Friday, 19 June 2009

fs: two poems

The Estonian poet fs always writes his abbreviated name in small case letters. The name is derived from his original pseudonym François Serpent, his real name being Indrek Mesikepp. Born in 1971, he is now an established member of the Estonian world of poetry. Although the pseudonyms and indeed posed photos, often with dyed hair, make one think of the cliché of the Poet, fs's actual poetry is sober, sometimes melancholy and embedded in everyday life. He is something of a follower of the accomplished Estonian poet Juhan Viiding (1948-1995).

The two poems translated below were published in parallel text, Estonian-Russian, in Igor Kotjuh's translation in the 3/2007 issue of the Russian-language literary magazine or almanac
Vozdushnyi zmei. Other Estonian poets translated for this issue included Jürgen Rooste, Aare Pilv, Doris Kareva and Elo Viiding.

dear Estonian people
good Russian people
don’t hand me over
let me wander a while longer
through the Kristiine shopping mall
in the homely light of the
Prisma food shop
over the slightly dirty
flagged floor
the red crisp packets
spotted socks
exotic fruit
several types of salad
pots and pans
Eric Clapton albums
onions and bread
beer and fags
don’t throw me out onto the street
let me do a few more rounds
it’s dark on the street
as soon as I end up there
my mobile will ring
a girl from Scotland
will be crying into the receiver
promising to kill herself
or ruin my life
she’s asking for a chance
to show me something beautiful
give me a chance
it would be beautiful
she wants to go out with me
she’s clearly a nut
dear Estonian people
good Russian people
don’t hand me over to her
let me mooch around the shop
this shop is my homeland
when attacked
everyone becomes a patriot



I got back from another town
it was late
my head and body ached
I had gone away ill
I had been ill there
and on returning was no better
I ended up watching telly
a film began and ran
and ended
a new film began
I tried to get up and switch off
but I fell asleep
woke up before the end
a large stadium
full of folks
a sniper was killing people
I lay there in bed
no it wasn’t the other way round
he was shooting
I lying there
always the same
yes always the same


Translated from Estonian by Eric Dickens


Лев Грицюк | Lev Hrytsyuk said...

I have just finished reading the Kotjuh post and posted my comment where I mentioned fs... and here he is! :-) Thank you!

Eric Dickens said...

Lev, I noticed that you mentioned fs. I have previously translated a few of his poems, some that he read out at a literary festival in Riga, and some for an occasional English-language issue of 00-tal, the Swedish literary magazine. I will post a few more of fs's Riga poems here later on.