Man Cursing the Sea — Miroslav Holub
After I posted the poem from Holub’s Vanishing Lung Syndrome the other day, several people commented on the facebook note (my blog imports into facebook) with various interesting things related to Holub. Christopher Salerno suggested the following poem, which I found through a google search (so if there are any errors, please let me know). David Walker tells me that Sagittal Section is out of print, but that this poem, and much of the rest of the book, was reprinted in his selected poems, Intensive Care:
Man Cursing the Sea
—Miroslav Holub. (Trans. Stuart Friebert and Dana Habova.)
from Sagittal Section. 1980
just climbed to the top of the cliffs
and began to curse the sea.
Dumb water, stupid pregnant water,
slow, slimy copy of the sky,
you peddler between sun and moon,
pettifogging pawnbroker of shells,
soluble, loud-mouthed bull,
fertilizing the rocks with your blood,
dashed to bits on the headland,
hydra, hydrolyzing the night,
breathing salty clouds of silence,
spreading jelly wings
in vain, in vain,
gorgon, devouring its own body,
water, you absurd flat skull of water—
And so he cursed the sea for a spell,
it licked his footprints in the sand
like a wounded dog.
And then he came down
the tiny immense stormy mirror of the sea.
There you go, water, he said,
and went his way.