By Jaroslav Seifert
I never slept late in the morning,
the early trams would wake me,
and often my own verses.
They pulled me out of bed by my hair,
dragged me to my table,
and as soon as I'd rubbed my eyes
they made me write.
Bound by sweet saliva
to the lips of a unique moment,
I gave no thought
to the salvation of my miserable soul,
and instead of eternal bliss
I longed for a quick instant
of fleeting pleasure.
In vain did the bells try to lift me up:
I clung to the ground with tooth and nail.
It was full of fragrance
and exciting mysteries.
And when I gazed at the sky at night
I did not seek the heavens.
I was more afraid of the black holes
somewhere on the edge of the universe,
they are more terrible still
than hell itself.
But I caught the sound of a harpsichord.
It was a concerto
for oboe, harpsichord and strings
by Johann Sebastian Bach.
From where it came from I do not know.
But clearly not from earth.
Although I had not drunk any wine
I swayed a little
and had to steady myself with
my own shadow.
Translated by Edwald Osers
From 'The Selected Poetry of Jaroslav Seifert'
Read about Jaroslav Seifert