The Tuesday Poem: In the Pub Many Voices

By Zbynek Hejda (translated by Bernard O'Donoghue)

The Tuesday Poem: In the Pub Many Voices

In the pub many voices.

I alone; waiting for the woman who is leaving.

Smoke rises like a prophecy,

then curls beneath the ceiling.

The odd drinker drifts out to the gents.

Darkness and cold get in,

drunks’ voices, women’s cursing and weeping.

A dog is growling idly, his butcher

already behind the door,

reeking of hides, blood.

Predators too, the whores

are nudging up skirts;

the snakes are hatching.

Death, hardly audible,

no more than a rustle.

Raining outside; amid the leaves

the night-bird’s cry is dying.

Despair plunges down on us:

our anxieties like knives.

Glance towards the door: pointless.

Pointless: nobody anywhere.

Everywhere all is sleeping.

Alone, like an assassin.


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