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Syndic Literary Journal

They Are a Gust of Wind

Written by Livia Viitol

Translated from the Estonian by Ilmar Lehtpere

Narrated by Kristine Doll


They are a gust of wind,

silence, nothing at all, anxiety.

At my temples and wrists

they become trees,

their branches entwining,

their tops reaching for the light.

Several peoples have left

their tracks in my blood.

They are the substance,

I am their form.

(Or am I their substance,

they my form?)

The hunter, fisher, sower

all continue to live their secret lives in my veins.

The first two dwell in the shadows;

I long to ask the third

who reaps

the very last harvest –

or do the birds carry

the last grains with them into the air?

I go along with the birds,

my fingers pressed deep into

the neck feathers of the old wild goose –

every autumn I take flight

towards myself and perpetuity.


Livia Viitol is an Estonian poet, short story writer and cultural historian. A Handful of Light (Lapwing), translated by Ilmar Lehtpere, is a selection of her poetry in English.
Ilmar Lehtpere is an Estonian poet and translator. His most recent translations into English are On the Edge of a Sword  by Kristiina Ehin (Arc, 2018),  and Shortening the Candle’s Wick by Andres Ehin and Ly Seppel (Carcanet, 2018).
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).


Compiled/Published by LeRoy Chatfield
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