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Syndic Literary Journal

Slipping By

Written by Elin ap Hywel

Translated from the Welsh by Laura Fisk

Narrated By Kristine Doll

UK Welsh

Slipping By

There’s a clean smell on the young German

leaning across the table, a smell of forests

and snow glistening in the sun

like dainty pieces of glass that have been shattered


and the city

slips past on the U-bahn

the smooth wheels someone’s oiled                           

and we know

that everything is going to happen just as it’s meant to


and by the light of the candle we’re talking about war

and look to the magic glass ball

to see people who live over the snow                                           

making pictures of the Gulf on the tablecloth                                          

and using napkins

to mark out positions of tanks

and by the light of the candle the night slips by

swiftly like a child who’s newly found                       

that he can skate


In the town today

I saw a man

pulling glass from a pipe

he was sucking all the air

and turning it all into a dream


and on the naked branches his glass balls hang

their colors purple and gold

There’s some secret to their making                                 

that’s too expensive for me to buy

that’s too brittle for me to carry home to Wales


and we’re slipping past by candlelight

and the rails are so so straight

slipping by on wheels someone’s oiled

slipping by forever and ever and ever


Elin ap Hywel is a leading Welsh-language poet and translator. She worked as an editor at the Welsh women’s press Honno.  Ffiniau/Borders is a bilingual volume of poetry in collaboration with Grahame Davies.
Laura Fisk is an NHS clinical psychologist, a poet and translator from Wales. Collections of her own work have recently been translated into Estonian and Macedonian. She is currently translating a book of Elin ap Hywel’s poetry into English.
Kristine Doll is a poet and translator (English/Spanish/Catalan).  She teaches at Salem State University in Salem MA.  Her work has been published domestically and internationally in such venues as Asymptote, The Seventh Quarry, Cross-Cultural Communications Art & Poetry Broadside Series, The Paterson Literary Review, Gargoyle, Loch Raven Review, and Immagine & poesia.  Her most recent translation from English into Spanish is the book of aphorisms written by Carolyn Kleefeld, Soul Seeds/Semillas del alma (Cross-Cultural Communications and Edicions Saldonar, 2021).













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