Sean Scully, Untitled, 1967
Like many of us, I’m looking forward to this year’s Newcastle Poetry Festival, Crossings 2nd – 5th May. A sweet little taster came in the form of an interview with Sasha Dugdale on the Festival blog. She will be chairing a session at the Translation-themed Symposium at the Sage (3rdMay) and also give the Royal Literary Fund Lecture on Pushkin at Northern Stage (Saturday 5thMay). It will be an exciting few days with lots to think about. Do come along to listen and enjoy – and spread the word to folk who may be interested.
Further excitement in the Translation Dept – the cover of my new Selected Poems from Bulgaria – blue and beautiful. For those of you whose Bulgarian is a touch rusty, it is called Simultaneous Dress and translated by the wonderful poet Nadya Radulova. The book is now published but I have yet to hold a copy in my hands. They are itching.
When I stayed in Sofia a couple of years ago I wrote several new poems. This is one of them – seen from the balcony of my apartment on Kyril and Methodii Street.
The Screaming Party
Every evening they come darting across
the skyline dots and dashes of high-pitched morse.
Who knows what they’re screaming for static
in their throats white noise plucked from the day’s havoc
and flung back into blank air. Hypnotic drifts.
As if auditioning for Hitchcock these swifts
carry the contraband pressure we must
scatter before we can capitulate
to the dark tucked inside us and sleep. Strident
cries industrious wings are hooks to rest
our shadows on watch them soar our own fall
mouths agape. Each burst of piercing calls
silvers a key to unfasten the doors
to dreams so greet greet our night visitors.