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.

Zilka Joseph

Jan 15, 2021 | Poetry | 0 comments

Three Autumn Tanka


It is time for hawks
golden eagles plough the clouds
harriers in the marsh
we count kestrels overhead
a monarch sits in my palm


“Sharpy” over trees
flap flap flap glide head turns to see
flash burgundy eyes
never stray only one way
to go catch the wind go south


Green steel warrior
ruby-throated hummingbird
heart-whirring thread-tongued
wings fly at season’s command
brave brain remembers the roads


Now the Dark Rain

is a curtain that sweeps across the face
of the earth
like the robes
of angel Azrael
the one who assists us
with our passing

what am I to learn from this darkness


I could say a knowing
falls like mercy
sweet and dark
as molasses

yet deep as the depths
of the deep-sea trenches
an invisible inner shimmering
no one can see from the outside

but I sense it
smell a glow
even in the cold and dark
a way of seeing
a way of being here
and elsewhere
a glimpse of passage

what is death but birth

a small stirring
toward the light

Zilka Joseph

Zilka Joseph

Zilka Joseph was nominated twice for a Pushcart, and recently for Best of the Net. Her work has appeared in Poetry, Poetry Daily, Frontier Poetry, Kenyon Review Online, Michigan Quarterly Review, Asia Literary Review, and anthologies such as Cheers to Muses: Works by Asian American Women, RESPECT: An Anthology of Detroit Music Poetry, and 101 Jewish Poems for the Third Millennium. Her chapbooks, Lands I Live In and What Dread, were nominated for a PEN America and a Pushcart respectively. Sharp Blue Search of Flame, her book of poems, was published by Wayne State University Press and was a finalist for the Foreword INDIES Book Award. She teaches creative writing workshops in Ann Arbor, and is a freelance editor and manuscript coach.


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