• Язык:
    Английский (English)

My Readers

Мои читатели

An old tramp in Addis Ababa,
conqueror of many tribes,
sent me a black lance-bearer
bringing a greeting of my own poetry.
A lieutenant who runs gunboats
under enemy cannon
read me my poems, for a souvenir, one whole night
across the southern sea.
A man who shot the Tsar’s
ambassador, killed him in a crowd,
shook my hand,
thanked me for my poems.

Many of them, many of them—strong, vicious, gay,
killers of elephants, killers of people,
dead in deserts,
frozen at the edge of eternal ice—
as it should be, on this
strong, gay, vicious planet—
and they carry my poems in their saddlebags,
they read them in palm groves,
forget them on sinking ships.

They’re not insulted with sick nerves, in my poems,
not embarrassed by my heartfelt feelings,
not bored with pregnant hints
about what’s left in an egg when it’s eaten:
but when bullets whistle,
when waves crack in ships,
I teach them not to be afraid,
not to be afraid, and to do what must be done.

And when a beautiful woman,
the only woman in their world,
says: Not you, I don’t love you,
I teach them to smile
and leave and never come back.
And in their last hour,
when a red mist spreads across their eyes,
I’ll teach them how to remember
all their cruel, lovely lives, all
at once, and their country, loved and
strange, and how to stand in God’s
presence and speak simple, wise words,
and wait, calm, for His Judgment.

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Evening

How thick, how wingless an evening! / A sunset like a cracked melon. / / You almost want to shove / those limp clouds along. / / Slow evenings like this, / coachmen whip their horses to a gallop, / / Fishermen tear at the waves with their oars, / woodsmen chop like mad / / ...

It Wasn’t Living

It wasn’t living, I wasted / half my life / - and then, Lord, You came to me / like this, in an impossible dream. / / I see light on Mount Tabor / and my heart hurts / with love for the land and the sea / and the whole tree-dark dream of existence, / / My heart hurts tha...

Did I Murder My Father

Did I murder my father, murder my mother, / in some other life ? / Yes, oh immortal, eternal God, yes! or how / could I deserve this disgrace of suffering? / / I lead a life as peaceful as death, / everything I do belongs to someone else, nothing / to me-except a languid, worthless, /...

The Dark-Blue Star

Your tormenting, wonderful, / inevitable beauty / ripped me out of my thin, / miserable, puling life, / / And I died. And I saw / a flame no one ever saw / before; my eyes went black, but I saw / a dark-blue star. / / A song: soft, then loud, then soft: / body and soul meltin...

I Can’t Forget

No, I can’t ever forget / your child’s mouth, your girl’s glance, / bold - I dream of you, / I speak, I think of you - always - like rhythm. / / I feel vast oceans / heaving as the moon yaws, / and whole galaxies, burning, / swinging as they have always swung, will...

The Dream

My nightmare woke me, groaning / with the most intense pain. / My dream: that you loved someone else / and he had hurt you. / / I ran out of bed / like a murderer from the guillotine, / and saw how the streetlights / shone dim, like animals’ eyes. / / Oh, no one, no one /...