Blesok no. 74, September-October, 2010

Auschwitz Night
Translated by Viera and James Sutherland-Smith

Ivan Kupec

Auschwitz Night

Today I listen again: on the stairs
you are walking up to me,
you fumble on the landing, on the banisters
of daybreak you lean your apocalypse,
Auschwitz night.
I hear your braid plaited long ago
with a noose of death, the fall of eternity in the dream
of millions, your words engraved on the brow
of the century, ineradicable stigma
the fizz of your liquor which with a tear of blood
I have brought from your trapdoor,
I hear the snap of the executioner's whip,
the Teutonic syrinx.
       Come, come in, night of the just, and don't
stumble at the threshold, don't stumble. You'll lead me to the
mountain of your hair, plunge me to the bottom of your tears, you'll
place me at the pillar of cries among the unlost guard. And there
again with the old moon we will stand with you, looking into each
other's eyes, your witnesses.

Never more will anyone go under the yoke
of night, Troy will not fall into ruins,
the bull from the marsh will not bear away Europe: you will not stab
the eyes of history with a dagger, you will not snuff out with gas,
you will not trample with the hooves of bulls, barbarian.

Days Coming On

Days coming on: nature gazes
into a pot terrified and makes up a bed for the nightingale
in an owl's nest; days of grace.

Days coming on: the angel desires pure murder
and a wave would crawl also on its knees up
after the tug of trout; days of disgust.

Days coming on: they must come, pain
devours tears and the cherry tree is sorry for the peacock
which has never tried fruit without worms; days of miracle.

Days coming on: stags bellow in them
that they'll get younger later and even the dog laughs out
at the cruelty of the whip; and these are the days of mercy.

Winter Nightfall, Questions

Why does the condemned man give thanks
to the executioner when he brings him an unclean rope
and why does the dog bark at thunder
but in front of the rainbow creep beneath human
or eagle's wings?

The inability to cross
transparently: that anxiety over a doll
whose raggedness hardens in your gaze
on a nail of wax and above the breathless crow
which nightly will tear at under your window
in the hours of the wolf
and crucify upon a gateway
with a single turquoise ray of moon.

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