Not once can I say
I am the captain
behind this wheel of fire.
I remember misplacing
a bronze bell
I left behind many untended hearths.
Rushing back I discovered
something had changed me.
I can say
I am this or that,
that I envied the character
of water and stone.
that I envied the character
of water and stone.
As a boy I was made a sheep,
now I am enchanted into a goat
that the townspeople
enjoy driving to the square
with a marigold garland
between my hornş.
I invited myself to Bohemia.
The kingdom of Art,
where people never grow old,
was my affable neighbour.
Moved by curiosity,
I found myself lingering
at backstages, where painted girls
and poor blind boys
came to do their parts.
In the evenings now,
I often mix my drink with despair.
Love, of course, made me entirely useless.
This is the story of my people.
We sowed suspicion in the fields.
Hatred sprang and razed the crops.
Now they go to gloating (glorying) neighbours,
begging bowls in hand,
fingers pointed at each other.
Their incessant bickering (backbiting)
Muffles (quiets) all pity.
Our intentions are clear.
Slash (Tear) and burn,
let fire erase all traces,
so that suspicion cannot write
our murderous history.
Somewhere inside the labyrinth
we met, locked horns, and
went our feuding ways.
Our past, we believe, is pristine
even as we reaped heads and took slaves.
When we re-write make-believę history
with malicious intent,
memory burns on a short fuse.
As boys return to Christmas,
escorted by hate and fear,
they take a circuitous route
to outwit an enemy
who will revel too much in the birth
of a merciful son. When these boys
reach home, their dreams will come
dressed in red.
Hands filled with love,
I touched your healing breasts.
Like the beaten-up past
scars appeared on your body.
I ask, who branded the moonskin of my love?
Who used you like a toy doll?
And my hands returned to me
stigmatised with guilt.
When I turn with a heavy heart
towards my flaming country,
the hills, woman, scream your name.
Soldiers with black sçarves (mufflers)
like mime artists
turn them in seconds into shrouds.
For the trucks carrying
the appliances of death and devastation,
for the eager rescuer in his armoured car,
for the first visitor to the fabled homeland,
the graves of youths who died in turmoil
are the only milestones to the city.
But the hills lie draped (dressed) in mist.
Instead of the musk of your being
I inhale the acrid smoke
of gelignite (explosive) and pyres.
With cargoes of sand and mortar
Mammon came to inspect the city.
He cut down the remaining trees
and carried them away
like cadavers (corpses) for dissection.
Morning papers like watered-down milk
sell the same bland items:
rape, extortion, ambushes (traps), confessions,
embezzlement, vendetta (campaign), sales,
marriages, the usual.
There is talk on the streets,
in dark comers, in homes, words
caught by the ears of a restaurant.
We honour the unvarying certainty,
and pay routine homage to silence.
Everyone has correctly identified
the enemy of the people.
He wears a new face each morning,
and freedom is asking yourself
if you are free, day after sullen (morose) day.
Uprightness is not caressing (touching) anything publicly,
Integrity is not drinking,
Worthiness is contributing generously to a new faith
to buy guns for unleashing (set free) ideological horror,
Service is milking the state
and when you can lift no more
to start burgling each other
so that we can become paragons of thievery,
Chastity is forbidding our women
from exposing their legs,
Purity is not whispering
even a solitary word of love
so that it will not be mistaken
for unpardonable obscenity.
Nothing is certain:
food for babies
the outside world.
Even fire water and air
are slowly becoming commodities.
Patriotism is the need of the hour.
Patriotism is preaching secession
and mourning our merger with a nation,
patriotism is honouring martyrs
who died in confusion,
patriotism is declaring we should
preserve native customs and traditions,
our literature and performing arts,
and inflicting them on hapless peoples,
patriotism is admiring
the youth who fondles grenades,
patriotism is proclaiming all men are brothers
and secretly depriving my brother,
patriotism is playing the music of guns
to the child in the womb.
Stones speak, the hills speak
when we finally fall silent.
History, hunch-backed friend,
why do we fear you,
why do we love, hate, lie,
conceal, merely to enact you
in the coarse theatre of time?
Today, I stand alone and acknowledge
the left-handed gift of a man
without a woman, and
a tiny land bound by fire.
Slave to an unexamined life
all that I’ve done
I’ve accomplished blindfolded:
love, fear, anger, and old despair.
The penitent (repentant) year wears sackcloth
and pours ashen leaves on its head,
the sky’s dress is in shreds.
When stars appear, they hold up the sky
like nuts and bolts so that
the firmament will not fall.
But we who sleep under these stars
will not let each other dream.
Love is also a forgotten word.
The ability to suffer, and the ability
to inflict the utmost hurt
on the person you love most,
this is how I’ve known it.
The festival of lights
happened during childhood.
Today, I’m again with widows
who cannot light lamps anymore.
Maybe the land is tired.
of being suckled on blood,
maybe there is no peace
between the farmer and his fields,
maybe all men everywhere
are tired of being men,
maybe we have finally acknowledged death.
My love, how can I explain
that I abominate (hate) laws
When I am gone
I would leave you these:
a life without mirrors, and
the blue ode between pines
between pines and the winter sky.
But where can one run from the homeland,
where can I flee from your love?
They have become pursuing prisons
which hold the man
with criminal words.