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Poetry

Tiresias’s Lesson

By Janusz Szuber
Translated from Polish by Alissa Valles

1.
What futures do the oracular oaks
predict for us, the prophetic cups,
what horoscope do computers draw,
whom do they allow to read to the end?
On which continent do dolphins carry
which islands to cities under the embers?

2.
Time measured by the hourglass of a drip.
On the monitor, a point of light jumps.
Who were you? A scribe, maybe a pimp.
I don’t remember. I touched a snake
in order to be a woman, being a man,
and you, the skeptics, jeered at me.

3.
Give me an obol for a safe journey.
Lay on a linen mask, seal it with a psalm.
On the medical card, write: he was cured.
Let the electronic dogs off their chains –
Let them follow tracks in a grove burned by napalm.
I, a blind man, will be looking the Great Nothing in the face.

 

English

1.
What futures do the oracular oaks
predict for us, the prophetic cups,
what horoscope do computers draw,
whom do they allow to read to the end?
On which continent do dolphins carry
which islands to cities under the embers?

2.
Time measured by the hourglass of a drip.
On the monitor, a point of light jumps.
Who were you? A scribe, maybe a pimp.
I don’t remember. I touched a snake
in order to be a woman, being a man,
and you, the skeptics, jeered at me.

3.
Give me an obol for a safe journey.
Lay on a linen mask, seal it with a psalm.
On the medical card, write: he was cured.
Let the electronic dogs off their chains –
Let them follow tracks in a grove burned by napalm.
I, a blind man, will be looking the Great Nothing in the face.

 

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