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Zbigniew Herbert

(29 October 1924 – 28 July 1998 / Lvov)

About Troy


1

Troy O Troy
an archeologist
will sift your ashes through his fingers
yet a fire occurred greater than that of the Iliad
for seven strings--

too few strings
one needs a chorus
a sea of laments
and thunder of mountains
rain of stone

--how to lead
people away from the ruins
how to lead
the chorus from poems--

thinks the faultless poet
respectably mute
as a pillar of salt
--The song will escape unharmed
It escaped
with flaming wing
into a pure sky

The moon rises over the ruins
Troy O Troy
The city is silent

The poet struggles with his own shadow
The poet cries like a bird in the void

The moon repeats its landscape
gentle metal in smoldering ash




2

They walked along ravines of former streets
as if on a red sea of cinders

and wind lifted the red dust
faithfully painted the sunset of the city

They walked along ravines of former streets
they breathed on the frozen dawn in vain

they said: long years will pass
before the first house stands here

they walked along ravines of former streets
they thought they would find some traces

a cripple plays
on a harmonica
about the braids of a willow
about a girl

the poet is silent
rain falls

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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