Poetry by Maarja Kangro

by Maarja Kangro
translated by Ilmar Lehtpere


‘again’ is a big word.
slowly and quickly

again men rejoice on the radio
that they are on the right road
and talk of the cyclical nature of time

a proper road goes in circles, even I
recognize young skin on the beach and
”et si tu n’existais pas,” is sung loudly

men on the radio speak of the connection
of everything to everything else:  ringingly
one says butterfly effect – I lift my wings

a good sleep gives you cyclical time
for after such a sleep you think you’re revived
and again

I flutter my wing
the good men on the radio start coughing
I flap my wings more amply and a wind comes up

the men cough wheezing, the airwaves revolt
ships sink and swimmers drown, the final sleep
comes stormy and grey

let’s think of a word that never was before
was just now
and now isn’t anymore


There’s a whining and ringing in the air.
You talk of a lout.
I’m the very one.  Through me you’ll never
reach the deeper levels or the heights,
the flash of pure being that you believe
you see in the village drunkard
or the poet gone mad.
When he drinks, secrets come to light.
When I get legless, I attack.
Or I drift off, stinking.  My gaze is dark.
I give off my exhaust in your face.
I want lovely meat that won‘t shame me.  I’m afraid of losing.
Words anger me.  I bellow.
I watch the telly, don’t read, can’t write properly.
Rubbish is left behind me.
I am rubbish. I’m the one you’re talking about.
- Ah no, what are you going on about, it’s me.
- Ah no, it’s me.
- No, I’m the one.
- No, I am.  Forgive me.
The whole road is full of us, and our fragile souls
are ringing.  Listen, how quietly, dear girls and boys.


A small plane rises
to the optimal altitude,
the stewardess brings coffee.
A faint crack is heard
and then it’s as if we’re sinking,
we- we feel good,
we sink into storm clouds.
The nose veers towards the ground,
we hurtle towards the explosion,
drink coffee and effuse.
Such hurtling could go on endlessly:
comfortably, with a grey rattling.
We’ve enough love already, and sympathy,
we’ve seen the pictures repeatedly,
we draft changes to the language,
so yes, why not explode.
A sexy, long and swift death
is as powerful as music.
”Do you know John Adams’s story
A Short Ride in a Fast Machine?
It should be renamed endless.”
We smile at each other,
hand each other cups
and don’t have to think anymore
about how someone is suffering or left without god
while we plunge towards death.
The ground still drifts away before us:
if only it would last, if only.
Speed is its own and our apologia,
acceleration sustains enthusiasm.
If only it would last endlessly