The happiness of youth
is pleasant to remember.
Only the river doesn’t age.
The windmill has collapsed,
capricious winds
are whistling, unconcerned.

A touching wayside cross remains.
A cornflower wreath like a nest without birds
upon Christ’s shoulder,
and a frog blaspheming in the sedge.

Have mercy upon us!
A bitter time has come
to the banks of sweet rivers,
two years the factories have stood empty
and children learn the language of hunger
at their mothers’ knees.

And still their laughter rings
under the willow sadly silent
in its silver.

May they give us a happier old age
than the childhood we’re giving them!




Sometimes we are tied down by memories
and there are no scissors that could cut
through those tough threads.
        Or ropes!

You see the bridge there by the House of Artists?
                   A few steps before that bridge
gendarmes shot a worker dead
who was walking in front of me.

I was only twenty at the time,
                  but whenever I pass the spot
the memory comes back to me.
It takes me by the hand and together we walk
to the little gate of the Jewish cemetery,
through which I had been running
from their rifles.

The years moved with unsure, tottering step
and I with them.
                 Years flying
till time stood still.

tr. from the Czech by


here.JPG (4208 bytes)


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