Saturday, April 04, 2009

The East-West Border

The East-West border is always wandering,
sometimes eastward, sometimes west,
and we do not know exactly where it is just now:
in Gaugamela, in the Urals,
or maybe in ourselves,
so that one ear, one eye, one nostril, one hand, one foot,
one lung and one testicle or one ovary
is on the one, another on the other side.
Only the heart
only the heart is always on one side:
if we are looking northward,
in the West;
if we are looking southward, in the East;
and the mouth doesn't know on behalf of which or both
it has to speak.

Jaan Kaplinski

(Sam Hamill and Rita Tamm,
Translators©2006 Copper Canyon Press)


Newmania said...

I notice an odd sympathy between fogeyish Tories and some Eastern philosophies , well perhaps not so odd .There is a glib confidence in the rational about the West that is not altogether attractive or true.
The Greeks who we see as the well spring of the West were rather more Asian than we have remembered .The conceptually pure white stone statues of Victorian 'classical' age were in fact brightly painted and bejewelled. Dionysus as important as Apollo .
Interesting poem which I would call metaphysical in the sense that it joins thought and physical sensation , the body and the mind , also the comic with the elevated .
It questions the idea of a boundary but understand s the need for one

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