The skeleton of a bird
caught last year in the hedge
and smoke. Between a white wall
the fire burns low. Water’s still oozing
from the soft mushrooms. With its belly
and flanks, a dog continues
turning out his bed in the juniper.
Nearby, cast off
in the pond silt
a hard nest, the sign.
It grows slowly soaking up
the water from below: the clumsy
wing-less larva, between the white wall
and white feather,
Where the fire burns low.
Deborah Garfinkle is a poet, essayist, and translator living in San Francisco. Her creative writing and criticism have appeared in literary and scholarly journals in the U.S. and abroad. She is the translator of The Old Man’s Verses by Czech poet Ivan Diviš’ (published by Host Publications and nominated for a Northern California Book Award in 2009). She is currently at work on a book-length translation of Šrut’s poems called Worm-Eaten Time.
Pavel Šrut is a renowned, award-winning poet, essayist, and translator who belongs to the generation of post-war Czech writers whose voices gained prominence in the flowering of Czechoslovakia’s Prague Spring, voices silenced in by censorship in the aftermath of the 1968 Soviet Invasion. Šrut received the Jaroslav Seifert Award in 2000 for his compiled samizdat works, Paperback Poems (Brožované básně). In January of this year Šrut was given the 2012 Karel Čapek Prize for his lifetime achievement in literature.
Original text: Pavel Šrut, Červotočivé světlo. Prague: Mlada fronta, 1969.