Friday, January 2, 2009

The Unacceptable

Yannis Ritsos

Gradually, he grew distant from us, as though somewhat sad,
and strangely calm, as though he had discovered
something large and incommunicable—a headless statue, a star, a truth,
the one and only truth. We asked him what it was.
He wouldn’t speak. As Though he knew we were neither capable
nor willing to learn. We, his friends,
cast the first stones. His enemies couldn’t have been happier. At the trial
they questioned and cross-examined him. Still not a word. The chairman
beat his gavel, shouted, growing more and more angry— “Quiet! Quiet!
Don’t listen to this silence from the accused.” The verdict was unanimous.
One by one we turned and placed our foreheads against the wall.

May 24, 1968
Partheni concentration camp

from Stones [Collected Poems:I ]

No comments: