Monday, July 15, 2013

will wonders never cease?.....

a poem by Benjamin Fondane

The Refusal of the Poem

The daughters of song came:
“Would you take us, naked,
our lips lavender scented?”

– I dream of valleys in Finland
where soldiers of ice sleep.

The salt virgins of the poem
said, “it is time we were loved.
We are naked under our skin.”

– I dream of watery ships
drowned behind glass.

The supple whores of my dream
call to me, “let go, dive in
where the fish are fresh and dumb.”

– I dream of Germany's prisoners
gaunt beneath the whip ...

The sweet mothers of sleep
coo, “go to bed, your big toes
pointing to the tip of sleep.

The Sleeping Beauty in man
lives on kisses alone...”

– I dream of the vast embers
that flare around the earth ...

The toothless hag of death
said, “each horse has its bit.
Your lot is a slow death.
So like it or not, sing!
No one has a right to mercy.
What do you think, vague shade?”

– My dearest, I dream of Prague.
I don't hear, I no longer hear
the prayers of her synagogues.


translated by Nathaniel Rudavsky-Brody

Fondane (1898 - 1944)

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