I carry them all like recordings,|
the remembered and the never heard voices,
my living and my dead.
The vanished arguments over jealously guarded ideas.
The excited telling of stories to the elders of my clan.
The characteristic turn of phrase
of those who are no longer there;
The chuckles of their inheritors, the children whose lives began
long after I left the city
that sheltered all our childhoods.
The voices of the place swirl in my mind
the sound of river shore-lapping gently,
or soft New Year's Eve snow falling.
The rustle of willow leaves.
The whisper of rain
on shingle roof
or slapping on double-glazed windowpane.
Hurrying footfalls on wet autumn streets.
Chanted mass drifting through cathedral doors left ajar,
curling out like exotic audible incense
into the cold blue air.
The wind that wails down the boulevards
with human voice.
The language of stone and stream and field, of familiar country,
but deeply understood,
piercing the heart with sweet pain.
They speak of the feet
that walked this ground that became pavement and street
and voices of ancestors I have never known
shiver like dry leaves stirred by autumn's fingers
as the year turns.
They speak of choices.
They speak of comings and goings, of children
leaving to seek a fortune always beckoning
from beyond the next horizon —
of the tombs full of mourning bones
left behind after the young
[Ed. Note: Fifth part of a 10-part poem. « Beginning | « Previous | Next »]
· · · · · ·
Alma Hromic, the author with R. A. Deckert of Letters from the Fire, was born in Novi Sad, Yugoslavia. Trained as a microbiologist, she spent some years running a scientific journal, and later worked as an editor for an international educational publisher. Her own publishing record includes her autobiography, Houses in Africa, The Dolphin's Daughter and Other Stories, a bestselling book of three fables published by Longman UK in 1995, as well as numerous pieces of short fiction and non-fiction. Her last novel, the first volume of a fantasy series, Changer of Days: The Oracle, was published in September 2001 by Harper Collins. Hromic is an essential member of Swans. She maintains her own Web site (with Deck Deckert) where she provides information about her work and the professional services she offers: ButterknifeBooks.com
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Alma Hromic on Swans
Essays published in 2002 | 2001
On the Anniversary (September 2000)
Subject: Into Myth (September 2000)
Sadness in Novi Sad, Serbia (April 2000)