High up at the head of the valley where the stream’s face hardened
under the breath of December and where the mountain guardians
received their delivery of white cloaks fashioned by swirling winds
and moonlight flooded the land
the mining village nestled in new disguise
frost nibbling away at its feet
by Geoff Jones
Uchel i fyny ar flaen y cwm lle caledai wyneb y nant
dan anadl mis Rhagfyr a lle câi ceidwaid y mynydd
eu rhodd o fentyll gwynion wedi’u llunio gan wyntoedd troelli
a llifai’r lloergan y wlad
nythai’r pentref glofaol dan rith newydd
cnoai llorrew ar ei draed
translated by Nigel Thomas from Poetry Mine (2009)
Additional information: The poet notes ‘Nantyglo: stream of coal’. There are a number of Geoff Jones’ on the internet so it was a little hard to find details about him. Here is a link to his Twitter account as, unfortunately, it seems his website is gone now. Here is a newspaper/news website article about him.
You granted me some salt for the journey, sprinkled so much white I lost my mind. Holy Kama winter, you burn like light. I live alone as wind in a winter field.
You’re stingy, Mother. Just give me a little bread. The silos are filled with snow. I’m hungry. My bag is heavy: A loaf of sorrow for a bite of catastrophe.
The frost is gnawing my feet. Who needs me? I’m a refugee. You don’t care whether or not I breathe.
What should I do among your pearls and the chill wrought silver on the black Kama, at night, without a fire?
by Арсений Александрович Тарковский (Arseny Alexandrovich Tarkovsky) (13 November 1941) IV from Christopol Notebook from Butterfly in the Hospital Orchard 1926-1945 translated by Philip Metres and Dimitri Psurtsev
Не пожалела на дорогу соли, Так насолила, что свела с ума. Горишь, святая камская зима, А я живу один, как ветер в поле.
Скупишься, мать, дала бы хлеба, что ли, Полны ядреным снегом закрома, Бери да ешь. Тяжка моя сума; Полпуда горя и ломоть недоли.
Я ноги отморожу на ветру, Я беженец, я никому не нужен, Тебе-то все равно, а я умру.
Что делать мне среди твоих жемчужин И кованного стужей серебра На черной Каме, ночью, без костра?
Ere I freeze, to sing bravely By Mary, is best for me; I will make a new canto To the terrible mist and snow, Steel ground, grass short and withered, The black month, the shiver-stirred. I’m not hale here, nor wisely Sing nor well, alas for me! Better the awkward Muse might Run in May or June’s sunlight, When a sweet bird in the thick Of leaves charms with its music, And under a birch like heaven A fool enjoys hugging Gwen, And his voice in a greenhall Is found, and a poem’s soul. But not like this, I dare swear, Does winter stay forever. How old it looks, white snowdrift Hiding every slope and rift, Everywhere cold, white each tree, And no stream in the valley. Water locked, no genial day, Black frost along the footway; Birds of the world, sad deadlock – God’s put their food under lock: The key let Him take home then Rightly to be kept in heaven!
by Lewis Morris (1701-1765)
Additional information: Lewis Morris (2 March 1701 – 11 April 1765) was a Welsh hydrographer, antiquary, poet and lexicographer, the eldest of the Morris brothers of Anglesey. Lewis was the eldest son of Morris ap Rhisiart Morris, a farmer, of Llanfihangel-Tre’r-Beirdd in Anglesey. His bardic name was Llewelyn Ddu o Fôn (“Black Llewelyn [Lewis] of Anglesey”). The correspondence between him and his younger brothers is a valuable historical source. In 1751, he founded the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion along with his brother Richard.
by Сергей Александрович Есенин (Sergei Alexandrovich Yesenin)
a.k.a. Sergey Yesenin / Esenin
translated by Boris Dralyuk
Beneath is the original Russian version of the poem in Cyrillic:
Улицы печальные, Сугробы да мороз. Сорванцы отчаянные С лотками папирос. Грязных улиц странники В забаве злой игры, Все они — карманники, Веселые воры. Тех площадь — на Никитской, А этих — на Тверской. Стоят с тоскливым свистом Они там день-деньской. Снуют по всем притонам И, улучив досуг, Читают Пинкертона За кружкой пива вслух. Пускай от пива горько, Они без пива — вдрызг. Все бредят Нью-Йорком, Всех тянет в Сан-Франциск. Потом опять печально Выходят на мороз Сорванцы отчаянные С лотками папирос.
Tverskaya Square is a square in Central Administrative Okrug in Moscow. Belorussky railway station faces the square. The streets which terminate at the square are, in counterclockwise order, Leningradsky Avenue, Gruzinsky Val, 2nd Brestskaya Street, 1st Brestskaya Street, 1st Tverskaya-Yamskaya Street, Lesnaya Street, and Butyrsky Val.
Pinkerton likely references to Allan J. Pinkerton (25 August 1819 – 1 July 1884) who was a Scottish–American detective and spy, best known for creating the Pinkerton National Detective Agency. He produced numerous popular detective books, ostensibly based on his own exploits and those of his agents. Some were published after his death, and they are considered to have been more motivated by a desire to promote his detective agency than a literary endeavour. Most historians believe that Allan Pinkerton hired ghostwriters, but the books nonetheless bear his name and no doubt reflect his views.
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