And here is a lovely poem by Jaroslav Seifert that I enjoyed reading today

April 12, 2014 § Leave a comment

This is from the collection The Poetry of Jaroslav Seifert and is taken from the publisher’s website.  This is a fragment of the poem “Transformations,” with the translation by Edward Osers:
A lad changed to a shrub in spring,
the shrub into a shepherd boy,
A fine hair to a lyre string,
snow into snow on hair piled high.

And words turn into question signs,
wisdom and fame to old-age lines,
and strings revert to finest hair,
the boy’s transformed into a poet
the poet is transformed once more,
becomes the shrub my which he slept
when he loved beauty till he wept.

Whoever falls in love with beauty
will love it to his dying day,
stagger toward it aimlessly,
beauty has feet of charm and grace
in sandals delicate as lace.

 Here Seifert utilizes the metaphor of the shrub in spring (and later an old stick) to discuss the changes from callow youth to something perhaps a bit more mature but certainly not in a pejorative fashion.  As I’m turning 40 later this year, I found myself particularly drawn to the third stanza (the final two are not quoted here and can be read by clicking on the link above) and the discussion of beauty within this concept of the aging boy/poet.

Having finished The Poetry of Jaroslav Seifert this afternoon, I cannot help but think he is one of the best 20th century poets, even in translation, and that his 1984 Nobel was well-deserved.

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