To Marcus Aurelius

Marcus_Aurelius

by Zbigniew Herbert

for Professor Henryk Elzenberg

Good night Marcus put out the light
and shut the book For overhead
is raised a gold alarm of stars
heaven is talking some foreign tongue
this the barbarian cry of fear
your Latin cannot understand
Terror continuous dark terror
against the fragile human land

begins to beat It’s winning Hear
its roar The unrelenting stream
of elements will drown your prose
until the world’s four walls go down
As for us? – to tremble in the air
blow in the ashes stir the ether
gnaw our fingers seek vain words
drag off the fallen shades behind us

Well Marcus better hang up your peace
give me your hand across the dark
Let it tremble when the blind world beats
on senses five like a failing lyre
Traitors – universe and astronomy
reckoning of stars wisdom of grass
and your greatness too immense
and Marcus my defenceless tears

(Translation: Czeslaw Milosz and Peter Dale Scott)

Source: Selected Poems

An early reminder that we’ll be reading and celebrating the poetry of Zbigniew Herbert at our next session on May 26. We will now resume our tradition of posting selected subject poems on the blog, via the CONTACT US page or “Leave a Comment” link or you may email them to me directly.

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Filed under Poem, Reminder

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