OH THOSE YELLOW BUTTERFLIES IN THE GARDEN

by Jüri Talvet

Oh those yellow butterflies in the garden
in Pärnu at the home of childhood, where summer
lasts twelve months a year!

One lighted on my palm, how bold.

We looked at it with curiosity, I, my
mother and my little daughter – all of us
light-footed, all of the same age,

witnessing with a single heart:
Look, the butterfly has a lion’s face!

(Trans. H. L. Hix)

From: 
Isegi vihmal on hing (Tartu: Tartu Ülikooli Kirjastus, 2010)


Jüri Talvet's picture

ABOUT THE POET ~
Poet, essayist, translator and university professor Jüri Talvet was born in Pärnu, Estonia, in 1945. He graduated from the faculty of philology from the University of Tartu. He received his PhD degree in Western literatures from Leningrad / Saint Petersburg University (1981). Since 1992 he is Chairing Professor (of world literature) at Tartu University. He made his debut with a book of poems, Äratused (Awakenings, Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1981). Besides eight books of poetry, he has published six essay books in his native Estonian, as well as numerous translations (mainly from Spanish). In 2008 he edited a major anthology of American poetry in Estonian translation. He has been awarded Juhan Smuul Annual Prize of Literature (in essay, 1986), Juhan Liiv Poetry Prize (1997) and Ivar Ivask Memorial Prize of Essay and Poetry (2002). Selections of his poetry have appeared in translation in Spain (Elegía estonia y otros poemas, 2002; Del sueño, de la nieve, 2010), Canada (Estonian Elegy. Selected Poems, 2008; Of Snow, of Soul, 2010), France (De la neige, des rêves, 2011) and Romania (De din somn, de din zăpadă, 2011). Also, his essays have been translated into English, Spanish and Catalan.


Last updated September 19, 2011