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James Womack's Vladimir Mayakovsky translations longlisted for Read Russia Prize
We're delighted to announce that Vladimir Mayakovsky & Other Poems , translated and edited by James Womack , has been longlisted for the 2018 Read Russia Prize! read more
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Poem of the Day

Goldfish for Joseph

Sinead Morrissey

The black fish under the bridge was so long I mistook it for
A goldfish in a Japanese garden, the kind the philosophers
Wanted about them so much gold under water to tell them what waited
In another element, like breathing water, they wanted to go
To the place where closing eyes is to see

I understood the day I closed my eyes in Gifu City I saw Japan
For the first time, saw what I had seen, the gate to the Nangu
Shrine by the Shinkansen stood straddled before my head and I
Held out my hands to touch it and felt changed air it wasn't
There but I walked into it continually and over the gardens full
Of pumpkin seeds in the ground and wild red flowers over them they
     told me

They brought Autumn and they were about my head also in Gifu City
     all pearled
In mist and happy as Japanese brides. I saw the JR crates on the night
Trains that passed through stations and seemed endless and running
On purpose on time's heels on sheer will to cross Honshu one end
To the other money's own messenger fire down the line. And when you
     talked me through

Gifu one end to the other eyes closed I saw what I would never
Have seen sighted a transvestite taxi driver set apart on the street
A lost person flowers by the pavement pavements for the blind I saw
Music as pulled elastic bands, drums as the footprints of exacting gods

I mistook the black fish for an oriental goldfish the flash of gold
On its belly meant it carried its message for the element below it
Always one storey down Zen masters attaining one storey down and I
Falling into you, story by story, coming to rest in the place where closing
     eyes is to see
Taken from 'New Poetries II'...
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