Regina Derieva (1949-2013) born in Odessa, moved from the Soviet Union to Israel, and then to Stockholm in 1999. In 2004 and 2005 the two volumes of her collected poems, Sobranie Dorog (A Gathering of Roads) were published in Russia. English translations of her poetry have appeared in Cross Currents, Modern Poetry in Translation, Notre Dame Review, Poetry East, and Salt—and in the collections Alien Matter (Spuyten Duyvil: 2005) and The Sum Total of Violations (Arc: 2009). A bilingual edition of her poetry translated by J. Kates, Corinthian Copper, was published by Marick Press in 2010.
Pro Bono Publico
Committing to Memory
Pro Bono PublicoAgain infants play with wolf cubs, claws and fangs leave them unafraid. It’s still ahead of them to learn to build a human world and blood. And while the sun shines at half-strength you can still guess the hill where brother laughing with his laughing brother frightens their unprepossessing mother.
“My Beloved...”My beloved, my darling, without you there is no life. Soon we’ll be smoke in the field, soon we will be starlight. Soon we will turn into clouds, if only together, only to be near. If only a tender sweetness Poured out love over the garden.
Committing to MemoryThe snake has swallowed its own tail, the castle surrounded by a moat, Dante immersed in the circle of history. Walking in circles is not difficult: this landscape I’ve seen before, I’ve read this book, this man I’ve met and lived in this apartment... This man has been my husband, and this one, my son. Those strangers have remained strangers, but these are now acquaintances. And the school stands where it stood... From there, I walked back and forth to make a circle. I went here and there to get out of the circle... These banners have been unfurled before, These salutes thundered, words spoken... I’ve already worn these clothes, left this food untasted, suffered these illnesses... This wine I drank, listened to this music, looked at these pictures... From this pain I was already dying, I have already received this hatred as a sign of encouragement... These promises have remained promises—and my vows, vows... The bell has tolled for me... They have already called this war peace and given death the name of life. The circle remains a circle.