Czeck poetry

poetI picked up a little bilingual anthology here, and so far like Pavel Kolmačka best. He writes short, imagistic poems. Here are a couple:

To forget nothing, miss nothing
of this day drawing to an end.
Motionless, solemn, unaware of time
watching at the window falling snow.


We gazed at the city from above.
The brickworks, station, factory and church.
The chimney smoke merged with the sky.
And down below kids flew a kite,
tossed about in the wind.

You said:
“What is it we are nostalgic for?
Do we want
what perhaps isn’t there?”

The falling dusk made contours soft,
and windows lit up one by one.
As one we stumbled over stones
both burdened by body and soul.

Pavel Kolmačka
translated by Alexandra Büchler

My apology to Ms. Büchler–I changed her word plant to factory, because I thought plant was too ambiguous–did it mean a green plant?  No the Czech word is “fabrika,” hence my edit.

In any case,this little poem made me think of an even smaller one by Robert Hass (I’m paraphrasing here, hope I got it right):

Even in New York,
sun on brownstones,
we long for New York.

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