Thursday, April 13, 2006

Tomas Venclova : poem


At the foot of the slope, the marsh stinks of metal.
A horse nibbles the echinodermal blades.
Eight women toil at tables at the center
Of autumn and the plain. Dew saturates
The Ohio weekend. Down in the ravine,
A maple tree is rusting (or a can,
No way to tell). Lights thickening their beams,
Wisconsin, the Dakotas, Oregon,

Orion too. The landslide of the Lord
Onto the lost space. While the monotone
Of heartbeats smashes the severe ground,
Let thanks be given for the new land.
I can’t see through it, but it is alive.
It can’t see through me, yet I would assume
That the aged dog would sooner recognize
Odysseus here than in his native home.

I offer my thanksgiving for the answers,
Which the sleepless mind is weary of pursuing.
For the new water. For grasses belonging
To the future. For the patient wind
Over them. For the grave in the foreign land,
For the weight of the foreign stone, not killing,
For non-existence. And for Thee, Who can
Draw something from it. If Thou dost will it.

For the black music of the spheres. And for
The containment of it in this day’s rotation.
Accustomed to the twilight, the objects are
Repeated on this side of the ocean.
The corners fill, as three clocks arise.
The retina, not fearful of mistakes,
Discovers a lock, a tablecloth, the stars
Just as in childhood, in the same old place.

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