George Szirtes
Two Songs from In the Face of History
Kertész: Latrine

1.
Four poilus in a wood austerely shitting.
Death watches them, laughing, its sides splitting.

Life is a cry followed by laughter.
The body before, the waste after.

2.
Could one hear in that wood the gentle click
of the shutter like the breaking of a stick
or the safety catch on its climacteric?

3.
Like the four winds. Like a low fart that rips
clean air in two, like urine that drips.
Four squatting footsoldiers of the Apocalypse.

4.
Kiss them lightly, faint breeze in the small leaves,
be the mop on the brow, the sigh that relieves.

Let them dump and move on into the dark plate
of the unexposed future, too little and too late.



Petersen: Kleichen and a Man

I have seen eternity and it is like this,
a man and woman dancing in a bar
in a poor street on an unswept floor.

It clings and plots and is desperate,
at a point between violence and abjection,
between warmth and agoraphobic fear.

Let me reverse this and accept the fear.
Let me drop all objections to abjection,
since life itself is desperate

and has to tread the unswept floor
carefully, lovingly, while the bar
hovers in eternity. Like this.
 Water
 Reel
 America
George Szirtes
fot. archiwum autora


Selected Poems, OUP, 1996
The Budapest File, Bloodaxe 2000
English Apocalypse, Bloodaxe 2001
Metro, OUP, 1998
Reel, Bloodaxe, 2004




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