Blesok no. 74, September-October, 2010

Translated by John Minahane

Ján Ondruš

Summer Rain


Black white


Black world, radiant
footprint in water
and in the footprint a shard of glass.


You will stoop
and break earth below the horizon, round
as the arc of a hand on the steering-wheel.


You'll straighten, you'll hang on by the trouser-leg
to the shadow that'll hold you, repeating
gesture after gesture
and keeping in step.


Who of us is black,
who white,
who weak,
who strong,
who broke earth below the horizon, round
as the arc of a hand on the steering-wheel.<


in the clash of our faces,
splintering, a hatchet
hung on a kiss,
I mark you with love,
with a thought cancelled-out, a yawn,
I'm going,
I'll swing off on the house door,
I'll be gone on a growing branch,
I'll fly by the wringing of hands,
because, look,
wine is of you,
gall is of me,
comb's about you,
hatchet's of me,
fire's about you,
ash is of me,
about you is every
evening with the lunar
levitation of magic in our heads,
about me is midnight, or dawn and return
when I twist my head under my armpit,
I sleep and shut eyes about you,
about you is the nightingale,
about me is the dog
who barks all of that,
barks that about me,
barks the reverse,
when in wringing of hands
I gather breath, anguish, scream,
I leave between us the distance of mouths
and thus from afar
I mark you with love,
with a thought cancelled-out, a yawn,
to the verge even of stone, which
is about me, in which yes is and no
and where the head can be banged.



Blow on the ash,
blowing you shrink, you vanish
with it, quickly you wane,
you're one blow less,
blowing gathers in you,
'twill burst out when you open
at your blowing end,
by blowing the world is enlarged, stretched
thereby, widens and hardens,
suddenly you'll look round:
the lesser part of you's left
and the part you exhaled sprouting through you,
it's perused you, it's better outside you,
it's a mouth quicker and it knows you right through,
the exhaled part speaks through you
from sleep and in sleep knows the answer,
the rest's for the corner, the handkerchief,
it did not shine from darkness and did not blow,
the exhaled part turns and lip-smacks,
stamps, the rest flees and has a dog's head
fitted for barking.


– Sigh into the ash, excite
yourself with it through tears or a hymn.
– To the ash make an exit
from dreams or from pulpit and church.
– Grow old unto ash, sadden to it
and pine into ash.


The well is heavy, you won't pull up the well,
it has roots, it's like the oak.
Water green and stagnant,
water self-evident, all by itself.
They let down a ladder, they flung a leg over,
anxiety gripped them,
from below they called,
they looked upwards, they saw the stars.
Three times they cast deep,
they found a chainlet,
they found a blue pot,
they found a needle.
They brought out a floating apple.
They drew out a ball, soaked in water
and squirting like an orange.
They drew out a clock stopped by mud,
not the one from the conjuror's hat.
Quietly they emerged, the well
was unmoving, powerful and of high age.
Later they drew out
the frog at the source,
a helmet,
they stuck it with pitchforks, tossed it aside,
carried it forth like a trophy.
The water went behind them, it rose up
and was self-evident, all by itself.


You'll place a mirror before a mirror,
they'll turn their backs to each other.
You'll put out the light
between the mirrors.
Your mouth laid across my mouth.
Your word stopped by my word.
Your caress rubbed out by my caress.
Whispered love. Dreams of forgiveness.
So grow set by each other. Weep.
Till I count to three, smile at me,
tender and snuggled,
over the grid of straps and collar-bone
a translucent potato sprout.
I'm going (don't go!),
I'll be back.
We'll be together. Like two mirrors
that have turned their backs on each other.
The shore of your eyes,
delirious, soft,
behind both their backs.

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