Chill Penury And Winter’s Power – Walther von der Vogelweide

Chill penury and winter’s power
Upon my soul so hard have prest,
That I would fain have seen no more
The red flow’rs that the meadows drest:

Yet, truth! ’twere hard, if I were gone,
Upon the merry-making throng,
That loud with joy was wont to ring,
And o’er the green to dance and spring!

Under The Lime Tree – Walther von der Vogelweide

Under the lime tree
On the heather,
Where we had shared a place of rest,
Still you may find there,
Lovely together,
Flowers crushed and grass down-pressed.
Beside the forest in the vale,
Tándaradéi,
Sweetly sang the nightingale.

I came to meet him
At the green:
There was my truelove come before.
Such was I greeted —
Heaven’s Queen! —
That I am glad for evermore.
Had he kisses? A thousand some:
Tándaradéi,
See how red my mouth’s become.

There he had fashioned
For luxury
A bed from every kind of flower.
It sets to laughing
Delightedly
Whoever comes upon that bower;
By the roses well one may,
Tándaradéi,
Mark the spot my head once lay.

If any knew
He lay with me
(May God forbid!), for shame I’d die.
What did he do?
May none but he
Ever be sure of that — and I,
And one extremely tiny bird,
Tándaradéi,
Who will, I think, not say a word.

Poem – On the Critical Attitude

The critical attitude
Strikes many people as unfruitful
That is because they find the state
Impervious to their criticism
But what in this case is an unfruitful attitude
Is merely a feeble attitude. Give criticism arms
And states can be demolished by it.

Canalising a river
Grafting a fruit tree
Educating a person
Transforming a state
These are instances of fruitful criticism
And at the same time instances of art.

Poem – Not What was Meant

When the Academy of Arts demanded freedom
Of artistic expression from narrow-minded bureaucrats
There was a howl and a clamour in its immediate vicinity
But roaring above everything
Came a deafening thunder of applause
From beyond the Sector boundary.
Freedom! it roared. Freedom for the artists!
Freedom all round! Freedom for all!
Freedom for the exploiters! Freedom for the warmongers!
Freedom for the Ruhr cartels! Freedom for Hitler’s generals!
Softly, my dear fellows…
The Judas kiss for the artists follows
Hard on the Judas kiss for the workers.
The arsonist with his bottle of petrol
Sneaks up grinning to
The Academy of Arts.
But it was not to embrace him, just
To knock the bottle out of his dirty hand that
We asked for elbow room.
Even the narrowest minds
In which peace is harboured
Are more welcome to the arts than the art lover

Who is also a lover of the art of war.

Poem – A Worker Reads History

Who built the seven gates of Thebes?
The books are filled with names of kings.
Was it the kings who hauled the craggy blocks of stone?
And Babylon, so many times destroyed.
Who built the city up each time? In which of Lima’s houses,
That city glittering with gold, lived those who built it?
In the evening when the Chinese wall was finished
Where did the masons go? Imperial Rome
Is full of arcs of triumph. Who reared them up? Over whom
Did the Caesars triumph? Byzantium lives in song.
Were all her dwellings palaces? And even in Atlantis of the legend
The night the seas rushed in,
The drowning men still bellowed for their slaves.

Young Alexander conquered India.
He alone?
Caesar beat the Gauls.
Was there not even a cook in his army?
Phillip of Spain wept as his fleet
was sunk and destroyed. Were there no other tears?
Frederick the Greek triumphed in the Seven Years War.
Who triumphed with him?

Each page a victory
At whose expense the victory ball?
Every ten years a great man,
Who paid the piper?

So many particulars.
So many questions.

Poem – To Those Born After

I

To the cities I came in a time of disorder
That was ruled by hunger.
I sheltered with the people in a time of uproar
And then I joined in their rebellion.
That’s how I passed my time that was given to me on this Earth.

I ate my dinners between the battles,
I lay down to sleep among the murderers,
I didn’t care for much for love
And for nature’s beauties I had little patience.
That’s how I passed my time that was given to me on this Earth.

The city streets all led to foul swamps in my time,
My speech betrayed me to the butchers.
I could do only little
But without me those that ruled could not sleep so easily:
That’s what I hoped.
That’s how I passed my time that was given to me on this Earth.

Our forces were slight and small,
Our goal lay in the far distance
Clearly in our sights,
If for me myself beyond my reaching.
That’s how I passed my time that was given to me on this Earth.

II

You who will come to the surface
From the flood that’s overwhelmed us and drowned us all
Must think, when you speak of our weakness in times of darkness
That you’ve not had to face:

Days when we were used to changing countries
More often than shoes,
Through the war of the classes despairing
That there was only injustice and no outrage.

Even so we realised
Hatred of oppression still distorts the features,
Anger at injustice still makes voices raised and ugly.
Oh we, who wished to lay for the foundations for peace and friendliness,
Could never be friendly ourselves.

And in the future when no longer
Do human beings still treat themselves as animals,
Look back on us with indulgence.

Poem – My Young Son Ask Me

My young son asks me: Must I learn mathematics?
What is the use, I feel like saying. That two pieces
Of bread are more than one’s about all you’ll end up with.
My young son asks me: Must I learn French?
What is the use, I feel like saying. This State’s collapsing.
And if you just rub your belly with your hand and
Groan, you’ll be understood with little trouble.
My young son asks me: Must I learn history?
What is the use, I feel like saying. Learn to stick
Your head in the earth, and maybe you’ll still survive.

Yes, learn mathematics, I tell him.
Learn your French, learn your history!

Poem – Solidarity Song

Peoples of the world, together
Join to serve the common cause!
So it feeds us all for ever
See to it that it’s now yours.

Forward, without forgetting
Where our strength can be seen now to be!
When starving or when eating
Forward, not forgetting
Our solidarity!

Black or white or brown or yellow
Leave your old disputes behind.
Once start talking with your fellow
Men, you’ll soon be of one mind.

Forward, without forgetting
Where our strength can be seen now to be!
When starving or when eating
Forward, not forgetting
Our solidarity!

If we want to make this certain
We’ll need you and your support.
It’s yourselves you’ll be deserting
if you rat your own sort.

Forward, without forgetting
Where our strength can be seen now to be!
When starving or when eating
Forward, not forgetting
Our solidarity!

All the gang of those who rule us
Hope our quarrels never stop
Helping them to split and fool us
So they can remain on top.

Forward, without forgetting
Where our strength can be seen now to be!
When starving or when eating
Forward, not forgetting
Our solidarity!

Workers of the world, uniting
Thats the way to lose your chains.
Mighty regiments now are fighting
That no tyrrany remains!

Forward, without forgetting
Till the concrete question is hurled
When starving or when eating:
Whose tomorrow is tomorrow?
And whose world is the world?

Poem – What Has Happened ?

The industrialist is having his aeroplane serviced.
The priest is wondering what he said in his sermon eight weeks ago
about tithes.
The generals are putting on civvies and looking like bank clerks.
Public officials are getting friendly.
The policeman points out the way to the man in the cloth cap.
The landlord comes to see whether the water supply is working.
The journalists write the word People with capital letters.
The singers sing at the opera for nothing.
Ships’ captains check the food in the crew’s galley,
Car owners get in beside their chauffeurs.
Doctors sue the insurance companies.
Scholars show their discoveries and hide their decorations.
Farmers deliver potatoes to the barracks.
The revolution has won its first battle:
That’s what has happened.

Poem – The Burning of the Books

When the Regime
commanded the unlawful books to be burned,
teams of dull oxen hauled huge cartloads to the bonfires.

Then a banished writer, one of the best,
scanning the list of excommunicated texts,
became enraged: he’d been excluded!

He rushed to his desk, full of contemptuous wrath,
to write fierce letters to the morons in power —
Burn me! he wrote with his blazing pen —
Haven’t I always reported the truth?
Now here you are, treating me like a liar!
Burn me!

Poem – To Posterity

1.

Indeed I live in the dark ages!
A guileless word is an absurdity. A smooth forehead betokens
A hard heart. He who laughs
Has not yet heard
The terrible tidings.

Ah, what an age it is
When to speak of trees is almost a crime
For it is a kind of silence about injustice!
And he who walks calmly across the street,
Is he not out of reach of his friends
In trouble?

It is true: I earn my living
But, believe me, it is only an accident.
Nothing that I do entitles me to eat my fill.
By chance I was spared. (If my luck leaves me
I am lost.)

They tell me: eat and drink. Be glad you have it!
But how can I eat and drink
When my food is snatched from the hungry
And my glass of water belongs to the thirsty?
And yet I eat and drink.

I would gladly be wise.
The old books tell us what wisdom is:
Avoid the strife of the world
Live out your little time
Fearing no one
Using no violence
Returning good for evil —
Not fulfillment of desire but forgetfulness
Passes for wisdom.
I can do none of this:
Indeed I live in the dark ages!

2.

I came to the cities in a time of disorder
When hunger ruled.
I came among men in a time of uprising
And I revolted with them.
So the time passed away
Which on earth was given me.

I ate my food between massacres.
The shadow of murder lay upon my sleep.
And when I loved, I loved with indifference.
I looked upon nature with impatience.
So the time passed away
Which on earth was given me.

In my time streets led to the quicksand.
Speech betrayed me to the slaughterer.
There was little I could do. But without me
The rulers would have been more secure. This was my hope.
So the time passed away
Which on earth was given me.

3.

You, who shall emerge from the flood
In which we are sinking,
Think —
When you speak of our weaknesses,
Also of the dark time
That brought them forth.

For we went,changing our country more often than our shoes.
In the class war, despairing
When there was only injustice and no resistance.

For we knew only too well:
Even the hatred of squalor
Makes the brow grow stern.
Even anger against injustice
Makes the voice grow harsh. Alas, we
Who wished to lay the foundations of kindness
Could not ourselves be kind.

But you, when at last it comes to pass
That man can help his fellow man,
Do no judge us
Too harshly.

Poem – Contemplating Hell

Contemplating Hell, as I once heard it,
My brother Shelley found it to be a place
Much like the city of London. I,
Who do not live in London, but in Los Angeles,
Find, contemplating Hell, that it
Must be even more like Los Angeles.

Also in Hell,
I do not doubt it, there exist these opulent gardens
With flowers as large as trees, wilting, of course,
Very quickly, if they are not watered with very expensive water. And fruit markets
With great leaps of fruit, which nonetheless

Possess neither scent nor taste. And endless trains of autos,
Lighter than their own shadows, swifter than
Foolish thoughts, shimmering vehicles, in which
Rosy people, coming from nowhere, go nowhere.
And houses, designed for happiness, standing empty,
Even when inhabited.

Even the houses in Hell are not all ugly.
But concern about being thrown into the street
Consumes the inhabitants of the villas no less
Than the inhabitants of the barracks.

Poem – My Father

The memory of my father is wrapped up in
white paper, like sandwiches taken for a day at work.

Just as a magician takes towers and rabbits
out of his hat, he drew love from his small body,

and the rivers of his hands
overflowed with good deeds.

Poem – What Kind Of A Person

“What kind of a person are you,” I heard them say to me.
I’m a person with a complex plumbing of the soul,
Sophisticated instruments of feeling and a system
Of controlled memory at the end of the twentieth century,
But with an old body from ancient times
And with a God even older than my body.
I’m a person for the surface of the earth.
Low places, caves and wells
Frighten me. Mountain peaks
And tall buildings scare me.
I’m not like an inserted fork,
Not a cutting knife, not a stuck spoon.

I’m not flat and sly
Like a spatula creeping up from below.
At most I am a heavy and clumsy pestle
Mashing good and bad together
For a little taste
And a little fragrance.

Arrows do not direct me. I conduct
My business carefully and quietly
Like a long will that began to be written
The moment I was born.

s Now I stand at the side of the street
Weary, leaning on a parking meter.
I can stand here for nothing, free.

I’m not a car, I’m a person,
A man-god, a god-man
Whose days are numbered. Hallelujah.

Poem – Once A Great Love

Once a great love cut my life in two.
The first part goes on twisting
at some other place like a snake cut in two.

The passing years have calmed me
and brought healing to my heart and rest to my eyes.

And I’m like someone standing in the Judean desert, looking at a sign:
‘Sea Level’
He cannot see the sea, but he knows.

Thus I remember your face everywhere
at your ‘face Level.’

Poem – The School Where I Studied

I passed by the school where I studied as a boy
and said in my heart: here I learned certain things
and didn’t learn others. All my life I have loved in vain
the things I didn’t learn. I am filled with knowledge,
I know all about the flowering of the tree of knowledge,
the shape of its leaves, the function of its root system, its pests and parasites.
I’m an expert on the botany of good and evil,
I’m still studying it, I’ll go on studying till the day I die.
I stood near the school building and looked in. This is the room
where we sat and learned. The windows of a classroom always open
to the future, but in our innocence we thought it was only landscape
we were seeing from the window.
The schoolyard was narrow, paved with large stones.
I remember the brief tumult of the two of us
near the rickety steps, the tumult
that was the beginning of a first great love.
Now it outlives us, as if in a museum,
like everything else in Jerusalem.

Poem – The Little Park Planted

The little park planted in memory of a boy
who fell in the war begins
to resemble him
as he was twenty eight years ago.
Year by year they look more alike.
His old parents come almost daily
to sit on a bench
and look at him.

And every night the memory in the garden
hums like a little motor.
During the day you can’t hear it.

Poem – Jews In The Land Of Israel

We forget where we came from. Our Jewish
names from the Exile give us away,
bring back the memory of flower and fruit, medieval cities,
metals, knights who turned to stone, roses,
spices whose scent drifted away, precious stones, lots of red,
handicrafts long gone from the world
(the hands are gone too).

Circumcision does it to us,
as in the Bible story of Shechem and the sons of Jacob,
so that we go on hurting all our lives.

What are we doing, coming back here with this pain?
Our longings were drained together with the swamps,
the desert blooms for us, and our children are beautiful.
Even the wrecks of ships that sank on the way
reached this shore,
even winds did. Not all the sails.

What are we doing
in this dark land with its
yellow shadows that pierce the eyes?
(Every now and then someone says, even after forty
or fifty years: ‘The sun is killing me.’)

What are we doing with these souls of mist, with these names,
with our eyes of forests, with our beautiful children,
with our quick blood?

Spilled blood is not the roots of trees
but it’s the closest thing to roots

Poem – Mack The Knife

Oh, the shark has pretty teeth, dear
And he shows them pearly white.
Just a jack knife has Macheath, dear
And he keeps it out of sight.

When the shark bites with his teeth, dear
Scarlet billows start to spread.
Fancy gloves, though, wears Macheath, dear
So there’s not a trace of red.

On the side-walk Sunday morning
Lies a body oozing life;
Someone’s sneaking ’round the corner.
Is that someone Mack the Knife?

From a tugboat by the river
A cement bag’s dropping down;
The cement’s just for the weight, dear.
Bet you Mackie’s back in town.

Louie Miller disappeared, dear
After drawing out his cash;
And Macheath spends like a sailor.
Did our boy do something rash?

Sukey Tawdry, Jenny Diver,
Polly Peachum, Lucy Brown
Oh, the line forms on the right, dear
Now that Mackie’s back in town.

Poem – Radio Poem

You little box, held to me escaping
So that your valves should not break
Carried from house to house to ship from sail to train,
So that my enemies might go on talking to me,
Near my bed, to my pain
The last thing at night, the first thing in the morning,
Of their victories and of my cares,
Promise me not to go silent all of a sudden.

Poem – United Front Song

And because a man is human
He’ll want to eat, and thanks a lot
But talk can’t take the place of meat
or fill an empty pot.

So left, two, three!
So left, two, three!
Comrade, there’s a place for you.
Take your stand in the workers united front
For you are a worker too.

And because a man is human
he won’t care for a kick in the face.
He doesn’t want slaves under him
Or above him a ruling class.

So left, two, three!
So left, two, three!
Comrade, there’s a place for you.
Take your stand in the workers united front
For you are a worker too.

And because a worker’s a worker
No one else will bring him liberty.
It’s nobody’s work but the worker’ own
To set the worker free.

So left, two, three!
So left, two, three!
Comrade, there’s a place for you.
Take your stand in the workers united front
For you are a worker too.

Poem – Alabama Song

Show me the way to the next whisky bar
Oh, don’t ask why, oh, don’t ask why
Show me the way to the next whisky bar
Oh, don’t ask why, oh, don’t ask why
For if we don’t find the next whisky bar
I tell you we must die
I tell you we must die
I tell you
I tell you
I tell you we must die

Oh, moon of Alabama
We now must say say good-bye
We’ve lost our good old mamma
And must have whisky
Oh, you know why.

Show me the way to the next pretty girl
Oh, don’t ask why, oh, don’t ask why
Show me the way to the next pretty girl
Oh don’t ask why, oh, don’t ask why
For if we don’t find the next pretty girl
I tell you we must die
I tell you we must die
I tell you
I tell you
I tell you we must die

Oh, moon of Alabama
We now must say good-bye
We’ve lost our good old mamma
And must have a girl
Oh, you know why.

Show me the way to the next little dollar
Oh, don’t ask why, oh, don’t ask why
Show me the way to the next little dollar
Oh, don’t ask why, oh, don’t ask why
For if we don’t find the next little dollar
I tell you we must die
I tell you we must die
I tell you
I tell you
I tell you we must die

Oh, moon of Alabama
We now must say good-bye
We’ve lost our good old mamma
And must have dollars
Oh, you know why.

Poem – Fragen

Schreib mir, was du anhast! Ist es warm?
Schreib mir, wie du liegst! Liegst du auch weich?
Schreib mir, wie du aussiehst! Ist´s noch gleich?
Schreib mir, was dir fehlt! Ist es mein Arm?

Schreib mir, wie´s dir geht! Verschont man dich?
Schreib mir, was sie treiben! Reicht dein Mut?
Schreib mir, was du tust! Ist es auch gut?
Schreib mir, woran denkst du? Bin es ich?

Freilich hab ich dir nur meine Fragen!
Und die Antwort hör ich, wie sie fällt!
Wenn du müd bist, kann ich dir nichts tragen.

Hungerst du, hab ich dir nichts zu Essen.
Und so bin ich grad wie aus der Welt
Nicht mehr da, als hätt ich dich vergessen.

Poem – The Solutions

After the uprising of the 17th June
The Secretary of the Writers Union
Had leaflets distributed in the Stalinallee
Stating that the people
Had forfeited the confidence of the government
And could win it back only
By redoubled efforts. Would it not be easier
In that case for the government
To dissolve the people
And elect another?

Poem – Questions

Write me what you’re wearing! Is it warm?
Write me how you lie! Do you lie there softly?
Write me how you look! Is it still the same?
Write me what you’re missing! Is it my arm?

Write me how you are! Have you been spared?
Write me what they’re doing! Do you have enough courage?
Write me what you’re doing! Is it good?
Write me, who are you thinking of? Is it me?

Freely, I’ve given you only my questions.
And I hear the answers, how they fall.
When you’re tired, I can’t carry it for you.

If you’re hungry, I have nothing for you to eat.
And so now I leave the world
No longer there, as if I’ve forgotten you.

Declaration Of War – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

OH, would I resembled 
The country girls fair, 

Who rosy-red ribbons 
And yellow hats wear! 
To believe I was pretty 
I thought was allow’d; 

In the town I believed it 
When by the youth vow’d. 
Now that Spring hath return’d, 
All my joys disappear; 

The girls of the country 
Have lured him from here. 
To change dress and figure, 
Was needful I found, 

My bodice is longer, 
My petticoat round. 
My hat now is yellow. 
My bodice like snow; 

The clover to sickle 
With others I go. 
Something pretty, e’er long 
Midst the troop he explores; 

The eager boy signs me 
To go within doors. 
I bashfully go,– 
Who I am, he can’t trace; 

He pinches my cheeks, 
And he looks in my face. 
The town girl now threatens 
You maidens with war; 

Her twofold charms pledges . 
Of victory are.

A Parable – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I PICKED a rustic nosegay lately, 

And bore it homewards, musing greatly; 

When, heated by my hand, I found 

The heads all drooping tow’rd the ground. 

I plac’d them in a well-cool’d glass, 

And what a wonder came to pass 

The heads soon raised themselves once more. 

The stalks were blooming as before, 

And all were in as good a case 

As when they left their native place. 

So felt I, when I wond’ring heard 

My song to foreign tongues transferr’d.

Book Of Proverbs – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

CALL on the present day and night for nought, 

Save what by yesterday was brought. 

—– 

THE sea is flowing ever, 

The land retains it never. 

—– 

BE stirring, man, while yet the day is clear; 

The night when none can work fast Draweth near. 

—– 

WHEN the heavy-laden sigh, 

Deeming help and hope gone by, 

Oft, with healing power is heard, 

Comfort-fraught, a kindly word. 

—– 

How vast is mine inheritance, how glorious and sublime! 

For time mine own possession is, the land I till is time! 

—– 

UNWARY saith,–ne’er lived a man more true; 

The deepest heart, the highest head he knew,– 

“In ev’ry place and time thou’lt find availing 

Uprightness, judgment, kindliness unfailing.” 

—– 

THOUGH the bards whom the Orient sun bath bless’d 

Are greater than we who dwell in the west, 

Yet in hatred of those whom our equals we find. 

In this we’re not in the least behind. 

—– 
WOULD we let our envy burst, 

Feed its hunger fully first! 

To keep our proper place, 

We’ll show our bristles more; 

With hawks men all things chase, 

Except the savage boar. 

—– 

BY those who themselves more bravely have fought 

A hero’s praise will be joyfully told. 

The worth of man can only be taught 

By those who have suffer’d both heat and cold. 

—– 

“WHEREFORE is truth so far from our eyes, 

Buried as though in a distant land?” 

None at the proper moment are wise! 
Could they properly understand, 

Truth would appear in her own sweet guise, 

Beauteous, gentle, and close at hand. 

—– 

WHY these inquiries make, 

Where charity may flow? 

Cast in the flood thy cake,– 

Its eater, who will know? 

—– 

ONCE when I a spider had kill’d, 

Then methought: wast right or wrong? 

That we both to these times should belong, 

This had God in His goodness willed. 

—– 

MOTLEY this congregation is, for, lo! 

At the communion kneel both friend and foe. 

—– 

IF the country I’m to show, 

Thou must on the housetop go. 

—– 

A MAN with households twain 

Ne’er finds attention meet, 

A house wherein two women reign 

Is ne’er kept clean and neat. 

—– 

BLESS, thou dread Creator, 

Bless this humble fane; 

Man may build them greater,– 

More they’ll not contain. 

—– 

LET this house’s glory rise, 

Handed to far ages down, 

And the son his honour prize. 

As the father his renown. 

—– 

O’ER the Mediterranean sea 

Proudly hath the Orient sprung; 

Who loves Hafis and knows him, he 

Knows what Caldron hath sung. 

—– 

IF the ass that bore the Saviour 

Were to Mecca driven, he 

Would not alter, but would be 

Still an ass in his behavior. 

—– 

THE flood of passion storms with fruitless strife 

‘Gainst the unvanquished solid land.– 

It throws poetic pearls upon the strand, 

And thus is gain’d the prize of life. 

—– 

WHEN so many minstrels there are, 

How it pains me, alas, to know it! 

Who from the earth drives poetry far? 

Who but the poet!

Autumn Feelings – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

FLOURISH greener, as ye clamber, 

Oh ye leaves, to seek my chamber, 
Up the trellis’d vine on high! 

May ye swell, twin-berries tender, 

Juicier far,–and with more splendour 
Ripen, and more speedily! 

O’er ye broods the sun at even 

As he sinks to rest, and heaven 
Softly breathes into your ear 

All its fertilising fullness, 

While the moon’s refreshing coolness, 
Magic-laden, hovers near; 

And, alas! ye’re watered ever 
By a stream of tears that rill 

From mine eyes–tears ceasing never, 
Tears of love that nought can still!

Poem – Tourists – Yehuda Amichai

Visits of condolence is all we get from them. 

They squat at the Holocaust Memorial, 

They put on grave faces at the Wailing Wall 

And they laugh behind heavy curtains 

In their hotels. 

They have their pictures taken 

Together with our famous dead 

At Rachel’s Tomb and Herzl’s Tomb 

And on Ammunition Hill. 

They weep over our sweet boys 

And lust after our tough girls 

And hang up their underwear 

To dry quickly 

In cool, blue bathrooms.

Poem – You Mustn’t Show Weakness

You mustn’t show weakness

and you’ve got to have a tan.

But sometimes I feel like the thin veils

of Jewish women who faint

at weddings and on Yom Kippur.
You mustn’t show weakness

and you’ve got to make a list

of all the things you can load

in a baby carriage without a baby.
This is the way things stand now:

if I pull out the stopper

after pampering myself in the bath,

I’m afraid that all of Jerusalem, and with it the whole world,

will drain out into the huge darkness.
In the daytime I lay traps for my memories

and at night I work in the Balaam Mills,

turning curse into blessing and blessing into curse.
And don’t ever show weakness.

Sometimes I come crashing down inside myself

without anyone noticing. I’m like an ambulance

on two legs, hauling the patient

inside me to Last Aid

with the wailing of cry of a siren,

and people think it’s ordinary speech.