“That Was Now, This Is Then”

The very title of Vijay Sheshadri’s volume of poems, reviewed by David Orr, has the jewel-beam of poetic crystal to it. I keep rolling it on my tongue, as if it makes some kind of sense of the moment. Orr’s phrase about “coiling and liquid” conversation adds crackle to the verve.

The essence of Seshadri’s writing is conversation, and that conversation is coiling and liquid, not diffident.

I’ll meet if you really want to meet.
Me reuniré contigo si de verdad lo deseas.
I’ll even meet in some small café or some
Incluso en cualquier café pequeño o algún
park across the way. But I won’t meet for long,
parque por ahí. Pero no me reuniré largo rato,
and not for a minute will I look at you in your isolation,
ni por un minuto voy a mirarte en tu aislamiento,
your human isolation. Looking at yours makes me look at mine
tu aislamiento humano. Mirar el tuyo me obliga a mirar el mío

transparencies of each other are they, yours and mine —
transparencias uno del otro son, el tuyo y el mío —
and I don’t have time for mine, so how could I have time for yours?
y no tengo tiempo para el mío, así que ¿cómo voy a tenerlo para el tuyo?

(The quoted verse is from Orr’s review. The intercalated translations are mine.)

(David Orr, “A Poet Who Mesmerizes by Zigs and Zags, Hopping From Idea to Idea,” NYTimes, 11-25-20)

(c) 2020 JMN

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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