Thursday, March 30, 2006

More Springtime Poetry

As part of a cross-training "job enrichment" program, I spend a couple hours a week at another library's reference desk. I've been working my way through their training modules. Each module ends with a quiz. I'm finally to the ones that deal more with the library's collections, as opposed to proper reference desk etiquette and our libraries' policies in general. I zoomed through those earlier ones (having had most of those things drummed into my head years ago), but these later modules take longer to do. The questions are getting tougher.

The first question on this week's quiz sent me on a 2-hour snipe hunt before I finally gave up in disgust. Either I'm missing something, or the point of the exercise is that you can't find everything all the time. If it's the latter, the librarian in charge of instruction is a sadist.

I was trying to find a poem by Henrikas Nagys. Mr. Nagys was from Lithuania, and partway through his career he pulled up stakes and moved to Montreal. I couldn't find anything on Lithuanian poets, and the book I found on Canadian ones mentioned him but didn't say much more than I just did. The question I was working on gave the poem's title or first line in English and was supposed to have been written "sometime in the 80s or 90s." Our library doesn't own anything by him, and when I went looking in other libraries' catalogs, the only writings I could find by him were in Lithuanian, which I can't speak or read. Welcome to my world.

Later, on my own time, I Googled him (the quiz discouraged the use of Google. I was supposed to use only library resources) and found some more information and a few of his poems (translated, thank goodness), though not the one I was looking for.

One in particular has been rolling round in my head all day. Reading it, I kept thinking of the poem I made reference to last time by Fay Inchfawn. Nagys' arrival of spring is much wilder:

Restless forests keep muttering in sleep.
Hot heavy breathing makes the windmill wings tremble.
The eyes of a blue moon shine in the gloom.

At night, a shrill savage laughter resounds throughout the woods.
Clouds bend and sway the pinetops.
Then the wakened waters pounce and are swallowed in gorges.

Rivers embracing the shattered ice carry it off to sea.
Stifling reverberations of thunder echo along the horizon.
A long lightning flare lifts the sky open.

The muddy fields are covered in a morning rain.
People stand bareheaded on the waking earth.
Far off, with night outdistanced, the forests heave an easy sigh.

Translated by Vyt Bakaitis
Same topic, completely different mood.

No comments: