How Words Play

“Unforgetting” By Lilian Ursu.

“Between us I pile up snow, I pile up silence. And no one in this city knows why it’s such a hard winter. My angels drink whiskey from wine glasses and forget to forget you. Music falls softly onto my eyelids.This hour a startled bird perches as in a monastery, within walls you’ve built to contain me. And I, a soldier, obedient to my solitude sleep a white sleep.”

by Liliana Ursu.

The Sky Behind the Forest , The Selected Poems of Liliana Ursu is translated by Adam Sorkin and Tess Gallagher. Read it if you can, cos it is beautiful. The essays at the beginning, however, should be left to the end of reading the poems. Their quality of speech is explained by the appalling conditions of censorship and repression of the Ceaucescu regime. Both Tess Gallagher, who befriended Liliana and Adam Sorkin write of the conditions for translating with the poet and working with her after the regime ended. One of my favourites from the collection is the title poem which I discussed briefly on the Poetry Ireland Forum.

The Sky Behind the Forest, Bloodaxe Books ,1997.