Seeing the familiar in strangers’ faces,
because the aim of movement is not movement.
Drifting, constantly drifting.
And while a man, a sea-dog,
thinks of a white flag,
he must find his island without searching.
He does not give up his struggle with the waves,
even though he knows he will be wrecked
in a night-time storm without clouds.
When from the movement of fish he reads the sensitivity of the water,
the mission of the sea in sincere tears,
he sends off a bottle with a letter. And the waves,
till now cruelly indifferent,
become alert, and even incline themselves towards him,
wrecks flush out treasure chests
and spume blossoms in the furrows,
because as birds fly into sight,
like companions to him,
on the other side of the ocean
lies an island made different by the voyage.

 

In the penultimate picture
I’m always standing at the door
beyond which nothing can be perceived.
Whoever extols bliss in eternity
may hurry off there.
Even playboys, who hate mourning so much
that they lay their body on the altar,
as if just once to find the self within themselves,
act that rapture which the hermit too calls out for.
How many remedies are sold,
just so the virtuoso can become his instrument:
from diversion through heroism
on dangerous paths even unto god.
Rather desperation in the depths of limpid eyes
than reconciliation with a face that lies.
Leaning on such a door does not suggest escape,
but return into the chamber of secrets,
where the painter applies me to the canvas:
he will attend piercingly to my nakedness,
until curled up I die from the fire.

 

Out of ecstasy we banished the poisoned dream,
so that its eruptions might outstrip survival.
Gallantly apart from artificial staging,
foolishly in the stinging of laughter.
Just as with breath alone we bent whole trees,
until the nodes of our body cracked.
Unfamiliar footsteps within it, dreams without substitutes,
accompanied heightened sensuousness.
In a shower of nesting flames.
Whoever finds annihilation without a cast of their face
will find themselves on the way to the kind of sanctuary
which fire partially betrays to fire,
so that the source within it does not dry out.
How this wind has just whipped us.
After all, not even beauty arises out of pain,
but out of reversion of torment into thirst
which feels for the wind in the body’s crevices.
It rarely persists imperfectly,
so close after the quenching that from its play
nothing at all must germinate.

 

Out of a pit overgrown with moss
I shall not lean out into the chimera
with which the curtain is lowered for ever
on unfulfilled last wishes.
If I am to die repeatedly,
I shall not set fire to the sanctuary. I do not yearn
to be remembered, not even in the kind of bruises
which the helpless inflict on the heavens
when they topple the temple columns with their wailing,
nor to leave behind spores and transform myself
into a fossil in the midst of the world.
I prefer to join lips once more.
To gather buds of planets in orchards of nebulae
and burn my fingers for one last time.
May dust, that dumb witness, lower its mouth
to the pollen from which night flares up,
and may those lying in coffins shake hands together.
Time draws symbols in the sand with its finger,
and without lines on its palm composes a message
about a more precious, unsuspected victim.

 

An eye hallucinating from under a glacier
wishes that the river might never stop flowing.
As if humanity were meant to last for ever.
But after the feast we enter the chamber,
where even the play of fire goes out in those close to us.
We lay ourselves down in the cup of a flower,
tired from our pilgrimage through the jungle.
We slowly melt into one another,
held together tenderly. By genuine tears.
And the candles on the cave altars
are made to burn all the more bell-like by a wing.
In the light-blue hour of one-eyed sleep.
Your portrait fumbles inside of me,
while an angelic figure of nobody
paints over hanging pictures
as they weep wax, and blankets us
with a single warm colour.
Forever will I feel it in this way,
when turned to stone I simply gaze
into the innocently helpless landscape.

 

Translated from the Slovak by Andrew Billingham