Dimitris Lyakos, from “Poena Damni The First Death”

IV

Keep moving among the remnants of the feasts
like the sheepskin which flutters on the improvised gallows
keep walking amid the fragments of the night
with the Nightmare’s bitter betrayal in your mouth
eyes burning like the sick man’s bed
aware that all men have drowned within you
and just as the umbilical cord stretches
-and you feel the heavenly hand which now
draws you with all its might-
keep wondering without drawing breath
when you will reach the end
a beret body, a crippled embrace
when will the hangman put you down
a limping soul
an old woman despoiled by the quest
uprooted by weeping
when will you give up the ghost in
the vomit of your misery

(and you ascend into the flowers
of the tree where you were hanged)

*“The First Death”, Shoestring Press, 2000. It is a translation from the original in Greek with the title “Poena Damni Ο πρώτος θάνατος” (εκδ. Οδός Πανός, 1996). Translation in English: Shorsha Sullivan.

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