"Love, I no Longer Recognize You"
Bronislava Volková is a bilingual poet, semiotician, translator, collage artist, and Professor Emerita of Slavonic Studies at Indiana University. A Czech exile, she lived and taught in the U.S. for over forty years, publishing extensively in Czech and English. She continues to publish bilingual books of poetry, conducts international author readings, and participates in many international poetry festivals as guest of honor and medalist. She currently resides in Prague. Her latest book is Where Everyone Leaves Never to Return, published in 2023 by Plamen Press.
Welcome to the Poets Weave. I'm Romayne Rubinas Dorsey. Bronislava, what poems have you brought for us today?
Love, I no longer recognize you,
so many times you have changed your face, your manner and step,
touch and voice! You so fickle and changeable…
Now here, then gone.
Memory laments that it barely knows you,
that you leave before it has time to record you in its annals
and it already has to work on a different face,
a different touch, a different contest…
Only repose refuses to intervene.
That’s why it’s better to walk into the unknown
alone, without a cane, wide open.
Don’t leave me – don’t dissolve into non-being
like so many others do…
You are already only a veil of a dream, no more.
You flash through the landscape,
where you are no longer for me to grasp, kiss and embrace.
When I think of it how my relatives
travelled on their last journey,
I no longer want to travel.
All that tireless building of future dreams,
All that doing and endless communication.
This weighing and carting together of the (un)necessary.
The blows of fate, obstacles, and honors
gradually merge into indistinguishable
goals, pleasures, and added values.
I love the divine ablutions,
a boundless paradise of nothingness and weightlessness,
an invisible cup of fulfillment.
I fly like a bird with no place to land
where I could have a rest.
I hover in the vast space and embark on unexpected journeys
to unanticipated places where flamelets of love
keep me alive when I lose heart.
I am no one’s as no one asks for me.
I am no more than God’s little creation – a child – a dream.
I offer my seed to all without distinction,
without reward, like the proverbial lily of the field.
You've been listening to the poems of Bronislava Volkova on the Poets Weave. I'm Romayne Rubinas Dorsey.