Sunday, January 18, 2009

For Poppies

—Slavko Janevski

When poppies tear themselves away
from their roots
and start Indian file
toward their sunset,
don't go after them.
There are no more weddings.
At each step stands a single autumn,
foolish, white, and stark naked.

When poppies leave only waste behind,
shut up the rain within yourself.
Let it toll in the gutter of your veins
under the familiar ceiling,
and keep quiet.

When the wind alights on your window
with three high-pitched squeaks
and the sob of a young crane,
again keep quiet.

For poppies silence is golden.

(translated by Charles Simic)