When I said nothing happenedI lied to you.It happens, it happens every day,on bridges, in open spaces.Because I yielded to loveI walk, for some an object of shame,for others a mirror. Whoever looks at meis turned to stone,frozen.When I said nothing happenedI simply forgot. Since that dayall the riders, all the pedestrianshave carried my name(Shame) as a shield.If a stone is thrown at meI answer with stone ...When I said nothing happened,I just lied.This is what happens: I breathe, I exist.My heart is a choking tumour, near the breast.I cut out the tunes,the malignant music, metastasiswhich brings back the voices of lost days.My heart is a celandine,parched.My love, can it be worth it? At nightmy head hangs from my neck by a single hairthen morning, and the pain of the healed woundand it starts all over again ... მედუზა–გორგონაროცა გითხარი, არაფერი ხდება-მეთქი,უბრალოდ მოგატყუე.ხდება, ყოველდღე ხდებახიდები,ხედები…რადგან სიყვარულს დავმორჩილდი,დავდივარ, ვისთვის – თავმოჭრილი,ვისთვის კი – სარკე – შეხედვისასქვავდები,ხევდები.როცა გითხარი, არაფერი ხდება – მეთქი,უბრალოდ დამავიწყდა. იმ დღიდანყველა ცხენოსანი, ანდა ქვეითიჩემს სახელს,(სახელს თავმოჭრილის)ატარებს ფარად…თუ ქვას მესვრიანიბრუნებენ პასუხს ქვებითვე…რომ გითხარი, არაფერი ხდება – მეთქი, უბრალოდ მოგატყუე,არაფერიც კი აღარ ხდება, ვსუნთქავ, ვარსებობ,გული – მხუთავი სიმსივნეა მკერდში, ძუძუსთან,მელოდიები ამოვჭერი, მუსიკის ავი თვისებები, მეტასტაზები,რომელთაც მოაქვთ დაკარგული დღეების ხმებიგული – ქრისტესისხლას ბუჩქია,ხმება.ეჰ, ღირდეს მაინც – ღამით კისერს ჰკიდია ბეწვითთავი – დილით კი მორჩენილი ჭრილობა მეწვის,მერე, თავიდან…
“Medusa” from Why I No Longer Write Poems by Diana Anphimiadi, translated from the Georgian by Natalia Bukia-Peters and Jean Sprackland.
Published by Bloodaxe Books / Poetry Translation Centre.
Poem copyright © Diana Anphimiadi
Translation copyright © Natalia Bukia-Peters and Jean Sprackland
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission.
Diana Anphimiadi is a poet, publicist, linguist and teacher. She has published four collections of poetry in Georgian: Shokoladi (Chocolate, 2008), Konspecturi Mitologia (Resumé of Mythology, 2009), Alhlokhedvis Traektoria (Trajectory of the Short-Sighted, 2012) and Chrdilis Amoch’ra (Cutting the Shadow, 2015). Her poetry has received prestigious awards, including first prize in the 2008 Tsero (Crane Award) and the Saba Prize for the best first collection in 2009. Her chapbook, Beginning to Speak, was published in 2018 by the Poetry Translation Centre, and Why I No Longer Write Poems, the first full-length Georgian-English selection of her poetry, was published by Bloodaxe Books with the Poetry Translation Centre in 2022, both titles translated by Natalia Bukia-Peters and Jean Sprackland. She lives in Tblisi with her son.
Jean Sprackland is a poet and writer. She is the winner of the Costa Poetry Award in 2008, and the Portico Prize for Non-Fiction in 2012. Her books have also been shortlisted for the Forward Prize, the TS Eliot Prize and the Whitbread Award. Jean is Professor of Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Jean has worked as a consultant and project manager for organisations involved with literature and education. She has held residencies in schools and universities, and is a tutor for the Arvon Foundation. She lives in London.
Natalia Bukia-Peters is a freelance translator, interpreter and teacher of Georgian and Russian. She studies at Tbilisi University and she has an MA in Russian and Eurasian Studies at Leiden University, the Netherlands. She is a member of the Chartered Institute of Linguists in London and has worked collaboratively with the PTC since 2013. Her translations have been published both in the UK (Fal Publications, Francis Boutle, Bloodaxe Books) and USA (Dalkey Archive). Her most recent poetry book is Diana Anphimiadi’s Why I No Longer Write Poems (Bloodaxe Books), translated in collaboration with Jean Sprackland.
"It is heartening to see Anphimiadi take her place alongside many other strong women poets from recent generations who are dramatically reshaping contemporary Georgian poetry. She gives abstract thought a body, a pulse."
— Natalia Bukia-Peters, in her introduction to Why I No Longer Write Poems
"Demonstrating formal range and subversiveness, Anphimiadi blends classical images and myths with contemporary techniques, dilating the boundaries of the poetic form. Prayers, recipes, dance lessons, definitions — this accumulation of the unspoken everyday comprises the collection of raw materials in Anphimiadi’s poetic bricolage."
— Matt Janney, The Calvert Journal (Books from Eastern Europe to look forward to in 2022), on Why I No Longer Write Poems
"This collection by a leading Georgian poet is part of the Poetry Translation Centre’s programme commissioning British poets – here, Jean Sprackland – to work with literary translators. In this case, that’s Natalia Bukia-Peters, who also provides a knowledgeable Introduction setting this work in the national context of epic poetry, and of a vocabulary of myth. For this is gorgeous, fabulising verse.... Bloodaxe is especially to be commended for publishing this important work in bilingual edition."
— Fiona Sampson, The Guardian, Best recent poetry, on Why I No Longer Write Poems