Poetry by Paul-Eerik Rummo

by Paul-Eerik Rummo

Crooning

I am so fleeting
sighed the girl to the sea
oh, what can I do
you are eternal

I am transparent like you
sighed the girl to the window
oh, what can I do
my heart’s in full view

I open like you
sighed the girl to the door
oh, what can I do
the sun steps in

I am so small
sighed the girl to the sun
oh, what can I do
you are so large

I am so foolish
sighed the girl to the wise man
of, what can I do
everyone is so wise

***

The world did not invade my soul, it seeped into it
it did not break into my heart, it ate into it.
It spent long wakeful nights in the corner of my room,
a radiance round its head like a halo.
Did it want to comfort or torment me,
deliberately trimming the wick of my sleep-lamp?
Lull me? Rile me? Soothe me? Upset me?
Bind me in any way? Did it even want
anything at all? Perhaps at an hour
when my pupils shrank to pinpoints,
it entered like a passer-by in search of shelter,
rested a while, then sensing it was time to go,
braced itself and left without further ado –
as simply as it had come.
It left me to breathe its uncloying kindness,
its unbiting freshness¸ a steady flame –
a fire that does not destroy; a colourful sobriety;
a voice that is everywhere a brother, a sister;
a vivid indifference; wholeness is indeed
one – only one – oneness.


***

Now grant me God the strength to run through the rains of chance,
and to recognise necessity among the many
who by force fake her face

suffering nests in the memory
not even a dog can chew through the chain of heredity
but it’s quite a different matter to run right here through the rains of chance
but it’s quite a different matter to run right here through the rains of chance
necessity, give me your hand

necessity, here is my hand
I gave you the other one already to be born
Necessity, give me your hand



From Windship with Oars of Light, Tallinn 2001