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Best Famous Jonas Mekas Poems


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by Jonas Mekas |

From THE TALK OF FLOWERS

 I do not know, whether the sun 
accomplished it, 
the rain or wind – 
but I was missing so 
the whiteness and the snow.

I listened to the rustling 
of spring rain, 
washing the reddish buds 
of chestnut-trees, – 
and a tiny spring ran down 
into the valley from the hill – 
and I was missing 
the whiteness 
and the snow.

And in the yards, and on the slopes 
red-cheeked 
village maidens 
hung up the washings 
blown over by the wind 
and, leaning, 
stared a long while 
at the yellow tufts of sallow:

For love is like the wind, 
And love is like the water – 
it warms up with the spring, 
and freezes over – in the autumn.
But to me, I don't know why, 
whether the sun 
accomplished it, 
the rain or wind – 
but I was missing so 
the whiteness and the snow.

I know – the wind 
will blow and blow the washings, 
and the rain 
will wash and wash the chestnut-trees, – 
but love, which melted with 
the snow – 
will not return.

Deep below the snow sleep 
words and feelings: 
for today, watching 
the dance of rain between the door – 
the rain of spring! – 
I saw another:

she walked by in the rain, 
and beautiful she was, 
and smiled:

For love is like the wind, 
and love is like the water – 
it warms up with the spring 
and freezes over – in the autumn, 
though to me, I don't know why, 
whether the sun 
accomplished it, 
the rain or wind – 
but I was missing so 
the whiteness and the snow.

Translated by Clark Mills


by Jonas Mekas |

Villages and Plains the Streams Flow Through

 You too return, along with days gone,
and flow again, my blue rivers,

to carry on the songs of washerwomen,
fishermen's nets and grey wooden bridges.
Clear blue nights, smelling warm,
streams of thin mist off the meadow drift in
with distinct hoof-stomps from a fettered horse.

To carry off rioting spring thaws,
willows torn loose and yellow lily cups,
with children's shrill riots.
The summer heat, its midday simmer:
lillypads crowd, where a riverbed's narrowed,
while mud in the heat smells
of fish and rock-studded shallows.

And even at the peak, when the heat
locked in with no wind appears to shiver and burn,
and barn siding cracks in the sun, even then
this water touches shade, down in the reeds,
so you can feel the pull and crawl,
one cool blue current through your fingers,
and bending over its clear blue flow
make out field smells, shimmering meadows,
other villages passed on the way here,
remote unfamiliar homesteads,
the heavy oakwood tables
heaped with bread, meat, and a soup of cold greens,
the women waiting for the reapers to return.

Translated by Vyt Bakaitis


by Jonas Mekas |

Market days

 Mondays, way before dawn,
before even the first hint of blue in the windows,
we'd hear it start, off the road past our place,
over on the highway nearby,
in a clatter of market-bound traffic.

Riding the rigs packed with fruit and crated live fowl,
or on foot, with cattle hitched to tailgates slowing the pace,
or sitting up high, on raised seats
(the women all wore their garish kerchiefs,
the knot under each chin carefully tied)

so jolting along, lurching in their seats,
in and out of woods, fields, scrub barrens,
with dogs out barking from every yard along the way,
in a cloud of dust.

And on, by narrow alleyways,
rattling across the cobbles,
up to the well in the market square.
With a crowd already there,
the wagons pull up by a stone wall
and people wave across to each other,
a bright noisy swarm.

And from there, first tossing our horse a tuft of clover,
father would go to look the livestock over.
Strolling past fruitwagons loaded with apples and pears,
past village women seated on wheelframes
and traders laid out along the base of the well,
he'd make his way to one large fenced-in yard
filled with bleating sheep, with horses and cows,
the air full of dung-stench and neighing,
hen squalls, non-stop bawling,
the farmers squabbling...

And mother, mindful of salt she needed to get,
as well as knitting needles, rushed right off;
and we'd be looking on to help our sister pick her thread,
dizzy from this endless spread of bright burning colors in front of us,
till mother pulled us back from the booths,

had us go past wagonloads of fruit and grain
to skirt the crowding square,

then head up that narrow, dusty side street
to see our aunt Kastune;
later, we'd still be talking away, when she hurried us back
past the tiny houses shoved up next to each other, along the river
and down to the mill, where with the last
of the rye-flour sacks stacked up in the wagon
and his shoes flour-white, his whole outfit pale flour-dust,
father would be waiting.

And on past nightfall, farmwagons keep clattering
back past scattered homesteads,
then on through the woods; while up ahead
cowherds perch impatient on top of the gateposts,
their caps pulled down on their eyes,
still waiting for us to get back.

Translated by Vyt Bakaitis