Light: Anatoly Kudryavitsky

Light

I.m. Thomas Kitterick (1899–1977)

 

Towards the end of his life he confined himself

to a box-room in the house of memories.

The blackness from inside his eyes

splashed the walls with all the hues

of the dark…

 

Watch over us, Creator of Dreams,

don’t let us acquire more than we’ve lost,

for bags of illusions are heavier than stones.

 

In 1916, he and his friends were 17;

every road led to the horizon. Soon after

the Rising, they paraded through Westport

having but one gun among them. He thought:

The game, as real as life itself, is precisely that: life.

The future quartermaster of the West Mayo Brigade,

the future prisoner of Kilmainham Gaol,

he wanted to play that game properly.

 

When the hills of Mayo issued a call to arms,

he saw to it that ammunition was aplenty.

Shrieks of the unspoken and the unspeakable

were piercing the clouds day after day

until the moment a bagpipe tune

flooded all around

and the argent key of freedom began to twinkle

among the constellations of shiny eyes.

 

Was he more alive than dead as an old man,

or the other way around?

When the century was young,

the world seemed brighter…

Up aloft, the keepers of timeless order

store up used bodily casings.

Every so often they forget to elicit

the inner light.

 

Anatoly Kudryavitsky is a Russian-born Irish descendant, the grandson of a Mayo man who ended up in Stalin’s GULAG. An award-winning poet, he has published three collections, Shadow of Time (Goldsmith Press, 2005), Morning at Mount Ring (Doghouse Books, 2007) and Capering Moons (Doghouse Books, 2011). His anthologies of contemporary Russian and German poetry in English translation, A Night in the Nabokov Hotel (2006) and Coloured Handprints (2015), have been published by Dedalus Press, and his anthology of haiku poetry from Ireland titled Bamboo Dreams (2012) by Doghouse Books. The book of his selected novels, DisUNITY, has been brought out by Glagoslav Publications (London, UK) in 2013. In 2010, he was a member of the judging panel for the Dublin IMPAC Literary Award. His works have been translated into fourteen European languages, and he gave readings and workshops at various international literary festivals. He lives in South Co. Dublin and is the editor of Shamrock Haiku Journal.

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