Feb 28, 2010

Elegy


About a year has passed. I've returned to the place of the battle,
to its birds that have learned their unfolding of wings 
       from a subtle
lift of a surprised eyebrow, or perhaps from a razor blade
- wings, now the shade of early twilight, now of state 
       bad blood.

Now the place is abuzz with trading
    in your ankles's remanants, bronzes
of sunburnt breastplates, dying laughter, bruises,
rumors of fresh reserves, memories of high treason,
laundered banners with imprints of the many
          who since have risen.

All's overgrown with people. A ruin's a rather stubborn
architectural style. And the hearts's distinction
     from a pitch-black cavern
isn't that great; not great enough to fear
that we may collide again like blind eggs somewhere.

At sunrise, when nobody stares at one's face, I often,
set out on foot to a monument cast in molten
lengthy bad dreams. And it says on the plinth "commander
in chief." But it reads "in grief," or "in brief,"
      or "in going under."







Joseph Brodsky

1985, translated by the author










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