Issue 7

Yvonne Green
Senyon Izrailevitch Lipkin: Translations


I'm a bachelor who loves to stay in hotels,
visit Cossack stanitsas, order chirchir,
curse market women, then move on
to unlock the miserly earth's secrets

you forget the way home in the fresh air, deep sky
of places that use Arabic nicknames,
and mark a hero's tomb with a tapered shaft.
Look, I've already passed the mosque, the graveyard

a valley shines in the distance straddled by a bridge
shining like a crescent moon in a nameless river
which shifts a bed of glassy rubble as it meanders.
By the time I get back here the river will be dry

leaving sticks, logs, a bed of rubble in the sun
will I bless or curse the parched earth? I'll stop a while
then walk away in the stony haze, past jagged rocks
until I disappear, a nameless river

In the Tian Shan

A dapper Warsaw tailor watches
a butterfly knock against the throat of a kumgan.
A grey haired golden eagle sleeps on a perch.

Others became ash behind barbed wire
but Zigismund Smetana ends up here,
alone on earth, a single leaf swirls
around his hut.

The mountains are foggy.
Behind them, just think, there's China.

People begin to arrive now,
Sappho with the leader in her saddle,
RAYFO's tax man in corduroy,
a camel and a family

Daylight disappears in dust like a horseman,
quiet sheep flock to their pens,
frozen vineyards hide their leaves,

ovens bake matzas inside the yurts
just as they did in Galilee.

The tailor stands pristine, spotless
under an awning at dusk,
his tape measure round his neck.

He's charred by dead fire.
Treblinka became dust
and left burning embers inside him.

Tian Shan -- mountains in central Asia –
kumgan -- a narrow mouthed, lidded, single-handled ewer
RAYFO -- Rayonny Finansovy Otdel, the district's financial department


Above its roof
the thick dark canopy
of a maple rustles
then heaven’s vault shines.

How gently the toll of its bell
reaches the Almighty
carried by the maple
heard by a bird.

My God
we live simply now,
each day’s quiet
far from the city.

I am going grey
my days are numbered.
Where’s my youth,
What have I done to it?