Sunday, April 22, 2012

It's Good To Have Friends!!

Some writers are notorious for wanting to be left alone, to work on their craft. And when I say some, I mean me. They would rather be hidden away in a corner workspace to type at their computers or simply sit in a bit of quiet sunlight with some paper and pen. (Still me.) But thank heaven for friends who push them (again, me) out of their comfort zones.

A few years ago, I had the good fortune to work with my friend, Tamara and her award winning group, Musical Chairs Chamber Ensemble (MCCE). They now bask in the glow of their second National Endowment of the Arts Award which I am so very happy for them but at one time, it was I who had the extraordinary luck when they shared their stage with me.

First off, I must say that Tamara has a way with words. The project she proposed was entitled, Precious Metals, a collaboration of Russian Music and Poetry. Tamara had roped me in with the idea of immersing myself in Russian poetry. At the time, I knew very little about Russia's great poets. I knew I would have to dig deep into Russia's history to find my narrative thread. Initially, I was not afraid of the research or even the two month deadline, but when she explained that it all would culminate in a musical performance by MCCE featuring my narrative and poetry readings with members of the attending audience, well, to say that I was terrified by it all would have been fairly and utterly accurate. Ahh, thank heaven for friends who push us to leap. 

I could never have attempted such an experience without my friend, Tamara. Her confidence in me opened up my writing to something much greater than the four walls of my writing space and the experience stays with me still. It remains, always that friendly reminder to nudge me out of my pesky comfort zones and square writing rooms.

So today's poem (and star) comes to you as a gift, from Russia with love, and much thanks to Tam.

Now Listen!

Now Listen!
If the stars shine,
doesn’t it mean that somebody needs them?
Doesn’t it mean that somebody wants them?
Doesn’t it mean that someone calls these little gobbets
And bursting up
through the blizzards of southern dust,
Burst in to see God,
Afraid that he’s late,
kisses His sinewed hands
begs Him
most urgently for a star,
beats his brow,
unable to stand this starless torture,
then goes on his way,
a little anxious
but perfectly calm outwardly.
He goes and asks whomever he did it for:
“Is that okay now?
You don’t feel too bad now…?
Do you?”
Now listen!
If stars
it means somebody needs them.
It means you’ve gotta have
every evening
shining above the rooftops
at least one star – haven’t you?

Translated by Bernard Meares
Vladimir Vladimirovich Mayakovsky (1893-1930)

Hello April - It's National Poetry Month! Over the next few weeks I'll be sharing all things poetic here at Calendar Gal.


  1. Always love working with you Nan!
    What country are we delving into next? :)

  2. Yeah, did I know you would ask that question??? xo Nan