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Hunger Camp At Jaslo Analysis

Author: poem of Wislawa Szymborska Type: poem Views: 6

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Write it. Write. In ordinary ink

on ordinary paper: they were given no food,

they all died of hunger. "All. How many?

It's a big meadow. How much grass

for each one?" Write: I don't know.

History counts its skeletons in round numbers.

A thousand and one remains a thousand,

as though the one had never existed:

an imaginary embryo, an empty cradle,

an ABC never read,

air that laughs, cries, grows,

emptiness running down steps toward the garden,

nobody's place in the line.

We stand in the meadow where it became flesh,

and the meadow is silent as a false witness.

Sunny. Green. Nearby, a forest

with wood for chewing and water under the bark-

every day a full ration of the view

until you go blind. Overhead, a bird-

the shadow of its life-giving wings

brushed their lips. Their jaws opened.

Teeth clacked against teeth.

At night, the sickle moon shone in the sky

and reaped wheat for their bread.

Hands came floating from blackened icons,

empty cups in their fingers.

On a spit of barbed wire,

a man was turning.

They sang with their mouths full of earth.

"A lovely song of how war strikes straight

at the heart." Write: how silent.


Translated by Grazyna Drabik and Austin Flint

Anonymous submission.


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