Charms for Love

By Anonymous Anonymous

Translated By Fiona Sampson Read the translator's notes

I beat you with a hazel rod
Come to me in madness

I beat you with a bloodied rod
Come like an angel

I beat you with a rod from heaven
Come to me like a wild boar

*       *       *

Ninety-nine serpents—
ninety-nine flaming beasts—
go to Ion
Slip in by his shirt-collar
squat in his heart
scald him burn him   
turn his eyes to my eyes
his face to my face
his path to my house
Make him see me in the distance
a fine-feathered peacock   
make him pick me out as basil among weeds
make him tease me among the girls
Like following gold and silver
fall in step with my words
with my walk   
with my dance

*       *       *

Sweet boy
don't send so much longing—
send a little less
and come with it yourself

*       *       *

Tuesday, basket full of black,
how did you make me fall in love—
did you clip my hair
did you steal my footsteps?
How did you charm me—
with the hair of a mad wolf
with three straws from the bed
with splintered wood   
with the fairness of eyebrows
with a chip off the gate
with dark hair from a braid?
How drive every other love away?

*       *       *

Eagle, eagle, grow into a flying bird
Take yourself to Ion's house
What you find in his head   
take in your head
what you find in his ears   
take in your ears
what you find in his mouth   
take in your mouth
what you find in his hands   
take in your wings
Take that great wrong away in your feathers—

and what you find in your head   
put it in her head
And what you find in your feathers   
put it on the table   
in their house

Source: Poetry (April 2008).

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This poem originally appeared in the April 2008 issue of Poetry magazine

April 2008

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