Elsewhere, the Poetry of Marina Tsvetaeva

by Steven McCabe

In corridors

of

a shadow-mansion,

once well-known,

obsidian-animals

summon an alchemical star.

Elsewhere, the poetry of Marina Tsvetaeva

chanting subterranean architecture of poetry.

The haystack-man

within my obsidian-heart

longs for the once well-known

song of the silver bird.

Elsewhere, the poetry of Marina Tsvetaeva

chanting original colour wheel of poetry.

Oceanic echoes

vibrate between stalactites.

The silver bird chants subterranean poetry

perched

upon an enormous iron wheel.

Elsewhere, the poetry of Marina Tsvetaeva

chanting physiology of poetry.

Nimble obsidian-animals climb

a half-visible clock-tower

buried in night-coloured shadow.

Elsewhere, the poetry of Marina Tsvetaeva

chanting geological formations of poetry.

Obsidian-animals,

pulsing hearts moist as roots,

prowl the corridors.

A vase tips

dried flowers scatter across a night-coloured carpet.

The seahorse-ghost of my cubistic, star-like obsidian heart

envelops the buried clock-tower.

Elsewhere, the poetry of Marina Tsvetaeva

chanting vast agriculture of poetry.

Haystack-man nimble as a shadow-animal

swims within buoyant

star-like dimensions,

climbs an enormous staircase

enters an unlocked door.

His feet rise above tar-night shadow

skipping iike a child.

Elsewhere, the poetry of Marina Tsvetaeva

chanting the infinite mansions of poetry.

I wrote a short poem this morning in homage to Marina Tsvetaeva. The poem was spontaneous. A lifetime entered that quicksilver moment. I have revisited the poem and edited.

Wherever you are Marina, I accept your verdict.

Last night I read selections from Marina Tsvetaeva’s Art in the Light of Conscience: Eight Essays on Poetry (translated by Angela Livingstone).

‘Marina Tsvetaeva (1892-1941) was one of the four great Russian poets of the 20th century, along with Akhmatova, Mandelstam and Pasternak.’ 

‘For me, there are no essays on poetry as unique, as profound, as passionate, as inspiring as these. “Art, a series of answers for which there are no questions,” Tsvetaeva brilliantly asserts, and then goes on to ask questions we didn’t know existed until she offered them to us, and answers to some of poetry’s most enduring mysteries.’

– C.K. Williams