Thursday, 28 May 2009

Five Minutes after the Air Raid by Miroslav Holub

Here is the fourth poem in the mini-series of new translations. As previously stated the translations are taken from German translations of the original Czech and subsequently translated here into English.

Five Minutes after the Air Raid

In Pilsen,
Bahnhofstra├če 26,
she climbed to the third floor,
up the stairs, all that remained
of the whole house,
opened the door,
that led into the sky,
stared over the abyss.

Because here
the world ended.

Then she closed it firmly
so that neither
or Aldebaran
could call her from the kitchen,
descended the stairs
and took her place,
to wait
for the house to grow back
and her husband to come home
from the ashes
and the children's legs
to be stuck back on.

In the morning they found her
turned to stone.
Sparrows pecked from her hands.

gw 2009


  1. Just caught up on your Holubs. Great stuff. You've got me wanting to dig him out of my bookcase - he's in there somewhere...

  2. Should you find your hidden Holub it'd be interesting to see how this CZ-D-GB translated poem compares with your book's version.

  3. That is such a sad, moving poem - it could only have been written (in its original) by someone who had experienced war at first hand, I would have thought. Maybe I have inadvertently touched on the essence of all poetry - it has to come from the heart - from experience. Would you agree?

  4. This reminds why I was always fond of Holub when Idiscovered him in the 70s

  5. Thanks Gerald. By the way I'm reading e e cummings' 'The Enormous Room' just now. Some of his sentences are just mindblowing - and this is biographical prose. What talent.

  6. "More please!"

    Well that'll keep me busy tonight.


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