D. Nurkse

Game with a Mad Bounce
November 22, 2019 Nurkse D.

Game With A Mad Bounce
The child and I are kicking
a pebble down the road–
the child is Gautama
the pebble is Saint Theresa
and I’m no one: or
we are both Gramsci
the road is Maimonides
and you are no one: or
the child counts steps to Frogurt
I’m an old man with cancer
the pebble is no one and
no one loves us so
it’s raining in the White Mountains
but here just the pang of wood smoke-–
here joy and sorrow
are a fence and a lit window–-
here God’s silence
is the silence of a cricket.

D. Nurkse’s eleventh poetry collection Love in the Last Days, a verse retelling of the Tristan and Iseult myth, is out from Knopf in New York this fall. His book Voices over Water, published by CB Editions, was shortlisted for the 2011 Forward Prize. The quotes in English that appear in this essay from Henri Michaux’s poem, “The Land of Magic,” were translated from the French by Dennis Nurkse. This essay appeared originally in Poetry London in a slightly different form.