Tuesday, March 15, 2011

One Acid Obol

from Nike Who Hesitates
By Zbigniew Herbert

a solitary youth
he goes down the long tracks
of a war chariot
on a grey road in a grey landscape
of rocks and scattered juniper bushes

right now the scale containing his fate
abruptly falls
towards the earth

....Nike hesitates
and at last decides
to remain in that position
which sculptors taught her

she understands
that tomorrow at dawn
this boy must be found
with an open breast
closed eyes
and the acid obol of his country
under his numb tongue

--Translated by Czeslaw Milosz

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