Tuesday, March 16, 2010

3 from Herbert


Mr Cogito
decided to return
to the stony lap
of his fatherland

the decision was dramatic
he will regret it greatly

he can however no longer
stand the colloquial turns
--comment allez-vous
--wei geht's
--how are you

questions apparently simple
require convoluted answers

Mr Cogito will rip off
bandages of kind indifference
he has lost all faith in progress
he cares about his own wound

displays of abundance
fill him with boredom

he grew fond only
of a Doric column
a church in San Clemente
a portrait of a certain lady
a book he never finished
and a few other little items

so he returns
he now sees
the border
a plowed field
murderous watchtowers
a thicket of barbed wire

without a whisper
a bulletproof door
closes slowly behind him

he is
in the treasure house
of all misfortune


so why does he return
he is asked by friends
from the better world

he might stay here
somehow settle in

entrust his wound
to the dry cleaner

leave it out in the lounge
of an enormous airport

so why does he return

--to childhood waters
--to his tangled roots
--to memory's embrace
--to the hand the face
burned on time's grate

questions apparently simple
require convoluted answers

perhaps Mr Cogito returns
to give an answer

to promptings of terror
to impossible happiness
to a blow out of the blue
to a treacherous question



Because you are a king and I'm only a prince
without a country
with a people who trust in me
I wander sleepless at night

And you are a king and look on me as a friend
worryingly--how long can you drag yourself
through the world

--A long time Yehuda To the very end

Even our gestures differ-- gestures of mercy
of scorn of understanding
--I want from you nothing but understanding

I fall asleep at a fire with my head on my hand
when night burns out dogs howl and guards go
to and fro in the mountains



The cold blue sky like a stone on which angels
sublime and quite unearthly sharpen their wings
moving on rungs of radiance on crags of shadow
they gradually sink into the imaginary heavens
but in a moment they emerge even paler
on the other side of the sky the other side of the eye
Don't say that it's not true that there are no angels
you immersed in the pool of your indolent body
you who see everything in the color of your eyes
and stand sated with the world-- at your lashes edge

No comments: