in armour long since accustomed to the
careless grimaces of those stepping out
into view, his helmet an inverted
urn, a magician's hat, from which,
the cloud-darkness ripens. the eye an empty
convex mirror, its murky basin
obliterating all that was depicted there,
as the double-winged doors open up
clever manoeuvers, a proven conceit. if into
the tempera paints you mix a drop of gold varnish,
also known as Blattgold, the drying surface,
as if you had wiped it with a bouquet of sunlight,
begins to glow with silken, secret light.
in which you find several trees, prettily arranged,
trimmed bushes, restful arbours behind the hedges
shadow-dappled hillsides, many blossoms. I read aloud,
not knowing when you are bored, when you place your hands
flustered in your lap, when you are thinking of something else, and although
I suspect I know with whom your sympathies lie, I don't know
whether you desired the mutual decomposition of the pair, in which
the baroness so tellingly made inquiries of her husband
and their visitor the captain, before the fourth guest
of the party arrived, and the incessant planning, until then,
of the garden, the terraces, conservatories, paths,
and the building of the gazebos served as a sentimental backdrop
for the unhappy relations, the ill-starred affinities.
wax discs which always get stuck
in the same place, like rain pelting the border,
forever erupting at the point where
the battered diamond needle breaks loose,
its whining like that of a dog beaten
half dead with its tether: take that, it's yours,
you rotten carrion! the dirt stuck together
in tiny clumps from the saliva, the tears,
the rain, to endure this and when one
can endure no longer, to sneak the tether
back to the hand that will let it drop,
to thrust like a knife in one's heart
the shame of unwanted continuation.
after my son,
the winter island released him.
above the river
icy clouds gathered,
and the water became bright, more flaxen
by the time I heard his voice,
which remained here
in this reed-bound earth.
to the house behind the dam.
The water had sealed the house off
from the village: debris, dead leaves, pigeon-carcasses
rotted away inside, and in between the piss-soaked rafters
generations of cats proliferated.
The letters still remembered the hands
which had set them in place, and they wandered across
every page, like the cats roaming over every ruinous
nook and cranny, from one margin to the other. First the letter
the feline reek, in a terrible voice it began to yell,
for the wind to blow upon you a tornado, a waft of air,
although as it screamed, the plank on which it stood
wobbled. Hearing the clamour, two
elderly tomcats jumped out. They arched their backs,
and the first letter retreated, tripping on a piece
of tile, and falling down. In the meantime,
imperceptibly, the second letter crept in,
they had become greasy piles of rags, and as it looked,
it thought back upon a respected countenance,
with eyes exactly the same colour of grey, and the hand as well,
as it went along the page from row to row,
the very same shade of grey. It then stepped
over the debris and the rotting mud
to the door, nearly fallen from its hinges,
and the evening sun etched itself into the house. The letter
a spotted kitten, took it onto its belly, played hide-and-seek around
its leg, then settled down on a broken-edged
stone bench, and for a long time could not fall
asleep. It was a warm summer evening. Above the dam,
the Moon appeared like a grey eye.
The thoughts of a dead man.
The pastor pronounces the letter
of the alphabet, jabbering:
his staff scythes widely through the air
behind a white hillock.
and then dies down.
back into their places.
the colossal door –
those of the dawn.
here too the scent of anisette.
and the walls will burst.
my back to the room.
has fallen early.
He cannot arrive
from the direction of the woods.
dogs jump after him.
like every other vagabond:
he carries the letters.
Tags: Gábor Schein