Once I got a postcard from the Fiji Islands


Once I got a postcard from the Fiji Islands
with a picture of sugar cane harvest. Then I realized
that nothing at all is exotic in itself.
There is no difference between digging potatoes in our Mutiku garden
and sugar cane harvesting in Viti Levu.
Everything that is very ordinary
or, rather, neither ordinary nor strange.
Far-off lands and foreign peoples are a dream,
a dreaming with open eyes
somebody does not wake from.
It’s the same with poetry — seen from afar
it’s something special, mysterious, festive.
No, poetry is even less
special than a sugar cane plantation or potato field.
Poetry is like sawdust coming from under the saw
or soft yellowish shavings from a plane.
Poetry is washing hands in the evening
or a clean handkerchief that my late aunt
never forgot to put in my pocket.

Translated by the author with Sam Hamill and Riina Tamm

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