Sunday, October 16, 2011

voice - zbigniew herbert

by Zbigniew Herbert (tr. Milosz & Scott)

I walk on the sea-shore
to catch that voice
between the breaking of one wave
and another

but there is no voice
only the senile garrulity of water
salty nothing
a white bird's wing
stuck dry to a stone

I walk to the forest
where persists the continuous
hum of an immense hour-glass
sifting leaves into humus
humus into leaves
powerful jaws of insects
consume the silence of the earth

I walk into the fields
green and yellow sheets
flattened with pins of insect beings
sing at every touch of the wind

where is that voice
it should speak up
when for a moment there is a pause
in the unrelenting monologue of the earth

nothing but whispers
clappings explosions

I come home
and my experience takes on
the shape of an alternative
either the world is dumb
or I am deaf

but perhaps
we are both
doomed to our afflictions

therefore we must
arm in arm
go blindly on
towards new horizons
towards contracted throats
from which rises
an unintelligible gurgle

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