Abraham Sutzkever

(1913 - 2010 / Smorgon, Russian Empire)

A Winter Night

Separated from all nights, between cloud and star,
A winter night blares out a wolf orchestra:

Violet nettles — the searing snows bruise.
With the face of a gallows, my hangman pursues.

Under snow — a minefield. As soon as I row over —
The forest of firs is my armor and my cover.

Wolves with torn-off paws. Howling hollows.
Without a mouth, alone, a human voice follows.

'My steps,' I say, 'if you don't know how soon
Under snow a mine lies — I'll draw you a tune.

Step in its traces, sign for sign, carefully stroll,
So they won't say: because of feet, he lost his soul …'

Up to the forest the tune polished its traces,
And in them — my dancing footstep races.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

Under grass — a poemfield. To the same tune, I
Stroll among poems, for I know not where they lie.

Submitted: Monday, July 21, 2014

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