Saturday, April 02, 2022

"The dark Zikmund", Hradčany Square, and Jackdaws: Prague in Natalie Diaz's "Waist and Sway"

Natalie Diaz's poem "Waist and Sway", from "Postcolonial Love Poem" (2020), recalls a summer affair in a city that, though unnamed, is identifiable as Prague: "Where in her rocked the dark Zikmund – / her, by then, a cathedral tower." Zikmund is the largest bell in the bell tower at St. Vitus Cathedral. Later, the poem mentions the square with Prague's castle: "Even now, there are nights I climb the narrow stairway / to an apartment at Hradčany Square, where a door opens / to a room and the shadowed fig of her mouth." The poem even mentions "the castle gardens, where jackdaws waited" – and the Czech word for "jackdaw" is "kavka". (Andrew Shields, #111words, 2 April 2022)


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