Saturday Apr 13

CardonaHelene Hélène Cardona is a poet, literary translator and actor. She is the author of three bilingual poetry collections: Life in Suspension (Salmon Poetry, 2016); Dreaming My Animal Selves (Salmon Poetry 2013), winner of the USA Best Book Award in Poetry, the Pinnacle Book Award for Best Bilingual Poetry Book, and the 2014 Readers’ Favorite Award in Poetry. She was awarded a Hemingway Grant for Beyond Elsewhere (White Pine Press, 2016), her translation of Gabriel Arnou-Laujeac. She also translated Dorianne Laux: Ce que nous portons (Éditions du Cygne, 2014), and Walt Whitman’s Civil War Writings for the Iowa International Writing Program’s WhitmanWeb. She holds a Master's in American Literature from the Sorbonne, taught at Hamilton College and Loyola Marymount University, and received fellowships from the Goethe-Institut and the Universidad Internacional de Andalucía. She co-edits FulcrumAn Anthology of Poetry,is a contributor to The London Magazine, and co-producer of Pablo Neruda: The Poet’s Calling.  Publications include Washington Square, World Literature Today, Poetry International, Irish Literary Times, The Warwick Review, Plume, The Los Angeles Review, and elsewhere. Hélène had roles in Chocolat, Jurassic World, The Hundred-Foot Journey, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Serendipity, and Mumford.

How God Thinks Is Surprising

My mother and I are two swans intertwined.
We show the world stage our connection, our closeness.
The bond never fades. God is director of the play.

We’re part of each other,
a continuation of movement, dance, beauty.
Together we form a whole, a heart, an angel.

Our core holds a plate to be filled with life.
We create and celebrate every reason,
the symmetry of our truth a vision, an offering.

We invented time.
The more we make it disappear,
the closer to God we grow.

I understand the nature of plants,
living off the land and rain.
I used to be a flower.

I like morphing into an animal,
devouring who I was.
The earth never fails me.


A timeless magical woman
     born from rocks
holds a shard of mirror
       the shape of a star.

It shows me who I am
       and reflects nothing.
I want to find home,
pollinate an expansive nest,

to reveal the hidden
       memory of the universe.
Life works out better later
         like a cactus eventually blooms,

celestial gift, irresistible magnet,
       refusal to stop playing
when all seems lost,
   mind focused on infinity.

Musica Eterna

We have fallen into the place
where everything is music.

Are we always more fascinated by the legend?
       What if myth meets you en el camino, healer
in the heart of compassion, peacemaker

smiling its message on piano keys, dusting
       the bookcase of life, whistling
follow your pen, be a song?

I blow wishes into the universe, celestial
       cape, matrix to subdue
demons and possess truth.

Surprised by my lunar earth nature,          
         inhabited by ancient forests,
I molt into flying serpents,

pelicans touching wings,
         magnets of expanded vistas,
a crest crowned by doves,

in its center the caduceus
entwined identity, magician’s score,
     water weeping out of hands.