The Shapes of Europe – Three Poems

Paul Hadol, Carte drôlatique de l’Europe pour 1870, German reprint 1914

Vote, vote, vote for Europe!
What will the electoral map of Europe look like after this weekend? Can we be hopeful?
Following a workshop on cartographic poems given by Antoine Cassar on behalf of Time For Equality, three poets have ventured an answer in verse. Each in a different language: English, Esperanto, and translation, “the language of Europe” (Umberto Eco). Some of the best literary translations continue to write the original, and the translation becomes an original for the reader.



Frozen Whirlwind

While leaving Crete, Europa
coalesced into strange dreams,
with fallen angels clinging to stained glass windows,
whirling bits of pottery replacing dervishes,
ancient columns melding into concrete glass,
flashes of sunlight sparkling through synthetic waterfalls,
magical alleyways, plastic smiles,
where books become walking-talking stories,
sipping coffee, a page at a time.

Perhaps one is served sunlight in a glass of water.
In their previous lives,
possibly these thoughts were once
concrete objects and places.
But now they are just fragments of reality,
dancing in an idle mind.

As tourists try to capture unusual angles
or details overlooked by other people,
they end up documenting each other instead.

What is life, if not a dream?
Both according to Eastern philosophy, and
the Bard himself.


Poetry woskshop “The Shapes of Europe” with Antoine Cassar



Eŭropo 2019

Je kia vok’ de kiu ni atendas ?
De longe al ni sendas siajn signojn
– nunajn prav-erojn, pratempajn pra-verojn –
la ava kaj infana ter’, Eŭropo.
Malgraŭ ĉi gurdo, surdas ni, fratmurdas
nin intermite, dum termite boras
la hat’ la fundojn baldaŭ dissinkontajn.
Ĉu Titanikas ni, aŭ kunamikas
sine de dekdustela kompanaro?
Dum voras duboj nin, de sube soras
obtuza muĝ’ de ĉiaj ribelemoj
donontaj sian voĉon mil-ekstremen.
Eks-tremoj nin ekskuos, ree nunaj,
kreditaj senkreditaj fifantomoj,
sed daŭre pune kunaj, kaŭre fonaj.
Ĉu eblos resurekto kontinenta
Por landar’ malkontente improviza?
Nin venu via voko, nin reveku
Alarm’ al varm’ iama… utopia?

27 apr. 2019, Mechelen–Schaarbeek



Europe 2019

What messenger do we expect?
What sort of call do we await?
Land of children and grandparents,
Europe sends presaging signals
– hallowed tracts, recent facts –
incessant songs with words of warning.
But we are deafened, standing idle;
fitful, flailing, fratricidal,
while ‘neath the floors the hatred bores
its holes through foundering foundations.
Are we to sink just like Titanic?
Or is there room for some dynamic
friendship in our union of twelve stars?
Consumed are we by indecision,
while strident voices of division rise
up in a roar of raw rebellion.
To a thousand extremes their voices flow;
tremors of old return and grow.
Foulest phantoms thought disgraced,
retaining power, crouch in place.
Is there hope to resurrect
– to reassemble, to reconnect –
our discontented continent?
Let us overcome our languor… our myopia,
and awaken to a former warmth… Utopia?


Shapes of Europe

Poetry workshop “The shapes of Europe” with Antoine Cassar

Sultana Razas poems have appeared in over 30 journals, and her fiction received an Honorable Mention in Glimmer Train. She writes articles on art, film and humanitarian issues in English and French, and has presented papers on Romanticism and Fantasy in international conferences.

István Ertl is an EU and literary translator into Hungarian, and an occasional poet in Esperanto (author of Provizore, 2004). He edits the literary review Beletra Almanako, and teaches Esperanto literature at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań.

Hoss Firooznia is an Esperantist based in Rochester, New York. He works as a computer expert in the University of Rochester’s mathematical department. Since 2008 he edits the Esperanto-USA newsletter, Usona Esperantisto

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    Tags: workshop, vote, antoine, time, will, equality, poems, cassar, europe, poetry

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