Claudia Serea. “My Grandmother Set Her Ladder Against the Moon” in Three Languages

Also in Translations:

Claudia Serea. “My Grandmother Set Her Ladder Against the Moon” in Three Languages
Georgia O'Keefe. Ladder to the Moon (fragment)
Claudia Serea. "My Grandmother Set Her Ladder Against the Moon" in Three Languages

She kept all her belongings in a small wooden trunk
where she hid her despair among linens.

Nightgown billowing in the wind,
she climbed to the sky each evening
on her thin ladder:

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name

        Why did you make the world bruised
        and blood-warm?

Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven

        Why did you let them take my husband and sons away to prisons?

Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses

        Why did you give the burden to carry on living to me?
        I can’t do it.

As we forgive those who trespass against us

        Here it is, translucent,
        quivering like an egg
        still unformed inside the hen:

        my life
        with no protective shell.

 And lead us not into temptation

        Take it.

But deliver us from evil

        And I’ll only keep this prayer
        for my family’s return,



Bunica mea îşi rezema scara pe luna

Ţinea tot ce-avea într-un cufăr mic de lemn
unde-şi ascunsese disperarea printre rufe.

Cu cămaşa de noapte fluturând în vânt,
în fiecare seara se urca la cer
pe scara ei subţire:

Tatăl nostru care eşti în ceruri, sfinţească-se numele Tău

        ce-ai facut lumea învineţită
        şi caldă ca sângele?

Vie împărăţia Ta, facă-se voia ta, precum în cer aşa şi pe pământ

        De ce i-ai lasat să-mi ducă bărbatul şi fiii în puşcării?

Pâinea noastră cea de toate zilele, dă-ne-o nouă astăzi şi ne iartă nouă greşelile noastre

        De ce mi-ai dat mie greutatea de-a continua să trăiesc?
        Nu pot s-o duc.

Precum şi noi iertăm greşiţilor noştri

        Iat-o, translucidă,
        tremurând ca oul
        încă neformat înlăuntrul găinii:

        viaţa mea
        fără de coaja-i protectoare.

Şi nu ne duce pe noi în ispită


Ci ne izbăveşte de cel rău

        Şi-o să pastrez doar rugăciunea asta
        pentru întoarcerea familiei mele,



Моя бабушка поставила лестницу напротив луны

Она хранила свои вещи в маленьком деревянном сундуке
там она прятала свое отчаяние среди простыней.

Ночная рубашка, волнующаяся на ветру,
она карабкалась на небо каждый вечер
по хлипкой лестнице:

Отче наш, сущий на небесах! Да святится имя Твоё

        Почему синяки у мира, созданного тобой,
        и кровь тепла?

Да приидет Царствие Твоё; да будет воля Твоя и на земле, как на небе

        Почему ты позволил им забрать моего мужа и сыновей в тюрьму?

Хлеб наш насущный подавай нам на каждый день; и прости нам грехи наши

        Почему дал мне бремя жизнь продолжать?
        Я не могу.

Как мы прощаем должников наших

        Вот же, прозрачное
        и дрожащее, как яйцо,
        еще внутри курицы, полуоформленное

        моя жизнь
        без защитной раковины.

И не введи нас во искушение

       Возьми ее.

Но избави нас от лукавого

        А я только молитву сохраню
        о возвращении моей семьи.


English and Romanian texts are the author’s; Russian translation is by Ekaterina Belousova

About the Author:

Claudia Serea
Claudia Serea
Rutherford, New Jersey, USA / Targoviste, Romania

Claudia Serea’s poems have appeared in Field, New Letters, Prairie Schooner, and elsewhere. She has published five poetry collections, most recently Twoxism (8th House Publishing), and her sixth collection Writing on the Walls at Night is forthcoming from Unsolicited Press (2022). Serea co-hosts The Red Wheelbarrow Poetry Readings, and she is a founding editor of National Translation Month.

About the Translator:

Ekaterina Belousova
Ekaterina Belousova
Moscow, Russia

Ekaterina Belousova is a literary scholar and teacher. She writes prose and poetry, and lives and works in Moscow.

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