Thursday, January 7, 2010

My Soul Is Light

I am in love, hence free to live
by heart, to ad lib as I caress.
A soul is light when full,
heavy when vacuous.
My soul is light. She is not afraid
to dance the agony alone,
for I was born wearing your shirt,
will come from the dead with that shirt on.

Vera Pavlova was born in Moscow. She graduated from the Gnessin Academy, specializing in the history of music, and is the author of fourteen collections of poetry, four opera librettos, and lyrics for two cantatas. Her works have been translated into eighteen languages. This poem is from her first collection in English, If There is Something to Desire, forthcoming from Knopf and excerpted in the current issue of Poetry. The translation is by Steven Seymour.

Photo by Erik Tomasson of San Francisco Ballet principal dancer Davit Karapetyan as guest artist in Fliegender Taenzer with M and Company.