A SONG AT THE END
Listen: about little Hendele.
She came back to me yesterday
and she was twenty-four already.
And as graceful as Shulamite.
She wore an ash-gray squirrel fur
and a pert little cap
and round her neck shed tied a scarf
the colour of pale smoke.
Hendele, how well this suits you!
I thought that you were dead
and meanwhile you have grown more beautiful.
I am glad youve come!
How wrong you are, dear friend!
Ive been dead twenty years,
and very well you know it.
Ive only come to meet you.
ST GEORGES BASILICA
If in the white Basilica of St George
fire broke out,
its walls after flames would be rose-coloured.
Perhaps even its twin towers: Adam and Eve.
Eve is the slimmer one, as is usual with women,
though this is only an insignificant glory
of their sex.
The fiery heat would make the limestone blush.
Just as young girls do
after their first kiss.
tr. from the Czech by