Bridge to Global Literature

Let’s all remember that more and more poetry gets lost without earnest attempts at translation.Read poetry here to get a glimpse of the rhythms and resonances of languages you don’t know.

Poems by Kirstin Ruth Bratt

Nov 6, 2021 | Poetry | 0 comments

Wandering
            Inspired by the 270th ghazal of Hafiz

You ask about the pain of love
Do I want it
You ask if I like my journey
The rising sea levels and the mortgage
I do and
I do not

You invite me to your ocean
We wash our mouths and our ears
I hear your questions, but I wonder
What you’re saying
If you ask too many questions
They are not questions at all
You are choosing the heart
You want

__

 

Sky of Glass

           “And the stars in the sky don't mean nothing to you
           They're a mirror…”
           Danny Whitten, “I Don’t Want to Talk About It”

The sky is a curved sheet of glass
Reflecting the stars, over and over
Like looking in a mirror that is looking in a mirror
And I don’t want to talk about it anymore
How long I have been looking at the stars
It hurts too much to talk about
That picture of you at four years old
Striped shirt and overalls
Lying on your belly with a book and a pile of crayons
Smiling up at my mother’s camera
My longing for you to be like that again
One more afternoon like that, and maybe another
A mirror in a mirror
The stars in a mirror
The sky a curved pane of glass
You growing too fast for me to hold you
I can see your eyes
Reflecting in the sky
Over and over again
Like looking in a mirror
That is looking at a mirror
Your eyes
Those stars
Your eyes
Those stars

__

What the River Needs
          “…The sign may be water or fire
          or it may be the black earth…” 
          — Lucille Clifton, “Shadows”

Wake up, woman
It doesn’t matter what
The river means
Or what it eats
Or how long it takes
Wake up, woman
A different kind of woman is calling you
A secure woman in the comfort of her home
She should stay there, weaving
But she won’t
The Nile is born in a mountain lake
A lake full of rivers
It flows north to Memphis
To the sea
Wake up, woman, and wake up, girl
Weave your actions into a mountain
Great devastation
Small moving ships
Make yourself a new world
The Mississippi River
Is like a tree
You can meditate on the shore
Wake up, girl
You’re dreaming again
Forget the earth, the blood-soaked soil
And help your family

__

Kirstin Ruth Bratt is a professor, mother, writer who is fascinated with live theater and music. She can often be seen walking near the Mississippi River in Minneapolis or holding yoga poses in a hot studio.

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