Thursday, January 28, 2016

the gate by Tadeusz Różewicz


the gate

Lasciate ogni speranza
Voi ch’entrate 

abandon all hope
ye who enter here 

the inscription at the entrance to the inferno
of Dante’s Divine Comedy 

courage!   

behind that gate 
there is no hell 

hell has been dismantled
by theologians
and deep psychologists 

converted into allegory
for humanitarian and educational
reasons 

courage!

behind that gate
the same thing begins again 

two drunken grave-diggers
sit at the edge of a hole 

they’re drinking non-alcoholic beer
and munching on sausage
winking at us
under the cross 
they play soccer
with Adam’s skull 

the hole awaits
tomorrow’s corpse
the “stiff” is on its way 

courage! 

here we will await 
the final judgment 

water gathers in the hole
cigarette butts are floating in it 

courage! 

behind that gate
there will neither be history
nor goodness nor poetry 

and what will there be
dear stranger? 

there will be stones 

stone 
upon stone
stone upon stone
and on that stone 
one more stone
  
(Translated by Joanna Trzeciak)

 

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