A Poem by Božena Tesárová

The Kernel of My Life (Klas môjho žitia)

Forgive me
if my verses
sounded selfish.
From now on
I’ll remain in the shade,
while you stand in the sunlight.

The kernel of my life…
Dew it
with a drop of wisdom.
And when needed
send me a strict tone.
Cover me
with a coat of hope,
as the grain grows heavier
in the time of ripening.

With the heart of a child
and with silver on my head,
I am getting closer to you
until the circle is complete.

(Trans. Mária Dominika Vanková, Frances Bathgate, and Dorothee Burkert)

Božena Tesárová (b. 1944) is a Slovak teacher, poet, and orator.

Image: Detail from Milan Thomka Mitrovský, By the Moonlight, 1900.

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