- Mark Olival-Bartley
- As the resident poet at EcoHealth, my verse finds inspiration these days in the spectre of global pandemics. At LMU Munich's Amerika-Institut, where I tutor composition and poetics, I'm anatomizing the sonnets of E. A. Robinson for my dissertation. I also teach at Münchner Volkshochschule and Amerikahaus.
"We're Few, Perhaps Three"
by Boris Pasternak
Translated by Babette Deutsch
We're few, perhaps three, hellish fellows
Who hail from the flaming Donetz,
With a fluid gray bark for our cover
Made of rain-clouds and soldiers' soviets
And verses and endless debates
About art or it may be freight rates.
We used to be people. We're epochs.
Pell-mell we rush caravanwise
As the tundra to groans of the tender
And tension of pistons and ties.
Together we'll rip through your prose,
We'll whirl, a tornado of crows,
And be off! But you'll not understand it
Till late. So the wind in the dawn
Hits the thatch on the roof--for a moment--
But puts immortality on
At trees' stormy sessions, in speech
Of boughs the roof's shingles can't reach.
Note: A recitation can be heard here.