To the Girl in the Sunlight (poem in Russian)

Girl in the Sunlight.

Отчего ты печалишься, дальняя
незнакомка знакомая?
Может я, помогу чем-то —
словом, молчанием?
В саду твоём — солнцестояние,
лето вечное, тень резная
фатой подвенечной легла,
ты из света, тепла, руки сложены
так покойно, покорно… Может ты,
мне расскажешь, что видишь-ведаешь,
зачем в глазах грусть?
Незатейлив секрет пусть,
ты его как ларец дорогой открой —
помоги, научи, помолчи со мной.

 

Image: Girl in the Sunlight. Portrait of Maria Simonovich by Valentin Serov. 1888. Oil on canvas. The Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia.

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Happy August

Boy and dog, starry night, Nino

I would have said,
no, we could not explain
the physics of the lightning,
or the rain,
stars galloping
across the endless sky…
I would have said,
no, we could not tell why
the world would trade its green
for gold, and fall
onto the earth
we treaded with our small
bare feet of childhood.

No, we surely could
not ever tell.
We simply understood.

 

© 2014 Sasha A. Palmer

Image: © 2015 Nino Chakvetadze, reproduced with permission.

Blind-man’s-buff (poem)

 

Group of Figures (Study for "Un dimanche à la Grande Jatte")

The sun trapped in my half-sealed eyelids, I
could not peek if I tried – the blindfold’s tight.
No need to, though – I can identify
you anytime, old friend, both day and night.

No matter where I go I’d recognize
the bitter-sweet of clover on the tongue,
the cool caress of wind, I don’t need eyes
to see you as you were, when we were young.

I hear the stillness of the hot high-noon,
and smell the earth stirred by the garden rake,
I feel the rain with all my cells, and soon
I know you, friend, I do, make no mistake.

You are my dream, my childhood, my July,
I carry with me, though I’ve left, you stay
forever in that place where you and I –
that magic place –
where blind-man’s-buff we play.

 

© 2014 Sasha A. Palmer

Image: Georges Seurat. Group of Figures (Study for “Un dimanche à la Grande Jatte”), 1884–1885. Oil on panel, Overall: 6 1/16 x 9 3/4 in. (15.4 x 24.8 cm). BF2506. Public Domain.

“Youth must be English…” (poem)

Woman in Red Blouse with Tulips

Youth must be English, for she leaves without goodbyes
You turn around and suddenly you realize
That she is gone, and she has taken summers with her
And autumn weather settles in
Where youth has been

You’re left dumbfounded, in a trance for quite a while
You wear a boyishly defiant little smile
As in the middle of July the leaves are falling
You keep refusing to believe
That she would leave

And even when you know it’s true you hope some day
Some full of summer, irresistible sun day
The day of handless clocks that keep what once was ours
The lazy hours that slowly burn
She will return

 

© 2014 Sasha A. Palmer

Image: William James Glackens. Woman in Red Blouse with Tulips, c. 1913–1914. Oil on canvas, Overall: 30 1/8 x 25 in. (76.5 x 63.5 cm). BF160. Public Domain. ©2019 Estate of William James Glackens.

“Let’s dance, it does not matter who will lead” (poem)

Flowers

Let’s dance, it does not matter who will lead.
Our song is playing, darling, let us follow
the path to summer, move our feet, no need
to worry ‘bout the steps.  Come, let us wallow
in expectations of that mid-July,
forget the wintry weather, you and I
we’ll dance away the blues. Come, hear the beat,
allow your heart to skip it once again,
indulge in days of sultry high-noon heat,
come, spin the earth until it spills the rain,
drops reasoning, and falls for happenstance…
Let’s do the same, let’s follow, let us dance.

© 2014 Sasha A. Palmer

Image: William James Glackens. Flowers, c. 1915–1916. Oil on canvas, Overall: 12 5/8 x 9 3/4 in. (32.1 x 24.8 cm). BF594. Public Domain.

“beyond the white cloud, atop the green hill…” (poem)

Boy and girl on a bench, Nino's art

We knew from the start
that the game wasn’t fair,
yet we played anyway,
pretending that childhood
would always be there,
just a bike ride away.

But where is it now?
It’s over,
over the fields of clover,
beyond the white cloud,
atop the green hill…
It is there still.

It lives in that place—
non-existent, abiding—
where it’s always July,
where cross the lush summers
two bikers are riding,
just two kids: you and I.

 

© 2014 Sasha A. Palmer

Image: © 2017 Nino Chakvetadze, reproduced with permission.

Happy July, kids, and happy 4th, America!

An Invite (poem)

Picnic (Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe)
Let’s treat ourselves to sunshine, let us splurge
on childhood memories of sandaled feet
and poplar snow. Let’s satisfy this urge
for carefree innocence, the bittersweet
taste of the topped with clover flowers noon.
Let’s savor summer, for the Harvest Moon
is on its way. For now let’s wear short sleeves
and pin our hearts onto them. Let us stay
here, on this grass, beneath the whispering leaves,
and sip this honeyed, hot brew of a day.

We are invited, since you have enquired.
Youth’s optional, but happy smiles required.

 

© 2014 Sasha A. Palmer

Image: Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Picnic (Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe), c. 1893. Oil on canvas, Overall: 21 1/4 x 25 11/16 in. (54 x 65.3 cm). BF567. Public Domain.

A Zejel for You (poem)

The Square Watch-Tower

When rain clouds move across the blue,
When life’s nothing but wading through
The endless stream of chores to do,

When meaning’s nowhere to be found,
When you’ve no clue where you are bound
Or what will give you the high ground
When times are tough and friends are few —

Keep plowing through the push and pull,
Keep smiling like a happy fool,
Keep giving till your heart is full:
“This too shall pass” is ever true.

 

Prompted by Writer’s Digest Zejel Poetic form challenge.

Image: Jan van Goyen. The Square Watch-Tower, 1651. Oil on panel, Overall: 22 3/4 x 35 1/4 in. (57.8 x 89.5 cm). BF843. Public Domain.

Happy June

Angel and baby

Good night, sleep tight,
the sky is bright, the Moon is lit,
your dreams are light…
The fairies bring them on their wings
along with other magic things,
like childhood, wonder, innocence.
To grownups they
don’t make much sense,
but you, you do know what they are.
You wait for creatures from afar
to come and dance
on your front lawn
all night, until the break of dawn…
but they will not come out and leap
until you, kids, are fast asleep.
So, close your eyes,
and count to ten,
and I will sing to you again…

 

© 2012 Sasha A. Palmer

Image: © 2013 Nino Chakvetadze, reproduced with permission.