Peter Porter (b. 1929)
May, 1945
As the Allied tanks trod Germany to shard and no man had seen a fresh-pressed uniform for six months, as the fire storm bit out the core of Dresden yard by yard, as farmers hid turnips for the after-war, as cadets going to die passed Waffen SS tearing identifications from their battledress, the Russians only three days from the Brandenburger Tor— in the very hell of sticks and blood and brick dust as Germany the phoenix burned, the wraith of History pursed its lips and spoke, thus: To go with teeth and toes and human soap, the radio will broadcast Bruckner’s Eighth so that good and evil may die in equal hope.


Annotations of Auschwitz
I When the burnt flesh if finally at rest, The fires in the asylum grates will come up And wicks turn down to darkness in the madman’s eyes. II My suit is hairy, my carpet smells of death, My toothbrush handle grows a cuticle. I have six million foulnesses of breath. Am I mad? The doctor holds my testicles While the room fills with the Zyklon B I cough. III On Piccadilly underground I fall asleep— I shuffle with the naked to the steel door, Now I am only ten from the front—I wake up— We are past Gloucester Rd, I am not a Jew, But scratches web the ceiling of the train. IV Around staring buildings the pale flowers grow; The frenetic butterfly, the bee made free by work, Rouse and rape the pollen pads, the nectar stoops. The rusting railway ends here. The blind end in Europe’s gut. Touch one piece of unstrung barbed wire— Let it taste blood; let one man scream in pain.





V A man eating his dressing in the hospital Is lied to by his stomach. It’s a final feast to him Of beef blood pudding and black bread. The orderly can’t bear to see this mimic face With its prim accusing picture after death. On the stiff square a thousand bodies Dig up useless ground—he hates them all, These lives ignoble as ungoverned glands. They fatten in statistics everywhere And with their sick, unkillable fear of death They crowd out peace from executioners’ sleep. VI Forty thousand bald men drowning in a stream— The like of light on all those bobbing skulls Has never been seen before. Such death, says the painter, Is worthwhile—it makes a colour never known. It makes a sight that’s unimagined, says the poet. It’s nothing to do with me, says the man who hates The poet and the painter. Six million deaths can hardly Occur at once. What do they make? Perhaps And idiot’s normalcy. I need never feel afraid When I salt the puny snail—cruelty’s grown up And waits for time and men to bring into its hands The snail’s adagio and all the taunting life Which has not cared about or guessed its tortured scope. VII London is full of chickens on electric spits Cooking in windows where the public pass. This, say the chickens, is their Auschwitz, And all poultry eaters are psychopaths.







Sonja Dunn
Babyn Yar
Babyn Yar Babyn Yar Babyn Yar to celebrate the slaughter the drums beat the tanks roar the aircraft circle to mask deafening reports from Nazi soldiers’ guns “We are drunk we stagger we become inhuman we cannot hear




we cannot really see these unclothed bodies of the maimed of the women of the children of gypsies Jews Ukrainians falling falling falling into Babyn Yar” A Canadian writer I stand on Babyn Yar It is said that beneath us we can find brains babies’ shoes embroidered nannies’ blouses under us lie the ravaged Nakedness made them invisible






Marjorie Agosín (b. 1955)
Escúchame Ana Frank
a John Oyéme Ana Frank ¿en verdad creías que todos los hombres eran buenos? mientras muy a lo cerca quemaban los bosques que se entrecortaban en tus ojos de pozo blando. mientras no orinabas hasta después del atardecer porque el orín de una niña judía deletaba a los desdentados gendarmes acechando la fragilidad de tu memoria. Ana, ¿me decías que quedeban hombres buenos? que no te acusaban jamás mientras te traían lápices, cuadernos y espejismos desmayados. Escúchame de una vez Ana Frank parece que te bastaba asomarte entre rendijas de la

Listen to Me Anne Frank
Trans. from Spanish by Cola Franzen

For John Listen to me Anne Frank, did you really believe that all men were good? even though very close by they were burning the forests that crackled in the tender pools of your eyes. Even though you didn’t urinate until after dark because the urine of a Jewish girl would alert the toothless guards waiting to ambush your fragile memory. Anne, so you kept telling me that there were still good men that they never denounced you while they were brining you pencils, notebooks, and sickly illusions.



Listen to me for once Anne Frank it seems it was enough for you to look out between las the bars of your 15

all your brothers and companions) Anne Frank answer me from your decayed tomb amid the worms did you really believe there were good men 55 even as you loosened your hair. Ana Frank nunca te leí tan lúcida con tu cuaderno bajo el brazo desnutrido con los afiches de Greta Garbo y entre las palabras “I still believe that people are really good at heart” entonces alguien escuchó que hoy habían quemado árboles y judíos tu decías que: “I must uphold my ideals for perhaps the time will come when I shall be able to carry them out. 20 25 Anne Frank I never read you so lucid with your notebook under your undernourished arm the notebook with the pictures of Greta Garbo and among the words: 30 “I still believe that people are really good at heart” Then someone heard that on that day they had burned trees and Jews and you were saying: “I must uphold my ideals for perhaps the time will come 35 when I shall be able to carry them out. marcando el rumbo de las nubes despertarte con los silbidos de algún lobo pero tú. Pero tu boca no se hizo un desierto mudez de los tiranos y yo pensaba en el desierto de Atacama una niña sacando una mano entre los manantiales y pensaba en Lonquén y en la verguenza mentirosos (Lonquén es un horno como el horno en que murió tu madre y todos los hermanos. 40 45 But your mouth did not dry up like a desert amid en la the muteness of tyrants (and I was thinking of the desert of Atacama and a y little girl pulling a hand from the waters of a spring) and I was thinking of Lonquén and of the de los shamefulness of the liars 50 Lonquen is an oven like the oven where your mother died. rattrap to arrange your sleepless hair to gaze at the sky to see and not see bluebottles like fish.” Anne Frank I never knew you so courageous when the crew of stupid executioners slashed your ears as a joke played games with your newly awakened ovaries games of daggers and clotted blood they shaved your head for greater amusement sealed up your empty eyes. you were always enamored because your breasts were growing delicate and smooth as smoke. and walked descalza 4 . compañeros) Ana Frank contéstame desde la tumba descompuesta entre los gusanos ¿en verdad creías en los hombres buenos mientras te desatabas el cabello.ratonera acomodar tu insomniado pelo mirar al cielo ver y no ver botellas azules como peces.” Ana Frank nunca te supe tan valiente cuando la embarcación de necios verdugos cortó burlonamente tus orejas jugaron con tus ovarios recién nacidos juegos de dagas y sangre fermentada raparon tu cabello para reirse mejor sellaron tus ojos huecos. siempre tú seguías enamorada porque tus senos crecían como un humo delgado y suave. marking the direction of the clouds to wake up at the whistle of some Big Bad Wolf but you.

I. óyeme. A veces visitábamos prostíbulos y lavávamos sus paredes con hojas de rosa cobriza. number 353. se verifica porque tan sólo los muertos-moribundos transfigurados por los sabores del olvido pueden aparecer. in litanies of borrowed memories trembles. Desaparecida. from Spanish by Cola Franzen The eyes of the interred. At time I dressed up as a priestess. A veces me disfrazaba de sacerdotiza. nos amenazan óyelos. (1988) The Eyes of the Interred Trans. 5 10 15 20 25 30 Desnudas en los bosques de alambre Naked Girls in the Forests of Barbed Wire Trans. I. Carnet 353. me miran y me atraviesan las ausencias. of 5 . At times we visited houses of prostitution and washed the walls with coppery leaves. cautivándonos en esa memoria-mirada que acecha. threaten us listen to them. and went leaping through the air. El que sobrevive. from Spanish by Celeste Kostopulos-Cooperman et al. a ver las olas en la brisa. There you are Milena so abandoned with the Star of David covering you like a lash or promise. The eyes of the interred accuse us. accuse themselves. You are the eyes of the interred. The survivor. inspects himself because only the dead-dying transfigured by the savors of oblivion may appear. At times we played games of staring at one another. as in a restless distance. And you send us back that glance cadaverous or diabolical. Ahí estás Ana Frank. Tú eres los ojos de los enterrados. Los ojos de los enterrados nos acusan se acusan.D. still gazing at the sky? Los ojos de los enterrados Los ojos de los enterrados.pisabas el aire y siempre mirabas al cielo? (1984) barefoot through the air. between innocent and devious devouring us as we look at you. I. capturing us in that backglanceforeglimpse lying in wait. dando daltos por el aire. Ahí estás Lila Valdenegro. listen to me. I write. There you are Anne Frank. Disappeared. Ahí estás Milena tan abandonada con la estrella de David cubriéndote como látigo o promesa. they watch me and the absences transfix me. Y nos devuelves esa mirada cadavérica o diabólica. olvidada en la memoria que no desmiente. There you are Lila Valdenegro. forgotten in a memory that does not deny. como en una lejanía inquieta. A veces jugamos a mirarnos. entre innocente y pérfida comiéndonos mientras te miramos. escribo. en letanías de memorias prestadas se estremece.

Defenseless before a forest of Aryan serpents slithering over breasts. las nalgas. we called out to each other covertly. A veces. besiege the immense space. morder las dimunutas y sinceras uñas. los osos. Las sirenas de las arlarmas estables. Judías desnudas sobrevivientes. III. I. would pretend to caballos y tú entrabas desfrenado por las líneas de sleep in your hair. Gozaba en desnudarte.La verdad era incierta. ceremonioso. buttocks. Dejó de ser todo. to stain it with the venomous que conservabas a la orilla de tus pies. nibble your tiny and sincere nails. erupt through the volcano of tree trunks. drift among the sunflowers and the wooden covers. duchas oscuras con sabor a viñedos enfermizos. seguras. At golpeabas las manos. regresando por el bosque de los alambres. III. dejar que las estaciones. in a frenzy of delicate pornography. spread honey over your shoulder and let the seasons. En la ilusoria tibieza del cuarto. estatuas de humo apresuradas hacia las duchas de gas azul. II. statues of smoke hurried into showers of blue gas. Como un mago seguro. and you would burst wantonly mis palmas. Treblinka. Entonces tu y yo nos queríamos con una especie de perversa y censurada locura. frápido. Todas las promesas entre las orejas y las señales abiertas de los lasios cuando me dijiste: Desnúdate judía ya ahora. quick. closing legs and lips with the ancient dignity of the innocent. entre los girasoles y las mantas de lana. labios con la dignidad milenaria de los ilusos. Truth was uncertain. Yo desmayada fingía soñar en tus courtly old gentleman. you No te salvarás hasta que nos desnudemos y exploremos said: You can’t escape until we take off our clothes and las manchas oscuras de cielo razo. cerrando piernas. —Tú esperabas el momento preciso para cortar mi —You waited for the precise moment to shear my hair cabello de princesa rusa. come back from the forests of 6 IV. the naked Jewish girls from the thick forests of Dachau. Suddenly it all ceased to be. II. Baden-Baden. las desvaliddas judías en la neblina humeante. Then you and I loved each other with a kind of perverse and censorious madness. en silencio judías dando gritos de fe a hurtadillas. Judías desnudas. The sirens of the alarms stable. asediaron los inmensos espacios. Streaming into the illusory warmth of the room they come. Naked Jewish girls the survivors. Treblinka. defenseless Jewish girls coming through the smoky fog. desaparecidas gravitando entre tus rodillas. I loved to take off your clothes. Dudosos entre las palabras nos llamábamos en secreto con frenesí de delicada pornografía. We loved each other with signs and gestures. V. you’ll be taken care of if anything happens. amid grapes at midnight and piled clothes in that uninhabited house. Nos queríamos entre los indicios y los gestos. through the lines of my palms. the bears clean the unthinking woulds of love. enredarte en una bufanda de lana picante. black showers with the taste of sickly vineyards. . The body of one Jewish girl distilled from the forests of barbed wire. Not trusting words. splendid in caresses. invade through the walls. entre las uvas de la medianoche y las ropas amontonados en esa casa deshabitada. llegaron por las murallas. the vanished one sinking down heavily between your knees. strip naked hurry. silent Jewish girls contriving to call out words of faith. las desnudas judías de los bosques espesos en Dachau. teñirlo de algas venenosas of a Russian princess. me seaweed you always kept at the shore of your feet. como un anciano times. llenar tu espalda de miel. trancelike. Baden-Baden. decías: Like a confident sorcerer. hover over sheets blessed with sea breezes. explore all the dark splotches of the ceiling. indefinidas. se alzaron por el volcán de leños. V. limpien las desjuiciadas heridas del amor. espléndido en caricias. ya tendrás plata para hacerte el remedio. ya desnúdate. Desveladas por un bosque de arios reptiles olfateando los pechos. you would slap my hands ceremoniously like a languideciendo. sobre las sábanas envestidas de mareas. El cuerpo de una judía destilada por los bosques de alambre. secure. All the promises between the ears and the clear language of the lips when you said to me: Strip naked Jew girl right now. IV. wrap in a prickly woolen shawl. Naked Jewish girls nameless. seeing waves in the breezes.

Now nobody could believe in Alice through the looking glass. Tú pareces que crepitas en ese fuego. (1988) barbed wire. plasmado de ratas crepitando en una hoguera. dormida con un tatuaje entre sus piernas. Versados en las ciencias abstractas. from Spanish by Celeste KostopulosCooperman et al. now nobody could stroll along the avenues without terror bursting through their bones. tattoo between the legs. Come back to the place of demented discoveries. Lo más increíble The most unbelievable part Trans. Clear that never had we known how to see ourselves. asistían al palco de las sinfonías al dentista a las escuelitas privadas algunos jugaban al golf . como yo padres de familia abuelos tíos y compadres. You too seem to crackle in that fire. people like you. Y lo más increíble era gente como usted como yo sí. machination of rats. always took a box for the symphony made regular trips to the dentist attended very nice prep schools some played golf. nice people just like us. like me family men grandfathers uncles and godfathers. Ya nadie podría creer en Alicia tras los espejos ya nadie podría pasearse por las avenidas sin el terror calándose entre los huesos. The most unbelievable part. Versed in abstract sciences. They assassinated the young of my country and of yours.Retornando al cuarto de los hallazgos demenciales. jugaban a decorar cementerios compraban muebles de huesos mancos comían orejitas y testículos. . bathed in death. VI. But they went crazy delighted in burning children and books played at decorating cemeteries bought furniture made of broken bones dined on tender ears and testicles. crackling bonfire. while the hangmen paste premeditated smiles on their faces the better to see an elemental body: a naked Jewish woman asleep. precisa. And the most unbelievable part they were people like you like me yes. . 5 10 15 20 25 30 7 . Thought they were invincible meticulous in their duties and spoke of torture in the language of surgeons and butchers. Era cierto que tal vez nunca nos supimos mirar. mientras los verdugos se curbren de premeditadas sonrisas para observar un cuerpo esencial: una desnuda mujer judía. black. Yes. Pero enloquecieron se deleitaban en las quemas de niños y libros. VI. they were people like us well-educated and refined. gente como usted. bañada en la muerte oscura. exact. Lo más increíble eran gente como nosotros bien educados y finos. y del tuya. Se figuraban ser invencibles ceremoniosos ante el deber y hablaban de la tortura con palabras de médicos y carniceros. Asesinaron a los jóvenes de mi páis. gente fina como nosotros. Sí.

Some visitors say my face is not that of a Jewish girl. viva. Estoy muerta desde que me robaron mi diario de mi vida. I am dead since they stole my diary. Aún tengo tanto miedo no puedo con mi cuerpo aplastado por la neblina de la infamias Amsterdam Trans. lugging buckets of water at the crack of dawn. protecting me from my dreams. Pero para Uds. I am dead since they burned my dark hair. Estoy muerta desde que incendiaron mi pelo anochecido. I am Anne Frank I am dead. Soy Ana Frank estoy muerta. Tengo el olor a humo y vejeces que cubren los rostros del miedo. Algunos visitantes dicen que el rostro no es de una mujer judía pero soy judía. sometida. Is it that they don’t even suspect it? In this annex I strung out a necklace of words I learned by great stealth to contemplate the sky also with great difficulty I learned to tie my shoes. 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 8 . but I am Jewish.(1988) Amsterdam Todos vienen a visitar mi casa soy Ana Frank una niña judía que creía en los hombres buenos. I am Anne Frank I am thirteen years old but I am also thousands of years old. ¿Aún no lo sospechan? En esto anexo derramé un collar de palabras aprendí a hurtadillas a contemplar el cielo también con gran dificultad aprendí a amarrarme los zapatos. I smell of smoke and old age covering the faces of fear. And yet all these visitors who frequently call on me don´t see me. resembling an errant bird. by Richard Schaaf Everyone comes to visit my house I am Anne Frank a Jewish girl who believed in the goodness of men. Soy Ana Frank tengo trece años pero también miles de años. But for you I am alive. Even though I am terribly afraid I can’t be with my body crushed under the fog thick with infamies. submissive mother. Sin embargo todos estos visitantes acuden a mí con frecuencia y no me ven. parecida a un pájaro errante protegiéndome de mis sueños acarreando muy de madrugada unos balones de agua. Tampoco a mi mamá silenciosa. Not even my silent.

se inclinaron junto al fuegos imaginario del amor reconociéndose. más allá de difunto silencio de las muertes. recalling the coasts of Holland. 50 Las Mujeres de los Campos (Auschwitz) I Más allá de los bosques junto al vacío de la demencia. Hay un olor sin olor. from Spanish by Mónica Bruno I Beyond the woods near the emptiness of insanity. there are living as well as dead. No hay gestos. No hay gritos. losing weight in the absence landscape. recononciéndose como si fueran vagones de carne. there is a time without breezes. Beyond time through the empty wires and imaginary poppies. near the squalid water. rememorando las costas de Holanda. para afirmarme con la luz de una flor si tan soló pudiera ver el rostro de mi madre. Here is where the women of the fields arrived. they recognized themselves as if they were meat wagons among the shadows. There are no gestures. hay vivos como tan soló pudiera llegar a la claridad. because they all had the same voice. porque eran todas una misma voz. II Ellas llegaron cuando el día se hizo como una noche errada y sin embargo todas ellas parecían ser danzarinas trastornadas tras la noche clavada de estrellas mudas. beyond the silence of the dead. the sound of bicycles and the women of the fields made a round 15 5 10 20 25 30 9 . junto al agua escuálida. entre las sombras. hay un tiempo sin brisas. There is a smell without smell. recognizing themselves. if only I could see the face of my mother. (1994) If only I could reach the sunlit clearing to affirm myself with the light of a flower. la cosa de Kafka. el ruido de las bicicletas y las mujeres de los campos hicieron una ronda Women of the Fields (Auschwitz) Trans. III Entre las cenizas. they crouched beside the imaginary fire of love. II They arrived when the day became like a stray night and yet all of them seemed to be mad dancers under the night riddled with mute stars. There are no screams. Prague in bloom. Praga florecida. Más allá del tiempo a través de los alambres vacíos y las amapolas imaginarias. Kafka’s house. III Among the ashes. Ahí llegaron las mujeres de los campos adelgazándose en la ausencia del paisaje.

35 40 45 El Salvador —para Eva Asher Me cuenta Eva que es de El Salvador. from Spanish by Celeste Kostopulos-Cooperman —for Eva Asher Eva tells me that she is from El Salvador. germinó el cabello. que es una judia en El Salvador. (1997) and they were fertile in their talk and in their song. entre el sopor de las lluvias más allá de las cenizas Soñaron con los ríos de aguas blancas y soñaron con el tiempo del bosque del musgo y los nombres más allá de las lluvias. Eva says that she is a Jew from El Salvador. they chased after their names. history returns in the memory of the living. They were no longer equal in their solitude. They recognized one another in the stupor of rain beyond the ashes. que soló hay 60 judíos en El Salvador. Se reconocieron. los metales del sol y el tiempo de la felicidad gratuita Las calvas se hablaron. del territorio manchado de la guerra. hair grew. El Salvador where the living and the dead gather with the perfidious fingernails of death. llegaron las estrellas. from the stained territory of war. Una de ellas se sintió muy hermosa en la calvicie. persiguieron sus nombres. No quieres pensar en un jardin de muertos porque sería regresar a Auschwitz. who are the guardians of the dead. that there are only sixty Jews in El Salvador. Si. the fog arrived. The bald ones spoke to each other. Dice Eva. the stars arrived the metals of the sun and the time of sheer happiness. Ya no eran iguales entre las soledades. 5 10 15 20 25 10 . Ya ves. One of them felt very beautiful in her baldness. El Salvador Trans. la historia regresa en la memoria de los vivos. llegó la bruma. Yes. El Salvador donde los vivos y los muertos se recogen con las pérfidas uñas de la muerte. She began to free herself from the ashes.y fueron fecundas en el habla y en el canto. As you can see. Comenzó a desprenderse de las cenizas. they dreamt of the times in moss-covered forests and of the names beyond the rains. Ellos también se han ido porque el olor a humo de El Salvador es como el humo de Treblinka. They dreamt of whitewater rivers. They also have left because the smell of smoke in El Salvador is like the smoke in Treblinka. You don’t want to think about a garden of the dead because that would be like returning to Auschwitz. que son los guardianes de los muertos.

She. created a domain of papers. accused. En 1938 los ventanales de su casa de agua y piedra resistieron el inmensurable horror de aquella noche de los cristales rotos.Eva me cuenta del Salvador y yo veo en sus brazos la sombra de la ceiba. No queda nadie en El Salvador me dice ella. (1998) 30 35 1939 1939 Trans. No one. she sailed to Southern seas. resuelta a la vida. de judía errante salvadoreña. audaces en su deseo de vivir. the windows of her house of water and stone resisted the extreme horror of that night of broken crystals. vaticinar la hora de la huida en 1939. direcciones discretas. No one is left in El Salvador she tells me. the shards of fear. fleeing. Eva tells me about Salvador and in her arms I see the shadow of the ceiba tree the strings of corn and her destiny as a refugee and fugitive. not even the Jews. She knew how to seduce her destiny. my grandmother. taught me to recognize the landscape of danger. frágiles embarcaciones de poemas clandestinos y apuntes por hacerse. discreet addresses. dressed in garments of night and happiness at the threshold of a fearful Hamburg Harbor resolved to live. acusadas. fragile vessels. mi abuela me enseñó a reconocer el paisaje del peligro. II Helena Broder. audacious in their will to live. In 1938. clandestine poems and notes to be made. from Spanish by Cola Franzen and Monica Bruno Galmozzi I Supo ella seducir al destino. las urdimbres del maíz y su destino de refugiada y prófuga. Ella. vestida con el traje de noche y la dicha en los umbrales del temeroso puerto de Hamburgo. Helena Broder. predict the time of flight in 1939. the impenetrable faces of women. las trizaduras del miedo el rostro impenetrable de las mujeres que huyen. 5 10 15 20 25 11 . hasta los mares del sur. Nadie. navegó. fabricó un universo de papeles. ni siquiera los judíos. as a wandering Salvadoran Jew.

botas que aprisionan y siempre las pisadas precisas y el silencio más ajeno tras ésas. At nightfall. Helena Broder y es imposible reconocer a tus muertos. Only the doves know your secret and sob in your hair. you are alone before your balcony and the night. houses and empty cities. Las palomas concocen tu secreto y sollozan en tu caballera. I don’t know if you are praying or singing. Ahora que nada queda. Helena Broder. Tan sólo la memoria que se resiste al olvido se posa frente a ti como una dama ceremoniosa. forgotten shoes. las pisadas. although ready to embark again.livianas de equipaje. frente al glorioso pasado de esa Europa central donde los judíos alaban la permanencia de las melodías. I survived next to her and I was thankful for the gift of her presence. Eran tus palabras hilos bordados. from Spanish by Laura Nakazawa At nightfall you used to speak with the lost birds. te oigo. 1945 Al anochecer hablabas con las palomas extraviadas. Only memory. without news of your dead. from Spanish by Betty Jean Craige On the day of the dead In Auschwitz 12 . Your words were embroidered threads. and it is impossible to recognize your dead. The Words of Helena Broder. Now that nothing remains. zapatos olvidados. I hear you. (2002) With little baggage. like a frail and ancient angel. the messenger doves. elusive ceremonies. facing the glorious past of that central Europe where Jews praised the permanence of melodies. como un ángel. Your hair is a breeze where evil petals rest. Tu cabello es una brisa donde se posan pétalos maléficos. No sé si rezas o cantas. Sobreviví junto a ella y agradecí el obsequio de su presencia. casas y ciudades vacías. ceremonias huidizas. Al anochecer. tight boots and always clear footsteps and the most deafening silence that follows the heavy ones. las palomas mensajeras que regresaban impávidas sin noticias de tus muertos. she arrived. that returned unperturbed. 1945 Trans. resisting oblivion. aunque lista para embarcarse nuevamente. 30 35 Las palabras de Helena Broder. eres una mujer sola frente al balcón y la noches. 5 10 15 20 25 30 El Día de los Muertos En aquel día de los muertos En Auschwitz Day of the Dead Trans. rests before you like an elegant lady. frágil y delicado.

En la oscuridad de aquella noche En Auschwitz Llegaron los muertos A Auschwitz Silenciosos Inmóviles Los ojos cerrados Se habían acomodados A los carromatos de la muerte En este día de los muertos En Méjico El primero de noviembre Los cristianos visitan cementarios Con exquisitas ofrendas Por las almas de los muertos Mientras pienso yo en aquella noche oscura De Auschwitz Cuando el cielo se llenó De aves heridas Peces muertos Cabellos y más cabellos muertos En esta noche oscura de los muertos En Auschwitz Teatro de mal De la imaginación del mal Llegan las almas de los muertos Regresan no a marcar tumbas Ni a desafiar nuestras memorias Vuelven al lugar que más conocen La zona de la muerte Los carromatos donde despojaban sus cuerpos Los brazos Las piernas Las uñas Los cabellos deshojados Y celebran la muerte Sin mesuras (2006) In the darkness of that night In Auschwitz The dead arrived At Auschwitz In silence In stillness Their eyes were shut They had adapted To the wagons of death On this day of the dead In Mexico The first of November The Christians visit cemeteries Taking exquisite offerings To the souls of the dead While I think about that dark night In Auschwitz When the sky filled up With wounded birds Dead fish Hair and more dead hair On this dark night of the dead In Auschwitz A theater of evil Of the imagination of evil The souls of the dead arrive They return not to mark their graves Nor to awaken our memories To the place they know best The zone of death The railroad cars that gave up their bodies Their arms Their legs Their fingernails Their hair And they celebrate death Immoderately 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 Intento imaginar seis millones Intento imaginar Seis millones de mariposas Seis millones de rosas Al principio de una primavera turbia Seis millones de cumpleaños Seis millones de gente Sin nombres y sin historia Recordados sólo por otros Que no pueden imaginar I Try to Imagine Six Million Trans. from Spanish by Betty Jean Craige I try to imagine Six million butterflies Six million roses Inaugurating a turbulent spring Six million birthdays Six million people Nameless and without history Remembered only by others Who cannot imagine 5 13 .

Ese orden para matar Con perfección y eficacia Seis millones de poemas No dichos Seis millones de palabras Captadas por el silencio inoportuno de la muerte Doce millones de zapatos Que no tocaron la tierra Doce millones de manos Que no acariciaron a hijos y nietos Doce millones de ojos Que no vieron florecer el patio de su casa Seis millones de vidas Seis millones de voces Transformadas en un coro de ángeles cautivos Yo no fui parte de esos seis millones Y aunque aún vivo Me niego a sucumbrir a la indiferencia (2006) That mandate to kill Perfectly and efficiently Six million poems Unspoken Six million words Captured by the inopportune silence of death Twelve million shoes That die not touch the ground Twelve million hands That did not caress children and grandchildren Twelve million eyes that did not see The flowers in the courtyards of their homes Six million lives Six million voices Become a choir of captive angels I was not part of those six million But while I live I will not succumb to the indifference 10 15 20 25 Los sonidos de la paz Te gustan los sonidos de la paz El cuchicheo de palomas enamoradas El suave murmullo de un noviazgo El susurro del cariño en la vejez Te gusta el sonido del viento Del norte y del sur Anunciando la llegada de las lluvias Te gusta el sonido de la lluvia Hilando las historias en la playa Y el sonido del recién nacido Su alarido brutal tierno y asombroso Te gustan todos estos sonidos de la paz Porque te acuerdas de otros sonidos de antaño Los ruidos de los músicos judíos Que murieron en Terezín Esos sonidos te acompañan Come el piano de tu padre Como la guitarra de Violeta Parra Cantas con la voz de los otros La voz que ahora es tuya Escribes cantos en vidrios bañados por el sol Conviertes tu vida en una melodía Y vives en la compañía de los sonidos de la paz (2006) The Sounds of Peace Trans. from Spanish by Betty Jean Craige You like the sounds of peace The cooing of enamored doves The murmuring of bride and groom The affectionate whispering of the old You like the sound of the wind From the north and from the south Heralding the arrival of the rains You like the sound of the rain Spinning stories on the beach And the sound of the newborn child Her sudden tender astonishing cry You like all these sounds of peace For you remember other sounds From long ago The sounds of the Jewish musicians Who died in Terezin These sounds accompany you Like your father’s piano Like Violeta Parra’s guitar 5 10 15 You wing with the voice of the others 20 The voice that now is yours You write songs on windows washed by the sun You turn your life into a melody And you live in the company of the sounds of peace 14 .

Y hoy me dieron la foto donde tu cara magra palidece. from Czech by Ewald Osers Listen: about little Hendele. And as graceful as Shulamite. And how odd that I am now sitting on this bench (a few steps from the Rhine) watching the water go by. (1980) Anne Frank Trans. Los he visto correr. A byla půvabná jak Šulamit. for I had long thought that blood would have flowed . from Span. . by Alastair Reid and Andrew Hurley In front of the Cologne cathedral —divided by two black columns— once more the children are taking up the songs. Měla popelkový kožíšek. ¡Y qué extraño sentarme en est banco (a unos metros del Rhin). She wore an ash-grey squirrel fur and a pert little cap and round her neck she’d tied a scarf the colour of pale smoke. de una música a la otra. child.Cuba Heberto Padilla (1932-2000) Ana Frank Frente a la catedral de Colonia —dividida por dos columnas negras— los niños de nuevo canturrean. niña llegada del alto cielo hebreo. koketní čapku a kolem krku uváyaný šál v barvé světlého kouře. beautiful. She came back to me yesterday and she was twenty-four already. viendo pasar las aguas! Yo que creí por mucho tiempo que iba a sangrar . že jsi přišla! A Song at the End Trans. Vrátila se mi včera a bylo jí už dvacet čtyři let. Jsem rád. . Hendele. they jump from one song to the next. Hendele. 5 10 15 Czechoslovakia (Czech Republic) Jaroslav Seifert (1901-1986) Píseň na konec Ješte o malé Hendele. how well this suits you! I thought that you were dead and meanwhile you have grown more I am glad you’ve come! 15 5 10 . I have noticed. from one tune to another. And today I was given the photo of your thin fading face. I have watched them playing. generalmente los he visto saltar de un canto al otro. jak ti to sluší! Já myslil. že jsi mrtva. . . a ty jsi jenom krásnější. now arrived in your high Hebrew heaven. mostly.

She used to read the Bible. from Czech by Ewald Osers The Old Jewish Cemetery is one great bouquet of grey stone on which time has trodden. I still shudder with horror and a chill runs down my spine. But when she closed her tired eyes she dreamed of Paradise before God had garrisoned it with armed cherubim. But if I recall how helplessly I watched as they dragged off the Jews. Naama je Sladká a Míkol Potůcek. drahý! Jsem mrtva dvacet let. ještě dnes prochvěje mě hrůza a mráz mi běží po zádech. At times she had to blow it out and with her hairpin straighten the glowing wick. Lampa prskala a čadila a matka vzala si brejle. snila o ráji. dear friend! I’ve been dead twenty years.Jak se mýlíš. to je sama kytice z šedého kamení. Ada je Ozdoba a Orfa je Laň. Byl jsem ještě mlád. Písmena ve dvou sloupcích řinula se jí před očima jako krev z rány. Když přivřela však unavené oči. I’ve only come to meet you. Often she fell asleep and the Book slipped from her lap. Abigail is the Fount of Delight. Když si však vzpomenu. Adah is Ornament and Orpah is a Hind. (1965) Jdu ti jen naproti. kde bylo psáno o incestech. dokud jej Bůh ještě neobsadil ozbrojenými cherubíny. Abigail je Zdroj utěšení. thinking of my mother. Občas musila ji sfouknout a urovnat svou vlásenkou žhavý knot. even the crying children. 25 Lost Paradise Trans. 5 10 15 20 kolik něhy je ukryto ve jménech staroyákonních žen. 15 How wrong you are. když jsem objevil ve Starém Zákoně úchvatné verše o lásce a dychtivě vyhledával místa. na kterou šlápl čas. jak jsme bezmocně přihlíželi. The letters in two columns welled up before her eyes like blood from a wound. Naamah is the Sweetness and Nikol is the Little Brook. Často usnula a kniha svezla se jí s klína. Zracený ráj Starý hřbitov židovský. I was still young when I discovered in the Old Testament those fascinating verses about love and eagerly searched for the passages on incest. Then I did not yet suspect how much tenderness is hidden in the names of Old Testament women. zatímco odvlékali židy i s plačímí dětmi. The lamp guttered and smoked and Mother put on her glasses. 30 35 16 . Bloudil jsem mezi hroby a myslil na matku. Tehdy jsem neměl ještě tušení. však ty to dobře víš. I was drifting among the graves. and very well you know it.

There is no time without murder. And yet their frowning God gazed over the barbed wire and did not move a finger— Delilah is the Delicate. my dear. Sotva jsem se vrátil ze hřbitova. As if within our hearts we did not have a spark of humanity! The name Jecholiah means The Lord is Mighty. with its scents. červnový večer svými vůněmi opřel se do oken. Dalila je Lahodná. Rachel the Ewe Lamb. Once we had a country and we thought it fair. 60 But from the silent distance now and then came thunder of a future war. Můj bože. I almost forgot: Rhoda is the Rose. Auden (1907-1973) Refugee Blues Some say this city has ten million souls. jak je to krásné! Jaktak tu bylo již peklo.Jemima je Holubice a Támar je Palma. Debora Včela a Ester Jasná hvězda. my dear. We were living in hell yet no one dared to strike a weapon from the murderers’ hands. Some are living in mansions. rested on the windows. Ale z ticha dálek občas zahřímala budoucí válka! Není času bez vražděni. a přece nikdo se neodvázil 45 Jemima is the Dove and Tamar the Palm Tree. Ráchel je Ovečka. Tersa je Líbezná a Zelfa Krůpěj. we cannot go there now. to snad je jediné. Jako bychom neměli v sobě ani trochu lidskosti! Jméno Jecholie znamená hospodin je mocný. some are living in holes: Yet there’s no place for us. Tirzah is Grace and Zilpah a Dewdrop. yet there’s no place for us. Rodé je Růže. A tento květ. 40 vyrvat těm vrahům zbraň. In the village churchyard there grows an old yew. (1979) England W. Byl bych však zapomněl. co nám na světě zbylo z bývalého ráje. Deborah the Bee and Esther the Bright Star. Ale jejich zamračený bůh díval se za ostnatý drát a nehnul prstem. how beautiful this is. My God. And this flower perhaps is the only thing that’s left us on earth from the Paradise that was. H. 65 50 55 I’d just returned from the cemetery when the June evening. 17 5 . Look in the atlas and you’ll find it there: We cannot go there now.

looking for you and me. Saw a door opened and a cat let in: But they weren’t German Jews. my dear. my dear. ‘If you’ve got no passport you’re officially dead’: But we are still alive. O we were in his mind. my dear. my dear. Saw the fish swimming as if they were free: Only ten feet away. Thought I heard the thunder rumbling in the sky. Stood on a great plain in the falling snow. Went to a committee. the speaker got up and said: ‘If we let them in. It was Hitler over Europe. Their eyes junk jellied in their holes Were held up to the sun like begging bowls Their hands like rakes with finger-nails of rust Scratched for a little kindness from the dust. he was talking of you and me. my dear. my dear. Ten thousand soldiers marched to and fro: Looking for you and me. A thousand windows and a thousand doors: Not one of them was ours. my dear. 5 10 18 . they will steal our daily bread’: He was talking of you and me. Walked through a wood.Every spring it blossoms anew: Old passports can’t do that. they weren’t the human race. they offered me a chair. no dove brought answer. my dear. Went down the harbour and stood upon the quay. To many. my dear. but we are still alive. saying. Saw a poodle in a jacket fastened with a pin. The consul banged the table and said. but they weren’t German Jews. Asked me politely to return next year: But where shall we go today. not one of them was ours. ‘They must die’: O we were in his mind. 25 10 15 20 30 35 March 1939 Stephen Spender (1909-1995) Memento Remember the blackness of that flesh Tarring the bones with a thin varnish Belsen Theresienstadt Buchenwald where Faces were a clenched despair Knocking at the bird-song-fretted air. in its beak. only ten feet away. old passports can’t do that. my dear. They had no politicians and sang at their ease: They weren’t the human race. saw the birds in the trees. Dreamed I saw a building with a thousand floors. but where shall we go today? Came to a public meeting.

She felt a kind of envy for Those who stood naked in their truth: Where to be one of her people was To be one of those millions killed. enraptured by Poetry secreted in the lines. Her mind filled with those images From Germany.’ SIMONE WEIL I Escaped from Germany— Cared for by English friends. And in each face there was the same Ultimate revelation Of eyes that stare upon the real— Some terrible final thing. III 19 10 5 15 20 25 30 . all one— Each taken full-face— The strong—the meek—the sad—the proud. with whom Kindness counted still— Rumours reached her— Photographs made by the Gestapo— Jews. her homeland. chin. where Those deaths were the reality— Real!—not some tragedy that actors Performed before an audience— Pity and terror purifying The onlooker. Hunger had stretched the parchment skin Across the contours of the bone— Forehead. II She locked herself inside her room.History and Reality ‘Sin is nothing but the refusal to recognize human misery. her people— So various. But where the players were the victims Massacred from a tyrant’s mouth. cheek-bones.

Early autumn: Tabernacles. the guards turned on Taps through which hissed not water but The murdering gas. A soft hanging haze over wooden landscape. waiting on Platforms of sidings (below walls Of concrete and barbed wire)—guards. who Marched them to a parade-ground. A really modest sized suitcase. inside that moment When—outside—truth was only words. whereon that crowd Breathed a great sigh of revelation— Their life. IV Then thrust inside a shed where she Through intense imagining Stood there among them bodily When. shoes— Things that to them meant home and name— And made to stand there when a voice From a watch-tower proclaimed they would Be cleansed of lice. when there stood. His directions Clear. playthings. and being Jews. No parcels Or dependents. the sick. then Hurled into cattle trucks of trains Hurtling all night across bare plains Till dawn. from outside. His papers. Peacefully at mid-day golden stretches Of new-mown fields lie open and benign. satchels. You’re one of the lucky ones. sufficient cash. their death—for her the real Instant where history ground its wheel On her with them. Harvest Festival. after all. 5 10 15 20 . where Those fit to work in factories Were separated from the rest— Women and children. Trees on the turn yet the air warm and dry. Just himself with a small.She starved her body to pure thought To be one with her people snatched From ghettos by the SS. Disaster could not strike on a day Such as this. his plan foolproof. Some food Stowed away. were robbed Of jewellery. Who taken to a yard. A cooling breeze sweeps the grassy slopes. A few miles ahead and the weather ideal. Were in perfect order. Stop worrying. the old. He told himself. 35 40 45 50 55 60 Hilda Schiff The German Frontier at Basel: 1942 & 1992 Just four miles to go and the frontier ahead.

or if they did. the stench. The sweat. the gas. when it happened. Little energy. No sound reached me when it happened over there on that complicated frontier near Geneva. he wasn’t Prepared for the arrest. and anguish and anger: The black-clad figures. the brutal voices. At the border at last. I suppose. The skies did not darken. The crowded cattle-trucks. the reeking odour. unaccountably. one flicked away the impression: a cloud no doubt. 25 30 When It Happened I was playing. The sweat. Much thirst. Just four miles to go and the frontier ahead: An invisible line. Yet fear grips his gut. while the attention of the adults. ‘Go back. (Was the sun shining there too?) I did not hear you cry out. the stench. the horror. elsewhere. You are not permitted to cross. nor feel your heart thump wildly in shock and terror. Carbis Bay or the Battery Rocks. an unguarded signpost. ‘Go back. He was. perpetually talking. he didn’t Anticipate the arrangements: the jam-packed trains. The deliberate effort to relax tense muscles. he didn’t Expect the difficulties. Short of breath. The harvest is in. a shadow perhaps from those interminable aeroplanes crossing and recrossing our sunbleached beaches. he did. seemed focused. No sound reached me. the fields are peaceful. only reversing the directions. the gas.’ they shouted. 20 ~ Today as then. where all summer long we had dived and cavorted in and out of the tossing waters. those black-clad figures.’ Did the colour drain from your face? 5 10 15 20 25 30 21 . the horror.Only the tell-tale burn in the stomach. He did.

drawing me towards oblivion. On the third day. School Was the same as usual. or raced down the hill on my scooter or on foot laughing with friends. nor. on the other side of the border. East? Did you know what it meant? Did you believe the rumours? Were you silent? Stunned? Angry? Did you signal to them then. jump. . (they said afterwards). . To your husband and his friends just a few yards away.’ They called across. the train . 35 40 45 50 55 60 65 70 75 80 22 . drinking tea). When it happened? To the welcoming committee one might say. Often at night in the dark of my bed. ‘Run. At last. ‘Go back and wait. No sound whatsoever disturbed me when it happened. Distracted and displaced when it happened I did not hear you ask which cattle truck to mount. parched in the darkened wagon. beyond the notices saying.’ the frontier is such a thin line. take the risk. ‘Illegal refugees will be shot.’ Back to the crowd waiting for the train. I would hear the trains being shunted down at the station.’ they barked. As usual I went swimming. How was it you lacked the courage (they said afterwards. the distance so short between you and us. I slept well. they said.Did your legs weaken? ‘You are under arrest. there. between life and death. their anguished whistling stirring my imagination. beyond the barbed wire. no more embarrassing letters arrived in a foreign language witnessing my alienation from the cricketing scene. notice you beg for a sip of water.

thought to live—and not only here— Was a hundred times over to spit in our own faces. naked and packed tight with a hundred others did I hear you choking on the contents of those well-known canisters marked ‘Zyklon B Gas’. . Even these bodies fit in the end to yield light. all our hundred hues Fierce in one radiance gathered by greater darkness. All our hundred languages gathered again in one silence. 5 10 15 20 25 30 23 . Was thankfulness for death. who was chosen. Yet we lived. I did not catch you whisper to your neighbour. dust to be dispersed— Older than he. to a music that gushed like blood from a wound: Eli. The gathering up at last. the dung. the lost and the promised land. 85 90 95 Michael Hamburger (1924-2007) Treblinka A survivor speaks: That winter night they were burning corpses And from the bonfire. Eat grass. . perhaps with no need but this: To tell of the fire in the night and briefly flare like the dead. they say. ‘It is the East. flooding the whole camp Flared purple and blue and red and orange and gold. Wipe ourselves out of creation. (It took twelve minutes. Unafraid for once. The grass. The darkness that took our kings.) I was not listening when it happened. the spittle—here we saw them consumed. and not only there. David and Solomon Who living had burnt with the same fire. and the complaint was praise. In that light we knew it. the opera singer. scatter as dust. anything Proved good enough for life—there. Not cold for once we at the barrack windows Blinked and listened. The many colours of Joseph’s coat. old as the silence of God. found his full voice and gave it To words. Eli . a few of us. To live was the law. Back in a room in a house in a street in a town I forget these figures. and the dung that feeds grass. his question too in whose name Long we’d been dirt to be wiped off. remember little but this: That to live is not good enough: everything. Now I hear nothing else. We have arrived.perceiving the sound of Polish voices.’ Nor.

—JOB 19:26 24 . so werde ich ohne mein Fleisch Gott schauen. We kicked at stones. in the dismal spaces of the imagination reserved for Jews. we fell over. We were young. we pulled faces. 1940-44. yet in my flesh I shall see God. We kicked at stones. Our knees were filthy with our secret places. 1948) Ross: Children of the Ghetto Love. pulled faces at elastic braces. pulled faces. Once we ran races in ghettos. and doing so left no permanent traces because we fought and fell only to confuse love. shoelaces. (2008) Henryk Ross. we fell over. Love. empty packing cases as if they were the expressions we could choose. we were young once and ran races to determine the most rudimentary of graces such as strength and speed and the ability to bruise. we kicked at stones. we were young once. from German by Michael Hamburger And though after my skin worms destroy this body. we fell over. with rituals and ranks. —HIOB O the Chimneys Trans. Love.George Szirtes (b. we fell over. in camps. Playing as ghetto policemen. and ran races over rough ground in our best shiny shoes. with strategy and ruse. We kicked at stones. pulled faces. we were young once. 10 5 15 Germany Nelly Sachs (1891-1970) O die Schornsteine Und wenn diese meine Haut zerschlagen sein wird. and ran races. Children of the ghetto.

Die niemand mehr kämmen wird. In den andern Arm. Und Israels Leib im Rauch durch die Luft! (1947) O the chimneys On the ingeniously devised habitations of death When Israel’s body drifted as smoke Through the air— Was welcomed by a star. lebendig In der Liebe schon geworden. Sow it on to the walls and into the beams— Everywhere it is hatched in the nests of horror. Haben den falschen Tod in ihre Handmuskeln gespannt. Bläst die Hemden über die Haare fort. Säen ihn in die Wände und ins Gebälk— Überall brütet es in den Nestern des Grauens. already Brought to life by love. O ihr Finger. O you fingers And Israel’s body as smoke through the air! 5 10 15 20 O der weinenden Kinder Nacht! O der weinenden Kinder Nacht! Der zum Tode gezeichneten Kinder Nacht! Der Schlaf hat keinen Eingang mehr. Invitingly appointed For the host who used to be a guest— O you fingers Laying the threshold Like a knife between life and death— O you chimneys. 5 Yesterday Mother still drew 10 Sleep toward them like a white moon. Als Israels Leib zog aufgelöst in Rauch Durch die Luft— Als Essenkehrer ihn ein Stern empfing Der schwarz wurde Oder war es ein Sonnenstrahl? O die Schornsteine! Freiheitswege für Jeremias und Hiobs Staub— Wer erdachte euch und baute Stein auf Stein Den Weg für Flüchtlinge aus Rauch? O did Wohnungen des Todes. O the night of the weeping children! O the night of the children branded for death! Sleep may not enter here. The stuffed pet. Terrible nursemaids Have usurped the place of mothers. der sonst Gast war— O ihr Finger. A star turned black Or was it a ray of sun? O the chimneys! Freedomway for Jeremiah and Job’s dust— Who devised you and laid stone upon stone The road for refugees of smoke? O the habitations of death.— Weht nun der Wind des Sterbens. Angst säugt die Kleinen statt der Muttermilch. Kam die Puppe mit dem forgeküssten Wangenrot In den einen Arm. by Michael Hamburger et al. from German by Michael Hamburger et al. Kam das ausgestopfte Tier. Die Eingangsschwelle legend Wie ein Messer zwischen Leben und Tod— O ihr Schornsteine. There was the doll with cheeks derouged by kisses In one arm. panic suckles those little ones. (1947) O the night of the weeping children! Trans. Auch der Greise Even the old men’s last breath Trans. Blows the shifts over the hair That no one will comb again. Instead of mother’s milk. 15 In the other— Now blows the wind of dying. Schreckliche Wärterinnen Sind an die Stelle der Mütter getreten.O die Schornsteine Auf den sinnreich erdachten Wohnungen des Todes. Zog die Mutter noch gestern Wie ein weisser Mond den Schlaf heran. 25 . a chimney sweep. Einladend hergerichtet Für den Wirt des Hauses. Have tautened their tendons with the false death.

My mother loosed her hand from mine. Dann hob Jemand das Abschiedsmesser: Die Mutter löste ihre Hand aus der meinen. Aus der Greise verfrühter Mitternacht Wird sich ein Wind der letzten Atemzüge auftun. As I was led to death Fühlte ich im letzten Augenblick noch I still felt in the last moment Das Herausziehen des grossen Abschiedsmessers. Last breaths and the eyelids’ Good Night Of one thing be sure: The angel. The empty air Trembling to fill the sigh of relief That thrusts the earth away— You have plundered the empty air! The old men’s Parched eyes You pressed once more Till you reaped the salt of despair— All that this star owns Of the contortions of agony. Der diesen losgerissenen Stern In seines Herrn Hände jagen wird! (1947) Even the old men’s last breath That had already grazed death You snatched away. Und jede Trostesstimme stach in mein Herz— A dead child speaks Trans. from German by Michael Hamburger et al. it gathers What you discarded. 26 . (1947) 15 Schon vom Arm des himmlischen Trostes umfangen Already embraced by the arm of heavenly solace Trans. by Michael Hamburger et al. der schon den Tod anblies Raubtet ihr noch fort. But she lightly touched my thighs once more And her hand was bleeding— After that the knife of parting Cut in two each bite I swallowed— It rose before me with the sun at dawn And began to sharpen in my eyes— Wind and water ground in my ear And every voice of comfort pierced my heart— 5 10 Als man mich zum Tode führte.Auch der Greise Letzten Atemzug. Then someone raised the knife of parting: So that it should not strike me. sich in meinen Augen zu schärfen— In meinem Ohr schliffen sich Winde und Wasser. All suffering from the dungeons of worms Gathered in heaps— O you thieves of genuine hours of death. Letzten Atemzügen und der Augenlider Gute Nacht Eines sei euch gewiss: Es sammelt der Engel ein Was ihr fortwarft. My mother held me by my hand. From the old men’s premature midnight A wind of last breaths shall arise And drive this unloosed star Into its Lord’s hands! 5 10 15 20 Ein totes Kind spricht Die Mutter hielt mich an der Hand. Zitternd vor Erwartung. mit dem diese Erde fortgestossen wird— Die leere Luft habt ihr beraubt! Der Greise Ausgetrocknetes Auge Habt ihr noch einmal zusammengepresst Bis ihr das Salz der Verzweiflung gewonnen hattet— Alles was dieser Stern An Krümmungen der Qual besitzt. Sie aber berührte noch einmal leise meine Hüfte— Und da blutete ihre Hand— Von da ab schnitt mir das Abschiedsmesser Den Bissen in der Kehle entzwei— Es fuhr in der Morgendämmerung mit der Sonne hervor Und begann. Damit es mich nicht träfe. The unsheathing of the great knife of parting. Die leere Luft. den Seufzer der Erleichterung Zu erfüllen. Alles Leiden aus den dunklen Verliesen der Würmer Sammelte sich zuhauf— O ihr Räuber von echten Todesstunden.

Whose eyes watched the killing. Mit den Zundern ihres verbrannten Verstandes Ihr totes Kind einsargend. Legs up and down And on the ash-gray receding horizon of fear Gigantic the constellation of death That loomed like the clock face of ages. the circling stage of his deed With the ash-gray. from German by Michael Hamburger et al. die. Wie man auch einen Blick im Rüken fühlt. How many dying eyes will look at you When you pluck a violet from its hiding place? 5 27 . Twisting her hands into urns. his hair from the air. Arms up and down. Beine auf und ab Und die untergehende Sonne des Sinaivolkes Als den roten Teppich unter den Füssen. Beine auf und ab Und am ziehenden aschgrauen Horizont der Angst Riesengross das Gestirn des Todes Wie die Uhr der Zeiten stehend. Filling them with his eyes. kreisende Bühne seiner Tat Mit dem aschgrau ziehenden Horizont der Angst! O did Staubhügel. Legs up and down And the setting sun of Sinai’s people A red carpet under their feet.Schon vom Arm des himmlischen Trostes umfangen Steht die wahnsinnige Mutter Mit den Fetzen ihres zerrissenen Verstandes. (1947) Dreams of madness and earth A thousand times murdered. der mit schäumendem Munde Furchtbar umblies Die runde. from German by Michael Hamburger et al. Brought into being the terrible puppeteer? Him with the foaming mouth Dreadfully swept away The round. which as though drawn by an evil moon The murderers enacted: Arms up and down. So fühlt ihr an euerm Leibe Die Blicke der Toten. 15 5 10 Ihr Zuschauenden Unter deren Blicken getötet wurde. Wieviel brechende Augen werden euch ansehn Wenn ihr aus den Verstecken ein Veilchen pflückt? You onlookers Trans. As one feels a stare at one’s back You feel on your bodies The glances of the dead. What secret cravings of the blood Träume des Wahnes und tausendfach Gemordetes Erdreich Liessen den schrecklichen Marionettenspieler entstehen? Er. Aus der Luft füllend mit dem Leib ihres Kindes. And with his fluttering heart— 10 Then she kisses the air-born being And dies! Welche geheimen Wünsche des Blutes Welche geheimen Wünsche des Blutes. seinen Haaren Und seinem flatternden Herzen— Dann küsst sie das Luftgeborene Und stirbt! (1947) Already embraced by the arm of heavenly solace The insane mother stands With the tatters of her torn mind With the charred tinders of her burnt mind Burying her dead child. Filling them with the body of her child from the air. What secret cravings of the blood Trans. Arme auf und ab. 5 Burying her lost light. wie von bösem Mond gezogen Die Mörder spielten: Arme auf und ab. Ihr verlorenes Licht einsargend. Aus der Luft füllend mit seinen Augen. receding horizon of fear? O the hills of dust. Ihre Hände zu Krügen biegend.

The nooses wound for our necks still dangle before us in the blue air— Hourglasses still fill with our dripping blood. Es könnte sonst eines Vogels Lied. Lest the song of a bird. step by step. From whose hollow bones death had begun to whittle his flutes. Wir Geretteten. Chorus of the Rescued Trans. Wir Geretteten Bitten euch: Zeigt uns langsam eure Sonne. Nun muss es der alte Brunnen für ihn tun! Ihr Zuschauenden. the rescued. You who raised no hand in murder. You who halted there. where dust is changed To light. Immer noch hängen die Schlingen für unsere Hälse gedreht Vor uns in der blauen Luft— Immer noch füllen sich die Stundenuhren mit unserem tropfenden Blut. But who did not shake the dust From your longing. 20 Chor der Geretteten Wir Geretteten. from German by Michael Hamburger et al. For what binds our fabric together? We whose breath vacated us. Führt uns von Stern zu Stern im Schritt. 5 We. Now the old well must do it for them! 15 You onlookers. the rescued. wo er zu Licht Verwandelt wird. Beg you: Show us your sun. An deren Sehnen der Tod schon seinen Bogen strich— Unsere Leiber klagen noch nach Mit ihrer verstümmelten Musik. We.Wieviel flehend erhobene Hände In dem märtyrerhaft geschlungenen Gezweige Der alten Eichen? Wieviel Erinnerunt wächst im Blute Der Abendsonne? O die ungesungenen Wiegenlieder In der Turteltaube Nachtruf— Manch einer hätte Sterne herunterholen können. Our constellation is buried in dust. Das Füllen des Eimers am Brunnen Unseren schlecht versiegelten Schmerz aufbrechen lassen Und uns wegschäumen— Wir bitten euch: Zeigt uns noch nicht einen beissenden Hund— Es könnte sein. it could be That we will dissolve into dust— 25 Dissolve into dust before your eyes. Aber die ihr den Staub nicht von eurer Sehnsucht Schütteltet. Unser Gestirn ist vergraben im Staub. Let our badly sealed pain burst forth again 20 and carry us away— We beg you: Do not show us an angry dog. (1947) How many hands be raised in supplication In the twisted martyr-like branches Of old oaks? How much memory grows in the blood Of the evening sun? 10 O the unsung cradlesongs In the night cry of the turtledove— Many a one might have plucked stars from the sky. but gradually. 28 . Die ihr stehenbliebt. not yet— It could be. Aus deren hohlem Gebein der Tod schon seine Flöten schnitt. Whose soul fled to Him out of the midnight Long before our bodies were rescued 30 Into the ark of the moment. Lasst uns das Leben leise wieder lernen. 10 The worms of fear still feed on us. And on whose sinews he had already stroked his bow— Our bodies continue to lament With their mutilated music. Or a pail being filled at the well. dort. the rescued. Wir Geretteten. We. Be gentle when you teach us to live again. es könnte sien Dass wir zu Staub zerfallen— Vor euren Augen zerfallen in Staub. Was hält denn unsere Webe zusammen? Wir odemlos gewordene. Die ihr keine Mörderhand erhobt. 15 Lead us from star to star. the rescued. We. Immer noch essen an uns die Würmer der Angst.

from German by Michael Hamburger et al. We orphans We lament to the world: Our branch has been cut down And thrown into the fire— Kindling was made of our protectors— 5 We orphans lie stretched out on the fields of loneliness. Wir drücken eure Hand. (1947) We. Warum die schwarze Antwort des Hasses auf dein Dasein.und Muttergesichter Sie verwelken nicht wie Blumen. die sagen: Mein Kind du gleichst mir! Wir Waisen gleichen niemand mehr auf der Welt! O Welt Wir klagen dich an! (1947) Chorus of the Orphans Trans. Der Abschied im Staub Hält uns mit euch zusammen. 15 Through the black folds of night They penetrate— We orphans We lament to the world: Stones have become our playthings. Wir Waisen Wir klagen der Welt: In der Nacht spielen unsere Eltern Verstecken mit uns— Hinter den schwarzen Falten der Nacht Schauen uns ihre Gesichter an. Wir Geretteten. from German by Michael Hamburger et al. We orphans We lament to the world: At night our parents play hide and seek— From behind the black folds of night 10 Their faces gaze at us.Deren Seele zu Ihm floh aus der Mitternacht Lange bevor man unseren Leib rettete In die Arche des Augenblicks. 35 Chor der Waisen Wir Waisen Wir klagen der Welt: Herabgehauen hat man unseren Ast Und ins Feuer geworfen— Brennholz hat man aus unseren Beschützern gemacht— Wir Waisen liegen auf den Feldern der Einsamkeit. Durch die schwarzen Falten der Nacht Blicken sie hindurch— Wir Waisen Wir klagen der Welt: Steine sind unser Spielzeug geworden. you are like me! We orphans are like no one in this world any more! O world We accuse you! Warum die schwarze Antwort des Hasses Why the black answer of hate Trans. The leave-taking in the dust Binds us together with you. nor bite like beasts— And burn not like tinder when tossed into the oven— We orphans lament to the world: World. We press your hand We look into your eye— But all the binds us together now is leave-taking. 20 Stones have faces. Steine haben Gesichter. why have you taken our soft mothers from us And the fathers who say: My child. Israel? You stranger from a star one farther away 29 . Their mouths speak: Kindling we were in a woodcutter’s hand— But our eyes have become angel eyes And regard you. father and mother faces They wilt not like flowers. Israel? Fremdling du. einen Stern von weiterher Why the black answer of hate to your existence. Sprechen ihre Münder: Dürrholz waren wir in eines Holzhauers Hand— Aber unserer Augen sind Engelaugen geworden Und sehen euch an. sie beissen nicht wie Tiere— Und sie brennen nicht wie Dürrholz. Wir erkennen euer Auge— Aber zusammen hält uns nur noch der Abschied. Vater. wenn man sie in den Ofen wirft— Wir Waisen wir klagen der Welt: Welt warum hast du uns die weichen Mütter genommen Und die Väter. the rescued.

Und will dich ganz mit Armen umschlingen heiß und fest. Long is your shadow and it has become late for you 20 Israel! How far your way from the blessing along the aeon of tears to the bend of the road where you turned to ashes and your enemy with the smoke of your burned body engraved your mortal abandonment on the brow of heaven! O such a death! When all helping angels with bleeding wings hung tattered in the barbed wire of time! Why the black answer of hate to your existence Israel? 30 25 35 Gertrud Kolmar (1894-1943) Wir Juden Nur Nacht hört zu. I love you. oh my people. der am Pranger steht. and yet: fetched away from dreamfilled sandy shores of time like moonwater into the distance. 30 . und doch von den Traumsandufern der Zeit wie Mondwasser fortgeholt in die Ferne. mein Volk. In the others’ choir you always sang one note lower or one note higher— 5 10 15 you flung yourself into the blood of the evening sun like one pain seeking the other. dein Feind mit dem Rauch deines verbrannten Leibes deine Todverlassenheit an die Stirn des Himmels schrieb! O solcher Tod! Wo alle helfenden Engel mit blutenden Schwingen zerrissen im Stacheldraht der Zeit hingen! Warum die schwarze Antwort des Hasses auf dein Dasein Israel? (1949) than the others. am Kolk Die Mutter den geschmähten Sohn nicht einsam sinken läßt. ich liebe dich. Deine Herkunft verwachsen mit Unkraut— deine Sterne vertauscht gegen alles was Motten und Würmern gehört. from German by Henry A. Lang is dein Schatten und es ist späte Zeit für dich geworden Israel! Wie weit dein Weg von der Segnung den Äon der Tränen entlang bis zu der Wegbiegung da du in Asche gefallen. We Jews Trans. Im Chore der anderen hast du gesungen einen Ton höher oder einen Ton tiefer— der Abendsonne hast du dich ins Blut geworfen wie ein Schmerz den anderen sucht. Ich liebe dich.als die anderen. In my embrace I want to hold you warm and close Just as a wife would hold her husband on the scaffold steps. Sold to this earth that loneliness might be passed on. So wie ein Weib den Gatten. Or like a mother who cannot allow her son to die alone. Smith The night alone can hear. Your origin entangled in weeds— your stars bartered for all the belongs to moths and worms. Verkauft an diese Erde damit Einsamkeit fort sich erbe. I love you.

Und Deutschland trägt und Frankreich trägt ein Buch und ein blitzendes Schwert. The mutilated ear. torn by devils-grip. And Germany and France hold high their books and shining swords. Der greise Bart. 5 For the Greeks have struck white gods like sparks from mountain crags. Und England wandelt auf Meeresschiffen bläulich silbernen Pfad. Nicht das erzene Knie. Wenn deine zitternden Arme nun grausam eingeschnürt. ein tränenloser Blick Und der ewige Seufzer am Marterpfahl. The gray beard singed in hellfires. so will ich aufstehn hier und jetzt. If only I could raise my voice to be a blazing torch Amidst the darkened desert of the world. den tönernen Fuß des Abgotts harter Zeit. der Todesschweiß. die elende Faust. the weary fist with veins like vipers Raised against the murderers from ropes and funeral pyres of ages. Verstümmelt Ohr. Mongolische Horden wirbelten aus Asiens Tiefen empor. Und die Kaiser in Aachen schauten ein südwärts gaukelndes Bild. the wounded brow and fleeing eye: Oh all of you! Now. durch das die Qualen ziehn! Ich will den Arm nicht küssen. den heulender Wind verschlang. And the eternal windblown sigh of martyrs at the stake. this gaze without a tear. die aufgereckt an Gottes hohen Himmel rührt. When brutal shackles bind your trembling arms. Und Rom warf über die Erde einen ehernen Schild. we have proceeded through the gallows and the rack. this sweat of death. 15 And we. Oh let me be the voice that echoes down the shaft of all eternity. zerrissene Brau und dunkelnder Augen Fliehn: Ihr! Wenn die bittere Stunde reift. O könnt ich wie lodernde Fackel in die finstere Wüste der Welt Meine Stimme heben: Gerechtigkeit! Gerechtigkeit! Gerechtigkeit! And when your throat is gagged. den ein strotzendes Zepter schwellt.Und wenn ein Knebel dir im Mund den blutenden Schrei verhält. This bursting of our hearts. And Russia grew to giant shadows with a flame upon its hearth. I drag a ringing mein Gehn. the earthen feet of demigods in desperate hours. 25 Nor the brazen knee. prison as I go. Und die dürre Kralle. your bleeding cry suppressed. und gefangen klirrt And yet my ankles are in chains. Dies Herzzerspringen. Denn der Grieche schlug aus Berggestein seine weißen Götter hervor. And the emperors in Aachen gazed enchanted to the South. The withered claw. 10 Mongolian hordes whirled forth from deep in Asia. The hand stretched high to touch God’s towering heaven. Ihr schleppt doch Ketten. wir sind geworden durch den Galgen und durch das Rad. der in den Schacht der Ewigkeiten fällt. when the bitter hour strikes I will arise And stand like a triumphal arch above your cavalcade of anguish! I will not kiss the arm that wields the weighty scepter. So will ich wie ihr Triumphtor sein. and thunder Justice! Justice! Justice! 20 Knöchel. 31 . Die Hand mich sein. in Höllen versengt. And England wanders silver paths on ocean-going ships. Und Rußland ward riesiger Schatten mit der Flamme auf seinem Herd. So laß mich Ruf. And Rome threw brazen shields across the earth. die aus Scheiterhaufen und Strick Ihre Adern grün wie Vipernbrut dem Würger entgegenrang. Und wir. von Teufelsgriff zerfetzt.

Ausgesprühte Lügenlauge Hört’ ich flüstern. welch sphäarisches Entzücken Nahm dem staubgebeugten Rücken Endlich sein Gewicht? Aus dem Reich der Kröte Seige ich empor. Bist du wieder da Und erscheinst mit heller Krone Mit Gerschundenem zum Lohne Wie Nausikaa? Windbewegtes Bücken. So wirf dich du dem Niederen hin. Bis einst dein müder Wanderschuh auf den Nacken der Starken tritt! (1938) My lips are sealed in glowing wax. Woge. the whisper. Like Nausikaa? Windblown and bowing— Wave and spray and light— What whirling joy at last Has lifted up the weight From shoulders bent with dust? Now I arise Out of the toad’s domain— Pluto’s reddish glare still under my eyelids— And the hideous pipe of the guide to the dead Still in my ears. my daughter. Let me kiss your face: it is Unmirrored by the waters Of Lethe or of Styx. and so Cordelia was considered Jewish by the Nazis and sent to concentration camps. Anemone. Sah in Gorgos Auge Eisenharten Glanz. So you must cast yourselves among the lowly and be weak. Und ich fühle die Faust. I have heard the hiss. Spring 19461 Trans. Gäas Sohn entkräftet zur Mutter glitt. oh my people dressed in rags. mein Volk im Plunderkleid. Ihr seid versiegelt. 32 . embrace your sorrow. daß sie tauge Mich zu töten ganz. sei schwach. ohne Wissen Um das Nein und Nicht. Wie der heidnischen Erde. Seele. Unterm Lid noch Plutons Röte Und des Totenführers Flöte Gräßlich noch im Ohr. 5 10 15 20 25 1 This poem refers to the reunion of the poet with her daughter Cordelia (b. 1929) after the daugher’s release from Auschwitz. die das weinende Haupt auf den Aschenhügel mir zerrt. I love you. from German by Eavan Boland So you return My sweet Anemone— All brilliant stamen. And I can feel the fist that drags my weeping head toward the hill of ashes. calx. umarme das Leid. Nur Nacht hört zu. Ich liebe dich. crown— Making it worth the devastation. I have seen the iron gleam In the Gorgon’s eye.Lippen. 35 For one day your weary wandering shoes will stand upon the necks of all the mighty! Elisabeth Langgässer (1899-1950) Frühling 1946 Holde Anemone. Schaum und Licht! Ach. 30 My soul is like a swallow fluttering helpless in its cage. And innocent of no or not. in glühendes Wachs gesperrt. The rumor that she would kill me: It was a lie. Now. like the son of Gaea who returned exhausted to his heathen mother earth. In Käfiggittern einer Schwalbe flatterndes Flehn. Anemone! Küssen Laß mich dein Gesicht: Ungespiegelt von den Flüssen Styx und Lethe. The night alone can hear. The poet married a Jewish man Hermann Heller.

Ohne es zu schüren— Kind Nausikaa! And see. portrait of a house detective Trans. brabbelt unter der künstlerfrisur vor sich hin wie ein greis. not consumption. haßt den chef und den supermarkt. communists. under his arty hairstyle mutters to himself like a pensioner. nicht schwindsucht. he’s twenty-nine. (1964) 5 10 15 20 25 Holland Rutger Kopland (b. because it’s so delicious) he picks up with his moist hand and squeezes it till it drips. oder so ähnlich. schnittler. er ist neunundzwanzig. schnittler. a piece of margarine (the same brand as mine: goldlux. weil sie so lecker ist) nimmt er in seine feuchte hand und zerdrückt sie zu saft. a hundred packets of crispy crackers (because they’re so nourishing) he sets ablaze with his eyes. landlords. die kommunisten. der wird es nie zu was bringen. sleeps badly and alone with pamphlets and blackheads. my Nausicaa! 30 Hans Magnus Enzensberger (b. glaube ich.Ohne zu verführen Lebst und bist du da. schläft schlecht und allein mit broschüren und mitessern. 1929) bildnis eines spitzels im supermarkt lehnt er unter der plastiksonne. he’s called. that one will never get anywhere. or something like that. wittler. you are alive And here—there’s no deception— And quiet in the way you touch my heart Yet do not rake its fires— My child. from German by Michael Hamburger he lolls in the supermarket under the plastic sun. ein stück margarine (die gleiche marke wie ich: goldlux. die hausbesitzer. hat sinn für das höhere. the white patches on his face are rage. sich selbst und seine zerbissenen fingernägel voll margarine (weil sie so lecker ist). I think. hittler. Still mein Herz zu rühren. from the Dutch by James Brockway I 33 . heißt er. 1934) Natzweiler I Natzweiler Trans. hittler. women. hundert schachteln knupsi-knackers (weil sie so herzhaft sind) zündet er mit den augen an. hates the boss and the supermarket. idealistic. himself and his bitten fingernails full of margarine (because it’s so delicious). die weiber. die wießen flecken in seinem gesicht sind wut. wittler.

wachttorens. it is landscape. what do they see. buiten het prikkeldraad. and beyond it. We need for nothing. hun zwarte ogen. no one. V So this is it. wat zien ze? Ik zie hen aan.En daar. Ons ontbreekt het aan niets zeggen zij. watch-towers. their black eyes. they would be laid down in those green pastures. their faces ravaged by their skulls. verweg in de bergen is de plek van het afscheid. V Dit is het dus. III The dead are so violently absent. But these are no arms. de wereld die zwijgt. en daarachter. maar ook zij hier staan en het landschap hun onzichtbare armen om mijn schouders slaat. beyond the barbed wire. what do they see? I look at them. van vredig landschap. desertion. Hun gezichten zijn tot de wereld gaan horen. the view— very charming landscape. here is the place where they took their leave. hun door hun schedels aangetaste gezichten. we have forgotten this world. to the world which remains silent. Only the black reflection of distance in the panes. but for what? Their faces have come to belong to the world. Het zou. verlatenheid. IV De vergeelde foto’s in de vitrines. there in the distance. II Ik speur de vensters af van barakken. Het zou hen aan niets ontbreken. as peaceful as then. 30 25 20 10 5 15 34 . They would need for nothing. And there. but they too were standing here. far away in the mountains. gas-chamber. maar het zijn geen armen. daar in de verte. Alleen de zwarte spiegeling van verte in de ramen. they are saying. even vredig als toen. alsof niet alleen ik. as though not only I. wat zien ze. ze zouden worden neergelegd in dat grazige gras. zeer liefelijk landschap. be led to those peaceful waters. worden gevoerd aan die rivier van rust. IV The yellowed photos in the display cases. II I trace the windows of the barrack huts. maar waarom. III De doden zijn zo hevig afwezig. het uitzicht. hier. het is landschap. niemand. They would. of a peaceful landscape. gaskamer. wij zijn deze wereld vergeten. and the landscape were folding their invisible arms around my shoulders.

augusztus 30. sörényes ég szalad. vagy korhadt fának odván temetkező bogár. 1944. as though it has yet to be. akár az angyal. as though nothing has happened. A hegyek közt 30 August 1944. torlódik ember. In this chaos of movement you’re in me. in that gentle grey-green. the sky runs with its mane. stepping onto the ruffles the water. 35 Hungary Miklós Radnóti (1909-1944) Razglednicák (1) Bulgáriából vastag. (2) Kilene kilométerre innen égnek a kazlak és a házak. 5 deep in my conscious you shine. it is as new. 6 October 1944 a fodros birkanyáj. that gentle color of war. Blood shows in every man’s urine. Cservenka. In the mountains. vad ágyuszó gurul. forever spent Picture Postcards Trans. the road rears up. állat. ha pusztulást csodál. A piled-up blockage of thoughts. 20 35 . some scared and speechless poor folk are smoking. motion and mute. It strikes the mountain ridge. Te állandó vagy bennem e mozgó zürzavarban. and men. staging its funeral. Itt még vizet fodroz a tóra lépő lake still apró pásztorleány s felhőt iszik a víre ráhajolva 15 II Nine kilometers from here the haystacks and houses are burning. from Hungarian by Emery George I From Bulgaria thick.Het Lager is pas geverfd. vad csomókban áll. az emberek mind véreset vizelnek. Death blows overhead. als nieuw is het. Cservenka. a század bűzös. the ruffled sheep flock at the water drinks from clouds. Fölöttünk fú a förtelmes halál. 1944. carts. wild cannon pounding rolls. animals. in dat zachte grijs-groen. or an insect in rotted tree pith. a hegygerincre dobban. bending over. s a rétek szélein megülve némán riadt pórok pipáznak. tudatom mélyén fénylesz örökre mozdulatlan s némán. stinking. majd tétováz s lehull. The camp has just been re-painted. okóber 6 (3) Az ökrök száján véres nyál csorog. die zachte kleur van de oorlog. szekér és gondolat. like an angel awed by death’s great carnival. Here a little shepherdess. alsof er nog niets is gebeurd. 10 sitting on the field’s edges. revolting. permanent. alsof het nog moet. III Bloody saliva hangs on the mouths of the oxen. The company stands in wild knots. whinnying. then hesitates and falls. az út nyerítve hőköl.

Csak szomszédjuk esendő testét. The gateways withdraw. az éhség és reszketésük osztozik. Tarkólövés. already taut as a string about to snap. a fázó krumpliföldeket. blood dried. Dragging the giant wagon which grows bigger as the night grows their bodies are divided among the dust. ha pattan. they wade knee deep in the low. Viszik az utat és a tájat. mint húr. 1944. Shot in the back of the neck. I whispered to myself. elébük jött a messzeség és megtántorodva visszafut. a voice said above me. the burden of the skylines and the falling bodies of their companions which almost grow into their own as they lurch. Szentkirályszabadja. A black shaft looms up. a hold süt és egy rúd mered. 15 treading each other’s footsteps. Szentkirályszabadja. they are carrying the land. a tájakból a terheket. Beneath it. darkly-muffled clatter of their wooden clogs as through invisible leaf litter. s a rúd elé emberek fogva húznak egy roppant szekeret. mint láthatatlan avaron. That’s how you too will end. a testükön a por. október 24 Mohacs. The villages stay clear of them. Halált virágzik most a türelem. amint eleven rétegekben egymás nyomában inganak. The moon brilliant. harnassed men haul an immense cart. his body turned over. reels away back. de mindennek csak súlyát érzik. that has come to meet them. living layers. Harbach 1944 Trans. The distance. feszülten mintha szimatolnák a messze égi vályukat. the bleak potato fields. Vonják a növő éjszakával növekvő óriás kocsit. Staggering. And they thrust their faces towards the height as if they strained for a scent of the faraway celestial troughs 25 20 36 . mixed with filth. 31 October 1944 János Pilinszky (1921-1981) Harbach 1944 Újra és újra őket látom. their hunger and their trembling. — súgtam magamnak. Magasba márják arcukat. 24 October 1944 (4) Mellézuhantam.Mohács. De törzsük már a némaságé. 5 They are carrying the road. 10 and all they know is the weight of everything. from Hungarian by Ted Hughes At all times I see them. Térdig gázolnak botladozva facipőiknek alacsony. — hangzott fölöttem. — csak feküdj nyugodtan. Sárral kevert vér száradt fülemen. — Der springt noch auf. mely szinte beléjük tapad. sötéten zörrenő zajában. just lie quietly. 1944. A falvak kitérnek előlük és félre állnak a kapuk. 25 Der springt noch auf. október 31 IV I fell beside him. átfordult a teste s feszes volt már. Patience now flowers into death. — Így végzed hát te is. Already their bodies belong to silence. On my ear.

30 Egy KZ-Láger Falára Ahova estél. you testify against us. you stay. His pores are visible. némán is reánkvallasz. Did we blind you? You continue to watch us. But you have made this yours absolutely. But now it is you who stay. because. from Hungarian by Ted Hughes Where you have fallen. speechless. mindene olyan óriás. House. Lehet az ház. 10 Ravensbrücki Passió Kilép a többiek közűl. The countryside evades you. mindene oly parányi. akár egy megnyiló karám. this is your place. Passion of Ravensbrück Trans. The rest— the rest was simply that he forgot to cry out before he collapsed. malom vagy nyárfa. Kifosztottunk? Meggazdagodt ál. prepared for their coming like an opened cattle-yard. Just this single spot. kapuit vadul széttaszítva sarkig kitárult a halál. Némán. mill. a mindenségből ezt az egyet. Félelmetesen maga van. Speechless. the convict’s skull blink like a projection. its gates flung savagely back. De most már te nem tágitasz. 10 5 Israel Yehuda Amichai (1924-2000) Little Ruth Trans. És nincs tovább. each thing strives to be free of you as if it were mutating in nothingness.Mert fogadásukra már készen. 5 On the Wall of a KZ-Lager Trans. a pórusait látni. poplar. a többi annyi volt csak. A többi már. ott maradsz. Everything about him is so gigantic. minden csak küszködik veled. elfelejtett kiáltani mielőtt földre roskadt. death gapes to its hinges. Did we rob you? You enriched yourself. Megvakitottunk? Szemmel tartasz. mintha a semmiben mutálna. mint vetitett kép hunyorog rabruha és fegyencfej. Menekül előled a táj. The prison garb. everything is so tiny. He stands in the square silence. ezt az egyetlen egy helyet. In the whole universe. megáll a kockacsendben. de ezt azután megszerezted. from Hungarian by Ted Hughes He steps out from the others. He is horribly alone. And this is all. from Hebrew by Benjamin Harshav and Barbara Harshav 37 .

terribly mischievous.שלשים ותשע וחצי. מאבר‬ Trans. the passing that does not remain.אפשד לסגד את הרדיו‬ I would like to introduce you to: ‫.‫. Again and again it passes.נא להכיד: זאח רות הים הרוח התיה של הטילת‬ the sea breeze.שובבה להפליא‬ whirling in a bell-skirt. And there is one suitcase that returns and disappears again And returns again. what decorations for valor. Late ‫אידופה. What did you achieve. As in an airport. And they identify theirs with cries of joy As at a resurrection and go out into their lives. And what happened to the unused years of your life? Are they still packed away in pretty bundles. We were separated in our distant childhood and they burned you in the camps. בערך. מאדאם‬ your hand as soft and elegant ‫ידך העדינה כמו‬ 38 . when the arriving travelers Stand tired at the revolving conveyor belt That brings their suitcases and packages. 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 (c. עוד עוד מקדם מקדם‬ you can turn off the radio. A woman on the verge of old age. what shining stars Did they pin on you. סלחי לי. What peace upon you. you would be a woman of sixty-five.Sometimes I remember you. And in places not made for memory But for the transient. in the empty hall. madame. If you were alive now. מה השנה‬ Thirty-nine and a half. This is how I remember you until The conveyor belt stands still. ever so slowly. your Brave soul. the life of the party. I remember you in times Unbelievable. drunk on life. lucid in dark For me. like a wine dealer Who remains sober himself.‫. still awfully early. what Medals for love hung around your neck. what insignia Did they put on your shoulders. wallowing in my forgetfulness. You sober in death. Were they added to my life? Did you turn me Into your bank of love like the banks in Switzerland Where assets are preserved even after their owners are dead? Will I leave all this to my children Whom you never saw? You gave your life to me. This is how your quiet figure passes by me.1991) Dan Pagis (1930-1986) Europe. ‫אני נושק ידך.‫.‫בשמים פודחים בנודוח‬ and a straw hat. what year is it?‫של‬ ?‫ומגבעח של קש. I beg your pardon. Now and then. Amen. your sleeves. טופתח‬ the worried newspapers: tango! tango! ‫!על פני עחונים מדשאגים: טנגו! טנגו‬ And the park hums to itself:‫. At twenty you were burned And I don’t know what happened to you in your short life Since we were separated. slapping down ‫מסתררח שמלוח פעמון. And they stood still.וגן העיד מחנגן לו‬ I kiss your dainty hand. little Ruth. from Hebrew by Stephen Mitchell Violins float in the sky. peace unto you.

‫.‫בחלום‬ No it could never happen here.‫. . מאדאם‬ don’t worry so—you’ll see—it could ‫. look. אדונים הזועקים חזועקים חמס כחמיד‬ nagging miracle-makers.‫. ‫. מגפים‬ How to explain? They were created in the image.‫.הנה הנכם! הכל בעוד מועד‬ Here you are.אל חדאגי כל כך.אח עוד חדאי‬ ‫כאן לעולם‬ Written in Pencil in the Sealed Railway-Car Trans. You’ll see. boots.‫.‫העשן אל ארבות הפח והלאה ופנימה‬ The smoke back to the tin chimney and further on and inside ‫. .בעלינס טורחנים‬ quiet ‫!שקט‬ Everything will be returned to its place. madame.הצעקה אל חוך הגרון‬ The gold teeth back to the gums.לשמם‬ to the sky.‫.אני הייתי צל‬ A different creator made me. from Hebrew by Stephen Mitchell All right. ‫הכל יבוא על מלומו‬ just heavenly—you wait and see.היו בניאדים. ‫לי היה בור אחר‬ 39 .טוב טוב. הם נבראו בצלם‬ I was a shade ‫.‫.הכל יחזד למקומו‬ paragraph after paragraph.וכבר תלרמו עור וגידים וגידי ותחיו‬ and already you will be covered with skin and sinews and you will live.‫ואשר לכוכב הצהב: מיד יתלש‬ As to the yellow star:‫מעל מחזה‬ it will be torn from your chest ‫מעל החזה‬ immediately ‫ויהנר‬ and will emigrate ‫.אל חלל עצמוח‬ back to the hollow of the a white suede glove. read the evening paper. Nothing is too late.‫. from Hebrew by Stephen Mitchell ‫כתוב בעפרון בקרון החתום‬ ‫כאן במשלוח הז‬ ‫אני חוה‬ ‫צם הבל בני‬ ‫אם תראו את בני הגדול‬ ‫קין בן אדם‬ ‫תגין לו שאני‬ (1970) here in this carload i am Eve with my son Abel if you see my older boy Cain son of Adam tell him that i 5 Draft of a Reparations Agreement ‫טיוטח הסכם לשלומים‬ Trans. gentlemen who cry blue murder as always ‫. ‫.‫.כאן לעולם זה לא יקרה‬ ‫.סעיף אחר סעיף‬ The scream back to the throat.הנה עדין תחיו לכם‬ (Date) Testimony ‫עדות‬ Trans. ‫.כסיח העור הלבנה‬ that everything will be all right. from Hebrew by Stephen Mitchell No no: they definitely were ‫לא לא: הם בהחלט‬ human beings: uniforms. קוראים עתון ערב‬ sit in the living room.יושבים בסלון. you will have your lives back.איך להסביר.‫.שני הזהב אל הלסח‬ The terror.

E la vita è qui. incerta a una presenza chiara della vita. the rain upon the rusty poles and the tangled iron of the fences: and neither tree nor birds in the gray air or above our revery. soldier. Come subito si mutò in fumo d’ombra il caro corpo d’Alfeo e d’Aretusa! Da quell’inferno aperto da una scritta bianca: “Il lavoro vi renderà liberi” uscí continuo il fumo di migliaia di donne spinte fuori all’alba dai canili contro il muro del tiro a segno o soffocate urlando misericordia all’acqua con la bocca di scheletro sotto le docce a gas. nella tua storia in forme di fiumi. elegies: only motives for our destiny. that now is here in movement and eternity. lontano dalla Vistola. soldato. along the northern plain. o sei tu pure cenere d’Auschwitz. love. idilli: solo ragioni della nostra sorte. that memory bequeaths unto its silence without irony or ire. d’animali. ma inerzia e dolore. Tu non vuoi elegie. the monster. How suddenly to smoke of shadow altered dear flesh of Alpheus and Arethusa! From that inferno opened by a white inscription: “Labor will make you free” issued continually the smoke of thousands of women. lungo la pianura nordica. funebre. not in an image of dreams. chill. sono Auschwitz. le nostre ore future battere l’al di là. from the kennels forward thrust at dawn against the target wall or suffocated howling mercy unto water with the skeletal mouth under the showers of gas. qui. sono cronaca. blue. Senza nome di simboli o d’un dio. tenera ai contrasti della mente. עליתי קליל. you tender here before the contrasts of the mind. tu. in un campo di morte: fredda. ad Auschwitz. כחל‬ forgiving—I would even say: apologizing— ‫:מפיס. uncertain at a clear presence that is life’s. the myths. o su dal nostro pensiero.וברחתי אליו. they are Auschwitz.והוא בחסדו לא השאיר בי מה שימות‬ And I fled to him. But life is here. but inertia and pain. il mostro. הייתי אומר: מתנצל‬ smoke to omnipotent smoke ‫עשן אל עשן כל יכול‬ without image or likeness ‫. no in un’immagine di sogni. che è qui. They bear no name of symbols or a god. Le troverai tu. la pioggia sulla ruggine dei pali e i grovigli di ferro dei recinti: e non albero o uccelli nell’aria grigia. Italy Salvatore Quasimodo (1901-1968) Auschwitz Laggiú. Auschwitz Trans. or are you. And here the metamorphoses.And he in his mercy left nothing of me that would die ‫. in eterno e in movimento.שאין לו גוף ודמות‬ . luoghi della terra. are places of the earth. distant from the Vistula. too. ‫. are chronicle. in every no that seems a certainty: here we shall hear the angels weep. within the forms of streams. di possibile pietà. in a camp of death: funereal. love. amore. hear our future hours beating on the beyond. there within your history. from Italian by Allen Mandelbaum There at Auschwitz. E qui le metamorfosi. but ash 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 . of possible piety. amore. of animals. You will find them. in ogni no che pare una certezza: qui udremo piangere l’angelo. qui i miti. che la memoria lascia al suo silenzio senza ironia o ira. You seek no idylls. rose weightless.

Cosí stanco che non hai piú spavento. So poor you no longer grieve. Lunga la schiera nei grigi mattini. Empty companion who no longer has a name. 15 In your breast you carry cold. hunger. I read your eyes. Compagno vuoto che non hai piú nome. Con quale viso ci staremmo a fronte? December 20. e ombre infinite di piccole scarpe e di sciarpe d’ebrei: sono reliquie d’un tempo di saggezza. from Italian by Ruth Feldman and Brian Swann You who live secure In your warm houses. a no within us beat. 20 Forsaken man who can no longer weep. Uomo spento che fosti un uomo forte: Se ancora ci trovassimo davanti Lassú nel dolce mondo sotto il sole. you were a strong man. With what kind of face would we confront each other? Shemà Voi che vivete sicuri Nelle vostre tiepide case Voi che trovate tornando a sera Il cibo caldo e visi amici: Considerate se questo è un uomo. Hai dentro il petto freddo fame niente Hai rotto dentro l’ultimo valore. still crowded by amulets and infinite shades of little shoes and shawls of Jews: they are relics of a time of wisdom. Una donna ti comminava al fianco. Fuma la Buna dai mille camini. If we were to meet again 25 Up there in the world. at Auschwitz dead. sotto la pioggia. where love and lamentation rotted and piety. Cosí povero che non hai piú male. laggiú batteva un no dentro di noi. per non ripetere da quella buca di cenere. (c. le nostre metamorfosi. Compagno grigio fosti un uomo forte. Sull’orrore monotono del fango È nato un altro giorno di dolore. So tired you no longer fear. Who return at evening to find Hot food and friendly faces: Consider whether this is a man. our metamorphoses. The whistles terrible at dawn: “You multitudes with dead faces. The Buna smokes from a thousand chimneys. You have broken what’s left of the courage within you. Upon the plains. Ti leggo gli occhi compagno dolente. Un giorno come ogni giorno ci aspetta.1949) of Auschwitz. un no alla morte. On the monotonous horror of the mud Another day of suffering is born. a no to death. Buna Trans. 40 45 50 Primo Levi (1919-1987) Buna Piedi piagati e terra maledetta. Un deserto che non hai piú pianto. beneath the rain. A woman walked at your side. la morte. I see you in my heart. sono i miti.medaglia di silenzio? Restano lunghe trecce chiuse in urne di vetro ancora strette da amuleti. nothing. morta ad Auschwitz.” Compagno stanco ti vedo nel cuore. medal of silence? Long braids remain enclosed in urns of glass. 1945. Terribili nell’alba le sirene: “Voi moltitudine dai visi spenti. Sulle distese dove amore e pianto marcirono e pietà. The long line in the gray morning. sweet beneath the sun. Spent once-strong men. di sapienza dell’uomo che si fa misura d’armi. of man who makes of arms the measure. they are the myths. there.” 5 Tired companion. A day like every other day awaits us. sad friend. from Italian by Ruth Feldman and Brian Swann Torn feet and cursed earth. Shemà Trans. 5 41 . that from that pit of ash. death not repeat. Colorless one.

fears. come in ultimo l’uomo operoso si duole. . when you rise. . 1946 10 15 20 Note: This poem is a parody of the Shema. davanti al nostro consesso? Giurerai per un dio? Quale dio? Salterai nel sepolcro allegramente? O ti dorrai. He lives in toil and joy. uomo cerchiato di morte. . And you shall bind them as a sign on your hand. And anger of the Lord will blaze against you. like the industrious man 5 10 42 . Scolpitele nel vostro cuore Stando in casa andando per via. Blessed be the Name of His glorious kingdom for ever and ever. The live sea beats for ever at our beaches. Without hair or name With no more strength to remember Eyes empty and womb cold As a frog in winter. Repeat them to your children. when you walk on your way. O vi si sfaccia la casa. from Italian by Ruth Feldman and Brian Swann The wind runs free across our plains. Israel. And these words that I command you today shall be in your heart. When you go to bed. nostro prezioso nemico. Man makes earth fertile. Consider whether this is a woman. . and you shall speak of them when you sit at home. he hopes. and he will close the heavens and there will not be rain. I vostri nati torcano il viso da voi. Coricandovi alzandovi: Ripetetele ai vostri figli. For Adolf Eichmann Trans. La malattia vi impedisca. and the earth will not give you its fullness. our precious enemy. E tu sei giunto. What can you say now. January 10. And you have come. Disease render you powerless. Forsaken creature. Tu creatura deserta. a Hebrew prayer. lest your heart be deceived and you turn and serve other gods and worship them. the Lord is our God. Consider that this has been: I commend these words to you. la terra gli dà fiori e fruttie: Vive in travaglio e in gioia. Eterno pulsa il mare vivo alle nostre spiagge.” Levi also paraphrases part of a related passage. man ringed by death. Senza capelli e senza nome Senza piú forza di ricordare Vuoti gli occhi e freddo il grembo Come una rana d’inverno. and they shall be for frontlets between your eyes. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. and when you walk along the way. the Lord is One. .” Per Adolf Eichmann Corre libero il vento per le nostre pianure. as found in Deuteronomy 6:4-9: “Hear.Che lavora nel fango Che non consoce pace Che lotta per mezzo pane Che muore per un sí o per un no Considerate se questa è una donna. Your offspring avert their faces from you. L’uomo feconda la terra. Engrave them on your hearts When you are in your house. Meditate che questo è stato: Vi comando queste parole. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. Or may your house crumble. before our assembly? Will you swear by a god? What god? Will you leap happily into the grave? Or will you at the end. and you will perish quickly from the good land that the Lord gives you. and when you lie down and when you rise up. found in Deuteronomy 11:13:21: ”Beware. . begets sweet offspring. 10 gennaio 1946 Who labours in the mud Who knows no peace Who fights for a crust of bread Who dies at a yes or a no. procrea docli figli. earth gives him flowers and fruits. And you shall teach them diligently to your children. spera e teme. Che saprai dire ora.

bereft of all light. capitelli di colonne rimaste a metà. obstinate and shining. Dell’opera tua trista non compiuta. we do not wish you death. ancient dried-up fountains recovering their song. the air fill with death. e brandelli di scienza. Possa tu vivere a lungo quanto nessuno mai visse: Possa tu vivere insonne cinque milioni di notti. Troverò in paradiso la tua e la mia pazienza. Whose life was too brief for his long art. They were with her through the first 43 . Subsequently. the door that blocked the way back. 20 Iuglio 1960. Approximately between June 25 and July 5. antiche fontane secche che ritrovano il canto. May you live longer than anyone ever lived. This way I hid from the Snatchers who dragged off every Jewish male they could find. I wrote them lying stuck in a broken chimney in my old apartment on Wilkomirska Street 14. private di ogni luce. Lithuania Abraham Sutzkever (b. Lament your sorry work unfinished. 1924) Alle vittime de Mauthausen To the Victims of Mauthausen Trans. Scaglie di stelle esplose. from Yiddish by Barbara and Benjamin Harshav The cycle. In heaven I will find that emaciated rose shoot 5 which bloomed at Mauthausen behind barrack fourteen. And may you be visited each night by the suffering of everyone who saw. Saw it grow dark around him. Dei tredici milioni ancora vivi? O figlio della morte. ostinate a sventolare. innocente. it was hidden in a ghetto cellar and discovered forty-nine years later in Vilnius. bandiere intrise di pianto. Shutting behind him. e velieri arenati. We will piece them together with missed rendezvous. 1960. and stranded vessels. from Italian by Cinzia Sartini Blum and Lara Trubowitz Troverò in paradiso le parole non dette. innocent. miracolata. I wrote the nine poems of “Faces in Swamps” in the first 10 days. Maria Luisa Spaziani (b. non ti auguriamo la morte. 1913) From Faces in Swamps Trans. and scraps of science.Cui fu la vita vreve per l’arte sua troppo lungo. capitals of columns left half done. miraculously healed. 10 tear-drenched flags. l’aria gremirsi de morte. The manuscript contains nine poems with the following note in the poet’s hand: Note. Splinters of exploded stars. Troverò in paradiso quel macilento tralcio di rosa che a Mauthausen fiorì dietro la baracca quattordici. when the Plague marched into Vilna. 15 May you live sleepless five million nights. Its eyes will be the eyes of each thing capable of lasting. Ne faremo un collage con rendez-vous mancatti. My wife carried the poems through all the horrors and tragedies. The thirteen million still alive? Oh son of death. ostinata e radiosa. Intorno a sé farsi buio. E visitarti ogni notte la doglia di ognuno che vide Rinserrarsi la porta che tolse la via del ritorno. In heaven I will find your patience and mine. July 20. obstinately fluttering.” was written in hiding during the first days of the Nazi occupation of Vilna. “Faces in Swamps. Avrà i suoi occhi ogni cosa capace di durare. (1996) In heaven I will find the words not said.

with our flags so fresh! You’re thirsty. were covered with blood. during the Roundup of the Yellow Permits. my wife fled back to the ghetto with the poems. Grateful for a coin tossed to us. Why tremor. Devour us with our children. earth? Did you crack too. When I returned. Is this the golden chain that binds two thousand years. earth. A last groan Defying that blind silence Sealed by a handful of earth. Faces in Swamps Trans. . Who are we? What is The sense of our suffering? If only To be victims of a bloodthirsty lord— Let frogs be born instead of us! The tongue is swollen with the rusty promise That wolf and lamb will dwell together. [Abraham Sutzkever] Ghetto Vilna. As a child resembles father-mother. We. wailing pumps. brother. 1942. . All words fled— Bees from a hive embraced by smoke. Still throbs A flickering nerve saved from destruction.S. But in a backstreet of the mind. in trance? Your nostrils smelled the stench of victim’s flesh? Devour us! We were cursed by overconfidence. our dog’s struggle What does it mean? Our heart’s gone mad. May 16. I found my wife in the hospital where she gave birth to a baby. White doves turned into owls. Mocking our dream that disappeared in smoke. We choke. we Inherit the resemblances of generations’ plague. And overnight our thoughts grew gray. A spiderweb of faces in a swamp will spin to kill: Faces in a swamp—over the sunset. The sun Sowed poison salt on open wounds. Miraculously. from Yiddish by Barbara and Benjamin Harshav Tell me. in prison under Schweinenberg’s whip. where I no longer was—I had fled in the middle of the night. over huts… 5 10 July 6. from Yiddish by Barbara and Benjamin Harshav . 1941 The Circus Trans. Of being waiters at the world’s set table.provocation. In her labor pains. she was clutching the poems in her hands. 5 10 15 20 44 . A. They’re poking fun. will fill With gold of our young bodies your newly opened pits.

Today—at dusk. One whore points out in the clatter To another: See them naked! Stones are falling. With our own hands. on high coils— Rising. the “I am” From a consumed parchment. God is One! Says a neighbor: Pay them stones. Look! Between sword and sheath The voice of paradise looms. This is where it will be found. pay dues to revolutions! We. [Trans. Fire devours. singing Happy Russian songs. we too take part in the dream-plundering. we are forced To tear the silver parchment And toss into the bonfire Like our own limbs. circle. Inscribed on the blackboard of night. But a lion overlooks the branch-covered pit Lurking at his paws. just yesterday. Abysses straightened out their hunchback necks And covered the unburied skulls of generations With hope— And we were ready To accept the blooming wounds as medals. Circle. Around bonfire’s coppery wings. dancing round. We dance: I in the middle. Under whips of steel guards. If you have a feeling—burn it. They’re all hopping in a ring For the joy and for the game. And without a stick the lame And the rabbi—blind and old. And farther. And nothing— He too went up in smoke.] 45 60 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 65 70 . Climbs a sheygets2 on a ladder. we. ho. 2 Sheygets—Gentile boy or young man. in a circle. Peasant woman hops to see: What a circus. Boast of them in a pagan parade: —Ho.The tear chain burdening our souls? It seems. With our blood. with striped backs. At the laughter of yesterday’s comrade— Naked. If there is a bath in hell. forms lost their measure. Letters from Babylon flutter. For a circus costs a fee.

[Trans. don’t they reach you? The blood of your forefathers. Only now can I see how they part: Out of the gray. . And with tears like black pox. I begged for mercy. . For you have not deserved the last bread Of joy: being naught—which means: becoming again. from Yiddish by Barbara and Benjamin Harshav A search all around. And I. And his Sh’ma3 is drowning too In the coldness of the All. my mouth clinging tight To red glints. . drunken and blind. always recited before death.Rabbi falls with stones that fall. Do you see the palace of gray. Gulping death rattles of your brothers. Had no courage to stammer a curse. Who defied my father in his grave. who was the clown in that disgraceful spectacle. your lips are abloom! But who has created this purple art? The fog has created them! See their red tips Sever themselves from bodies and mind. 1941 3 Sh'ma (or Shema)—Jewish profession of faith. . was it never revealed? 75 80 85 90 This is your punishment: to gasp half dead. The bloodhounds—steps of a wrathful God. We lie there in tandem like naked sheaves: The fog and us two—all the rest swam away. where all colors Like suffocated babies sink in the gray. For this is the nature of lips: To love only others. Any peep is a knife.] 46 . Written in a hiding place. They float. But in the no-one-ness. Worse: I knelt naked before him. Cursed one! Where is your old shield That bent the spears of nations? The colors of that image. No strength to throw myself into the death. You nod . As did my brothers in the time of Hadrian the Roman When faith stifled in their body all the pain (Though my heart is poisoned with coal glow And the eyes of my spirit are speared with smoke). But who protected us both with a fog? Do you see? It envelops us . Kissing sparks in ashes flying. insane. early July 1941 Poems written in Vilna Ghetto (1941–1943) They Search Trans. 5 10 15 Vilna Ghetto.

III Alone. Is this the only faithful thing I have left: Music of wolves— The last faithful thing Frozen howls over forest snow? Let it be! Relentless as steel. But if you lose the furious fencing— Your own breath Will freeze you to death.A Pack of Music Trans. It closes in on me. If you win— They will become your own. I warm my hands and regret: Not enough have I known. A pack of music! 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 47 . The warm breath of a pile of dung May become a poem. have I listened To the greatness of smallness. frozen calm. Revealing The meaning of struggle. II With such moments In a forest of snow You have to wrestle Worse than a dying man Fighting his microbes. I warm my icy hands. A voice of a friend! But like my own echo coming back from afar— Music of wolves In a shimmering semicircle. Just two yards of ground are mine— Here I lie. Pure. Sometimes. a thing of beauty. Under the stillness— My naked body. from Yiddish by Barbara and Benjamin Harshav I Over a pile of steaming horse dung. covered by the moon. The birth of fates Locked up in snow. I sharpen my ears For a voice of a friend.

they flicker and endure. III Bring on the cymbals. Your hand on my forehead is dozing: be calm. Zakret Forest. cooing.4 The poi nts of your yellow patch are praying. three roses unheard? I see three bullets. Your prayer brings to me the smell of warm challah. Covered with earth. trying To hide it. you can’t fool your child! How can they bloom here. Though you live in my dream. I know who they are! Don’t cover up. the second. Your other hand on my ear is resting: The voice of the murder I must not hear. Like human limbs. mute the scream of a crow. my wolves. lest anyone hear—for there in a corner. You flicker at the moonshine in a Siddur.5 With fervent prayer you feed the doves. [Trans. on the devilish whirl. Bring joy to a laughter. December 1941 My Mother Trans. my bones are lying. My dearest wolves! Let us be friends. salvation—is near. 4 Siddur—prayer book. Mama.] 48 5 10 15 20 25 . [Trans. Just a day or two.] 5 Challah—braided egg bread. Pack of music— Conquer the world! 45 Vilna. The pupils of your eyes drip with moon. You tremble. let us prowl together On hostile man. especially for the sabbath. In each of your wrinkles my life is concealed. three roses in scarlet red? Don’t cover up. I hear you cough.Come close. purple and wild: The first. Why do they char Your heart. Through fields They chased my naked Mama. from Yiddish by Barbara and Benjamin Harshav I Friday evening in an attic. the third. II You won’t fool me: I know you are dead. Mama-drops illuminate my faith with love.

gray-white: —Mama. I reach a yellow gate with watching sign: “Achtung!6 Plague. fast. I run. as to redemption. here I am. I seek your smallest grain Of dust. In ear—a spider. When cymbals crashed And they dragged you to the scaffold? —in a dog’s kennel. And I fear to watch your window pane. Breathing with your dying. Runs somewhere. in the night. where the sun glows Imprisoned forever. She falls like a dove on the throne of the sun. I falter: The houses—with no souls. On lips—a leech. IV Where was I. Snow-orchestra. And she. Off limits to non-Jews!” With my teeth. With a dog’s joy that curses itself. from shadows dark to set them loose. I feel you in each tremor of the air. every stair. I drop to a threshold of stone. The streets—a burnt-out altar. The wind plays with pearls of snow. I am alone.Her body a ray in the mirrors of snow. faster. I bite through the stone In light of slivered eyewhite panes. three bullets shine. I buried my bones. 6 German: Attention! 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 65 70 49 . Mysterious swirl Against the moon— Whence such splendor? Each tiny pearl Of snow played With its own shadow and the image Gave me such pleasure That I burst into barking— — — V For me. With my mouth. painful and bright. she sees me at last. And through her frozen tear. I peeped through a crack to see: Under the moon—mirror to the night. And amid her confession She sends a blessing to her son. The rifles pound. I’m returning! And the bullets.

Begging for mercy. VII Instead of you. I find a coat of many colors.In the turmoil of my conscience. No longer a shirt—your shining skin. I rip the clothes off my body and creep Into your naked shirt as into myself. a glass of tea You didn’t sip to the end. Your cold. VI I seek the dear four walls Where you once breathed. bashful and raw. the oil lamp You have lit. your everlasting death. The holes of your shirt become my days And the seam of your shirt in my heart like a saw. The stairs dizzying under me Like a whirlpool moiling. I walk into the hollow room Where your dream darkens— Barely flickering. I press it to my heart. On the table. I touch the doorknob and tug The door to your life. it’s a sin! This is our parting— Accept it as right. 90 80 75 85 95 100 105 50 . Fingers still throbbing On its silver rim. my child. the tongue of light In the flickering lamp— I pour into the lamp my blood So it won’t stop shining. It’s a sin. burning. VIII You are talking to me So palpably bright: —Don’t. It seems: A little bird cries In the cage of my fingers.

Next to God— My last plea and commandment: —Strangle me! Strangle me with your Mama fingers That played On my willow cradle. from Yiddish by Barbara and Benjamin Harshav The wheels they drag and drag on. Then I exist too. My soul is a leper. enchants: The shoes piled up and heaped up. and whose? They bring along a wagon Filled with throbbing shoes. 5 10 15 20 25 A Wagon of Shoes Trans. 110 Vilna Ghetto. The wagon like a khupa7 In evening glow. And I will go back To before-my-becoming And be and not be Like a star In water. It will mean: You trusted me with your love. As the pit in a plum Bears in it the tree And the nest and the bird And the chirp and the coo. What do they bring.] 51 5 . It will mean: Your love is stronger than death. from Yiddish by Barbara and Benjamin Harshav Mama. 7 Khupa—wedding canopy. The balm of your kiss— Too holy To breath Into my wounded abyss. October 1942 From a Lost Poem Trans.If you are still here. And maybe more: Yellow madness. I’m sick. But if it is true that you love me as ever. [Trans.

I shudder to see them Even in dark of night. With buttondrops like dew— Where is the little body? Where is the woman too? All children’s shoes—but where Are all the children’s feet? Why does the bride not wear Her shoes so bright and neat? ’Mid clogs and children’s sandals. 5 52 . Every moment I am more an orphan. They drive us to Berlin. The heels tap with no malice: Where do they pull us in? From ancient Vilna alleys. I recognize them all. from Yiddish by Barbara and Benjamin Harshav My every breath is a curse. oh. . it skips a beat: Tell me the truth. 1943 [My every breath is a curse] Trans. My heart.Like people in a dance. a wedding? As dazzling as a ball! The shoes—familiar. A terrifying Gift from the exterminators . . I must not ask you whose. January 1. I myself create my orphanhood With fingers. She’d put them on in glee. Once. They drive us to Berlin. A holiday. through a cobblestone ghetto street Clattered a wagon of shoes. spreading. The heels tap with no malice: Where do they pull us in? From ancient Vilna alleys. 25 10 15 20 30 35 Vilna Ghetto. My Mama’s shoes I see! On Sabbath. Where disappeared the feet? The feet of pumps so shoddy. shoes. still warm from recent feet. like the candles.

Ever since that hour. From your freedom outside. a tfillin on my head. we will knead a redeemer And polish a melody . Our wounds—love will heal. . This poem too is but a howl.And among them. I wail to it My sick prayer and wait For new torments. When I call out your name! But then all shoes. Do not pity— For us. Let me fall on my knees and kiss The dust on your holy throbbing shoe And put it on. I recognized My Mama’s twisted shoe With blood-stained lips on its gaping mouth. . Let me be a hostage to your love. A fever ripped out of its alien body. I run after them. from Yiddish by Barbara and Benjamin Harshav I . Looked the same as Mama’s. July 30. We walled ourselves in And live apart. As long as the outside is yours— Ours is the ghetto. 10 15 20 25 30 35 Vilna Ghetto. even death can blossom into wonder. No one to listen. here we will lie And from God’s heart. Mama. Alone with my thirty years. II 53 10 5 . In their pit they rot— Those who once were called Papa. Child. my mind is a twisted shoe. woven in my tears. How can we sit together With you in one place? Your hatred for us will poison you like mice. — Mama. My stretched-out arm dropped back As when you want to catch a dream. And as once upon a time to God. Mama. I am alone. . 1943 On the Anniversary of the Ghetto Theater Trans. . do not smile at us.

Another pulls a bunch of wood on rails. well-known teacher in Vilna. Performing tomorrow Over the rooftops . They chase us in the ghetto. . Evading patrols. A woman drags a person by the nails. And you. 8 Teacher Mira—Mira Bernstein. Shuffling past houses.] 54 5 10 . . let Yiddish sound. She clasps another child by his frail hand. Old people wearing tfillin like black crowns. When red drops of your loved ones are seething on stones. Pure and clean as the ghost of a slaughtered child. And as they get to Jew Street. [Trans. Stone faces walk with us at each decree. Who stole out at night Into the lurking outside. They celebrate a wedding at an autumn graveyard With Jewish singing and dancing light. A calf walks with a village Jew in tow. where a Jew still shimmers . And the alleys convulse like half-slaughtered hens And cannot arise. . Our buildings say farewell eternally. Where a heart still trembles. The students walk around her—trusting band. waiting for good tidings. striped and parching. Harsh and hoarse as the voice of our rifle and gunpowder. 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 Vilna Ghetto. A child is in her arms—a golden lyre. Teacher Mira. Among them walks a woman. Perform. organized the school in the ghetto. Creeping to your ruined old home And digging up your fiddles Planted before your march into the ghetto— You play too! Pluck out the deepest tones! Let them carry above your bones And stray far. Performing tomorrow Over the rooftops . there’s a gate. fly away. 1942 Teacher Mira8 Trans. in tatters and in walls. Jewish actors. Where life shrivels like hair that caught fire. . streets are marching. over front lines. Let them carry over fields. friends! Let us think: it’s a shtetl of yore. flee . December 31.Perform. from Yiddish by Barbara and Benjamin Harshav With patches on our bodies. . Harsh and hoarse as the voice of our rifle and gunpowder. Pure and clean as the ghost of a slaughtered child. melancholy fiddlers. . . In a joyous circle around the bride and groom! Perform! From your mouth. .

She ties blue ribbons in the girls’ braids And counts her treasures: hundred thirty heads. wait. they huddle. no bread. they laugh so proud. It opens up and swallows in its blood. They drag from cellars. A river you can swim in. with branches green She trimmed the orphaned room. a windowpane in stains of dusk. He assassinated the Russian governor of Vilna for flogging Socialists after a May Day demonstration and was hanged. better not to count! For overnight. And seventeen more children she can’t find. She counts. of courage she will tell: About Hirsh Lekert. They are but sixty. gray covered all the town. our children’s choir will ring. waits for her children to go on. Bread is a book. hidings. And overnight. She reads Sholem Aleichem’s9 tale aloud. each child bereft. at dawn Awakes. [Trans. Mira must not reveal the darkness thus.” sings higher.] 10 Hirsh Lekert—(1879-1902) a shoemaker and Bund activist in Vilna who organized an armed attack to liberate political prisoners. A holiday approaches. A sparkle in their eyes. Her skin." organized a choir in the ghetto as well. When sun dried up the blood. Lekert became a hero of the Jewish labor movement and self-defense. with no sister. a play she loves. and beat.] 11 Gershteyn—well-known music teacher. They come. And Teacher Mira’s hair. Axes and bayonets smash.The wood still warm and raw. But each in a white shirt. her silver crown. like the sun. Now Teacher Mira is one and the other. crush. mother. [Trans. They chase us over ruins. higher. but the choir Sings on “Not far is spring. so neat and clean: —Gershteyn11 the teacher came and we shall sing. She gathers all her children on the floor. Over the walls.10 how he fought and fell.” But in the street. The fête—and only forty children left. some twenty were cut down.] 55 . little doves. They sing: “Not far is spring. The stage is fresh. Teacher Mira goes on teaching as before. 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 9 Sholem Aleichem—(1859-1916) classical Yiddish fiction writer. famous for his humor and popular style. We shall prepare a play. And Teacher Mira. She bites her lip. a pencil shines so bright. [Trans. She seeks in cellars for her mother blind. you can run. no light. a garden in the sun. Oh. leader of the "Gershteyn Choir. And like a sluice for torrents of a flood.

with old wisdom inbred. A flower. And now. once again we broke open the seal Of a strangely familiar. poured in lead. Liquid lead brightly shining in bullets so fine.] 14 Rom Printers—publishing house and printing press famous for its classical editions of the Babylonian Talmud. Ancient thoughts—in the letters that melted hot. Thus did. in the foundry pot. poured in oil that was saved.] 56 . Y. our forefathers wield The golden menorahs. 5 10 15 20 Vilna Ghetto. The heroic fall of those granite walls. September 12. flooded together. from Yiddish by Barbara and Benjamin Harshav Two years I longed for stalks. she on her knees. When I struggled in the vise That caught me 12 Peretz. hidden in word and in sign. again she’ll blossom. Took in the words. a timeless dark cave. May 10. Tomorrow in the dew. Heaven! Of a hundred thirty. The Rom printing plates.] 13 Snatchers — Lithuanians employed by the Nazis to catch given numbers of Jews for forced labor. and her children—buzzing bees. L. from Poland a line. Must now explode the whole world with a shot! And he who saw Jewish youth in their prime Clutching the weapons in ghetto halls— He saw the last struggle of Yerushalayim. out of time. [Trans. And armored in shadows. Gray is the flower.—(1851-1915) Yiddish writer. Till axes split her mind. [Trans. as in spite. The peril has cut down the rickety house." on Jewish martyrdom. [Trans. Boiled. in the Temple. and the time is awesome. The poem refers to his story. And heard in his heart: their ancient voice calls. Jewish valor. 55 60 Vilna Ghetto. People were caught by snatchers!13 Save us. A line from Babylonia. 1943 The Lead Plates of the Rom Printers14 Trans. 1943 From Partisan Forest (1943–1944) Stalks Trans. "Three Gifts. Silent stalks in a familiar field. We dreamers now have to be soldiers and fight And melt into bullets the soul of the lead. from Yiddish by Barbara and Benjamin Harshav Like fingers stretched out through the bars in the night To catch the free light of the air that is shed— We sneak in the dark to grab up. Mira remains with seven.When Peretz’s12 third gift took all the bows. We poured out the letters—in lead lines engraved. with candles concealed.

my brothers. a stalk searching for a way— A hand reaching out of the earth. The suffering. weeping— What do I see now in the evening light? I see a field with stalks.And blocked The road. And a cornflower through an eye. from Yiddish by Barbara and Benjamin Harshav I Don’t count the toll of wounds. higher. I reached my longed-for field— They lay there. grew through The skulls. weary. And rushing to me closer. the scar. And there. But when I came. Killed over the field. comes a mower And mows the afterwar fresh bread. And the stalks with glowing spears. 5 57 . And climbed higher. The green road to those stalks— But not the stalks in the familiar field. through the sunset. As if each stalk rushed to overtake The others. September 1943 To My Wife Trans. the stalks are ripe. Layer upon layer. 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 Narocz Forest. You have ignited once A newborn baby star. One stalk Went wandering Through a mouth with clenched teeth! Two stalks crept through shoulders. so walked I Through burned cities To that call. blood red.” And as fate walks. o the sun that gathers back its light. son of man. And when my breath melted the vise— A wind in my veins Whistled and called: —”Get up. And at your feet. a spring In our dark cave has curled. higher. And suddenly a baby’s Cooing has touched the world. Now your own body is like a stalk. the ribs.

The newborn baby star. And every time the rifle Spits out the chunk of lead. But up above us no one Must hear what must be sealed. Dear. it rises.And like the purest spring The word was then revealed. My spirit too did lift. Through swamp and growth so wild. And what can take its place. Appears here in the field. desolate and wild. And over all our wounds. Our suffering. It fills our minds. In pink of dawn. It dozed off in its rest. The small bones of our child. 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 Narocz Forest. As air fills up the world. I knelt for you in thanks. The axes and the crowbars Have plundered in the night. September 30. 1943 58 . In its dull glow we see The child that we have bred. But still before we thought A name for him that’s right. you see. I brought you from above Two blades of grass. You hold in hand a rifle— A shadow of your child. a shield. A German came and ripped him Away from mother’s breast. When from afar they glow. our scar. It did not disappear. It leads up on a ladder Close to ourselves. a gift. II A child is not an other— It’s you alone and me. III —And breathlessly we rush. The babe knew not a thing.

October 9.דורך באגינעז דיינעם‬ on and on the dark footsteps go. . . דערשפירז‬ dark footsteps ‫שווארצע טריט‬ amid the grass and plants. On frog-keys They play A hymn to the swamps.איז גילדענער שרעק‬ say to me:‫אוז איך הער ווי א בת'קול‬ You’ve wiped a blemish ‫:זאגט מיר לאמור‬ off the earth.ווי א קויל ניט צו רירן‬ with poems turned into powder ‫מיט געפולווערטע לידער‬ and loaded into my gun. 9טז אקטאבער‬ March Through Swamps Trans. We carry Forest-partisans on naked shoulders.‫.צו דערהארכז. draws us in.די שווארצע טריט‬ I am a wolf and a poet in one.‫. from Yiddish by Barnett Zumoff ‫ד‬ With Vilna in my heart ‫.‫גייעז. We splash Through flooding copper.פוז דער ערד א פלעק‬ Narotsh Forest. Behind us— In wheeling circles. גייעז‬ I know this:‫.‫אוז באפריי פוז דער ביקס‬ ‫.א ליד נאך א ליד‬ A shot. א פאל‬ sprinkles my brow ‫אוז דער טוי פוז די ביימער‬ with gilded fear.‫. 1943 1943 ‫נאראטשער וואלד.‫.Narotsh Forest ‫נאראטשר וואל‬ By Abraham Sutzkever Trans.‫האסט אפגעווישט‬ ‫.צווישז גראז און געוויקס‬ Through the new-grown grass. the enemy.‫באשפריצט מיינע ברעמעז‬ And I hear a Heavenly voice ‫. from Yiddish by Barbara and Benjamin Harshav Swamps. The dew from the trees ‫.געלאדן אין ביקס‬ I lie here in a ditch ‫קיג איך באוו‬ to listen and detect ‫. A fall.‫.מיט ווילנע אין הארץ‬ like a bullet that cannot be removed. the melting soil. Swamps. sunk somewhere deep . Swamps. 5 10 15 59 .גורך פרישז גראז‬ through the unspoiled dawn. The legs.‫:איך ווייס‬ and I release from the gun ‫כיביז א וואקפ אוז א דיכטער איז איינעם‬ poem after poem. Ahead— Breathing in moon-scales— Winks.א בליץ.

Not silent.Deeper. Near his mother. We draw to the island. marbled and blue. The fist of a naked old man in surprise: He cannot release his force from the ice. How strange: she cannot give him her breast. Nightier. The sun too lies frozen in snow at night. clutching the guns. 20 25 30 35 40 Zazherye Forest. 1943 Frozen Jews Trans. Hail Pounding on naked bodies Frosty flaming sweat. a baby starving. 60 5 10 . no hint and no clue. Soon—soon— The naked bodies will sink. from Yiddish by Barbara and Benjamin Harshav Did you ever see in fields of snow Frozen Jews. October 13. at rest. Bold. Of death in their bodies. bolder! We carry wounded partisans on our shoulders. On a rosy lip. in the freeze. Abyss. We shall get there. Bellies—bound with glowworm belts. Arms—no longer strain to stretch High up. Somewhere their spirit is frozen and saved Like a golden fish in a frozen wave. still glows A smile—will not move. in row upon row? Breathless they lie. Not speaking. Glimmer— A star in the mud— Is rest there? Knees—ensnarled in phosphor-nets. not budge since it froze. the hidden hill. And tear apart net after net— — We harden the swamps with our will. They grasp how real is The serpentine intoxication. Only a lost sigh over shoulders Floods consciousness Over our maddened senses. Just thinking bright.

or task. as fresh as dew. blue bones in a row— Frozen Jews over plains of snow. And all the figures drowned inside a mirror. The slaughter-house. like glowworms turned cold. July 10. my body Was buried deep. like madness. Who cannot release his force from the ice. I slithered through the alleys ghetto-old. the sbul-yard. hatred. 15 20 Moscow. But now. My skin is covered with a marble veil. Two-legged curse. smouldering wood. splintered panes. My words slow down. straying in the mire? In crucible of Jew-set melted down A silver candlestick. seek some meaning in the sight? My every limb opened an eyelid wide To see through agonies a blinding light. till night stood at my head. A woman stops. a chimney dark with age. A child in cradle. I am as rich as you. rifle raised in terror. If now you have no better way. Was it the rain. 1944 Clandestine City (1945–1947) (Episodes from the epic poem) Trans. disheveled Half-slaughtered chickens. Locking the lightning into drops of lead? Or did a dream command my sight to cut Through layers. I have tasted all kinds of death. My motions freeze. right in the street: They come toward me. my light that is frail. will catch my breath. Come to Clandestine City and don’t ask. overcome in the mid-July heat By a frost. tin-tapping over me. She stretches out her other arm: No stranger. A gutter. like the old man’s surprise. A welding of that crucible. from Yiddish by Barbara and Benjamin Harshav A Nation of Ten Remember how the autumn sun sent spiders To spin our houses in a net of fire? Remember people on that day. Life cuddles in her arm. None will surprise me. rage. as poor as you. 5 10 15 20 25 30 61 . who has invited you To pose so slyly as a godly splinter? My question broken off—I heard steps shuffle Like dry leaves crackling on the eve of winter. espies me in the ruins. Glass in my hair.So far.

What can I lose? I, soaked in searing fires, Leaping in clay of silence on mute stages, The last remaining man, the very last In narrow streets set up like scorching cages. The air still flashes lightning, stung with sparks, Riddled by bullets, and with torments filled. The woman, old and gray now, limped ahead And lifted from the ground a rusty grill. The sunshine was unable to pursue us When we descended in abyss of sewers. Now, would it ever have occurred to you That there, where filthy sewer water splashes, Our sole, our only sanctuary be? You would have said, that prophet mocks and rash is. But now, with silly skin on waist and thighs, I swim in the thick stench, through sticky dark Of mouse-hole cupolas. To whom to turn? Where is a place for rest, a ray, a star? We stopped, the waves rolled over us and moved And giggled in mouse language: “my beloved.” My memory will not recall how long I swam through pipes, some narrow and some broad— An hour? A year? Eventually we came Upon a clearing outside of the road. Abandoned sewer, like a cellar clear, Where murky waters hadn’t coursed for years. But human voices muted the dank calm And figures faintly in the dark appear Like shadows cloaked in fog, emerge cloud-gray. And she who brought me here greets them: Good day! Black eyeballs in the dark, they sniff my flesh Like animals around a newborn babe, Their fingers—graying motions, stretching out To touch in me a kin lost with no grave. —A Jew still living?—and a murmur thin: Are we the last remaining ten? (Above, An iron grate, we saw a speck of sky Andhovering in air a sunny dove.) —Often—a breath curled bluish in the hollow— A nation will arise, to spite the Moloch. The stripe of sunshine falling through the grate Flees like a thief where murky pipes their war had. I see: one shadow has a yellow patch, Another—tfillin blooming on his forehead. And in the dark, springs up a shimmering sound: Swaddled in kerchief, singing baby-cries. Behind the melody, the tear-filled echo— A child!—How could we then believe our eyes? But she who brought me here began to tell: I found the trembling nestling in a well.












The child was sobbing loud. Its echo went To seek redemption far, in other worlds. —How goodly are your tents, Ma tovu, Jacob, Somebody rumbles on, when tears are pearls. That moment, what would be the baby’s fate None in Clandestine City dared imagine. A hand swam in out of the cosmic shores, Transforming our last minyan into legend. Reality thus met me underground When I departed from my slaughtered town.



The Sewers
We were just ten of us in underground, Each of the shadows’ dreams cut us asunder. The darkness slashed me with an ancient sword, With copper vaults, with dark medieval wonder. Little by little, in each moving shadow I smelled myself—the part of me I lack. I tasted of his mind, kneaded myself in him, My world did not so gloomily wail back. And as I yearned for Vega and for Sirius— They flashed before my eyes, bright and mysterious. And like the pupil of my eye, growing familiar With all the dark, has nimbly turned it into White light that window-covered our black lair, Where the reflections of a thousand splinter Rivulets waved—so an outlandish force Has wrestled with the dreadful stench, abhorring, And finally exchanged it, as forever, For scent of fresh mown hay on a cool morning, For scent of Friday nights, of rolls with cream, That each of us still savored in his dream. The sewers, channels, pipes are different, Like highways, roads, and lanes in forests deep. (We shall discuss it clearly in its place.) Most times the water is subdued, you creep Out for a “stroll.” In raintime, it will rise With shrieks and whistles like a witch’s song, Flow over through oblique cracks, slits, and holes Into the “storm canal,” neck-slim and long, Roaring under the broadest street, it goes. Galloping like a horde of buffalos And thundering down into another stream, Runs into the Viliya. Brotherly Accompanied by various side pipes, branching From under narrow streets that suddenly Contribute to the flood in time of rain. The flow brings from all backstreet yards Eternal filth like an infernal fire, Strikes on your swooning brow—hard, stinking shards. At night a smaller stream, mute, barely born,









The pipes—they gurgle soft like organs torn. And in a pipe where “Springs of Vingree Street” Flow all together, sweeping their discards, And branch out underground as stammering strings, There in a pipe not wide, three-quarter yards, Above the junction—hollowed out a moon, A hole in metal ceiling. Through the hole You can creep in, without the slightest danger, Into a cavern, walk erect and bold. This is our own, dug out and safe Malina. We dwell here under wings of the Shekhina.15 Who are the “we” that secretly inhabit The water palaces that may astound? I’ll modestly describe here all the figures. I’ll tell the truth as witnessed underground: Elul, five thousand seven hundred three. No Jews in Vilna. The last transports left Not to return, to sounds of autumn wailing. The Teacher Gdalye jumped out through a cleft, Searched for a hiding, slid down to this trench. Slid down—and fraternized with all the stench. Next morning—he encountered someone, Folye, With him his mother, the leaseholder Esther, And plaited close his further lot with theirs. The mama, used to dark holes that would nest her, Crept out of swampy night into the air And gathered among ruins, empty houses, Trampled potatoes scattered in the mud And peas. Her generosity arouses Our praise for all the presents that she shares. There is a lot to tell of all her cares. Meanwhile, there came Arona, refugee From Hamburg, does not like our Yiddish speech, He sees the language as the greatest danger, Caresses his own fate in cotton. Each A character. The water roared and thundered (A sign that in the city rain is falling), And brought, as on a swaying motorcycle Of waves, a guy out of the blue came calling. He leaps down from the saddle, like hot news: “I’m Doctor Lippman! You don’t know me, Jews?” And then they found in a calm, far-off corner, Where only moon-mice splash and moon-bats hover, A man enshrouded in his tfillin bands, His countenance—the face of a cadaver. His locks slathered with lime. Instead of clothes— His body wrapped in parchment. The hermit Nathan. Perhaps an angel pointed out the secret Where Jews hide in the earth, to show his faith in
15 . Shekhina—the feminine, maternal aspect of God, Divine Presence protecting men. [Trans.]












Her story will be told. We call her Kreyne here. The parchment letters worn outside. chased in a free-for-all domain. Get used. . Doctor. Winking and beckoning with mystery of hues. in fear. “You. The world is topsy-turvy. A primus. Make sure the drinking water does not kill. And you may sleep at night. The worries of a child Need mother’s hand. rely on that. Her name is Debby. I’ll bring a jar of milk. and a sheet. You. and you must assure That sudden torrents do not come and maim Our hiding place. you’ll be alert 5 10 15 20 25 65 . A cradle we will shortly get. Their meaning is unknown here. Meanwhile did Esther. hope moved unchained. It glimmers from afar. a shining star. far and wide.” “And you. a lamp of oil. 90 95 100 105 110 The House on Vingree Nation often! With due consideration. caressing.” To the blind man who didn’t give his name— “You’ll guard the entrance.” he went on. and mild.His fate. A group of ten. guard us if you can from All illness. “Mister So-and-So. “hunting” for some food. write a chronicle For future generations.” So Folye mumbled into Kreyne’s ear. Make sure that we all wash. And later came to our retreat.” “And you who are about to be a mother. A dozen buried characters remained Where just a moldy demon lurks in wait. Folye distributed our functions here: To carry out precisely. An unseen rose . On the far side of death. under a grate. escaped from a mass grave With snow-white hair. It’s said and done. it will endear Itself to you. Then. Bring from outside a shining ray of fate. they say. But right before our lips. When we are all awake. till the hour Of our release from sewers will appear. “You feed the baby that my mother brought The other day. Did Deborah discover a blind man. I’m sure the doctor will Help you. Lippman. The city sank. but where and when? And I was number ten. keep up our will. A girl. firm. you are good at that. Teacher. . incessantly it called. But before you could Touch with your fingers her delicate dews— The rose has vanished. A pregnant woman. day by day. Opened a morn in morning. Gdalye.

” The refugee Arona. Divided for each one his share of fate. I’ll gladly help.In daytime. hear their noise and dirt. 1945–1947 Resurrection16 By Abraham Sutzkever Trans. And thus spake My soul of bones: See. 30 35 40 45 50 55 Written in Moscow-Lodz-Paris. The victim never must forget his ax. You comrade poet.” Folye has whispered in young Debby’s ear. Still wrapped around in his tin parchment. guard our house. our dirty shirts. “And you will wash our clothes. To awaken my friends. come light up our drear With poetry. Folye appointed to become the master Of gathering money from us all and hiding Our state treasury somewhere in plaster. with his reasoned gait. Invisibly crept closer up.” [Trans. We’ll try to get some bread And nimbly he’ll distribute it to all So that the hunger will not strike us dead. to say: “My friends. from Yiddish by Barbara and Benjamin Harshav I searched for the Shofar of Messiah In specks of grass. I ripped my spirit from my body 16 Resurrection—the poem refers to Sutzkever's return to Vilna immediately after its “liberation. “If difficult. We looked with joy and fear. “Decide your task. With admiration for the hoary sage. in scorched cities. beware And pull the hanging cord I shall prepare. I glow Inside you.” Foyle appealed to Rabbi Nathan. with awe and rage. we must. Aside from that. At first the refugee was skeptical a bit But then. Food is Mama’s task. accepted it. “And you. good and sound.] 66 .” We heard his words as a refined example Of human loyalty not to be found. Why look for me outside? And in my great Forged rage. allow me to become your cobbler. no questions asked. trained in finance. gray.” But the old hermit. And I will bring the warm hard bread of vengeance. If a suspicious sound you hear. I want to help with something. hold in your hand The pulse of sewers. A nation of just ten Is still a nation. he’s crowned to be the guard Of the larder.” This is how Folye.

your earth is foul! —From the punishment of living we were once freed! —We don't need your time. I once lived in your word.] 67 . especially after Yom Kippur. Vanish. Shevorim—the blowing of the Shofar on the Jewish High Holidays. Bound to one another's hands with rope— They march through Hell Street of my memory. Dressed in the same blue gown. Your blind limping time. Shevorim. Blessed are You honest voyagers. go away. A dream of their minds. And human words I heard: —We don't want. I become A bone of their bone. And not the stars— Our non-light glimmers brighter! —Reality. A boot shoved me in among them. Twisted. Only one. Good morning. with a voice unheard Like the blooming of a forest. madmen. Between blond rifles and genuflecting Gentiles— They march for years and years and years From madhouse to ghetto—sick Jews. destined one— — —Who are you. I feel good. played out is your war. the world is now free. that your command should be heard? And grass language answered me: God. Past the Green Bridge. See how pure The stars are rocking for your sake! But the earth—like a river— Flowed away with grass and stone. gall-splattered huts. from Yiddish by Barbara and Benjamin Harshav In blue gowns—like bells down to their soles. Leave your not-being in the graves And leap out with blessing. [Trans. that's us. cursed dream! Gambled away. 1945 In Blue Gowns Trans. Yearning: Redeem me. on my hands 5 10 17 Tekiya.17 Come to life. Moscow.Like a sharp horn Of a living animal And began to blow: Tekiya. called to me.

in long blue gowns. naked. No thicker than the spungold tavern Where a weary dewdrop staggers in For the night. unused colors. But the face—a palette of a wild. the door was never locked? And he. II How far is a bygone second? Just one second far From any today and tomorrow. A shadow of a brush dances on their skull. My neighbor is himself a bygone second Covered with a mask To conceal 5 10 15 20 68 . Thus they march through Hell Street of my memory. No thicker than a shadow Flayed from the flesh— Wherefore do I never succeed in opening the door When.A rope—it will lead us all together To new gates. in a gown blue as the Viliya. still breathing. They march for years and years and years. in an alien Otherworldliness. as then. 15 20 25 30 (1966) The Smile of Maidanek Trans. To be further away From Germans. Never felt such joy with Jews in my grief. my bosom-friend. The door is not locked. Marching on the pavement to the ghetto and the bonfire. Every head is shorn. Wherefore can he not go through the same door to his neighbor And simply say to him good-morning? The door is lucid as fear. And I thank today. Late-summer blue. from Yiddish by Barbara and Benjamin Harshav I No thicker than the membrane of an eye— My neighbor’s door. after all. Such a huddling with Jews is a blessing. to new walls. Further away. From madhouse to ghetto—madmen. for the honor To be chained with the lowest of the low. My poison-friend. Messiah our Lord marches With us all. dead painter: Dried up.

talk— He casts out. Barefoot. raining panic on old and young: It won’t let you dream. Feet dangling. When someone long ago dredged up from the red belly My neighbor’s parchment city of Jews? He holds a little mirror in his hand And casts. III My neighbor knocks on the door As if to say: A hollow attic vessel. As in childhood Fishing in lulav reedy water— My neighbor sits. Is it the apple’s fault I carry such a hump? IV On a crematorium chimney in the Land of Poland. He is his own catcher On the long Thin pole. God’s mercy on the earth-born. As in childhood Spots of sun on grandpa’s face— A green smile. I’m moving out of here. Just hit it a little harder And it crumbles into ash and dust And all the seas swing back into the sky And put out the bonfires we call the stars. the earth is cracked. He’s dreaming: The hook of his own pole Trapped him With a glimmering worm.His wound. be silent. In opera. So maybe you can lend me wings To fly away to a safer planet? Without a second thought. He is himself his own legend. 60 35 25 30 40 45 50 55 69 . VI The smile of Maidanek falls On wedding and bris. casts into you The smile of Maidanek. V What do you think he’s doing on the chimney.

to recover the place where I was born. In creases of your bread and salt. your ballad. VII And nobody knows that on anointed. quicker than nails. Ponders the beautiful reality that is not real. Yanova. ascending in dreams as a pilgrim to you. On the tall building of the United Nations. Salty conscience. Burgundy Or Tokay. You saved my tears from the flame. from Yiddish by Cynthia Ozick And when I go up as a pilgrim in winter. 5 10 70 . High-domed Summer nights. In snowy or rainy spaces. in your cellar you’ll hide me. I planted a sapling (it doesn’t suffice) in your name. and the twin to self I am in my mind. On every tremor Of a sound. And higher—on the silver wanderer To the abysses. like mushrooms. my saviour.Theater. In the wings. Feet dangling. Thank you. Children and grandchildren you rescued from death. as in childhood— My neighbor sits in Poland on a chimney. under my breath: Thank you. And you. Nothing more. She’ll hear what I whisper. It falls on squat depots. The green smile falls On your elegy. Barefoot. 65 70 75 80 85 90 (1966) 1980 Trans. Time in its gyre spins back down the flue faster than nightmares of nooses can ride. then I’ll go in black snow as a pilgrim to find the grave of my saviour. Barely mapped. The smile falls With hissing fire Into the best wine. And what my neighbor does is ever the same: He holds in his hand a little mirror.

the by a huge table. a man I’d never seen before. as did the long shadows falling from the chairs’ backrests Later. didelėj salėj great hall prie milžiniško stalo. he said vyras. my skull’s goblet brimming with the wine of information aged a hundred my head spun from it. 1965) Biblioteka Trans. truputį greblavo 10 tardamas raidę „r“ the “r” sounds a jumping cog in his throat Siūlė pirkti laikrodį.—turėsiu to remember 20 ką atsiminti. . Sir. 15 Sigitas Parulskis (b. svaigsta netgi ilgi šešėliai. in the evening. be jokios kišenėlės kišeniniam laikrodžiui. from Lithuanian by Medeinė Tribinevičius Library staiga atsiveria lentynos ir įeina berniukas . every one of your minutes bus aukso vertės. Kornelijus P. I’m making my pencil its pledge. kartu su manim 5 suddenly the shelves opened and a boy I was sitting in the library reading room. mano kaukolės taurė buvo sklidina šimtą metų išlaikyto informacijos years vyno. nuogą. jau į pavakarę prie manęs priėjo niekad Anksčiau nematytas vyras juodais drabužiais Pasisakė esąs prekiautojas. nesigailėsit you won’t regret it.You’ll come from the yard in your slippers. 1908 metų gamybos. without even a little pocket for a pocket watch. sakė He offered me a watch. an aged father of three.1998) 71 . made in 1908. o will be solid gold. kiekviena jūsų minutė this year’s pick. . krentantys nuo kėdžių atkalčių Vėliau. saying these words the man’s voice šiuos žodžius vyriškio balse pasigirdo took on a pathetic tone—I will have something patetiškos gaidelės. you’re bringing me milk and bread sliced thick at the edge. Kornelijus P. dressed in black. varys į dujų kamerą 25 when in 1943.—tariant even to me Sir. came in . approached me he said he was a salesman. pone. burring a little. me. svaigau ir atrodė. kai 1943 metais mane. degraded and low. pone. absolutely alone. Sėdėjau bibliotekos skaitykloj. naked. visiškai vienas. . they’ll herd me into the gas chamber (c. . Again I’m there in the cellar. crunching the snow so I’ll know. pagyvenusį trijų vaikų tėvą. You’re making the sign of the cross. „Solo“ kišeniniai paauksuoti laikrodžiai su grandinėle— “Solo” gilded pocket watches with chain— pats geriausias the very best 15 šių metų pasirinkimas. ir aš.

Full gorged they chose their roost keeping the hollowed remnant in easy range of cold telescopic eyes . a pebble on a stem rooted in a dump of gross feathers. perhaps even fall asleep—her face turned to the wall! . inclined affectionately to hers. Strange indeed how love in other ways so particular will pick a corner in that charnel-house tidy it and coil up there. Yesterday they picked the eyes of a swollen corpse in a water-logged trench and ate the things in its bowel. .Nigeria Chinua Achebe (1930) Vultures In the greyness and drizzle of one despondent dawn unstirred by harbingers of sunbreak a vulture perching high on broken bone of a dead tree nestled close to his mate his smooth bashed-in head. Thus the Commandant at Belsen Camp going home for the day with fumes of human roast clinging rebelliously to his hairy nostrils will stop at the wayside sweet-shop and pick up a chocolate for his tender offspring waiting at home for Daddy's return . . . . Praise bounteous providence if you will that grants even an ogre a tiny glow-worm tenderness encapsulated in icy caverns of a cruel 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 72 . . .

Deloused from a filthy. When amid graves and phantoms you go. Thus by the powerful betrayed. to human shambles— So that your David’s Star deride The sling that once the mighty laid Upon their backs. 45 (1973) Poland Kazimierz Wierzynski (1894-1969) To the Jews Trans. The early whipping and your fall. so the you confide. on that same night. when in loneliness you call: “Will no one see how great’s my plight?” Look whom they dragged through the empty hall. They shared your anguish to the last. 73 25 5 10 15 20 30 . And. Son of the same fathers. in promises of aid. if you seek your neighbors Among the ghosts. Of heaven and earth demand: O why? Son of the same mothers. Look how in graves our kin were laid. Today all mixed in a handful of ash. So that your fate you might decry. Who for bullets sold the world like trash. Your bones in ovens thickly stacked. Till death. as we all. They’re brothers from gas chambers. stinking stall. To be destroyed and tortured in your prime. Thus aching. don’t stare aghast. with a number on your back. as we all. Right near your home. for the countless time Of man’s progeny upon this earth. To be later driven in line tumbrels Out of your misery and ruins By human butchers. And now to suffer scientific death— Herded into the ghetto slums. Thus. from Polish by Adam Gillon You were picked again.heart or else despair for in the very germ of that kindred love is lodged the perpetuity of evil.

cool. but finally free. thus selected of us all. W Hrubieszowie. Addresses of burnt In an old address book I found phone numbers Of dead friends. Już za miastem na szosie.1946) Antoni Slonimski (1895-1976) Notes Znalazłem w starym notesie Numery telefonów Umarłych przyjaciół. I hear breathing. ślady uprzątnięto footprints I wapnem sinym czysto wybielono ściany. April 19. Karczewie. I śpiewu nasłuchiwał z drewnianej bóżnicy. Silence. chłodny. żydowskie łachmany. Karczew. the bardic 74 . the Jewish rags have vanished. 35 40 (c. I wait.blogspot. So afflicted in Warsaw you rose. nie masz w Polsce żydowskich No more. Look what remained of our temple to those Who fought and earned their bloody fee. Who for Messiah still prepare. Oddech słyszę. alien. Błyszczy tu księżyc jeden. You whom tears have frozen at the Wall. Nowadays my kinsmen. Ktoś podnosi słuchawkę. Or perhaps a whisper of fire. Brodach. Adresy spalonych domów. from Polish by Jotbepoems. Ah. 1943 Nie masz już. from Polish by Isaac Komen in honour of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. Cyfry nakręcam. Look what shame was sown by the foe As he opened his Hell in our land. Czekam.And subdued by dark powers you stand. miasteczek. They sprinkled sand over the blood. pale. The last scourings. Falenicy Vainly would you look for lighted candles in windows. 5 Znikły reztki ostatnie. obcy. At least to die. I dial. And whitewashed the walls with bluish lime. no more Jewish townships in Poland. Jewish boys. Cisza. Someone picks up the receiver. Falenica. A może szept ognia. 10 One moon shines here. In Hrubieszcrow. gdy noc się rozpala. Brody. The phone rings. Like after a plague or for a great feast day. Look how Jerusalem we share. Elegia miasteczek żydowskich Elegy Trans. Próżno byś szukał w oknach zapalonych świckzek And listen for chanting from a wooden synagogue. swept away the Krew piaskiem przysypano. Jak po zarazie jakiejś lub na wielkie świeto. 5 Address Book Tran. blady. (c. 1963) Telefon dzwoni.

gdzie biblijne pieśni The watchmaker a philosopher. Will not find outside the town.Krewni moi żydowscy. 75 . Till they embrace like brothers and join anew. A German soldier snatches his books flings them in the mud. Te księżyce nad inną już chodzą planetą. when Nie odnajdą dwu złotych księżyców Chagalla. Those moons are now orbiting another planet. They have flown away. The old man falls. Under him he feels the books. poetyczni chłopcy. Zegarmistrz filozofem. Two nations which supped full of the same suffering. where old Jews still mourned Holy Jerusalem. Już nie ma tych miasteczek. on the highway. 15 Nie ma już tych miasteczek. The old man lies in mud and blood. Maguire The old man leaves his house. 5 10 Czesław Miłosz (1911-2004) Campo di Fiori W Rzymie na Campo di Fiori Kosze oliwek i cytryn. The old man picks them up. przeminęły cieniem those villages and orchards I cień ten kłaść się będzie między nasze słowa. the barber a Wiatr łączył z polską piosnką i słowiańskim żalem. No longer does the wind weave the old Hebraic theme with Polish airs and Slavonic pain: Nie ma już tych miasteczek. gdzie szewc był poetą. the night lights up The two gold moons of Chagall. Krynski and Robert A. Odfrunęły spłoszone milczeniem ponurym. from Polish by Louis Iribarne and David Brooks In Rome on the Campo dei Fiori Baskets of olives and lemons. 20 Nim się zbliżą bratersko i złączą od nowa Dwa narody tym samym karmione cierpieniem. troubadour. the soldier hits him in the face. the soldier kicks him and walks away. Gdzie starzy Żydzi w sadach pod cieniem czereśni Opłakiwali święte mury Jeruzalem. They are no more. frightened by the grim silence. (1947) Ann Świrszczyńska (Anna Swir) (1909-1984) He Was Lucky Trans. Campo dei Fiori Trans. They are no more. these townships. fryzjer trubadurem. from Polish by Magnus J. they passed like a shadow And this shadow shall lie across our words. carries books. these townships where the cobbler was a poet.

45 76 . Someone else will read Of the passing of things human. Of how. Kat płomień stosu zażegnął W kole ciekawej gawiedzi. Vendors cover the trestles With rose-pink fish. bawi się. And couples were flying High in the cloudless sky. Nie było w ludzkim języku Ani jednego wyrazu. But that day I thought only Of the loneliness of the dying. Armfuls of dark grapes Heaped on peach-down. A ledwo płomień przygasnął. O tym. The bright melody drowned The salvos from the ghetto wall. Naręcza ciemnych winogron Padają na puch brzoskwini. Znów pełne były tawerny. Sypią na stoły przekupnie. Mankind who live on. O zapomnieniu. 40 35 Ja jednak wtedy myślałem O samotności ginących. Baskets of olives and lemons Again on the vendors’ shoulders. Aby nim ludzkość pożegnać. że kiedy Giorano Wstępował na rusztowanie. Tu. Czasem wiatr z domów płonących 25 Przynosił czarne latawce. laugh. Morał ktoś może wyczta. Różowe owoce morza 5 Cobbles spattered with wine And the wreckage of flowers. W pogodny wieczór wiosenny. Someone will read as moral That the people of Rome or Warsaw Haggle. when Giordano Climbed to his burning There were no words In any human tongue To be left for mankind. 30 Śmiały się tłumy wesołe W czas pięknej warszawskiej niedzieli. Henchmen kindled the pyre Close-pressed by the mob. Przy dźwiękach skocznej muzyki. Of the oblivion Born before the flames have died. która zostaje. na tym właśnie placu Spalono Giordana Bruna. Before the flames had died The taverns were full again.Bruk opryskany winem I odłamkami kwiatów. On this same square They burned Giordano Bruno. Że lud warszawski czy rzymski Handluje. Wspomniałem Campo di Fiori W Wrszawie przy karuzeli. kocha Mijając męczeńskie stosy. make love As they pass by martyrs’ pyres. Łapali skrawki w powietrzu Jadący na karuzeli. co rośnie. Rozwiewał suknie dziewczynom Ten wiatr od domów płonących. That same hot wind Blew open the skirts of the girls And the crowds were laughing On that beautiful Warsaw Sunday. Kosze oliwek i cytryn Nieśli przekupnie na głowach. Nim jeszcze płomień przygasnął. At times wind from the burning Would drift dark kites along And riders on the carousel Caught petals in midair. 20 10 15 Salwy za murem getta Głuszyła skoczna melodia I wzlatywały pary Wyosko w pogodne niebo. I thought of the Campo dei Fiori In Warsaw by the sky-carousel One clear spring evening To the strains of a carnival tune. Tę ludzkość. Inny ktoś morał wyczyta O rzeczy ludzkich mijaniu.

The ashes of each man by a different part of the spectrum. Sprzedawać białe rozgwiazdy. With a small red lamp fastened to his forehead. 50 Already they were back at their wine Or peddled their white starfish. The roof and the wall collapse in flame and heat seizes the foundations. samotni. He has swollen eyelids. I. I am afraid. Kosze oliwek i cytryn Nieśli w wesołym gwarze. Our tongue becomes for them The language of an ancient planet. foam Of gypsum. wood. cellulose. rubber. so afraid of the guardian mole. from Polish by the author and Robert Hass Bees build around red liver. Torn is paper. iron sheets. crystals. counts them. On a great Campo dei Fiori Rage will kindle at a poet’s word. 55 60 Warsaw. Baskets of olives and lemons They had shouldered to the fair. sandy. Ants build around black bone. I ci ginący. boring a tunnel. And he already distanced As if centuries had passed While they paused just a moment For his flying in the fire. Bees build around the honeycomb of lungs. I był już od nich odległy. leather. Poof! Phosphorescent fire from yellow walls Engulfs animal and human hair. It has begun: the breaking of glass. Ants build around the place left by my body. Ants build around white bone. snakeskin. silver. Język nasz stał się im obcy Jak język dawnej planety. fabrics.Już biegli wychylać wino. Now there is only the earth. Those dying here. Jakby minęły wieki. What will I tell him. like a Patriarch Who has sat much in the light of candles Reading the great book of the species. pushes on. He touches buried bodies. when all is legend And many years have passed. balls. 1943 A Poor Christian Looks at the Ghetto Trans. trumpets. the lonely Forgotten by the world. He distinguishes human ashes by their luminous vapor. Już zapomniani od świata. Aż wszystko będzie legendą I wtedy po wielu latach Na wielkim Campo di Fiori Bunt wznieci słowo poety. Waiting two thousand years for the second coming of Jesus? 5 10 15 20 25 77 . Fiber. linen. Bees build around a red trace. With one leafless tree. flax. copper. A oni chwilę czekali Na jego odlot w pożarze. a guardian mole makes his way. violin strings. Slowly. wire. nickel. the trampling on silks. Until. It has begun: the tearing. trodden down. a Jew of the New Testament. leaves.

1921) Who Says Trans. I am not young let the slenderness of my body not deceive you nor the tender whiteness of my neck nor the fairness of my open brow nor the down on my sweet lip 78 Nie jestem młody niech was smukłość mego ciała nie zwodzi ani tkliwa biel szyi ani jasność otwartego czoła ani puch nad słodką wargą 10 . that the air didn’t breathe bewildering scents that birds didn’t rise to the heights of their most accomplished songs that young lovers didn’t twine in love’s embraces But would it have been fitting if a scribe of the time had shown this and not the monstrous uproar on a street drenched with blood the wild screams of mothers with infants torn from their arms the scuffling. Warsaw. 1943 Julia Hartwig (b.My broken body will deliver me to his sight And he will count me among the helpers of death: The uncircumcised. from Polish I turn to you high priests teachers judges artists shoemakers physicians officials and to you my father Hear me out. the senseless laughter of soldiers aroused by the touch of women’s bodies and young breasts warm with milk Flaming torches tumbled down stone steps there seemed no hope of rescue and violent horror soon gave way to the still more awful numbness of despair At that moment covered by the southern night’s light shadow a bearded man leaning on a staff and a girl with a child in her arms were fleeing lands ruled by a cruel tyrant carrying the world’s hope to a safer place beneath silent stars in which these events had been recorded centuries ago 5 10 15 20 Tadeusz Róźewicz (b. 5 Lament Trans. from Polish by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh While the innocents were being massacred who says that flowers didn’t bloom. 1921) Lament Zwracam się do was kapłani nauczyciele sędziowie aryści szewcy lekarze referenci i do ciebie mój ojcze Wysłuchajcie mnie.

ni śmiech cherubiński ni krok elastyczny nie jestem młody niech was moja niewinność 15 nor my cherubic laughter nor the spring in my step I am not young let my innocence not move you nor my purity nor my weakness fragility and simplicity I am twenty years old I am a murderer I am an instrument blind as the axe in the hands of an executioner I struck a man dead and with red fingers stroked the white breasts of women. Maimed I saw neither heaven nor rose nor bird nest tree St. Człowieka tak się zabija jak zwierzę widziałem: furgony porąbanych ludzi którzy nie zostaną zbawieni. 30 Ocalony Mam dwadzieścia cztery lata ocalałem prowadzony na rzeż. the body. To są nazwy puste i jednoznaczne: człowiek i zwierzę miłość i nienawiść wróg i przyjaciel ciemność i światło. Okaleczony nie widziałem ani nieba ani róży ptaka gniazda drzewa świętego Franciszka Achillesa i Hektora Przez sześć lat buchał z nozdrza opar krwi nostrils Nie wierzę w przemianę wody w wino water into wine 35 nie wierzę w grzechów odpuszczenie sins nie wierzę w ciała zmartwychwstanie. The following are empty synonyms: man and beast love and hate friend and foe darkness and light. 79 . 5 The way of killing men and beasts is the same I've seen it: 10 truckfuls of chopped-up men who will not be saved. Francis Achilles nor Hector For six years blood gushed steaming from my I do not believe in the changing of I do not believe in the remission of I do not believe in the resurrection of (1947) ni wzrusza ani moja czystość ani moja słabość kruchość i prostota mam lat dwadzieścia jestem mordercą jestem narzędziem tak ślepym jak miecz w dłoni kata zamordowałem człowieka 25 20 i czerwonymi palcami gładziłem białe pierski kobiet. The Survivor Trans. from Polish by Adam Czerniawski I am twenty-four led to slaughter I survived.

5 10 15 The Museum. 1948 Pigtail Trans. Massacre of the Boys Trans. I seek a teacher and a master may he restore my sight hearing and speech may he again name objects and ideas may he separate darkness from light. 25 Ideas are mere words: virtue and crime truth and lies beauty and ugliness courage and cowardice. Auschwitz. Szukam nauczyciela i mistrza nich przyróci mi wzrok słuch i mowę nich jeszcze raz nazwie rzeczy i pojęcia niech oddzieli światło od ciemności. from Polish by Adam Czerniawski When all the women in the transport had their heads shaved four workmen with brooms made of birch twigs 80 . from Polish by Adam Czerniawski The children cried ‘Mummy! But I have been good! It’s dark in here! Dark!’ See them They are going to the bottom See the small feet they went to the bottom Do you see that print of a small foot here and there pockets bulging with string and stones and little horses made of wire A great plain closed like a figure of geometry and a tree of black smoke a vertical dead tree with no star in its crown. Virtue and crime weigh the same I've seen it: in a man who was both criminal and virtuous. (1947) 15 20 Mam dwadzieścia cztery lata ocalałem prowadzony na rzeż. Jednako waży cnota i występek widziałem: człowieka który był jeden występny i cnotliwy.Pojęcia są tylko wyrazami: cnota i występek prawda i występek piękno i brzydota męstwo i tchórzostwo. I am twenty-four led to slaughter I survived.

swept up and gathered up the hair Behind clean glass the stiff hair lies of those suffocated in gas chambers there are pins and side combs in this hair The hair is not shot through with light is not parted by the breeze is not touched by any hand or rain or lips In huge chests clouds of dry hair of those suffocated and a faded plait a pigtail with a ribbon pulled at school by naughty boys. Auschwitz. 1948 In the Midst of Life Trans. from Polish by Adam Czerniawski After the end of the world after death I found myself in the midst of life creating myself building life people animals landscapes this is a table I said this is a table there is bread and a knife on the table knife serves to cut bread people are nourished by bread man must be loved I learnt by night and day what must one love I would reply man this is a window I said this is a window there is a garden beyond the window I see an apple tree in the garden the apple tree blossoms the blossom falls fruit is formed ripens my father picks the apple the man who picks the apple 5 10 15 20 25 81 . 5 10 15 20 The Museum.

Z dnia na dzień ulice brukowali obrzękłymi głowami. The Living Were Dying Trans. Day in and day out the streets were paved with swollen heads. the living were dying black flies laid eggs in human flesh. from Polish by Regina Grol Walled my father I sat on the threshold that old woman who leads a goat on a string is needed more is worth more than the seven wonders of the world anyone who thinks or feels she is not needed is a mass murderer this is a man this is a tree this is bread people eat to live I kept saying to myself human life is important human life has great importance the value of life is greater than the value of all things which man has created man is a great treasure I repeated stubbornly this is water I said I stroked the waves with my hand and talked to the river water I would say this is me man talked to water talked to the moon to the flowers and to rain talked to the earth to the birds to the sky the sky was silent the earth was silent and if a voice was heard flowing from earth water and sky it was a voice of another man 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 (1955) Żywi Umierali Zamurowani żywi umierali czarne muchy składały jaja w mięsie ludzkim. 82 .

In the little room bodies were swelling. I jak rzucona w boju tarcza Night over Birkenau Trans. Tadeusz Borowski (1922-1951) Noc nad Birkenau Znów noc. Znów czarne niebo gróznie Krąży jak sęp. Z dnia na dzień 35 ciała spadały w dół. Z zapachu wykręcał się biały czerw. Nad głuchą ciszą. No one brought apples to the ghetto no one in the ghetto bought apples Day in and day out bodies were falling down. jak zwierz się pręży. Sally sold apples silver ones smelling of an orchard in front of the gate which was made of azure. Nikt już jabłek do getta nie nosił any more nikt już jabłek w getcie nie kupował any more. Between gibberish and red spittle between the scabies of the wall and the corpse of the passerby with a cruel eye between the stone and the howling of a madwoman 25 Sally stood in her red dress and the colors were absorbing venoms and the apple rotted in her swarthy hands. Salcia sprzedawała jabłka srebrne pachnące sadem u wylotu bramy która była z błękitu. 5 83 . And like a shield abandoned in battle. Aaron had a beard of mildew and moss and a head of white light which died out flickering before he expired he ate out of a hand with his wilting lips and opening his turquoise eyes. from Polish by Tadeusz Pióro Night again.5 Ojciec Aron miał brodę z pleśni i mchu a głowę z białego światła które gasło drżąc nim skonał jadł z dłoni więdnącymi wargarni i otwierał turkusowe oczy. Again the grim sky closes circling like a vulture over the dead silence. W małej izbie puchły ciała. nad obozem blady jak trup zapada księżyc. Like a crouching beast over the camp the moon sets. 30 Apples were wilting apples were rotting mother was dying. Między bełkotem i rudą plwociną 20 10 The father. 15 między Iiszajem ściany i trupem przechodnia z okrutnyrn okiem między kamieniem i wyciem obłąkanej stała Salcia w czerwonej sukni a barwy nasiąkały jadami i jabłko gniło w dłoniach śniadych. pale as a corpse. A white worm crawled out from the smell. Jabłka więdły jabłka gniły umierała matka.

a fiction. remember I’m alive. zima 1944 Pożegnanie z Marią Jeżeli żyjesz—to pamiętaj. crematorium. stifling. Nie wrócisz do mnie. Stamtąd cię miałem. Nor will that wind return. 20 I don’t want it. Świtu nie ma. nie wracaj. złudą. Like God’s judgment on the corpse of the fog descends over Birkenau. 10 blue Orion—lost among the stars. Night. from fire. . from Polish by Tadeusz Pióro If you are living. 10 Nie wracaj do mnie. In this black. Moja miłość jest zżarta ogniem krematorium. No dawn comes. Oczy od snu są oczadziałe. from heaven. It’s steamy. The transports growl in darkness and the eyes of the crematorium blaze. Sleep is a stone. night without end. Ale do mnie nie idź. Your love circles above me like human smoke above the wind. But don’t come to me. swollen night snowflakes cling to the windows And the wind whistles. Noc. I nagi kontur 5 Farewell to Maria Trans. Ciężki jest oddech. W tej nocy czarnej. There you were mine. Jak strasznie cicho! Po cóz bzło aż dotąd żyć? Już tylko gorycz. This lead foot crushing my chest is the silence of three million dead. Twoje ciało w świerzbie. My eyes are poisoned from sleep. Wszystko było grą naszą. rose up like a cloud. Nie wstaną ludzie z wspólnych grobów i nie ożyje kruchy popiół.milknie wśród gwiazd błękitny Orion. It was all playacting. Oświęcim-Birkenau. don’t come back. you were mine. że jestem. The dead will not rise from common graves and brittle ash won’t come back to life. w flegmonie tak się pięło jak obłok wzwyż. And above me like smoke from charred cities and battle fronts drifts the deaf. Now it’s over. Razem z tobą nie wróci wiatr. drzew bije w okno. You won’t come back to me. czczym teatrem. I gwiżdże wiatr. I nade mną jak dym zagasłych miast i frontów płynie nieymierna. Monachium. noc bez końca. Krąży nade mną twoja miłość jak dym człowieka ponad wiatrem. Sen jak kamień. Parno i duszno. 1946 84 . My love burned away in the flames of the There. głucha ciemność. Jak Boży sąd nad trupią ziemią earth. Nie chcę. co mgłą się opił. Your body covered in scabies and boils. Stamtąd cię miałem. Breath rattles in my throat. only bitterness. measureless silence. hollow theatrics. Przeminęło. And naked shapes of trees slap the window. Rzęzi gardło. drunk with fog. Jak ciężka stopa piersi łamie milczenie trzech milionów zmarłych. Głucho w ciemności auta warczą i błyszczą oczy krematorium. 15 z niebiowów z ognia. 15 zapada mgła nad Birkenau . . Don’t come back to me. opuchniętej śnieg się do szyb płatami klei. This appalling silence! Why have I lived so long? Now.

Pamiętasz słońce Oświęcimia
Pamiętasz słońce Oświęcimia i zieleń łąk daleką, lekko ptakami w chmury podniesioną, lecz nie zieloną już a w chmurach seledynowobiałą. Rezem staliśmy patrząc w dal i czując daleką zieleń łąk i chumur clouds’ biały seledyn jakby w sobie, jak gdybz barwa łąk odległych była krwią naszą albo pulsem,

The Sun of Auschwitz
Trans. from Polish by Tadeusz Pióro

You remember the sun of Auschwitz and the green of the distant meadows, lightly lifted to the clouds by birds, no longer green in the clouds, but seagreen white. Together 5 we stood looking into the distance and felt the far away green of the meadows and the seagreen white within us, as if the colour of the distant meadows were our blood or the pulse beating within us, as if the world existed only through us and nothing changed as long as we were there. I remember your smile as elusive as a shade of the colour of the wind, a leaf trembling on the edge of sun and shadow, fleeting yet always there. So you are for me today, in the seagreen sky, the greenery and the leaf-rustling wind. I feel you in every shadow, every movement, and you put the world around me like your arms. I feel the world as your body, you look into my eyes and call me with the whole world.

który w nas bije, jakby świat był tylko przez nas i nie mijał wcale, póki jesteśmy. Uśmiech pamiętam twój tak nieuchwytny jak odcień barwy wiatru, który

liściem się chwieje na krawędzi słońca i cienia, ale wiecznie przemija i zostaje. Tak ty dziś jesteś dla mnie przez seledyn nieba, przez zieleń i przez wiatr,

który się liśćmi chwieje. Jesteś krwią moją i mym pulsem. Czuję cię w każdym cieniu, w każdym ruchu i tak mnie światem w krąg otaczasz jak ramionami, tak świat czuję

jak twoje ciało, całym światem patrzysz mi w twarz i wołasz mnie . . .

Wisława Szymborska (b. 1923)
Jeszcze Still
Trans. from Polish by Magnus J. Krynski and Robert A. Maguire

W zaplombowanych wagonach jadą krajem imiona, a dokąd tak jechać będą, a czy kiedy wysiędą, nie pytajcie, nie powiem, nie wiem. Imię Natan bije pięścią w ścianę, wall, imię Izaak śpiewa obłąkane, imię Sara wody woła dla imienia Aaron, które umiera z pragnienia. Nie skacz w biegu, imię Dawida. Tyś jest imię skazujące na klęskę,

In sealed box cars travel names across the land, and how far they will travel so, and will they ever get out, don’t ask, I won’t say, I don’t know.


The name Nathan strikes fist against the name Isaac, demented, sings, the name Sarah calls out for water for the name Aaron that’s dying of thirst. Don’t jump while it’s moving, name David. You’re a name that dooms to defeat,
10 85

nie dawane nikomu, bez domu, do noszenia w tym kraju zbyt ciężkie. Syn niech imię słowiańskie ma, bo tu liczą włosy na głowie,

given to no one, and homeless, too heavy to bear in this land. Let your son have a Slavic name, for here they count hairs on the head, for here they tell good from evil by names and by eyelids’s shape. Don’t jump while it’s moving. Your son will Don’t jump while it’s moving. Not time yet. Don’t jump. The night echoes like laughter mocking clatter of wheels upon tracks. A cloud made of people moved over the land, a big cloud gives a small rain, one tear, a small rain—one tear, a dry season. Tracks lead off into black forest. Cor-rect, cor-rect clicks the wheel. Gladeless Cor-rect, cor-rect. Through the forest a convoy of clamors. Cor-rect, cor-rect. Awakened in the night I cor-rect, cor-rect, crash of silence on silence.

bo tu dzielą dobro od zła wedle imion i kroju powiek. Nie skacz w biegu. Syn będzie Lech. be Lech. Nie skacz w biegu. Jeszcze nie pora. Nie skacz. Noc się rozlega jak śmiech

i przedrzeźnia kół stukanie na torach. Chmura z ludźmi nad krajem szła, z dużej chmury mały deszcze, jedna łza, mały deszcze, jedna łza, suchy czas. Tory wiodą czarny las.

Tak to, tak, stuka koło. Las bez polan. forest. Tak to, tak. Lasem jedzie transport wołań. Tak to, tak. Obudzona w nocy słyszę tak to, tak, łomotanie ciszy w ciszę. hear (1957)

Pierwsza fotografia Hitlera

Hitler’s First Photograph
Trans. from Polish by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavenagh

A któż to jest ten mały dzidziuś w kaftaniku? And who's this little fellow in his itty-bitty robe? Toż to mały Adolfek, syn państwa Hitlerów! That's tiny baby Adolf, the Hitlers' little boy! Może wyrośnie na doktora praw? Will he grow up to be an LL.D.? Albo będzie tenorem w operze wiedeńskiej? Or a tenor in Vienna's Opera House? Czyja to rączka, czyja, uszko, oczko, nosek? Whose teensy hand is this, whose little ear and eye and Czyj brzuszek pełen mleka, nie wiadomo jeszcze: nose?

drukarza, konsyliarza, kupca, księdza? Whose tummy full of milk, we just don't know: Dokąd te śmieszne nóżki zawędrują, dokąd? printer's, doctor's, merchant's, priest's? Do ogródka, do szkoły, do biura, na ślub Where will those tootsy-wootsies finally wander? może z córką burmistrza? To garden, to school, to an office, to a bride, maybe to the Burgermeister's daughter? 10 Bobo, aniołek, kruszyna, promyczek, kiedy rok temu przychodził na świat, Precious little angel, mommy's sunshine, honeybun, nie brakło znaków na niebie i ziemi: while he was being born a year ago, wiosenne słońce, w oknach pelargonie, there was no death of signs on the earth and in

the sky: muzyka katarynki na podwórku, pomyślna wróżba w bibułce różowej,

spring sun, geraniums in windows, the organ-grinder's music in the yard,

tuż przed porodem proroczy sen matki: a lucky fortune wrapped in rosy paper, gołąbka we śnie widzieć—radosna nowina, then just before the labor his mother's fateful dream: tegoż schwytać—przybędzie gość długo czekany. a dove seen in dream means joyful news, Puk puk, kto tam, to stuka serduszko Adolfka. if it is caught, a long-awaited guest will come. Knock knock, who's there, it's Adolf's heartchen Smoczek, pieluszka, śliniaczek, grzechotka, knocking. chłopczyna, chwalić Boga i odpukać, zdrów, podobny do rodziców, do kotka w koszyku, A little pacifier, diaper, rattle, bib, do dzieci z wszystkich innych rodzinnych albumów. our bouncing boy, thank God and knock on wood, is No, nie będziemy chyba teraz płakać, well, pan fotograf pod czarną płachtą zrobi pstryk. looks just like his folks, like a kitten in a basket, like the tots in every other family album. Atelier Klinger, Grabenstrasse Braunau, Shush, let's not start crying, sugar, 25 a Braunau to niewielkie, ale godne miasto, the camera will click from under that black hood. solidne firmy, poczciwi sąsiedzi, woń ciasta drożdżowego i szarego mydła. The Klinger Atelier, Grabenstrasse, Braunau, Nie słychać wycia psów i kroków przeznaczenia. and Braunau is small but worthy town, Nauczyciel historii rozluźnia kołnierzyk honest businesses, obliging neighbors, i ziewa nad zeszytami. smell of yeast dough, of gray soap. 30 No one hears howling dogs, or fate's footsteps. A history teacher loosens his collar and yawns over homework.

Jan Darowski (b. 1926)
Post mortem Post-mortem
Trans. from Polish by Adam Czerniawski

Z gwiazdą Dawida zeszli pod naszą ziemię, With the star of David they vanished beneath our earth, zatruli powietrze dwutlenkiem śmiertelnych Psalmów they poisoned the air with dioxide of deadly psalms— musimy się dusić, my, mordu świadkowie, we too must suffocate, we, the murder’s witnesses, za drugą rączkę z katem iść pochyleni w dziejach. and with the torturer hand in hand march bowed through history. Nie pomoże alkohol. Na powierzchnię wypływa oleistą purpurą nasza hipokryzja. Alcohol will not help. Our oily purple

Nie pomogą pomniki i fakt żeśmy bezbronni hypocrisy floats to the surface. byli jak oni. Nie wszystkich smucił miecz Monuments are no use, no use saying we were like rozcinający węzeł Gordyjski dla nas, them rozcinający dwa życia narodu. defenceless. Not everyone regretted Nie pomoże alkohol, Lete tchórzów i głupców. the sword cutting our Gordian knot, cutting the nation’s twin life. 10 Morderca może w białych rękawiczkach Alcohol’s no use—Lethe of cowards

owszem. . rzec może. gloomy trains go by in the rain. . I’d sleep but my neighbors choir “Happy Birthday” still louder: louder than the dying Jews. napis był i ręka. the inscription was there and so was my hand but I had left my glasses behind. drank from self-same rock. Polish peasants engage with a Jesuitical zest in theological disputes: only the Jews are silent. lives. my right hand is clean and unaware of what the other hand did. Może powiedzieć. . we ate common bread. The SS officers are haggard and old.K. . ich ręce dotykały nas. . . patrz moja prawica czysta jest. Benjamin Ivry. ale nie miałem z sobą okularów. The rivers of the voyages of my youth flow cautiously over the distant. Hay wagons haul not hay. szarpią czerwony wstyd wieńca szarpią pamięć (1969) Adam Zagajewski (b. . trembles. 1945) Watching Shoah in a Hotel Room in America Trans. but hair. podawać rękę tym co ocaleli. . . their axles squeaking under the feathery weight. . . only the aspen. 15 nawet milczeniem nie zobowiązani. may say—look. jedliśmy chleb wspóny. It’s late. Ale my w spisku byliśmy najstarsi. exhausted by their long dying. some hotel guests sing “Happy Birthday” as the one-eyed TV nonchalantly shuffles its images. . not bound by silence even. . Huge trucks transport stars from the firmament. unfamiliar continent. . the blood-drained hands of biblical tailors— . . from Polish by Renata Gorczynski. . The trees of my childhood have crossed an ocean to greet me coolly from the screen. Mozart repents.and fools. . bezkrwiste ręce biblijnych krawców— . . . as usual. 5 10 15 20 88 . the insinuations of drowsiness have me. . the pines claim. A zamyślony hura-chrześcijanin. While a pensive righteous Christian dropping cigar ash into the Atlantic may say—true. Williams There are nights as soft as fur on a foal but we prefer chess or card playing. their hands touched us. . strząsając popioł cygara w Atlantyk. I am innocent. Te same ręce są wiatrem za szybą 25 In this conspiracy we were the oldest. doctors struggle to save them their hearts. and C. 20 The killer may offer his white-gloved hand to those that survived. z tej samej skały pili. . Here. nie wiedziała co druga ręka cyzni. consciences. Those same hands are wind against the pane shake the wreath’s red shame shake the memory. We are innocent.

tacîmul lucește pe masă. Noi ducem mîncarea la gură. Pe rînd călăul ne-nseamnă cu fierul roșu. sleep: we have nowhere to go. Down the black thread he comes. și cresc. lunar supper in the midst of my clan. groan faintly: Alas. we outlived mankind. The TV reassures me: both of us are beyond suspicion. sleepy. de vrajă. “Come. eat up” as we hold our breath. mîncați mai departe. 20 . 15 10 Pogrom Trans.” There is no home. . un cîntec de frică și ură. the cold gas whistles within. the executioner. Un oaspe se-apropie-n ceață. How strangely mother urges us. of motionless dread. el țese negrele-i fire. A visitor draws near through the The babe is even aware of him. The shoes of Auschwitz. on the table the cutlery glitters. the ancient spider. Îl simt și copiii în pîntec. mist. The Czech Jews sing the national anthem: “Where is my home . 89 ne țiuie spaima-n urechi. now let us sleep. We take the food to our mouths. The babes in the womb hear it too and they grow. bătrîni și lucizi. Ce straniu mama ne-ndeamnă: mîncați. And the spoon strikes up a song in which you shut up your revolt. he weaves his web of black thread. 5 Îl smite și plodul din pîntec. with death. A song of fear and of hate. Privim farfuria din față și lingura sună un cîntec. I grow more and more innocent. houses burn. the fear tingles in our ears.prepared to confess all its crimes. lunară în mijlocul clanului meu. Și lingura sună un cîntec în care răscoala-ți închizi. 25 30 35 Romania Maria Banus (1914-1999) Pogrom Stăm cu toții la masa de seară. de-ncremenire. from Romanian by Dan Duțescu We are all sitting around the evening Always so full of memories I am of a silent. of spell. The birthday is noisier. Each of us gazes down at his plate And a song is sung by the spoon. cu moarte. . the babe in the womb. in pyramids high as the sky. Pe negrele fire se lasă călăul. aware and old. păianjen străvechi. One by one the executioner brands us with iron. meal. Așa mi se-arată mereu o cină tăcută.

revealed to my eyes his sprawling. totul era alb de făină. îngerul morții-a venit în chip de brutar. —Așa îi spuneam. îngerul morții. the round followed each other in unhurried at the mouth of the oven. Hainele. grave. and the good baker. incessant rotation. hollowed trunk. mîinile lui. the angel of death. the angel of death came in the guise of a baker. with poisonous mushrooms stuck to the roots. —Nu mi-e teamă de tine. in a beautiful. you look just like Iani in the street of my childhood. fața.” This I was telling him when he raised towards me a face that was hidden in hideous light. from German by Jerome Rothenberg Black milk of morning we drink you at dusktime we drink you at noontime and dawntime we drink you at night we drink and drink we scoop out a grave in the sky where it’s roomy to lie 90 . his hands were all white with flour. loaf. pîinea rotundă. “Of you I’m not afraid. cu ciuperci veninoase lipite la rădăcină. The sun and the moon. îngerul morții Odată. grave. the angel of death Trans. 25 Paul Celan (1920-1970) Todesfuge Schwarze Milch der Frühe wir trinken sie abends wir trinken sie mittags und morgens wir trinken sie nachts wir trinken und trinken wir schaufeln ein Grab in den Lüften da liegt man nicht eng Death Fugue Trans. semeni cu Iani. într-o hidoasă lumină. 20 În spatele lui duduia ferecat cuptorul mascrului.Odată. În mînă ținea o lopată. Behind him there roared in fetters the oven of holocausts. His clothes. 15 5 Once. baker. scorburos. și bunul brutar. brutarule. se succedau în lentă rotire. From the oven a fragrance blew of bread baked in the light. cu șorțul pudrat de făină. His gestures were rhythmical. rotation. luna. frumoasă rotire. 10 pe gura cuptorului. his face. cînd el ridică spre mine o față ascunsă. într-o eternă. Soarele. In his hand he carried a shovel. Mișcările lui erau ritmice. Dinspre cuptor bătea o mireasmă de pîine coaptă-n lumină. his apron powdered with flour. of the sun. din strada copilăriei. in the paradise of the pie-shops. from Romanian by Dan Duțescu Once. din raiul simigeriilor. își arătă dezgolit în fața ochilor mei trunchiul rășchirat.

Ein Mann wohnt im Haus der spielt mit den Schlangen der schreibt der schreibt wenn es dunkelt nach Deutschland dein goldenes Haar Margarete er schreibt es und tritt vor das Haus und es blitzen die Sterne er pfeift seine Rüden herbei er pfeift seine Juden hervor läßt schaufeln ein Grab in der Erde er befiehlt uns spielt auf nun zum Tanz Schwarze Milch der Frühe wir trinken dich nachts wir trinken dich morgens und mittags wir trinken dich abends wir trinken und trinken Ein Mann wohnt im Haus der spielt mit den Schlangen der schreibt der schreibt wenn es dunkelt nach Deutschland dein goldenes Haar Margarete Dein aschenes Haar Sulamith wir schaufeln ein Grab in den Lüften da liegt man nicht eng Er ruft stecht tiefer ins Erdreich ihr einen ihr andern singet und spielt er greift nach dem Eisen im Gurt er schwingts seine Augen sind blau stecht tiefer die Spaten ihr einen ihr andern spielt weiter zum Tanz auf Schwarze Milch der Frühe wir trinken dich nachts wir trinken dich mittags und morgens wir trinken dich abends wir trinken und trinken ein Mann wohnt im Haus dein goldenes Haar Margarete dein aschenes Haar Sulamith er spielt mit den Schlangen spielt süßer den Tod der Tod ist ein Meister aus Deutschland er ruft streicht dunkler die Geigen dann steigt ihr als Rauch in die Luft dann habt ihr ein Grab in den Wolken da liegt man nicht eng Schwarze Milch der Frühe wir trinken dich nachts wir trinken dich mittags der Tod ist ein Meister aus Deutschland wir trinken dich abends und morgens wir trinken und trinken der Tod ist ein Meister aus Deutschland sein Auge ist blau aus er trifft dich mit bleierner Kugel er trifft dich genau ein Mann wohnt im Haus dein goldenes Haar Margarete er hetzt seine Rüden auf uns er schenkt uns ein Grab in der Luft There’s a man in this house who cultivates snakes and who writes 5 who writes when it’s nightfall nach Deutschland your golden hair Margareta he writes it and walks from the house and the stars all start flashing he whistles his dogs to draw near whistles his Jews to appear starts us scooping a grave out of sand he commands us to play for the dance Black milk of morning we drink you at night 10 we drink you at dawntime and noontime we drink you at dusktime we drink and drink There’s a man in this house who cultivates snakes and who writes who writes when it’s nightfall nach Deutschland your golden hair Margareta your ashen hair Shulamite we scoop out a grave in the sky where it’s roomy to lie 15 He calls jab it deep in the soil you lot there you other men sing and play he tugs at the sword in his belt he swings it his eyes are blue jab your spades deeper you men you other men you others play up again for the dance Black milk of morning we drink you at night we drink you at noontime and dawntime we drink you at dusktime 20 we drink and drink there’s a man in this house your golden hair Margareta your ashen hair Shulamite he cultivates snakes He calls play that death thing more sweetly Death is a gang-boss aus Deutschland he calls scrape that fiddle more darkly then hover like smoke in the air 25 the scoop out a grave in the clouds where it’s roomy to lie Black milk of morning we drink you at night we drink you at noontime Death is a gang-boss aus Deutschland we drink you at dusktime and dawntime we drink and drink Death is a gang-boss aus Deutschland his eye is blue 30 he shoots you with leaden bullets his aim is true there’s a man in this house your golden hair Margareta he sets his dogs on our trail he gives us a grave in the sky 91 .

One hundred and fifty Jews of the town. And then started Shouting again. from Russian by Daniel Weissbort How did they kill my grandmother? This is how they killed my grandmother: In the morning a tank Rolled up to the city bank. with the pangs of death upon spielt mit den Schlangen und träumet der Tod ist ein Meister aus Deutschland dein goldenes Haar Margarete dein aschenes Haar Sulamith (1952) he cultivates snakes and he dreams Death is a gang-boss aus Deutschland your golden hair Margareta your ashen hair Shulamite 40 Russia Boris Slutsky (1919-1986) How They Killed My Grandmother Trans. Led them far out of town. Weightless from a whole year’s starvation. Cursed like a trooper. Polizei and young German soldiers Cheerfully herded the old men and old women. Lilliputian. carrying bundles. And led them. Just you dare Lay hands on me. Swore at the Germans. But my diminutive grandmother. Yelled at them where I was. She cried: ‘My grandson’s at the front. Boche!’ Grandmother wept and shouted And walked. clanking with pots and pans. Those are our guns that you hear. 92 20 5 10 15 25 . My seventy-year-old grandmother. Pale. Came there.

I did not see my cousins either. And my grandmother fell to the ground. But I remember. And placing 93 . Ivanovs and Andreyevnas leant down. And quietly repeating: burnt. 30 35 40 Burnt Trans. Everything’s gone up in flames: the vices with the virtues. remember to this day. A bullet kicked up her hair. from Russian by Daniel Weissbort On the first day. as it happened. While they were still passing through the town. 1925) Адам Ленивым взглядом обозрев округу. руку Adam Trans. 5 10 15 20 Evgeny Vinokurov (b. That’s how they did it to her. He trampled the grass down and stretched himself In the shade of the fig tree. И лег в тени смоковницы. Give it them straight!’ They clamoured: ‘What’s there to be so scared About this German enemy!’ And so they decided to kill my grandmother. to see my uncle. I went To my aunt’s place. Said to me quietly: They were burnt. By music and the other arts! I found neither uncle nor aunt. from Russian by Daniel Wiessbort Burdened with family feelings. Polina Matveyevna! You just show them.From every window rose a din. And there am I. To press my girl cousins to my breast. How their neighbours. standing before these hushed witnesses. And children with their aged parents. Sidorovnas and Petrovnas wept: ‘Keep it up. looking down at the ground. A grey lock floated down. gazing idly about him. Who were so carried away. Он в самый первый день траву примял. И.

on the cross. spilling over the floors. Затравленный. his sleep was untroubled. гибну. understanding nothing. Я попал в кольцо. A drop sheer as a crude gravestone. . В неге рая Была улыбка на лице светла. my face. 10 Мне кажется. 15 Yevgeny Yevtushenko (b. оплеванный. Он спал невозмутимо Под тишиной здемской синевы. He saw his own children! In the bliss Of paradise. beneath the pale blue sky. Not knowing good and evil yet. и до сих пор на мне—следы гвоздей. Beset on every side. зонтами тычут мне в лицо. And in his dreams he saw the ovens of Auschwitz And ditches filled with corpses. Мещанство— мой доносчик и судья. I am behind bars. Бесчинствуют вожди трактирной стойки 25 и пахнут водкой с луком пополам. Дремал он. 5 Babii Yar Trans. Я за решеткой. Он сладко спал. Now I seem to be— a Jew. растекаясь по полам. Today I am as old in years as all the Jewish people. . бессилен. что Дрейфус— это я. . Я. spat on. 20 15 визжа. I seem to be Dreyfus. ничего не понимая. and to this day I bear the scars of nails.Заведши за голову. . I am afraid. Крутой обрыв. Here I plod through ancient Egypt. Вот я бреду по древнему Египту. In Eden's quiet. оболганный. dainty ladies in flounced Brussels lace stick their parasols into I seem to be then a young boy in Byelostok. 1933) Бабий Яр Над Бабьим Яром памятников нет. Мне кажется— я мальчик в Белостоке. Мне сегодня столько лет. Blood runs. 94 Мне кажется сейчас— я иудей. Here I perish crucified. 5 His hands behind his head. И дамочки с брюссельскими оборками. Squealing. A boot kicks me aside. The Philistine is both informer and judge. The barroom rabble-rousers give off a stench of vodka and onion. Sweetly he slept. Во сне он видел печи Освенцима И трупами наполненные рвы. как грубое надгробье. helpless. сапогом отброшенный. 10 Своих детей он видел! . from Russian by George Reavey No monument stands over Babii Yar. А вот я. his face lit up. (1968) задремал. He slept. на кресте распятый. как самому еврейскому народу. . he dozed. Не знающий еще добра и зла. Мне страшно. Кровь льется. Hounded. slandered.

The wild grasses rustle over Babii Yar. we are denied the Yet we can do much— tenderly embrace each other in a darkened They’re coming here? Be not afraid. give me your lips. have often made a jingle of your purest name. Деревья смотрят грозно. 40 антисемиты пышно нарекли себя "Союзом русского народа"! Мне кажется— я—это Анна Франк. other. And have no need of phrases. Все молча здесь кричит. как веточка в апреле. Those are the sounds of spring— 60 spring is coming here. . Я знаю доброту твоей земли. прозрачная. But those with unclean hands. Под гогот: "Бей жидов. like judges. The trees look ominous. . Как подло. 35 In vain I plead with these pogrom While they jeer and shout. И я люблю. My need is that we gaze into each How little we can see or smell! We are denied the leaves. Come then to me. . чьи руки нечисты. Мне надо. .Напрасно я погромщиков молю. room. шапку сняв. 70 я чувствую. . Дай мне скорее губы. Quick. and. How vile these anti-Semites— without a qualm they pompously called themselves the “Union of the Russian People!” I seem to be Anne Frank transparent 45 as a branch in April. и жилочкой не дрогнув. русский мой народ!— Я знаю— ты По сущности интернационален. и. I know the goodness of my land. 95 Но часто те. спасай Россию!"— Russia!”— 30 насилует лабазник мать мою. Here all things scream silently. обонять! Нельзя нам листьев и нельзя нам неба. bullies. Иди ко мне. O my Russian people!— I know you are international to the core. it’s the ice breaking . чтоб друг в друга мы смотрели. Are they smashing down the door? No. Сюда идут? Не бойся—это гулы booming самой весны— она сюда идет. О. что. “Beat the Yids. And I love. И мне не надо фраз. Но можно очень много— 55 это нежно друг друга в темной комнате обнять. 50 Как мало можно видеть. Ломают дверь? Нет—это ледоход . Save some grain-marketer beatus up my mother. slowly I feel myself turning gray. baring my head. как медленно седею. твоим чистейшим именем бряцали. 65 Над Бабьим Яром шелест диких трав. по-судейски. sky.

In their callous rage. My mother held me up And I could see the ship that made the smoke.” let it thunder when the last anti-Semite on earth is buried forever. That is what I think. We went there on the train. In my blood there is no Jewish blood. When I was tired my mother carried me. there were so many I was squashed. then they made me wash. как еврей. Ничто во мне про это не забудет! "Интернационал" пусть прогремит. They had water in a pipe—like rain. 85 80 And I myself am one massive. here. soundless above the thousand thousand buried I am each old man here shot dead. Where we went there is no more Odessa. The water there is deeper than the world And I was tired and fell in my sleep And the water drank me. It was a factory. 5 10 15 In the Camp There Was One Alive 96 . all anti-Semites must hate me now as a Jew. “Don’t be afraid.” But I was only tired. There was a smoke-stack. 75 Я— каждый здесь расстрелянный старик. We stood up. как сплошной беззвучный крик. She said. когда навеки похоронен будет последний на земле антисемит. And I said to my mother. I am every child here shot dead. and it smelled like hay And that is how you die. but hot. Я— каждый здесь расстрелянный ребенок. the children speak alternately). “Now I’m washed and dried. Nothing in me shall ever forget! The “Internationale. scream над тысячами тысяч погребенных. Но ненавистен злобой заскорузлой я всем антисемитам. For that reason I am a true Russian! Еврейской крови нет в крови моей. Odessa. They had big barges that they towed. And that is how you die. и потому— 90 я настоящий русский! (1961) United States Randall Jarrell (1914-1965) Protocols (Birkenau.И сам я. I think.” My mother hugged me.

deserted by its prisoners. stumbling. by the wire. and plain. cries: ‘I’m coming. Item: a Spaniard with a subversive laugh. intact from sea land. a step on snow. and not yet occupied by the Allies. Item: a Russian mother and her child. They have come. The child. but he sees Nothing. he understands Nothing. he hears nothing. mountain land. in his charred cave. several lands. his shaking Limbs shrink to nothing. the former with five gold teeth and usable shoes. Item: another hundred thousand Jews. The footsteps die as he dies. and inches his head Back over to them. They speak softly. the stones Are flung from the hammering feet Of the dead who cry The child’s name over and over. the latter with seven dresses. seventeen dozen Danes.) Flakes pour to the black dead At Lasen. He moans In his last loneliness—and the voices Ring in his ears. peasant-styled. Item: a crippled Czech with a handmade crutch. 5 10 97 .(This is a concentration camp burned by its guards. slightly mangled hands. hopelessly insane. the vague Murmur of many voices. and he calls to them In gladness—it is the dead. 25 5 10 15 20 Ephraim Fogel Shipment to Maidanek Arrived from scattered cities. nine gross of Dutch. beneath the hiss Of snow. Watches the shaking fire Struggle to him in torment Till. the shades sink back Into his helplessness. Item: six surgeons.’ The voices are fainter. He laughs out in joy And wrenches with all his strength Against the timbers. crack Under the beams that pin him. Item: three poets. He hears.

You called us by number. They are sorted and marked—the method is up to you. 15 Amy Clampitt (1920-1994) Berceuse Listen to Gieseking18 playing a Berceuse° of Chopin19—the mothwing flutter light as ash. Decay will undo what it can. and suddenly we knew—although not bone of our bone. and when at last your tread sounded above. not by name. scathed felicity.Total: precisely a million and a half. and tourists go there. Polish composer and pianist. the disposition stated. we wondered who you are that dares to stir the spirit of the dead. Are we to rise. rare and perishable relic. famous French pianist. The purest art has slept with turpitude. Sleep on. perishable as burnt paper— and sleep. 98 5 10 . The books must be balanced. 19 Chopin: Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849). flesh of our flesh—why you came: it was to make our loneliness your own. live on your lip? 18 Gieseking: Walter Gieseking (1895-1956). the rotten fabric of our repose connives with doomsday. nurseries of the ultimate enterprise. The day of waking waits. we all pay taxes. Sleep. then. Sleep. now the furnaces of Auschwitz are all out. Take care that all accounts are neat and true. and in dreadful ranks march everywhere with you. Imagining’s no shutter against the absolute. Make sure that they are thoroughly cremated. incorrigible sunrise. cloned from the phoenix— a thousand replicas in upright silos. 10 °a lullaby or cradle song 5 15 (1982) Aaron Kramer (1921-1997) A Word of Thanks By Aaron Kramer Half asleep in the ground at Babi Yar we waited long.

I say. Naturally a mad chief Needs sane lieutenants. But my bed Is nothing like the bed that I have seen Where hundreds of unclothed bodies lay. . this Adolf Meant the wolf. but my feet live and my voice Is beautiful and strong. fall for all time to come upon Adolf. name by name. In my life only two men have turned my mind To vengefulness. Who was. Eichmann. and one was this man’s chief. Let him be made leprous so that the dung May snuggle to this bone. in the cold north forest. a loathsome name 99 25 10 5 15 20 30 . cast out of the race. . never be shut. And let no child hereafter bear the disgrace Of that dirty name. My friends deplore my metaphysical mind. probably out of his mind. let him be fed his own dung. Let disgrace. . For the human foot is an ugly thing. and let his name Forever and ever be the word for hate. noticing their disgrace. An ugly Teutonic word which means the chief. That bed Was for dead people. I have seen And I have heard. But let his ears never. to live . From the rolls of all those people whom he has shut Into the horrible beds. a favorite totem. But this one is rational. (1961) Hayden Carruth (1921-2008) Adolf Eichmann I want no tricks in speaking of this man. But now I am a plain and plain-spoken man. And let young voices read to him. I now think. deeply dug. Sometimes in my bed I study my feet. Both were named Adolf. and I say let the dung Be heaped on that man until it chokes his voice.O thank you lad. for fetching us! Oh thanks for giving us your great young fellowship! —If only there were something we could give other than what it meant to die . And earlier. let his eyes be shut With slow blinding. . and whoever has seen Their feet knows the real ugliness and in their voice Has heard the only true language.

in the world of man. pitiful man whom none pity. Lord. a person. water barely known) all who look up to see—how many faces? How many seen in a lifetime? (Not those that flash by. . an I? Count them. steel. but those into which the gaze wanders and is lost and returns to tell Here is a mystery.’ Yellow calmed him later— ‘a charming picture’ 100 25 15 5 10 20 . whom all must pity if they look into their own face (given only by glass. never. a sport spawned in hate That can never be joined. Corpselike obedience. I can’t keep down my hate. forgive me. an other.For another kind. Who are five million?) ‘I was used from the nursery to obedience all my life . 35 (1962) Denise Levertov (1923-1997) During the Eichmann Trial By Denise Levertov When we look up each from his being Robert Duncan i When we Look Up He had not looked. .

yellow of autumn leaves in Wiernerwald, a little railroad station nineteen-o-eight, Lemburg, yellow sun on the stepmother’s teatable Franz Joseph’s beard blessing his little ones. It was the yellow of the stars too, stars that marked those in whose faces you had not looked. ‘They were cast out as if they were some animals, some beasts.’ ‘And what would disobedience have brought me? And whom would it have served?’ ‘I did not let my thoughts dwell on this—I had seen it and that was enough.’ (The words ‘slur into a harsh babble’) ‘A spring of blood gushed from the earth.’ Miracle unsung. I see a spring of blood gush from the earth— Earth cannot swallow so much at once a fountain rushes towards the sky unrecognized a sign—. Pity this man who saw it whose obedience continued—
101 55 50 40





he, you, I, which shall I say? He stands isolate in a bulletproof witness-stand of glass, a cage, where we may view ourselves, an apparition telling us something he does not know: we are members one of another.



ii The Peachtree
The Danube orchards are full of fruit but in the city one tree haunts a boy's dreams a tree in a villa garden the Devil's garden a peach tree and of its fruit one peach calls to him he sees it yellow and ripe the vivid blood bright in its round cheek Next day he knows he cannot withstand desire it is no common fruit it holds some secret it speaks to the yellow star within him he scales the wall enters the garden of death takes the peach and death pounces mister death who rushes out from his villa mister death who loves yellow who wanted that yellow peach for himself mister death who signs papers then eats telegraphs simply: Shoot them then eats
102 95 75





mister death who orders more transports then eats he would have enjoyed the sweetest of all the peaches on his tree with sour-cream with brandy Son of David 's blood, vivid red and trampled juice yellow and sweet flow together beneath the tree there is more blood than sweet juice always more blood---mister death goes indoors exhausted





iii Crystal Night
From blacked-out streets (wide avenues swept by curfew, alleyways, veins of dark within dark) from houses whose walls had for a long time known the tense stretch of skin over bone as their brick or stone listened--The scream! The awaited scream rises; the shattering of glass and the cracking of bone a polar tumult as when black ice booms, knives of ice and glass splitting and splintering the silence into innumerable screaming needles of yes, now it is upon us, the jackboots are running in spurts of sudden blood-light through the broken temples the veils are rent in twain terror has a white sound every scream





145 103

” The dowsed coals fume and hiss after your meal Of grilled brook trout. No one else knows where the mind wanders to. It was the day They came at dawn with rifles to The Home For Jewish Children. How often you have thought about that camp. and how they were made to walk. As though in some strange way you were driven to.° °German. who wasn’t a day Over five years old. Just so you’re weeks and worlds away from home. it is Crystal Night it is Crystal Night these spikes which are not pitched in the range of common hearing whistle through time smashing the windows of sleep and dream smashing the windows of history a whiteness scattering in hailstones each a mirror for man's eyes. commanded to leave his meal And shamble between armed guards to his long home. remember a quite specific meal: A corn roast and bonfire in summer camp. and by our law he ought to die. 1942.of fear is a white needle freezing the eyes the floodlights of their trucks throw jets of white. You remember. cutting short the meal Of bread and soup. Yolek who had bad lungs. peacefully. and you saunter off for a walk Down the fern trail. That summer you got lost on a Nature Walk. It was morning and very hot. it doesn’t matter where to. John 19:7: “We have a law. The fifth of August. And among midsummer hills have set up camp In the deep bronze glories of declining day. 150 155 160 (1961) Anthony Hecht (1923-2004) The Book of Yolek Wir haben ein Gesetz. you thought of home. More than you dared admit. lining them up to walk In close formation off to a special camp. their shouts cleave the wholeness of darkness into sectors of transparent white-clouded pantomime where all that was awaited is happening. Und nach dem Gesetz soll er sterben. And about the children. an earlier day In childhood. 5 10 15 20 104 .

’ Nor was he forsaken of courage. solitary walk Or among crowds. far off or safe a home. The electric fences. that day. but the death was horrible. for his soul’s tranquillity. The sack of gunpowder failing to ignite. He will walk in as you’re sitting down to a meal. Yolek will be there. Much casual death had drained away their souls. Permitted at least his pitiful dignity. too. No light. the numeral tattoo. The thick dirt mounted toward the quivering chin. and the loudspeakers of the camp. And that was but one. And the smell of smoke. But he did refuse. declaring thus: ‘I implore my God to witness that I have made no crime. 25 105 5 10 15 20 . Prepare to receive him in your home some day. unfinished meal. He was ordered to change places with the Jews. Three men are there commanded to dig a hole In which the two Jews are ordered to lie down And be buried alive by the third. 25 30 35 (1990) ‘More Light! More Light!’ for Heinrich Blücher and Hannah Arendt Composed in the Tower before his execution These moving verses.We’re approaching August again. That shall judge all men. Wherever you are. who is a Pole. It will drive home The regulation torments of that camp Yolek was sent to his small. A Luger settled back deeply in its glove. His unuttered name will interrupt your meal. hopelessly. no light in the blue Polish eye. Though they killed him in the camp they sent him to. submitted. and being brought at that time Painfully to the stake. Not light from the shrine at Weimar beyond the hill Nor light from heaven appeared. The quite extraordinary heat of the day They all were forced to take that terrible walk. His legs were blistered sticks on which the black sap Bubbles and burst as he howled for the Kindly Light. And such as were by made prayers in the name of Christ. You will remember. and by no means one of the worst. We move not to outside a German wood. Whether on a silent. When only the head was exposed the order came To dig him out again and to get back in.

Never. sifting through crisp air. Let man never again write a book. and every day came mute Ghosts from the ovens. Let man never again put on his shoe. I say those things aloud. Man is a flower that should be burnt. The Luger hovered lightly in its glove. 30 Anne Sexton (1928-1974) After Auschwitz Anger. Never. with his miraculous fingers is not a temple but an outhouse..M. He was shot in the belly and in three hours bled to death. I say aloud. And death looks on with a casual eye and scratches his anus. (1975) 106 5 10 15 20 25 30 . Each day. each Nazi took. as black as a hook. Let man never again raise his eyes. on a soft July night. Never. overtakes me. I beg the Lord not to hear. Man is a bird full of mud. Man with his small pink toes. And settled upon his eyes in a black soot. I say aloud. Never. I say aloud.When he finished a riding boot packed down the earth. at 8: 00 A. No prayers or incense rose up in those hours Which grew to be years. Man is evil. I say aloud. Let man never again raise his teacup. Never. And death looks on with a casual eye and picks at the dirt under his fingernail. a baby and sautéed him for breakfast in his frying pan.

my skin Bright as a Nazi lampshade. Gentlemen. I rocked shut 107 25 10 5 15 20 30 35 . I am the same. Soon. Do I terrify? —— The nose. Peel off the napkin O my enemy. soon the flesh The grave cave ate will be At home on me And I a smiling woman. The first time it happened I was ten. Nevertheless. This is Number Three. What a trash To annihilate each decade. And like the cat I have nine times to die. I am only thirty. It was an accident. the eye pits. What a million filaments. ladies These are my hands My knees. The second time I meant To last it out and not come back at all. One year in every ten I manage it—— A sort of walking miracle. fine Jew linen. I may be skin and bone. identical woman.Sylvia Plath (1932-1963) Lady Lazarus I have done it again. the full set of teeth? The sour breath Will vanish in a day. The peanut-crunching crowd Shoves in to see Them unwrap me hand and foot—— The big strip tease. My right foot A paperweight. My face a featureless.

bone. I am your valuable. There is a charge For the eyeing of my scars. there is a charge For the hearing of my heart—— It really goes. It's easy enough to do it and stay put. So. Dying Is an art. Herr Doktor. the same brute Amused shout: 'A miracle!' That knocks me out. A wedding ring. It's easy enough to do it in a cell. Herr Enemy. Herr Lucifer Beware 40 45 50 55 60 65 70 75 80 108 . so. I guess you could say I've a call. Ash. I do it so it feels real. And there is a charge. like everything else. It's the theatrical Comeback in broad day To the same place. Flesh. a very large charge For a word or a touch Or a bit of blood Or a piece of my hair or my clothes. the same face. Herr God. I am your opus. I do it so it feels like hell. They had to call and call And pick the worms off me like sticky pearls. I turn and burn. Do not think I underestimate your great concern. there is nothing there—— A cake of soap. ash—— You poke and stir. So. The pure gold baby That melts to a shriek.As a seashell. I do it exceptionally well. A gold filling.

I used to pray to recover you. I began to talk like a Jew. Ich. wars. With my gipsy ancestress and my weird luck And my Taroc pack and my Taroc pack 109 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 . your root. an engine Chuffing me off like a Jew. ich. Out of the ash I rise with my red hair And I eat men like air. wars. My Polack friend Says there are a dozen or two. Auschwitz. poor and white. a bag full of God. Belsen. And the language obscene An engine.Beware. Barely daring to breathe or Achoo. du. I could hardly speak. I thought every German was you. the clear beer of Vienna Are not very pure or true. But the name of the town is common. A Jew to Dachau. you do not do Any more. ich. Ghastly statue with one gray toe Big as a Frisco seal And a head in the freakish Atlantic Where it pours bean green over blue In the waters off beautiful Nauset. black shoe In which I have lived like a foot For thirty years. Daddy. The snows of the Tyrol. I think I may well be a Jew. You died before I had time— Marble-heavy. In the German tongue. in the Polish town Scraped flat by the roller Of wars. Ach. I never could talk to you. (1962) Daddy You do not do. I have had to kill you. The tongue stuck in my jaw. It stuck in a barb wire snare. ich. So I never could tell where you Put your foot.

At twenty I tried to die And get back. you can lie back now. I made a model of you. Seven years. In the picture I have of you. And then I knew what to do. back. With your Luftwaffe. Daddy. You stand at the blackboard. The voices just can't worm through. daddy.I may be a bit of a Jew. I was ten when they buried you. Every woman adores a Fascist. your gobbledygoo. And your neat mustache And your Aryan eye. If I've killed one man. I thought even the bones would do. if you want to know. But they pulled me out of the sack. 1932) It Is Raining on the House of Anne Frank 110 . The black telephone's off at the root. the brute Brute heart of a brute like you. There's a stake in your fat black heart And the villagers never liked you. Daddy. A cleft in your chin instead of your foot But no less a devil for that. Panzer-man. So daddy. The boot in the face. I'm through. A man in black with a Meinkampf look And a love of the rack and the screw. back to you. And they stuck me together with glue. They are dancing and stamping on you. And I said I do. bright blue. They always knew it was you. you bastard. 40 45 50 55 60 65 70 75 80 (1965) Linda Pastan (b. I've killed two— The vampire who said he was you And drank my blood for a year. I'm finally through. no not Any less the black man who Bit my pretty red heart in two. daddy. O You— Not God but a swastika So black no sky could squeak through. I do. I have always been scared of you. panzer-man.

we too are led down. We gawk. winding to the bottom. slow as sludge in a drain. The elevator that swooped us up and spewed us out. in the quaint toilet. in the skeleton of a kitchen or on the map— each of its arrows a barb of wire— with all the dates. And across Amsterdam it is raining on the Van Gogh Museum where we will hurry next to see how someone else could find the pure center of light within the dark circle of his demons. 1933) At the Holocaust Museum December 1999 Like Dante. not in disbelief but believing this has little to do with us—our comfort in the face of explanations that explain 5 10 111 . 5 10 15 20 25 (1978) Alice Friman (b. leaves us— clusters of strangers—to the inexorable power of no way to go but with each other and the relentless spiral of design. the forbidding shapes of continents. the expulsions. We shuffle.It is raining on the house of Anne Frank and on the tourists herded together under the shadow of their umbrellas. on the perfectly silent tourists who would rather be somewhere else but who wait here on stairs so steep they must rise to some occasion high in the empty loft.

wanting the heat of each other. We grow quiet. Pardon. There is nothing but what we see. the old jackboot footage of rantings. I gagged on my own silence. Gold teeth hiss in their case. not getting enough: the experiments. fit our bodies together like multiple births in the womb. We have crawled into our eyes. Excuse me. to have a yen for it. when I went to the one place where crucial happened not once but over and over again. and all their tattooed histories fidgeting in smoke that rose like bubbles in a fish tank to dissipate in air. and the knot of us slips a little. sniffing out its own vomit. We crowd in to look. all we have is what Mother said was good. And yet. mob in. a calling you might say. Fingers pluck at our sleeves. the British soldier throwing up in his hand? We press to the TV monitors. and the car that waits for us. knee-deep in human hair. the bulldozers. Sorry we say as if. what’s to see but the dredged-up bottom of ourselves that belongs only to ourselves and the moving tide of each other. book burnings. The eye is hungry— a dog dragging its belly through streets. is to be perpetually involved in the act of naming. battered back to three again.nothing. But what else do we know to do at the end of another century that retrospect will narrow to a slit. Pinkie in a dike. and the glass case big as Germany. What do they want of us. loosens to make room. the terrible softness beneath clothes. And at base bottom. reduced to nothing but dumb pupils staring at evidence— the starved and naked dead. rattling with ghosts on its siding. if this Holocaust— this boulder big as Everest—isn’t big enough to change the tide that ran through it? 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 (2007) The Waiting Room To speak of crucial in a life of the merely interesting. Bandaid on a gusher. In the smallest of voices. we who can give nothing. 5 112 . the ovens.

half-timbered houses. The unopened pink purse that is your daughter. The singed grass demanded it. The air not big enough to hold it. Nothing but this sibilance is left. so in a Bavarian town just off the autobahn. 10 15 20 25 30 (2007) C. Williams (b. Never mind sixty years of museums and memorials. we found a room. those totems of eyes. vigils and eternal lights. lamp-lit streets. K. Then now. It hisses in the long uncut grasses growing out of its mouths. checked in. My obligation was to translate. 5 10 113 . The place was charming: hushed. with the wind up and the whipping grasses wild at your knees. a dark-stoned church. Imagine the humiliations of the flesh fumbling to cover up in that waiting room of white trees. and medieval bridges over a murmuring river. Never mind that everything to be said has been said. Birkenau means Place of Birches— the grove in the meadow next to which Crematorium IV was built and fired up to run twenty-four hours a day. this ocean of wind-tortured tongues. hurry write the choke of terror.There is ash at Birkenau under your every step. and went out to look around. so busy gassing and burning there’d be a back-up waiting to go in. Imagine your mother. 1936) After Auschwitz We’d wanted to make France but by dusk we knew we wouldn’t. narrow. before the dogs come. her sparse patch.

” 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 114 . so often. and it was then there arose before me again the barbed wire and the bales of hair. I’d been through it in my mind so much. so many silent spaces. I felt only unutterably weary. tents and trucks. farmers. “Masha. Masha. genial. then. I thought of Primo Levi. and the crematoria. been informed on. I took another stroll and was surprised to realize that all of it.I didn’t sleep well. answered. though. someone called out to her. bereft. when she’d escaped. are you all right?” and she’d answered. all except as far as I could tell the sleeping church. chatty. Now. of the Jewish woman. and in the morning. before the Allied bombers flattened them. “I’m always right. ruddy. and the gas and torture chambers. were deft replicas of what they must have been before the war. bridges. At Auschwitz. of whom Levi tells how. in a pleasant square. much produce. I don’t know why. All that shocked me was to find the barracks and bleak paths unoccupied. houses. caught. flowers. reciting Dante to the all but dead. I came on a morning market. like schools in summer. answered. early. there was nothing I hadn’t imagined beforehand. the laboratories and the frozen ash. and now was to be hanged before the other prisoners. the people prosperous.

yet which endures. a day’s drive back that other place which always now everywhere on earth will be the other place from where one finds oneself. —Rudolf Otto We are walking a sidewalk in a German city. a broken cry. a scar. Pigeons. Only pigeons that gather over the buildings and begin to circle. 60 65 70 75 (1999) William Heyen (b. 1940) The Numinous Our language has no term that can isolate distinctly and gather into one word the total numinous impression a thing may make on the mind. just in front of us. heard by nothing that exists. something bursts into the air. we say. 5 10 15 20 115 . only an explosion of beautiful blue-gray pigeons.A village like a stage set. We are watching gray smoke gutter along the roofs just as it must have from other terrible chimneys. Now. and a reticence perhaps malignant. We are walking our way almost into a dream only those with blue numbers along their wrists can truly imagine. We are walking our way almost into a trance. within. Not risen from its ruins but caught in them forever. it demands of us how we’ll situate this so it doesn’t sunder us between forgivenesses we have no right to grant. For a few moments our bodies echo fear.

and some hosed the walls. and some poured the steel. from Auschwitz a skin lampshade. Some men signed their papers. not I. cries the typist. My friend Fritz Nova lost his father— a petty official had to choose. a hundred hearts beating in the air. and some spread the ashes. from Dachau a mountain of shoes. not I. Were they Germans? Were they Nazis? Were they human? Who killed the Jews? The stars will remember the gold. cries Adolf Eichmann. some just heard the news.We are walking again. cries the engineer. and some dropped the pellets. and some planted the wheat. My friend Lou Abrahms lost his brother. Some smelled the smoke. and some herded them in. Who killed the Jews? David Nova swallowed gas. and some stood guard. Hyman Abrahms was beaten and starved. counting all the red poinsettias between the windowpanes and lace curtains. But who killed the Jews? 25 5 10 15 20 30 116 . It was only a flock of pigeons: we can still see them circling over the block buildings. and some raised the cattle. the sun will remember the shoes. Who killed the Jews? Not I. the moon will remember the skin. 25 30 35 (1977) Riddle From Belsen a crate of gold teeth. and some cleared the rails. cries Albert Speer. not I. We will always remember. Beautiful blue-gray pigeons.

in Russia. And hands of dead women clutched hair. 5 10 15 20 (1991) This Night Which is our star this night? Belsen is bathed in blue. pressed together with fifty others. His wife?—he could not find her. in all Russia. where he hid until the end. woke from that wedding in the death van. stood on that grated floor. and crawl away. torn off one sleeve.° You think they let themselves be taken? They would not fill the trucks.(1977) The Hair: Jacob Korman’s Story Ten kilometers from Warsaw. He stood up. . covered nose and mouth. clarity drifting away to mindlessness— Kotov of stutter and suddenly empty eyes— only Kotov. Men were shot trying to pull guns from the guards’ hands. I arrived in Rembertow where hundreds of Jews had lived until the wheel turned: Judenrein. the gas van. short of speech. and lived. in the time of that German invention. and lived. saved by his own brain and urine. Except for the dead. hair of SS guards blood-patched hair everywhere. . staggered and groped through fields back to the city. a velt mit hor. would wake in the ditch of the dead. soaked it in his urine. Only Kotov. waking in a pit of bodies somewhere outside of Krasnodar. of all those locked inside. Only Kotov. the murder wagon. 117 . . pushed with his new bride into the seatless seven-ton gray truck.° a field of hair. the windowless seven-ton gray dushegubka. survived the dushegubka. °German: cleansed. rid of Jews 5 10 °German: field of hair (1980) Kotov Ivan Ivanovitch Kotov. he was alone. He’d smelled gas. Only Kotov. lost consciousness. half buried.

Which was our star this night? 5 10 15 20 25 (1991) The Liberation Films Seeing the films: now we begin to know. Or they are all dead. Even blue-eyed worms sip dew from the weeping leaves of the black Erika over the graves. seeing the eyes staring at nothing. But now. Which eyes are yours. Seeing the dozer's curved blade curl the dead like a flesh wave as high as our heads toward great necessary pits. every strand of wire. seeing the stick limbs falling in slow motion: 118 10 5 15 . Now we begin to know. Only their pale blue eyes float above the lanes or between the wires. every blue light closes. and these are the blue eyes of those haunted by what happened here. seeing the bodies fall over the graves' edges. For now. every eye. its treads hacking horizontal ladders into this remorseless German dirt that translates flesh into Erika and flowers: now we begin to know. at once. seeing the bodies white with necessary lime. pale blue. The guards' bodies. .every footworn lane. . . which mine? Even blue-eyed crows drift the darkness overhead. For rest. the prisoners' bodies—all black and invisible. the bodies falling in slow motion. A bulldozer working the piles of dead together. As we do.

there is in Berlin a document. and the people were shouting and crying. but I could not lift my arm. The trains from Treblinka. (1991) 10 5 15 Three Relations I (Aachen. Treblinka.000 gold watches. without sound. but the camp's three syllables still sound like freight cars straining around a curve. pushed forward. Commandant Stangl of Treblinka. Treblinka. Would these words like to use some of that same paper? One of those watches may pulse in your own wrist. and he gave me a look. Commandant. or dolls. I was in the crowd. Closer and closer he came in the glistening black car through a sea of heads. 400. Does someone you know collect dolls. some pulped for paper. without one syllable of their last prayers: now we begin to know You. Treblinka. Seeing the dead roll and fall as though flailing their last air. It was a look of death. 25 freight cars of women's hair. 1935) He came to our city. women's hair for mattresses and dolls' heads. Some clothing was kept. 5 10 119 . a moving box. caught in delirium. or sleep on human hair? He is dead at we begin to know. time in gold watches. Lord. without words. 20 25 (1991) The Trains Signed by Franz Paul Stangl. The finest watches were never melted down. All the women's hair was used for mattresses. And now he was opposite me. an order of transmittal from Treblinka: 248 freight cars of clothing. They hailed the Fuehrer as the deliverer. Clothing. now we begin to know. The people almost touched him.

where people undress. III (Sachsenhausen. I felt it in my marrow. . . then: he was the incarnation of death. At home. to shower. All those who cried after him as their redeemer. . . The two windows and door lined with rubber. . thirty meters long. . Two small windows with heavy bars. I feel afraid that I am in a dream. pale and worn. they think. all right. . and I raised my arm. . and I cried heil. after warnings not to speak of what we’d seen. . At last. I felt afraid that I was in a dream. 1944) The small stone house stands by itself. my little daughter clung to me and kissed me. We dragged them out of the gas house by hair and ears and feet 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 120 . . but gas comes out. Maybe two hundred nozzles stick out. we boarded the train . It’s a shower. we talked about our plans. . it left the Munich station . His look froze my heart. 1939) . Concrete floor and no furniture. adjusted my hat over my shorn hair. . I knew it. Gas does not put them quietly to sleep. A lawn in front. cried for death. Their bodies were bluish red. . There is my wife. Vienna’s houses emerged from fog . . . . five meters high. thirty meters wide. II (Released from Dachau. . Their flesh is torn with their own or others’ teeth.there was the chill of death in his white face. although we were very tired . and a wooden shack. In the compartment. . I went over to the toilet mirror. and then. The train rolled in. I stepped down from the car. and twists their bodies into awful shapes. They walk into the stone house. . We couldn’t sleep.

Marie Triste In the twenties. sister."It is A devoted. at midnight. Day and night a whitish smoke blows out of the chimney. who were the first Of the colony to arrive in spring. In winter. but the yeast sheds of the brewery just over That hill. and I would cut Across two fields to the pastures behind Dachau Hall. "Now. stopped. meatlike labia protrude Until autumn and then shrivel. its tough. There is always a fire in the ovens. walls. We stacked them at the entrance. he was Discovered nude and bathing in the pond with a cellist. At the left of the meadow there was a fast stream and pond. He said. She was 121 5 10 15 20 25 30 . this adult flower If disturbed explodes into a small yellow rain like That fawn we watched urinating on the hawthorn just last August ." With his bonyfingers He began to force open the flower. and delicate yellow cinquefoil. on our first day at the colony.and threw them on a flat wagon. Charles. Once. It is a succulent annual. and began by saying. This uncommon flower can grow to an enormous height If planted in water. There was then an artists' colony outside the Ingolstadt Woods And these estates had a meadow filled With the hazy blood-campion. A young surgeon. and Along the stream. and crouching low in the white chicory And lupine found a single. They would rub myrtle leaves into the wood to get out the stink! The railway from Munich to Ingolstadt would deposit us by The gold water tower. Burning seventy or eighty corpses every day— it’s slow going. Its private Appointments are oval and its nodding blossom takes its weight From pods with crimson threadlike supports. Charles. and the violinists. tables. Charles assumed his Condescending tone. would spend three days Scouring the deer blood off the floors. the Hall was a Hostel for hunters." Charles was only two years older but could be a wicked fellow. and my brother. sexual flower. who had been drinking warm beer Since morning. Once. Each wagon had room for seventy bodies. Crossing these fields. Flesh does not burn like wood it takes a long time to burn humans. and sinks. 1945) Aubade of the Singer and Saboteur. 55 60 (1991) Norman Dubie (b. reddish touch-me-not which is rare Here in the mountains. sumac. This flower has no perfume—what you smell is not your Brother's breath either. I would visit Dachau often with my brother. I blushed . We drove the load to the crematorium. six lodges and the oak Dachau Hall where Meals were held and the evening concerts.

I thought Of that large moment of Schumann's. At night. Then I would Say. returning me to my cell. moving through The space like a snake. all night in the chamber. When I was Ordered out of the parlor by the Nazi bitch. a pail. opening The morning with difficult arm exercises. Woodmeal. By then I was able to stand again. "Oh. The guards laughed. cry aloud. and I guess that whenever a train or warehouse went Four-ways-to-market right before my eyes. They have kept me in A small cell. Knowing I was a singer they asked me to perform For the Commandant early the next week. And then there is the silence Of the trucks with their murmuring engines. he said that she would Play for him naked and until he became jealous. That reminds me. The morning After Heidst-Bridge I was captured and Charles Was shot. I was at Dachau by the weekend. I sat in primrose and sorrel with the plunger box and at four o'clock Up went the munitions shipment from Munich to Warsaw. A young Lieutenant tortured me that first night. I was probably Stupid not to have fallen unconscious. commanding me To sing . and for that week. My delusions: A sound like my brother's cellist. I had been Made into a tenor voice! The Commandant's wife dismissed me After a few notes. Sometimes it wakes me about the face and legs. and my brother's drunken anatomy lesson that showed No skill at all there in the silver meadow. the masquerade dance in the woodcut by Hans Burgkmair: Its bird shapes. My inquisitor. I have lost so much weight that I can sleep comfortably On the pine bench. to sing! When they fire the ovens out beside the pastures it is like A giant catching his Poland! We blew It up in October. and a wire brush. Those thin Crimson supports of the flower tossed up like the sunburned arms Of the pianist Mark Meichnik. My cell has a bench. kieselguhr. Charles!" He'd laugh. for the first Time in two years. of Heisdt-Bridge itself . that procession of men threading the dance. I had primed the packages of glycerin. that fawn in Hawthorn.The only cellist. There is a short bridge passage In a Scriabin sonata that reminds me of the bursting touch-me-nots. So neither was banished. arriving at his favorite E-flat Major chord. at this early hour. and chalk. I did. But neither was spoken to except For rehearsals and in illness. also. Every two days Without warning the hose comes alive with water. 35 40 45 50 55 60 65 70 75 80 122 . We curbed the explosives with sulphur. Charles was their only doctor. but my Nazi inquisitor Had for an hour touched live wires to me while holding Me in a shallow ice bath. And Maximillian I greeting them as they twist past the banquet tables. I watch shadows in the cell become. As I was tortured I forced myself To dwell on the adult life of the touch-me-not. I think it was for my voice that I cried so badly.

Even from our height. cooling their hands in damp earth. which prisoners. 85 90 95 (1983) Andrew Hudgins (b. clinging to a green tomato as it swells. bladder-campion and myrtle. the Bürgermeister's favorite butcher making venison flanks Into roasts. how he sawed at the large femur of the deer Like the cellist waking with her instrument. untangling vines. and when they enter they will see the garden and some. but are forced to the open gate. The butcher and the cellist died. they darken to indigo and like smoke Climb over your ankles. They were not my choices. unloading people who stumble from the cars and toward the gate. a matter of minutes. The sun is sealed across. Inside the gate is a small garden and someone on his knees. 1951) Air View of an Industrial Scene There is a train at the ramp. The building’s shadows tilt across the ground and from each shadow juts a longer one and from that shadow crawls a shadow of smoke black as just-plowed earth. I hear their screams. 5 10 15 20 (1985) Peter Balakian (b. reaching your waist— You fall naked as into the field that is with a breeze turning All its wildflowers. 1951) The Children’s Museum at Yad Vashem I walk across some stones. 123 . The day is blue-tiled light. plucking at weeds. At first. one black wing shading the garden. The people hold back. We’re watchers. Perhaps he’s fingering the yellow blooms to see which ones have set and will soon wither. here. admiring the noxious Blue crystals on the floors of the gas chamber: the way. into A melody of just three staves written for four voices: Slaughter and music. I scrub The wall where a bürgermeister opened the artery of a doe that He had shot just outside the window. They’re going to die soon. gardeners themselves. Later.My favorite pastime has become the imaginary destruction of flowers. We can’t tell which are guards. we see in the photograph the shadow of the plane stamped dark and large on Birkenau. Two of the old miracles. But if we had bombs we’d drop them. their right arms Are beautiful with white muscles. They bleed onto the floor of my cell. will yearn to fall to their knees there.

Buckley Whoever has not seen the ruins of the Ghetto Does not know its body’s destiny When death claims it and its heart rots When its unique absence creates a void For one who has seen the ruins of the Ghetto Such human acts are not to be repeated It must all change or death takes over Such death must be overcome or this is the desert 5 124 . I walk across some stones. and the sun is sealed across. A scroll of a viola is a Nazi cross. My mother turns into dust. The sun erupts on one candle.My mother leads me by the hand into the den of names. I walk across some stones. from French by Lloyd Alexander and C. France) Trans. I follow my mother into the mirror. My hand disappears. I walk across some stones. the sky is a cave of faces that fly into the sun sealed across. The sun is sealed across. The candles have laughing faces. 5 10 15 (2000) Additional Poems Dans Varsovie la ville fantastique Par Paul Éluard Qui n’a pas vu les ruines des Ghetto Ne connaît pas le destin de son corps Quand mort le fête et que son cœur pourrit Quand son unique absence fait le vide Pour qui a vu les ruines du Ghetto Les faits humains ne sont pas à refaire Tout doit changer sinon la mort s’installe Mort est à vaincre ou bien c’est le désert In Warsaw the Fantastic City By Paul Éluard (1895-1952. The mirror is black.

il y a des feuilles si fatiguées d’être feuilles. Towards mountains of spectacles that had lost their eyes. junk bonds lying in the graveyard 5 10 125 . (1948) Here now the monster shows his face Proud of emerging from the very heart of man Man chained man broken who No longer sees clearly no longer thinks The Ghetto dead its shadow is under the monster Its courage was made of common loves Of past loves that will be reborn Knotted flowering from the head and roots And under the bowed sky of Warsaw The long and inconceivable suffering Undo and remake a dream of happiness Hope builds a rainbow of pathways Man interred gives way to man on earth. Sur la bord de la route. 10 15 20 Chanson (de La chute et l’exil. the trains ran like a dream. K. my brother said in the city square and the stocks were harrumphing bulls on TV. 4) By Edmond Jabès (1912-1991. Song (from Fall and Exile.Or c’est ici que se montre le monstre Fier de sortir du cœur même de l’homme De l’homme enchaîné de l’homme rompu Qui ne voit plus clair qui ne pense plus Le Ghetto mort son ombre est sous le monstre Mais son courage fut d’amours communes D’amours passées qui renaîtront futures Nouées fleuries de tête et de racines Et sous le ciel ployant de Varsovie La longue peine et la souffrance insigne Défont refont un rêve de bonheur L’espoir compose un arc-en-ciel de routes L’homme en terre fait place à l’homme sur la terre. Balayez les feuilles. gold teeth without faces. from French by Rosmarie Waldrop By the wayside leaves so tired of being leaves they fell. Balayez les Juifs. Egypt/France) Trans. qu’elles sont tombées. Ramanujan As Eichmann said. Sweep up the Jews. By the wayside Jews so tired of being Jews they fell. qu’ils sont tombés. 5 10 Les mêmes feuilles repoussent-elles au printemps? Will the same leaves regrow in spring? Y a-t-il un printemps pour les Juifs piétinés? Is there a spring for trampled Jews? (1965) As Eichmann Said. Sweep up the leaves. My Brother Said By A. artificial limbs climbing by themselves all over the landscape. 4) Par Edmond Jabès Sur le bord de la route. il y a des Juifs si fatigués d’être juifs.

towards the airhole. England) for Thom Gunn Did music help him? Indeed it helped him. now is now. or under the effects Of a poisonous dust from space. my brother said. for its few moments Ushered them into a formation Where the Camp did not exist Where their sorrowful bodies did not exist. my brother said. that’s all. dying men making pyramids of tangled hands and feet. I obeyed orders. only larger. the chimney through which they went up in smoke.of cars and caterpillars all along the train tracks. As Eichmann said. their last few horrible hours. their next few Frightful possibly fatal days. As Eichmann said. instruments Imitated uncannily but weirdly Restored the order of music Within the terror of the Camp. and pensions crumbled as he herded people like himself into cattle cars. So the scabies on his belly the sores and Inflammations which made Elias That ferocious clown crow And ridiculed him. They could have been baboons In some demented phase of tribal breakdown During a famine. how can I talk about it now after all these years of not remembering and not forgetting either? That was then. fingers in another’s eye. children like his own into ovens not unlike the ones in your kitchen. Yet his music. His crude music. 15 20 25 30 (1999) Lines about Elias By Ted Hughes (1930-1998. sooner Or later nearly certainly fatal days 5 10 15 20 25 126 . ripping down his trousers Fighting with him in the mud They did not touch his music Did not adhere to any note of it Or disturb his performance Through which his fellow-prisoners escaped Their rags.

as harps. Over the slaves whose singing blood still flows Through the Atlantic and up the Mississippi And up the jugular Smoulderingly Skywriting across the cortex That the heart. The seven lamented millions of Zion Rose musically through the frozen mouths Of Russia's snowed-under millions. demands 127 10 5 15 . standing in a group Just outside it. a gulping mask. and could ignore. They perch. demands. shedding and Escaping their humanity Lowered themselves into the sound As into a communal bath Where all were anonymous new-born Innocent all equally Innocent equally defenceless The guards indeed more defenceless More terribly naked needing The music more 30 35 40 45 50 (1989) Karma By Ted Hughes (1930-1998. England) When the world-quaking tears were dropped At Dresden at Buchenwald Earth spewed up the bones of the Irish. where music uttered The dumbness of naked bodies As if it were the inside of the earth And everything else— The hours where their soft surfaces Tore against the hard— Were merely rags It happened to wear. stepping a little Out of the time corridor. Queen Victoria refused the blame For the Emperors of Chou herding their rubbish Into battle roped together. In the solidarity of souls.Standing aside from them. where the air was still. Music poured out of nowhere Strange food And made them for those moments unaware Of their starvation and indifferent To their humanity While the guards too.

cops and robbers with me once. 128 10 5 15 . They rejoice Through the warped mouth of the flounder. They have gone down To labour with God on the beaches. and reach that cold cloacal cell where He. from Seoul.Appeasement For its bloody possessor. (1966) 25 20 30 35 “From the Corpse Woodpiles. Buchenwald they come— O David. Hirschel. from the ashes and staring pits of Dachau. And a hundred and fifty million years of hunger Killing gratefully as breathing Moulded the heart and the mouth That cry for milk From the breast Of the mother Of the God Of the world Made of Blood. Eva. in light part nightmare and part vision fleeing What I cannot flee. from the Ashes” By Robert Hayden From the corpse woodpiles. Their struggles are all horizons. their faces are like yours— From Johannesburg. They fatten Under the haddock's thumb. They have melted like my childhood under earth's motherly curve And are nowhere they are not here I know nothing Cries the poulterer's hare hanging Upside down above the pavement Staring into a bloody bag Not here Cry the eyes from the depths Of the mirror's seamless sand. Their deaths encircle me. who is man beatified And Godly mystery. Through target streets I run. They have gone into dumber service.

(1962) Lullaby By Breyten Breytenbach (b.lies chained. 129 . from Afrikaans by the author Schluf mine faygele Mach tzu dine aygele Eye lu lu lu Close tight your eyes my love Hush now my little dove For the mouse in the kiss For the blood in the shoe Guernica Madrid Babi-Yar Cyprus Belfast Suez Athens Luanda Santiago Santiago Hanoi My Lai Pnom-Penh Hué Praha Budapest Sabra Chatilla Schluf geshmak mine kind Schluf un zai-gezund Eye lu lu lu Ai Sleep deep my wondrous child Sleep stiff and still and blind Ravensbrücken Belzec Sobibor Bergen-Belsen Majdanek Chelmno Treblinka Auschwitz The people are in the kraal And with first light of morrow Here’s two socks bone-white as sorrow And sleep pickanniny And all the night-hooded names I’m not yet allowed to say What blackens the tongue With the stone of its closeness The tongue makes black Aia lu du-du 30 20 5 10 15 25 Spojrzała w słońce Powieść Tadeusz Róźewicz 1921. 1939. His pain our anguish and our anodyne. South Africa) Trans. Poland) She Looked at the Sun By Tadeusz Róźewicz (b.

Suddenly struck by the lightning of death. from Polish by Magnus J. She walked in her house. Krynski and Robert A. from Polish by Jagna Boraks The lady. Poland) Trans.Trans. Florian pours forth a wooden stream of on a red comb of fire beneath a silvery cloud in the bright of day stands a girl and smiles to herself sweetly as an angel no one has seen she rejoices in sun and warmth and hums a tune suddenly in my eye in the eye of a passing stranger who has survived the war darkness pierces light and joy through the sun I see a black sewer a pit dank fetid at the bottom a little Jewish girl who on liberation day came out of hiding after many years she looked at the sun stoi dziewczynka i uśmiecha się do siebie pięknie jak anioł którego nikt nie widział cieszy się ze słońca i ciepła 10 i nuci piosenkę nagle w moich oczach w oczach obcego przechodnia który przeżył wojnę ciemność przebija światło i radość skroś słońca widzę czarny kanał jamę wilgotną cuchnącą na dnie małą żydowską dziewczynkę która w dniu wyzwolenia wyszła z zamknięcia po wielu latach spojrzała w słońce wyciągnęła przed siebie ręce oślepła blind (1955) 25 15 20 stretched her arms before her went In Place of an Epitaph By Wacław Iwaniuk (1915-2001. brilliant as a flower. died. Maguire Na rynku gdzie święty Florian wylewa drewniany strumień wody water na czerwony grzebień ognia pod srebrnym obłoczkiem w świetle dnia 5 In the marketplace where St. She used to open cupboards and the fridge 5 130 . who once lived here. In the kitchen which was her life-center.

Her death could be compared to a cat’s leap. And after awakening they were together again. they knew the meaning of joy. Sugar for cakes and sweet essence of honey. Having deceived death. Which came so unexpectedly that life had no time To tie all ends. When she left the camp. Earth begins to breathe. As in the days gone by. Acacias are afraid. which she once shared With her husband. She died. She gathered for her and her husband shapely jars Filled with herbs from Ceylon. No more rain. Alone. She fell from life Like biblical manna upon a burnt desert. tired. hygienically packed in foil. she would list tomorrow’s Expenses: pickles in jars that looked like Children from recent death camps. Ripe fruit which they both loved. They were drowning in sour silence Only the green dill did not surrender.Polished like the moon’s surface. And the whole ritual of seasoning. from Basque by Amaia Gabantxo Atertu de euria. she fell asleep. and polished rice. they exposed lean ribs And empty entrails pierced by prison camp hunger. she continually brought home colourful Paprikas. At her lonely table. scented Persian grains. Her world suddenly stopped. He observed her hands that lived only for him. 131 . sparkling cereals. 1957. Spain/Basque Country) Trans. The wind becalms. she knew. Because she did not believe That he has left her forever. Lurra arnasa hartzen hasi. she vowed never to starve again. Sliced lengthwise. Ikara dira akaziak. He was always nearby. Its dewy dark whiskers had a fresh elastic look. died with jars And airtight cans. extracting fragrance from its sealed core. Haizea jabaldu da. Until suddenly. 10 15 20 25 30 35 Auschwitz Auschwitz By Felipe Juaristi (b. sustenance was their Inner happiness.

5 10 15 (1998) 132 . I open the window.Besoak zeruari kolpeka. it overlooks the cemetery. Hezur eta ile kiskaliek Busti egin dute giroa. Euriaren ondorengo Edozein egunetan. beat heaven with their fists. Hilerrira jotzen duen Leihoa irekitzen dut. Erre-usaina dator handik. A burnt smell. Any day after rain. Charred bone and hair have impregnated the air. A cicada’s song deep in the foliage of an apple tree. Auschwitz datorkit oroimenera. I remember Auschwitz. Txirritak kantatzen Sagar-hostoak babes.

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