I think about the morning of your glory,
The morning of your hours,
When like a demon you’ve awoken gloomy
And came a god to us.
I think about your eyebrows, how they cover
Two torches’ flames,
About the ancient blood that runs like lava,
Right through your veins.
I think about the fingers, very long and
Half sinking in the hair,
About those eyes, which always look so longing
For you – in halls and alleys,
About the hearts (you were too young to own them!)
You have not read,
At times when moons kept rising in your honour
And in your honour – set.
I think about the velvet, lace — in gather,
About the dusky hall,
And all the poems — only to each other
We would have told,
And what is left from lips, from eyes and hair —
A heap of dust,
I think of eyes that were interred here,
Yes, all of them — and us.
24 September 1913
Soul and name
How can I say to dancing ‘nay’?
My soul would like to spin.
Yet God has given me a name
Which is marine, marine!
I dance a waltz, the ballroom beams,
I keep my grief within,
Yet God has given me different dreams
Which are marine, marine!
Oh, how appealing is this ball!
It sings, it draws me in.
Yet God has given me a soul
Which is marine, marine!
The snake in my heart, my forehead’s stamped,
I’m nailed to the stake of shame
Of the old Slav conscience; yet I state:
I’m not accepting the blame.
More, I aver: I am at peace
As when the Eucharist approaches,
And if I supplicate for grace
It’s not my fault, do not reproach me.
Just look again at all I’ve got
And tell me — am I blind or senseless?—
Where is my silver? Where is my gold?
A handful of ashes — nothing else, no!
And nothing more, by charm or prayer,
Was begged from those whose life is easy.
And that is all I’m taking there,
Into the land of silent kissing.
When I look at leaves — flying, rushing
Down to the cobble paving,
Being brushed aside – as if by an artist
Who is finally finishing his painting,
I keep thinking (everyone is surprised by
How I look; as thoughtful as autumn),
That one strikingly yellow, decisively rusty —
One such leaf on the very top is — forgotten.
I laid a table for six…
I keep repeating all the time
Your poem’s line ‘I laid the table
For six,,,” — correcting in my mind
Your number: you forgot the seventh!
Unhappy there – the six of you.
Rain streams are running down your faces…
How could you – at a time like this
Forget about the seventh place here…
Your guests aren’t happy, can’t you see?
And your decanter is standing idle.
It’s sad for them, you are sad yourself,
I am the saddest, uninvited.
Ah, you don’t want to drink, to eat.
It is so cheerless around here.
How did you count? How could you do it?—
How could you just forget the number?
Could you not, dare not accept
That six (two brothers and your parents
With you yourself, your wife…) —except
Just me! — still comes, of course, to seven!
You laid your table just for six.
The world in sixes can’t be measured!
I’d like to be a ghost and mix
With your (my!) kin.. It’s not a pleasure
To be seen
Now as a bogey… like a thief,
Oh! – not a single soul disturbing... —
I sit right where the seventh would be
Without a setting – self-asserting.
Now! – I knocked over the glass!
And everything that carved to spill more, —
Blood out of wounds, salt-tears out of eyes —
Off the tablecloth —onto the floor.
And – coffin’s gone! Farewells – none!
The spell’s broken, house woke up now.
Like death come to a wedding feast,
I’m life itself — arrived for supper.
No one is brother, husband, son,
Nor friend — but even so, I blame you:
— You laid a table for six souls –
But not for me – at the end of the table.