Poet and painter Anna Auziņa was born in Riga in 1975. A graduate of the Painting Department of the Art Academy of Latvia (2001), she has participated in exhibitions since 1994. Three collections of her poetry have been published – ‘Atšķirtie dārzi’ (Isolated Gardens) in 1995, ‘Slēpotāji bučojas sniegā’ (Skiers Kissing in the Snow) in 2001, and ‘Es izskatījos laimīga’ (I Looked Happy) in 2010. She is the recipient of Klāvs Elsbergs Prize, the Preses nams Book Award and magazine „Latvju Teksti” poetry award. She has worked in advertising as copywriter for 5 years. Now she is studying Culture and Cross-cultural Links at Latvian Academy of Culture.

Our mothers

our mothers are a pair of gypsies
sitting by the side of the road
their legs spread wide
smoking pipes

our mothers are also
country girls
eating juicy apples
gathering hay for the cow

our mothers are witches
in dark kitchens stoking fires
as if in hell
stirring their brew

they are also
painted courtesans
with black-rimmed eyes
and wine-red lips

our mothers are also lunatics
in long white blouses
cavernous eyes and no teeth
shaking their bony fingers

and our mothers are children too
wet strands of hair
on plump cheeks when they
cry themselves to sleep

Translated by Caroline Brown

* * *
the world is full
of mean and cruel old women
who cross out our nights
bury our smiles
devour our dreams
while across the seas hordes
wander through the valleys searching
my language burns up, my love
your visions drive me
into despair
Translated by Caroline Brown

* * *
the world is full of
callous, base old women
who strike out our nights
bury our smiles
and devour our dreams
and also beyond the sea hordes of people
walk in the valleys and do not find
my language burns up, my beloved
your visions drive me
into the underground of despair

Translated by Rita Laima Krievina

* * *
wistfulness is the river of honey
horizon yellow recedes time is God
remember the sun and the bee
remember you ran home and someone had died
and your mother washed you in the tub

recall the high stacks of hay
tanned grimy skin
the scent of it and bleached hair
ad mouths had eaten cheese
what people’s fuzzy children are like
what kisses intoxicating resin

the earth’s edge has the colour and the taste
of dandelions there is not life nor the night
horizon sown with sheaves of grain trickling away
the wistfulness of honey

Translated by Rita Laima Krievina