A Meeting In Copenhagen

We are sitting at an airport
in Copenhagen drinking a lot of coffee.
It was most elegant there, and comfortable,
and refined to the point of lassitude.
Then suddenly he appeared- that old man-
in a plain green parka with a hood,
his face deep tanned by salt and wind-
loomed up rather than appeared.
He walked, furrowing through a crowd of tourists,
as if he’d just been sailing a boat,
and like the sea foam his beard,
whitening it, fringed his face.
With grim victorious determination
he walked, generating a big wave,
that swept through the modernized antique,
through every sort of antiqued modernity.
And pulling open the coarse collar of his shirt,
he, rejecting a vermouth and a pernod,
ordered a glass of Russian vodka at the bar
and pushed back the tonic with his hand: 'No! '
With rough-hewn hands, all scarred and dented,
in boots that made a mighty clatter,
in trousers indescribably stained and greasy,
he looked more spruce
than anything nearby.
The earth seemed to bend beneath him-
so heavily did he tread upon it.
And one of us said to me with a smile:
'Just look! The very spit of Hemingway! '
Expressed in each brief gesture, he strode off
with a fisherman’s ponderous gait,
all out of granite crudely hewn,
strode as men stride through gunfire,
through the ages,
He strode as if stooping in a trench;
strode shoving chairs and men aside...
He resembled
Hemingway so much!
Later I learned
it was, indeed, Hemingway!


Translated by George Reavey

by Yevgeny Yevtushenko

Comments (1)

if anyone strode though gunfire, it might have been hemingway, reading about his hotel accomadations in the spanish civil war, i know this to be true, anywho, very good read, pleasant story i am sure anyone would have liked to have had