Spring 2009

Table of Contents - Vol. V, No. 1


Poetry     Interview     Translations     Fiction     Book Reviews

Ernest Bryll


Nearby, nearby it is hardest to hear...

Nearby, nearby it is hardest to hear
If the leaf talks to us. If the angel has tripped
And gotten soiled in the dirty puddle that
Remains forever on the road ahead.

From nearby it is the longest path to travel
To hear something, someone’s call for help.
Too close the cry. Not audible so near.
Too close, it stinks. No room to breathe.

Oh, it’s better from afar. First, we catch our breaths
Then we compose long letters
To the angel. Let him come to the one who calls
Apparently for help. The angel knows
For he looks from above.

Let’s not doubt
The ones from afar are nearby.


The Lamb

The lamb on brittle legs
Stood in a faded meadow. Waiting
He might live or be dead
-- All in the man’s hands
And the hands squeezed the air
Trembling to the very horizon
And a dirty finger covered
Even parts of heaven
We little people lost on the journey
-- And what could we have done?
-- What could we have used to stop
The giant's ruthless hands?
And yet so many ran
Toward the darkness -- As into flames
The army of paupers
Fought for the innocent lamb



To fall asleep in eternity’s palm – in peace
As if its fingers were never
To close, to clench, to lock
Around you
Into a fist smaller than a day, a moment
A second...
A grave



In the gale like a river thickening above
We heard your breath – oh, angry God

And rather than fall, perish in the flood
We nailed together our fragile boats

And rather than like wax in the Lord’s hand melting
We chose the art of sailing


The One Who

The one who harmed a simple man
Will find verse-makers who will erase all
And a historian deft with arguments
Who will sculpt the events with such a noble face
As events have never worn before
The one who perpetrated harm – if he gets through
Will find his own justice in the ages' darkness
Though he sowed storms he will have a sweet harvest

Such is the experience. And we would want
The words of a poet to be feared
The emperors to sweat in their crumpled sheets
Thinking what has been written about them

Such is the experience, always known
And always the stupid poets run against it

-- Translated from the Polish by Danuta E. Kosk-Kosicka


© Danuta E. Kosk-Kosicka



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