Sunday, April 24, 2011

Two poems by Ian Probstein


— What do you know about reptiles, Elizabeth?
Take, for instance, lizards.
They are cold-blooded and seek sunshine,
just like you are craving for fame, Lizzie.
And don’t they cast off their tails when in danger?
Remember, how you cast away your high-heeled shoes
when you ran after that handsome ranger?
What’s the matter, Lizzie?
Are you cold?
— I would have applauded
if I hadn’t been appalled.


Rodentia. Gnawers

Squeaking rats
with the bloodshot eyes of maniacs
rave, fly into rage,
gnaw the walls, devour the papers,
crack pillars, and crush the grounds of science.
The rats don’t give a damn
about the present’s venom. Time is
to throw the stones we haven’t gathered.
Legions of sly,
malicious harvest mice
trot fields,
devastating the stores of the past.
It’s time we ploughed again.

Author bio:

Ian Probstein is an assistant professor of English at Touro College, New York, a bilingual English-Russian poet and translator of poetry. His essay, “Nature and 'Paradiso Terrestre': Nature, Reality and Language in Pound, Yeats, and Mandelstam” was published in The McNeese Review 46, and “The Waste Land as Human Drama Revealed by Eliot’s Dialogic Imagination” was included in Dialogism and Lyric Self-Fashioning, a collection of essays. He has published seven books of poetry in Russian, one in English, and more than a dozen of books of translation. Probstein has also compiled and/or edited more than 20 books and anthologies of poetry in translation; in all, he has more than 100 publications in several languages (translated poetry from English, Spanish, Italian, Polish into Russian and from Russian into English).

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