The Ghost Man
trans;ation by Paddy Bushe
Eighteen. Gale force rising.
Eighteen. The heart of the fire.
Storm-fanned flames lick at eighteen-year-olds.
But my storm passed quickly, contemptuously,
As if I was no more than a drop of water.
Plane trees ululate in a red blizzard
Like green wolves howling in a scrub fire
Or like that unspeakable explosion that blooms
Gaudily, into a diseased mushroom.
Hailstones of shrapnel clatter from the sky.
Pedestrians are grey cars, and race in all directions.
The God of Death Speaks to Men of Evil
Yes, I am Azrael!
But do not number me among your kind!
When you intrude on gentle lives
You use your fists and whips and bullets
To build a house of death.
But I, with pity, spread snow-white sheets for them.
And even when itís to your hordes
I come to gather up the souls,
I use my fingers lightly, to close
Eyelids that still throb with your crimes.
Uncle, how can I shelter you?
The stormís battering has transformed you.
Thunder hacks at you with its black axe,
Lightning stabs you with its silver sword.
Uncle! You must withstand it, you cannot leave me.
Against volleys of rain I run to you.
My long wild hair flails with your tree-top,
My pliant arms are grafted to your branches.
This one tree will have the strength of two.
Let us protect each other and endure, Uncle. Endure!
We come from the blackness of night
From the dying city smothered by dark clouds.
From year upon year of ignorance
We come, a group of bleeding souls
Who died without justice in a summer of blood.
Now we are resolved to do
What we never dared while we lived:
Brothers, stand up, arm in firm arm.
What we are resolved to do, we know
We are doing without uttering a word!
I cannot fully make out his eyes,
Can only feel two cold rays from a dark pool penetrate me,
Make red ice of my bonesí marrow.
I cannot clearly make out his hands,
Only feel they are trees at the edge of a cliff
To which some shaking, shrunken leaves still cling
And wait for a storm on a moonless night.
I cannot fully make out, under his eyes and hands,
The colour of the music that flows from black and white keys,
Only feel the worldís loneliness in its currents.
But I can clearly see his retreating back,
Tragic, heroic, like a sea
With waves bowed and distorted
By time and suffering.
There is no end in sight.
The Coldness of First Love
Who let me pass through such a night?
I sit on a rock, watching the moon.
I can no linger think.
The moon stares at me, blank with indifference.
Sometimes I bend my head
Towards my own soul splashing in the sea,
Arching from laughter to tears.
And the coral turns red.
It swims ashore, approaches me remorsefully.
I turn in disdain
And sneer at it in return.
Clouds, ponderous with distress,
Droop in their own shadows.
The sky heaves, its bloated face
Craving consolation. A sudden break
Touches it with warm light,
An infusion of comfort,
Full of golden teeth.
Blizzard as Illustration
Stole the sun from the sky.
Let me raise a torch
And walk across the snowy ground.
Let ice and snow frostbite my hands, my feet.
If I were to freeze, like an ancient figure
I would, my arms raised, inflame my faith
Inflame the frozen world.
If the blizzard were to become a book
This would be its illustration
Poem in a Window
Windows creak and tremble
Like sobbing, widowed shoulders.
Groundwater sings like vagrants in the streets,
But nobody knows the import of the words.
This city, its air-raid shelters spreading like a virus,
Is a white whale pockmarked with wounds,
Its face wreathed in pain.
The fish-blood steams,
A red mist flickers like scales,
Windows shatter one after the other
In a war not yet declared.
Something moves uneasily in the darkness,
In the surrounding silence, in the metallic moonlight.
There is no rustle of leaves,
No creak of windows.
A cricket crosses the threshold, songless.
There is only the clanking of moonlight
Winching up an iron chain
That sounds in the depths of the soul.