


You were the first to leave
of our summer friends.
Between your house and the granary
are still woodlands—
slender birches and the junipers'
bristly fur coats
against fresh pine growth,
tight in the darkness.
Strawberry beds relax under the snow,
the hawk that was hung up as scarecrow
stiffens. Life has lifted off on waxen wings.
The lathe drowses in the granary,
unused blocks of birch wood
feel about with their blind eyes.
On this island frozen in snow, twilight settles.
Each day at this hour
on the sills, cabinets, shelves,
the cranes stretch out their necks and softly
begin calling in the silence.


Translated by Inara Cedrins