Words have meaning,
even if we say this and that is beautiful,
women are gorgeous;
the frost of dawn biting into
the dry stalks of birds’ nesting places
has its chilling beauty.
The story borne by a wrinkle
on a face in a train compartment, scenes from alien worlds.
That we will never know what happened to those
we passed on the street just like that,
they live their own secret lives in other places
and speak with such ordinary beauty
about the dead, dresses and children.
Spring’s haberdashery is naturally beautiful in a way,
perhaps even from a deer stand, in the crosshairs of a rigid hunter.
And being on an actual watch is beautiful,
when the moon rises and the calf of a homeless man shines
from under a bridge.
We do not think of what will be after death
unless there is something after it.
Notes on this poem
These poems are from Milan Děžinský’s fifth collection of poetry, Tajný život (A Secret Life), published by Host in 2012. His first collection of poetry was published in 1996, while his third and fourth collections were nominated for the most prestigious Czech award, Magnesia Litera. Meanwhile, Děžinský’s sixth collection of poetry, Obcházení ostrova won Magnesia Litera’s highest prize for poetry. Děžinský’s poetry seems to follow in the tradition of Deep Image and the poet draws great inspiration for his work by examining the minutiae of his beloved hometown and constant residence of Roudnice nad Labem with its long history and beautiful placement on the Elbe river.
Děžinský is a teacher of English and a translator of English poetry including the works of Emily Dickinson, Mary Oliver, and William Carlos Williams. Děžinský’s poetry invariably concerns insightful views of the natural world of his everyday life borne out of deep meditation and thus producing considerations, images and associations that do not readily occur to those going about their daily lives without applying the patient piercing eye of the poet. Alongside the natural world of soil and plants, the poetry of Milan Děžinský frequently turns its eyes and expression to love, his family, past, present and future, the cosmos, and poetry itself.