and with a slapping sound the snow-white sails,
catching the light, grow plump for a long voyage.
who, starting life anew, must bid farewell –
henceforth to write his poems with a stick
on drifting sands in far-off Africa.
you can hear terrible cries; time does her best
like a wet-nurse – all day, all night – to feed
her fearful children at her ashen breast.
What am I worth – I, a scholar of rare
and weighty words – if there are deranged hands
clutching at bombs insanely everywhere?
the heavens’ blazing portents fall to earth.
There is a white pain that encircles me
like salt at ebb-tide tracing the sea’s girth.
Consciousness pure as snow, stay with me here.
My words are clean, and may they never be
begrimed by the brown smoke of burning fear.
Translated by: Clive Wilmer and George Gömöri