The Bridge of Moments
It is the song of monks I hear.
The sun comes and goes
bursts in among columns and vaults
disappears through arches of stone.
Ruins of Europe
shadowy cell for stone caskets and plaques.
It is the corpse I see
the lasting tyranny of sight.
A young man who´s thrown himself
from the roof
both legs bent awkwardly back.
His arms are wings
that didn´t carry.
It is the song of monks I hear,
blood I see flowing.
The wind tugs at flowers and herbs in the cloister garden
shakes thyme shakes mint and tarragon.
Flocks of pigeons rise above the chapel
above the tower
continue out over the river.
A body through the air,
a gust of cold.
The blood I see drifting
toward a gutter.
A gray wind from the park
scuds between arcades and walls
raises the white down
on my bare arms
the sun-drenched hairs on my neck.
Icy slaps against the pavement.
It is people I see hurrying
their angst rushes in and fills the street
the living press their hands
against the breast of the dead man.
Blood oozes toward the grating
the stars in the sewers.
It is the dead man´s blood that pours coldly
through my brain.
The blood I hear mixing
with water in the sewer,
echoes of the song of monks
I hear flowing
behind thick walls.
Rain washes the pavement clean
and in the quadrangle
the unicorn grazes undisturbed.
Silence begins with an animal.
The Bridge of Moments 1988, translated by Roger Greenwald