Leo Yankevich Poems
Apollo’s Archaic Torso
(after the German of Rainer Maria Rilke)
We have no knowledge of his ancient brow
where pippins ripen. Yet his torso gleams,
reflecting the candela, luminous streams
that yet pour from his gaze, his glance’s glow
still radiant, though dimmed. If not, his bare
breast would not blind you in the silent turn
of hip and thighs, a smile not flash and burn
through groins, his genitals not ever glare.
If not, this stone would seem deformed and small,
the light beneath his shoulder’s sudden fall
not seem a preying panther’s shimmering mane, ...
A Warning To Dissidents
Yes, pretty soon now they’ll be at your door.
They’ve orders and a warrant after all.
It doesn’t matter. You’ll be on the floor,
your wife and children having watched you fall.
Just then you’ll notice fallen scraps and crumbs,
the beauty of your startled wife’s pale feet,
the Celtic Crosses on your daughter’s thumbs,
the food above that you will never eat.