Kisses & Bees

Today, I have opted to use an Osip Mandelstam poem as a prompt. I apologize in advance to his memory and to his lovely poem, translations of which are here, here, and here.

In a blog post some time ago, I discussed this poem and the problems of translation.


Kisses Tattered as Bees
-after Osip Mandelstam

Your claim asserts that kisses
can be tattered
and bees emerge from
floral tussles or hive dances
in a disordered raggedness
so the two are as like
simile disperses into breeze:
loose petals and torn wings
fail to impress upon your lips
any tactile memory.

But oh, there were kisses once
so fevered they evaporated
on meeting your cool skin
while you traversed the woods
beguiled by honey’s scent–
and kisses that stung,
leaving a trail of the dead,
soft, gold-and-black bodies
in each of your footprints,
beads strung along your path.




Three days, three poems, one tenth of National Poetry Month having passed; I can do this, right? NaPoWriMo has a site that includes daily poetry prompts, if you happen to be interested. It is worth trying even if you do not plan to write a poem a day.