The Goddess,
by Grete Tartler, translated by Adam J. Sorkin

Wired up to the lie detector, I confess:

I lied that goddesses

need magic accessories

that makeup deepens the glance

and the clothes reveal grandeur

L’élégance sans nom de l’humaine armature

leaving behind old tomes and dusty counsel

for the happiness near at hand, near at heart:

swimming in a drop of water :

The unwise gain what the wise may lose


But I didn’t speak to those

I couldn’t save,

I didn’t answer the forests’

thousands of letters, dead leaves,

I didn’t stop air in willow flute


I threw open the door to the florist’s storeroom

I was the target

of those I taught to use ply the bow


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 14, Issue 2.

Grete Tartler has published nine collections of poetry beginning with her first book in 1970. She has translated from German, Arabic, English, and Danish, and she has written on Arab poetry and culture as well as a book, European Identity, and a study of four Arabic philosophers.

Adam J. Sorkin has translated more than forty-five books of contemporary Romanian literature, and his work has won the Poetry Society (U.K.) Corneliu M. Popescu Prize for European Poetry, among other awards. Recent books include The Book of Winter and Other Poems by Ion Mureșan; A Path to the Sea by Liliana Ursu, translated with Ursu and Tess Gallagher (Pleasure Boat Studios); Medea and Her War Machines by Ioan Flora, translated with Alina Alina Cârâ (University of New Orleans Press); and The Vanishing Point That Whistles: An Anthology of Contemporary Romanian Poetry.

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