Friday, April 25, 2008

Twelve Chapters for Doftana Prison: 9

Yannis Ritsos

On the walls the ancient cries turn to stone.
On the air the sound of old chains hangs—
heavy steps, steps inside the well of silence,
and again the cold iron
again the cornmeal bread
again the clay plate like a starving mouth
again the fear wedged between the teeth of night
again the hope amidst the wounds
again the two crossed keys
the crossed bones
and always the promise granted to the world
the promise of communism opposed to death—

As when silence collapsed exhausted on the ground,
a comrade's eyes opened to the sacrifice
were two large bells that struck 12.
From that moment it began to dawn in the world.

from The Architecture of the Trees (1958) [Collected Poems: The Timely ---pg 352-353]

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