Stories in English

‘Leslie’

 

Leslie

 

You left at the wrong time.

The news burst into a thousand pieces

still floating in the air,

gunpowder on my lips.

 

Incredulous, I touch your letters

filled with memories,

scent of home, ink

on your fingers.

 

Your death was not a drill.

The pomegranate spilt seeds on you,

a tin soldier without a fight,

and you lying in that forest,

asleep, while I feel

wind, sea, dawn, life:

I am as dead as you are.

 

It’s useless to cry out. Don’t scream!

Hanging in cages

on the dismal wall

we can only

sing, sing.

* ‘Leslie’ is a poem published in the volume story from my collection Katherine Mansfield and Bliss and Other Stories, edited by Enda Duffy, Gerry Kimber and Todd Martin (Edinburgh University Press, 2020, p. 156). The inspiration for this poem comes from Katherine Mansfield’s letters and journal. Her brother Leslie died by accident during a grenade training drill in Belgium (October 1915). The poem is the author’s collaborative translation with Lizzie Davis and Carmel Bird of the poem with the same title published originally in Spanish by Gerardo Rodríguez-Salas in his work Anacronía (Valparaíso ediciones, 2020).

 

 

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