Friday, November 14, 2008

Twice As Guilty

Yannis Ritsos

So? — he said — is our pride (if there is any?) to be based
on the mistakes of others and not upon our own virtues? —
what justification? Ah dear teacher, how well we were acquainted
with your act: justice, freedom. And that otherworldly smile
of yours (or so we referred to it) — when the doors opened and the crowd poured out.
They ran close behind you, cheering, leaving their house open
to the sun, the wind, the thieves. And when, the following night,
the thirteenth man lifted his glass, we finally realized
it had all been prearranged. The dead lay in their beds,
and beneath the beds, your cardboard shoes —
red, majestic, with small mirrors glued all over them.

June 6, 1968
Partheni concentration camp

from Stones [Collected Poems:I ]

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