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THREE POEMS BY NOBEL LAUREATE LOUIS GLOCK

Lewis Glick was born in 1943 in New York City, USA. Growing up in Long Island, New York. He graduated from George W. High School, Hewlett, New York in 1981. She later studied at Sarah Lawrence College and Columbia University. He is currently teaching at Yale University. Louis Glick won the Pulitzer Prize in 1993 for his book Wild Iris. In addition to the Pulitzer Prize, he has received several awards, including the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Academy of American Poets’ Prize.

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Lewis Glick won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2020. The Nobel Committee said in their speech, “Her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal.”

Lewis Glick’s poetry is essentially autobiographical. In his poems, personal frustration, hope-aspiration, success-failure, loneliness are intertwined with classical myths. The total number of books of poetry by Louis Glick is eleven. Notable among them are ‘The Seven Age’, ‘Vita Nova’ and ‘Everno’. In addition to poetry, his most widely discussed prose collection is ‘Proofs Anthology’ and ‘Essays on Poetry’. The poems have been translated from English to Bengali by Laila Farzana. B.S.

Lewis Glick’s Poetry
Translation: Laila Farzana

Siren _

Falling in love I am wicked, sinful.
I used to be a waiter.

I didn’t want to go to Chicago with you.
I wanted to marry you, I wanted to
hurt your wife.

I wanted her life to be a tragedy –
every part of it was sad.

Can any good person think like this?
I deserve
the credit for my courage –

I was
sitting in the dark on the front porch of your house.
Everything was clear to me:
if your wife doesn’t let you go,
doesn’t that prove
she doesn’t love you?
If he loved you,
wouldn’t he want you to be happy?

Now I think if my feelings
weren’t so deep –
maybe I could be a better person.
I was a good waiter.
I could easily carry eight drinks.

How many times have I told you about my dream!
Last night a girl was crying
– in a dark bus – in a dream,
the bus was moving away.
He was saying goodbye with one hand;
A baby-filled egg cage caught in the other hand.

There is no escape for the girl even in dreams.

Parable of the Hostages

The Greeks are sitting on the beach, wondering
what to do after the war.
No one wants to return home,
on that island of bones;
Wants a little more Troy,
Troy ‘s life without force —
every day where
new surprises are wrapped in wonder.

But
how to explain to the people in the waiting room!
Fighting for absence is a reasonable excuse,
but not a pleasure trip.
Again, ‘Well he’ll see you later’;

They are working men,
women and children with insights and
are ready to leave in the dark.
In the hot sun, they look at their strong wrists and think
again – the wrists are stronger and more golden now than they
were before they left home .

Some people have
memories for the family again,
how long do not see the wife of the house! – “Did the war make them old?”

Some people feel uncomfortable:
if the fight is a mere masculine version of the costume?
A deeply designed game invented to avoid spiritual questions?

Ah!
But this is not just a war!
The whole world seems to begin
with an opera, a chorus of war-sounding voices,
and end with the solo music of Aria’s floating siren.

There, on that beach,
discussing various aspects of the return home schedule –
some are surprised to learn that it may take ten years
to return to Ithaca ; But no one can predict the insurmountable dilemma of the millennium – the pain of the unanswered heart: how the world is divided, the beauty of the world – in acceptable and unacceptable love!

On that beach in Troy, the
Greeks will know how –
they are already hostages:
those who do not want to go are trapped,
those who have not started the journey are fascinated;

Somehow some of them are
trapped forever:
some dream of happiness,
some sleep,
and some sing!

Celestial Music

I have a friend.
He believes in heaven.
No, I’m not talking about a fool’s paradise.
He is not a fool.

Yet with what he knows –
he speaks to God in the belief that
someone from heaven is listening to him.

He is unusually skilled in worldly life. Brave, too,
can face any unpleasant situation effortlessly.

One day we saw a caterpillar die in the garbage,
on which a group of greedy ants crawled.
The catastrophe of anti-life force moved me forever.
But I’m timid – I
close my eyes very easily.

But my brave friend
was watching the whole thing happen, following
the natural rules of nature.
Just for me, the ants dropped the torn body
and laid it on the side of the road.

Friend says, I have closed my eyes to God;
This is nothing but turning my face towards reality.
With motherly affection she tells me that
I am like a child hiding her face on a pillow — one who is
afraid to accept the truth,
one who thinks that light will burn everything.

Even in a dream my friend scolded me.
Patience urges me
to wake up to be a mature man like him,
a brave man –

We are still walking the same path today,
the only difference is that it is winter now.
He tells me – look up, if you love
this world you will hear heavenly music too –

I look up – I see nothing.
Only clouds, and snow,
whitewashed trees like a bride –
wanting to cross some unearthly height.
My fear is, for him; I wonder if he is going to be caught in a trap
deliberately thrown on the earth!

Coming back to reality again, now we are sitting on
the side of the road, watching the sunset, side by side , sometimes the call of birds pierces the silence. Now is the time – to explain our reality, death is now as simple as solitude for us.

 

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