Sunday Poem

Song 2

When I leave this little town
Harmonicas will play all night long..
But I won’t be here..
I know that as I sleep
The words I use and the way I walk are pantomimed..
In the square a horse drags a wooden cart full of bread: clack, clack..
A cold bench
Makes me take a good hard look
Forces my eyes open..
And I feel that something’s afoot
That something has just happened, maybe yesterday..
All that remains is a deep, far-off rumbling..
But before your heart rouses
To the sound,
You must fall asleep
Give into a deep fatigue..
The horse with the wooden cart
Stubbornly fights time:
Clack, clack — today's fresh bread, warm..
Once I, too, struggled with time..
But it would only grab me in its whirlwind
And spin me high up above the rooftops..
Now I know it’s small, contained
Unseen, like the bread in the cart’s wooden heart.

by Oleh Lysheha
from The Big Bridge
publisher: Molodist', Kyiv, 1989
Translation: by author
from A Hundred Years of Youth:
A Bilingual Anthology of 20th Century Ukrainian Poetry

Publisher: Litopys, Lviv, 2000