I was bringing you a little cheese sandwich. It was two in the morning, everybody sleepy, shops closed but in the I Love You bar they gave me a little cheese sandwich.
I was in a taxi bringing you a little cheese sandwich ’cause you were lying there sad, perhaps even ill, and there was nothing good to eat in the house. Was real expensive, around one lat, but that’s OK.
So I was in the taxi with my little iluvu, all squished, practically cold. But for some reason I didn’t make it home. Somehow I ended up where all were merry and witty, and starving. So I drank, I sang, but I saved my little sandwich.
Must have been the third day when I could finally treat you to it, you were so angry, you ate the sandwich hardly looking at it. Had I had more courage, I would have said: but you know I love you, you know I admire you. Don’t make me say it again.
by Kārlis Vērdinš, translated by Ieva Lešinka
Tomorrow (Tuesday 27 October) at 7pm in the John Henry Brookes Building at Oxford Brookes, the prizegiving for the Poetry Centre’s Wellbeing Poetry Competition will take place. All are welcome. The event will also feature a reading from Dan Holloway, celebrated local poet, novelist, and publisher. You can read the winning poems now on the Centre’s website.
‘Come to Me’ is copyright © Kārlis Vērdiņš, 2015. It is reprinted from Come to Me (Arc Publications, 2015) by permission of Arc Publications.
Notes from Arc Publications:
Kārlis Vērdiņš has published five books of poetry, which have been received with great critical acclaim and garnered top literary awards. He is a renowned poet, translator, and critic, living and working in Riga. Vērdiņš has an MA in Cultural Theory and a PhD in Philology. In addition to his innovative poetry, he has published many essays on literature as well as translations of European and American poets (including T.S. Eliot, Konstantin Biebl, Georg Trakl, Joseph Brodsky, Walt Whitman), and has also written libretti and song lyrics.
The poems in Come to Me show us what’s most noble in human relationships, alongside the basest fears and anxieties. Irony and sarcasm somehow never seem to obscure the warmth of Kārlis’s voice and his attention to intimate details. This book represents Kārlis at the peak of his poetic power: it is gripping, vivid and not a little romantic. Read more about the book on the Arc website.
Translator Ieva Lešinska-Gaber (Ieva Lešinska) studied English at the University of Riga. From 1978 to 1987 she lived and worked in the USA, studying at Ohio State University and the University of Colorado. She now lives in Riga, working as chief translator at the Bank of Latvia, and as a freelance journalist and translator. She has translated the poetry of Seamus Heaney, Robert Frost, D. H. Lawrence, Ezra Pound, Dylan Thomas, T. S. Eliot and various American Beat Generation poets into Latvian, and has published numerous English translations of poems and prose by Latvian authors in periodicals and anthologies in the UK and the US.
Since it was founded in 1969, Arc Publications has adhered to its fundamental principles – to introduce the best of new talent to a UK readership, including voices from overseas that would otherwise remain unheard in this country, and to remain at the cutting edge of contemporary poetry. Arc also has a music imprint, Arc Music, for the publication of books about music and musicians. As well as its page on Facebook, you can find Arc on Twitter. Visit Arc’s website to join the publisher’s mailing list, and to find full details of all publications and writers. Arc offers a 10% discount on all books purchased from the website (except Collectors’ Corner titles). Postage and packing is free within the UK.
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