This is not a love poem (Elevator poem #3)

For many years I lived in New York in a 14-story building with two elevators which were often busy transporting the 200 or so tenants up and down. I began writing poems about these elevators, and this #3 has seemed the one that goes most readily from English into French and Spanish. Thus here the English is, as often with Montaigbakhtinian, followed by une version en français y una versión en español.

This is not a love poem

Or, Elevator poem #3

Montgomery (one of my people), 2022“I rose at once to find you
Not there, and I
Returned to my waiting floor
Not wondering if . . .

“And hardly was I settled
Cool and still mechanically
You called again
Likely not caring who was coming in any case . . .

“Trees, I hear, communicate
Elevators do too
Dutifully and, yes, stiffly
Responsive, responsible . . .

“This is not a love poem.
It’s about continuing to perform in the face of the usual lack of consideration.”

Français

Ce n’est pas un poème d’amour

Ou, poème de l’ascenseur #3

« Je me suis levé immédiatement pour trouver
Que tu n’étais pas là, et je suis
Retourné à mon étage d’attente
Sans me demander si…

« Et à peine étais-je installé
Distant, machinalement
Tu as encore appelé
Sans doute sans se soucier de qui allait venir quand même…

« Les arbres, j’ai entendu dire, communiquent
Les ascenseurs aussi
Consciencieusement et, oui, de manière rigide
Réactifs, responsables…

« Ceci n’est pas un poème d’amour.
Il s’agit de continuer à faire ce qu’il faut malgré le manque habituel de considération. »

Español

Esto no es un poema de amor

O, Elevator poem #3

“Me levanté de inmediato para encontrarte
No allí, y yo
Volví a mi piso de espera
Sin preguntarme si…

“Y apenas me acomodé
Distante, mecánicamente, llamaste de nuevo
Llamaste de nuevo
Probablemente sin preocuparse de quién iba a venir de todos modos…

“Los árboles, he oído, se comunican
Los ascensores también
Obedientes y, sí, con rigidez
Responsivos, responsables…

“No es un poema de amor.
Se trata de seguir haciendo lo correcto a pesar de la habitual falta de consideración.”

— Poem(s) and painting by William Eaton.

Light verse, light verse: Everything else is worse (cover)
Foto enviada desde México por Alejandra Canela

I take this opportunity to flag some of the other, and quite different, love poems that have appeared in Montaigbakhtinian. And some of these were also published in my poetry collection Light verse, light verse: Everything else is worse.

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