I can’t tell you a whole lot about Māris Čaklais, the best information I could find, in English at least, was sadly an announcement of his death. I was given a copy of his book Premonition by a friend otherwise I am sure I would never have encountered him. No doubt Robert Frost was correct when he said “Poetry is what gets lost in translation” nonetheless this is a gem of a book with some beautiful poems, I hope you enjoy this one.
A Little Fairy Tale
It was all in the land
Whose gates are now locked against me,
Whose keys I have lost-
In my childhood.
As in everyone’s childhood,
I, too, had a fairy tale,
And like everyone’s fairy-tale
Mine, too, had a princess.
She did not converse like grown-ups.
She spoke our own language.
The princess sang songs.
When, behind the window, the car
Hooted, to carry the princess away,
We clung to our princess-aunt’s skirts
And we cried.
When our breath had melted them all-
Every flower of ice on the window-pane,
Only then, we remembered
To finish playing at soldiers.
It was all long ago.
And the fairy-tales
Which even now I believe in
Are of a somewhat different order.
Why do I speak of it then?
There are times when the past, like a child,
Clings to one’s skirts, and cries-
And one does not know what to do.