|From the book The Wild Rose|
|Legends and Fantasies|
(1976 - 1978)
in memory of Mikhail Khinsky
From secret tears, from their secret casket,
they seemed to take out for us a crystal ball –
and a man in mourning dress
carries the last candle.
And the soul flies to the ray
with fine-winged and sad creatures.
“Do you think, that at this turn
I am all a broken knot?”
I took into my hands
what you burn within, and, look,
I carry it, concealing myself from the light.
I carry not the lofty wax of repentance,
nor the Holy Thursday candle,
but I carry the little light of effort and attention
to the place where I want to be.
Bathe then your look, inflamed with love,
and you will see what I see:
a rut in the forest full
of the most beautiful water, ankle deep in love.
So look: I am led beyond the last freedom,
through the last foliage
along the cutting, by the secret way,
by the divided matter.
There this light is still burning
as long as our eyes can see it,
and it names and thanks
the darkening power of our feelings.
II. Return of the Prodigal Sun
Go, my canzone, as you are ordered to,
as in olden times, when they used to know
how to take a step and then lie down
achieving their aim with one action.
And lie down by the Bethesda font near the Sheep Gate,
by the possessed kinsfolk,
so that the angel, troubling the water,
should be lain in wait for by the already failing heart.
And if we really are given freedom:
then go to where there’s nothing to keep.
I often dream of this step and path,
like a thing, which someone has shown to us in childhood
and then gone away. It is
not named, but must be blood,
so live with it and answer with it.
You, my canzone, must go down
the path of trouble and destruction
which perhaps I’ll go down too. If you have no
patience – we won’t have any forgiveness,
and we babble like a sick child,
and have exchanged corn for wild goosefoot.
Yes, like a child when he burns
in the heat of prenewyear scarlet fever,
and the narrow pictures of the future
fly like a mad streamer,
in which there is an old woman. She shuffles, whistles,
scares us more attentively than Hauff,
looks in the cauldron and shovels in roots,
and all the while says: only, only...
Only you, my spirit. My friend, the whole broth
is burning for sad birthdays.
You are standing over me as over a cauldron
with clouds of lungs, with smashed glass
and frog skin within it,
and you say: “Get up or die!”
But you’d better get up. You will find out
on the way what will happen from the scattered ringing
and why it was searching for its end.
Let’s go home, stealthily, making our way
through the confetti. Go on, my canzone,
as it seems to the ill person that he’s got up
and, lo, he is walking, although all around is a crystal.
It goes on and on: the burdock, the hemlock,
the three year old nettles in the fierce frost,
the familiar meadows in the heart beat:
we’ll see them like that
because we are such. What has been left by us
drinks like a bird from your tracks,
and having got drunk it becomes human voices.
And then says:
“You see, your bread eats you, like a flame.
Like us, you will return nowhere.
You will be with us in the hidden forest.
We are those who are blinked away like a tear.
And you will like our death,
like an old casket with expensive carving...
Like the flagellator when he has worn out
his last whip, with his final vision
raises a whip mentally over his shoulder.
So you, my canzone, must rise, and then
the road will be soaked up by the eyes
and the sharp-roofed house straightens out,
and who has said to us that we will die?”
The prodigal son woke up by the porch
where he had laid down yesterday, not knowing
how to confess that he had still not died. The members
of the household crowd in his heart, in the windows, by the porch!
But who, like a heart, near the father
is coming out to him? And he falls before
himself, like a crooked mirror
and touches the wrinkles on the face:
“Did I not live, was I not water,
and did I not reflect myself in the end...”
He caresses, strokes the cradle
and it seems the font moves:
“Wherever you were, you were like a ray in a ray,
crying hot tears on my shoulder.
So get up and listen and say after me:
Yes, I believe, I know and own
like living blood the secluded way
of the hot darkness, where crying over yourself,
the words come out: "I forewarn you in Galilee!"
We go forward like the common blind –
like vision, that became matter.”
Farewell, canzone. Don’t run into
a proud mind, lest they see
your clothes in holes, and uncombed hair.
But if you meet a friend, greet him,
as God judged, as people taught,
as the heart broke into pieces and grew together again.
Bow to him, and straighten up with no tears.
III. Ballad of Continuing
The tired traveller grumbled at god.
In the deserted steppes of the Arabian land...
He went from Bethany to Jerusalem...
It turned scary and cold in the forest.
Where had he got to? Why were they holding his fate
in mid-air, the short water
in a mad tumbler, in glass out of nature,
out of weakness: which makes you roll away, like quicksilver?
He walked on, and feared to wipe his tears.
There was no time: and beyond the alder-tree
the wind will rise, like a town above,
and the soul will tremble from the dog’s bark.
Weak life, falling asleep at the table,
strumming in the embers, howling in the chimney,
again bends over you, like over a child.
But before that someone who had fallen asleep in the house, would awake and
would hear that the rumble had become a voice,
and will look in at the windows, and will meet at the entrance
with his face saying: “I am wisdom and freedom,
I am everything that you do not have ahead.
But we don’t grudge anyone bread and you can come in.”
And for a long time while he was still disappearing,
and knew that he had fallen, and had spilled his tumbler,
as the old man asks, struck
by gaunt longevity, as the one in love wants
to spill it, left alone together the two of them,
yet he didn’t ask or even remember about this.
But for a long time while he was still disappearing,
and this rabble crawled past him,
which is ashamed of the people’s look,
and multiplies in hollows, holes and cracks,
and crawled here, not ashamed of his eyes,
as though he did not live and was not here with us.
For so long, while he was still disappearing,
he maintained: “You are everything which I didn’t come to know,
you are wisdom and freedom, you are full sight,
and I have become the embodiment of bleeding.”
Then there was a voice, interrupting him:
“I am wisdom and freedom, but you are solemnity.”