Poem – A RussianTale

The star our little father had grown old, very old. Now he could not even strangle a dove with his own hands. Sitting on his throne he was golden and frigid. Only his beard grew, down to the floor and farther.

Then someone else ruled, it was not known who. Curious folk peeped into the palace windows but Krivonosov screened the windows with gibbets. Thus only the hanged saw anything.

In the end the star our little father died for good. The bells rang and rang, yet they did not bring his body out. Our star had grown into the throne. The legs of the throne had become all mixed up with the legs of the star. His arm and the armrest were one. It was impossible to tear him loose. And to bury the star along with the golden throne – what a shame.

Poem – Objects

Inanimate objects are always correct and cannot, unfortunately, be reproached with anything. I have never observed a chair shift from one foot to another, or a bed rear on its hind legs. And tables, even when they are tired, will not dare to bend their knees. I suspect that objects do this from pedagogical considerations, to reprove us constantly for our instability.

Poem – Our Fear

Our fear
does not wear a night shirt
does not have owl’s eyes
does not lift a casket lid
does not extinguish a candle

does not have a dead man’s face either

our fear
is a scrap of paper
found in a pocket
‘warn Wójcik
the place on Dluga Street is hot’

our fear
does not rise on the wings of the tempest
does not sit on a church tower
it is down-to-earth

it has the shape
of a bundle made in haste
with warm clothing
provisions
and arms

our fear
does not have the face of a dead man
the dead are gentle to us
we carry them on our shoulders
sleep under the same blanket

close their eyes
adjust their lips
pick a dry spot
and bury them

not too deep
not too shallow

Poem – An Answer

This will be a night in deep snow
which has the power to muffle steps
in deep shadow transforming
bodies to two puddles of darkness
we lie holding our breath
and even the slightest whisper of thought

if we are not tracked down by wolves
and the man in a Russian sheepskin who swings
quick-firing death on his chest
we must spring and run
in the clapping of short dry salvos
to that other longed-for shore

the earth is the same everywhere
wisdom teaches everywhere the man
weeps with white tears
mothers rock their children
the moon rises
and builds a white house for us

this will be night after hard reality
a conspiracy of the imagination
it has a taste of bread and lightness of vodka
but the choice to remain here
is confirmed by every dream about palm trees

the dream is interrupted suddenly by the arrival of three
tall men of rubber and iron
they will check your name your fear
order you to go downstairs
they won’t allow you to take anything
but the compassionate face of the janitor

Hellenic Roman Medieval
East Indian Elizabethan Italian
perhaps above all French
a bit of Weimar and Versailles
we carry so many homelands
on the shoulders of a single earth

but the only one guarded
by the most singular number
is here where they will trample you into the ground
or with boldly ringing spade
make a large pit for your longing

Poem – In A City

In an eastern city where I won’t return
there is a winged stone light and huge
lightning strikes this winged stone
I close my eyes to remember
in my city where I won’t return
there is heavy and nourishing water
the one who gives you a cup of this water
gives you the faith you will still return
in my faraway city that has gone
from all maps of the world there is bread that can nourish
throughout life black as the faith you will see again
stone bread water and the presence of towers at dawn

Poem – Pebble

The pebble
is a perfect creature

equal to itself
mindful of its limits

filled exactly
with a pebbly meaning

with a scent that does not remind one of anything
does not frighten anything away does not arouse desire

its ardour and coldness
are just and full of dignity

I feel a heavy remorse
when I hold it in my hand
and its noble body
is permeated by false warmth

–Pebbles cannot be tamed
to the end they will look at us
with a calm and very clear eye

Poem – Home

A home above the year’s seasons
home of children animals and apples
a square of empty space
under an absent star

home was the telescope of childhood
the skin of emotion
a sister’s cheek
branch of a tree

the cheek was extinguished by flame
the branch crossed out by a shell
over the powdery ash of the nest
a song of homeless infantry

home is the die of emotion
home is the cube of childhood

the wing of a burned sister

leaf of a dead tree

Poem – Report from the Besieged City

Too old to carry arms and fight like the others –

they graciously gave me the inferior role of chronicler
I record – I don’t know for whom – the history of the siege

I am supposed to be exact but I don’t know when the invasion began
two hundred years ago in December in September perhaps yesterday at dawn
everyone here suffers from a loss of the sense of time

all we have left is the place the attachment to the place
we still rule over the ruins of temples spectres of gardens and houses
if we lose the ruins nothing will be left

I write as I can in the rhythm of interminable weeks
monday: empty storehouses a rat became the unit of currency
tuesday: the mayor murdered by unknown assailants
wednesday: negotiations for a cease-fire the enemy has imprisoned our messengers
we don’t know where they are held that is the place of torture
thursday: after a stormy meeting a majority of voices rejected
the motion of the spice merchants for unconditional surrender
friday: the beginning of the plague saturday: our invincible defender
N.N. committed suicide sunday: no more water we drove back
an attack at the eastern gate called the Gate of the Alliance

all of this is monotonous I know it can’t move anyone

I avoid any commentary I keep a tight hold on my emotions I write about the facts
only they it seems are appreciated in foreign markets
yet with a certain pride I would like to inform the world
that thanks to the war we have raised a new species of children
our children don’t like fairy tales they play at killing
awake and asleep they dream of soup of bread and bones
just like dogs and cats

in the evening I like to wander near the outposts of the city
along the frontier of our uncertain freedom.
I look at the swarms of soldiers below their lights
I listen to the noise of drums barbarian shrieks
truly it is inconceivable the City is still defending itself
the siege has lasted a long time the enemies must take turns
nothing unites them except the desire for our extermination
Goths the Tartars Swedes troops of the Emperor regiments of the Transfiguration
who can count them
the colours of their banners change like the forest on the horizon
from delicate bird’s yellow in spring through green through red to winter’s black

and so in the evening released from facts I can think
about distant ancient matters for example our
friends beyond the sea I know they sincerely sympathize
they send us flour lard sacks of comfort and good advice
they don’t even know their fathers betrayed us
our former allies at the time of the second Apocalypse
their sons are blameless they deserve our gratitude therefore we are grateful
they have not experienced a siege as long as eternity
those struck by misfortune are always alone
the defenders of the Dalai Lama the Kurds the Afghan mountaineers

now as I write these words the advocates of conciliation
have won the upper hand over the party of inflexibles
a normal hesitation of moods fate still hangs in the balance

cemeteries grow larger the number of defenders is smaller
yet the defence continues it will continue to the end
and if the City falls but a single man escapes
he will carry the City within himself on the roads of exile
he will be the City

we look in the face of hunger the face of fire face of death
worst of all – the face of betrayal
and only our dreams have not been humiliated

Poem – The Hit of Love

It’s really hit of great Master,
when millions other just a dream waster…
Try to find in dream the largest empire
and after that a town in them
and a street in the town
and a home and a vindow
of the room where grown and white you
so carefully hidden by the times and distances
you dearest one and a love indispensable.

Poem – The Love Magic

My favorite star
on the darkest sky.
Your light is coming to me
throught abrest of times
and cold distances,
measured by milleniums
of light years travell.
Yes, what is have seen right now
and inspared me
had belonged to ancian times,
when lived Ramses and Nefertary.

But why the star
so impressed me
and I am not beliving
that what I have seen and felt
came to me from dead fares?

Becouse love as a thought
break out all the basic phisic laws,
she has primerily occupaed all
around us,
even was born with uneverse
from hottest point.
So our feels move instantly
and don’t respect the dictats of time and distance.

That’s why
when I look for you
my heart know you feel me
that I love you
right now.