It speaks a language for sure, this shallow stream
whose chief occupation appears to be
polishing stones so smoothly
they’re almost jewels.
You listen intently to tinkle and bubble,
a cacophony of dash and splash,
a wavering rhythm of sound and motion,
and couldn’t be more certain
the stream is talking to you.
But oh to know what the words mean!
Perhaps if you were a bird,
or sun ray or overhanging branch,
translation might come more easily.
The pale brown stones the stream polishes
shimmer gemlike when a burst of sun,
catches them full.
Perhaps the stream, an artisan,
is speaking of the gemlike beauty
its own craft of water and light
You listen and listen until this language
tells you to move on.
A translation of Lee Slonimsky’s sonnet sequence Pythagoras in Love by Greek National Poetry Prize winner Stamatis Polenakis has been published in Greece by Enipnio. One of the poems from the book, “The River,” has been made into a song by the Greek group Mod. Lunar, and can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtFjUwWnkjE