28 July 2013

The Greeks are blinding Polyphemus

                              THE GREEKS ARE BLINDING POLYPHEMUS

                                                          by György Rába

Because he is one-eyed
because his dinner his choice morsel are different
because his footpath is not known
because he shepherds it though he is a born blacksmith
because he has not heard cormorants for days
because he perks an ear to the song of the present
because he won't build he camps out in his cave
because he builds his cave adorns it with curtains of bay leaf
shines new -- bends dress and cover
they lift a red-hot pole
like the plug hole on a ship's rib
they poke ream out his eye
because his hovel is a home of death 

But news lives in him too
every seeing eye gleams alike like a sun
and in everyone there dwells a death
same as someone rowing with bare hands
he'll flex his cliff-ripping muscle
you can see the present's body
and let it trill as sweetly as it might
the future lets drop flakes of enamel
Many a seafarer will yet sail here
being taken aback will never be over
how long will you be listening
to the dialogue of because and but
lord of eternal waters

trans., Emery George

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