But One Country

Here’s a poem by Rod Duncan that I translated as part of the Journeys in Translation project, a project that calls upon translators around the world to translate poems from Over Land Over Sea: Poems for those seeking refuge from English into other languages. You can still take part! More information: Journeys in Translation

The poem in English:

but one country

our home
is but one country
truly, the whole earth
is there for them to settle
tell us if you can, where else
shall we go when they have come?
they do not belong in our homeland
you should blush when you say to us
we must turn our vision up-side down

 we must turn our vision up-side down
you should blush when you say to us
they do not belong in our homeland
shall we go when they have come?
tell us if you can, where else
is there for them to settle
truly, the whole earth
is but one country
our home

The poem in Polish:

Tylko jeden kraj

Nasz dom
— Jeden kraj
Na całym świecie
Jest dla nich dość miejsca
Mówcie, jeśli wiecie, gdzie
Mamy pójść, gdy się tu zjawią?
W tym kraju nie ma dla nich miejsca
Powinno wam być wstyd mówić nam, że
Czas wywrócić swój świat do góry nogami

Czas wywrócić swój świat do góry nogami
Powinno wam być wstyd mówić nam, że
W tym kraju nie ma dla nich miejsca
Mamy pójść, gdy się tu zjawią?
Mówcie, jeśli wiecie, gdzie
Jest dla nich dość miejsca
Na całym świecie
— Jeden kraj
Nasz dom

The Doubtful Art of Self-Doubt

Or what I write when I think I can’t write:

***

Sometimes I get overwhelmed
by such doubt

Perhaps it’s for the better that
I’m not a ballet dancer

Striving for others
to like my dance
would be the death of me

As it is, I can dance for myself
often, in the dark

Hasty Thoughts

Caught in a small loop of time
with people around to reach out for
I think hasty thoughts that hurt me
my black fingernails scratch
impatiently

But after a moment it becomes plain:
I should ask

Could you give me,
could you give me,
could you give me some time of yours?


I admit: I wrote this on a bus. Going to work; from work to a lecture; then home to try and do something to make my thesis exist. That’s what my days look like lately, and that’s the reason why I’ve been posting rarely these last few months.

I’m busy, and I wish the week was at least one day longer!

In this little poem — it’s not even a poem! — I wanted to compress my recent thoughts about haste. Because haste has become an important part of my life, and it has been getting on my nerves on and off in the past few months. And the day before I wrote it I reflected that when I’m in a hurry, I revert to my (bad) old thinking habits like they’re the default setting.

And I lapse into doubt and think of how they’re gonna say good bye to me after my trial period, how I’ll do something and disappoint someone I care for, or how I’ll fail a class at the uni.

Then I start feeling all discouraged from trying to keep, nourish, and enjoy the awesome things that I have in life, and pessimistic about their future at my side.

An example of it: a few days ago I was thinking of quitting my job just because I didn’t pass an on-line course in the basics of LTE technology in one try. It didn’t make any sense because the course was difficult, and I could give it as many tries as I needed.

But it seems like spontaneous self-harm comes in whenever I don’t watch myself. So I worried, and put myself down, and worried some more, although I don’t actually want to hurt myself.

It’s the haste… perhaps with a dash of perfectionism, too.

It was good to figure that out.

It was also good that that day I came across a post published by my friend katerzyna, where she wrote about patience. It was just just what I needed to hear: All we need is… just a little patience.

Breathe deeply in and out, even if you live in a smoggy city like I do. Be patient. It’s true that all kinds of things may happen, but constant worry probably won’t prevent the bad ones, or speed up the good ones.

Another good conclusion I reached that day was that when we’re in haste and/or trouble, it’s really worth reaching out to other people for support.

In my case, this means asking for hugs, bothering people with questions, or making the poor devils listen when I want to tell a story e.g. about a rude woman on the bus.

And this is actually what I’m going to do now: promise you a story. Not the one about the rude lady on the bus — this one isn’t worth a blog post. Another one. Wait. Patiently. Till tomorrow.

Regards,
Mulan

Find Me Attached

A short poem about attachment, and maybe about some other things, too.

You can laugh: there was time
whenever someone wanted
to take a photo of me
I’d dodge and say
‘don’t shoot me’

Photos have their way of staying –
just what I didn’t want

But here you are
here we are
here I am
to stay

Come rain

Here is a little poem about a thing that comes with autumn and whose charm is as unclear to you as that of an autumn morning, with its coldness, and with its sunshine, and with its haziness, and with its tendency to make you wish it doesn’t go away so quickly.

Well, here I am describing and even (damn…) naming things I haven’t a clue about.

Or maybe I have. It’s the haziest clue possible, though.



she is like rain

when you hear her talk,
you could be lying on grass,
and letting her words soak you,
ground you in your field of autumns’
infatuations

almost forgotten
with autumn comes rain


Have a good day,
Mulan

The middle

I’ve narrowed my world so that it looks like a

neurone: a number of dendrites around

my home, connecting me, and the

axon, leading down to hell,

and in the middle an

inconspicuous

minute

dot –

me

.


This poem comes from inside a bout of depression, where there was only me and everything revolved around this me, this me being depressed and all this shit — you probably know what I’m talking about.

‘Cause when you’re depressed, it really feels like you’re in the middle of a dark, dark world. And it’s hard to see anything or anyone in this dark. I mean, it can be really dark.

And you stay in the middle. In a sense, you’re always in the middle, and always everything revolves around you.

But they there may come a time when a silhouette or two becomes visible in the dark. And slowly you begin to notice more of them. People like you. And things start to emerge from the dark, too. Each of them gets a shape, and some of them you even start to want.

They revolve around you, like they always do. And having them around you, you light up.

And the incredible thing is how the dark, dark world can then brighten and widen.