HONEYCOMB PLAYGROUND

by Petr Borkovec


HONEYCOMB PLAYGROUND

Mouse, leaf, snake and bird –

out of the ring of their changes, what calls

(whispering, rustling, hissing)

has fashioned everything around. Rust

on wiring is swallowed by the sun each moment,

then clouds and noise knit it back again.

Buck-bushes, lean elders are lying round,

left to the light’s great vultures long ago,

and even they seem to have drifted off.

A wayward bolt of lightning twists a bush.

The sky is white, slippery, grading into grain –

on the right, it rises with the slope,

on the left, it swoops carefully down over the streets,

an even blue, all roar and thunder.

The sparks and shadows in between the pear-trees

net my whole vision, as they would a beast,

a small way off, down where the balls roll to a stop.

In space and time, a tree divides the downpour

as metre does the low, muddy murmurs

above the swirls of slag that run and flow

over the hardened en tout cas, baked like tiles.

You cannot hold it in you, not for a moment,

this hissing, gradual rustle of a word, the thing

so bare your eyes are watching (or maybe only

drifting over) – just as you would

something which, say, shunts into the hand,

takes up the strange rhythm, and fires it into stone.

The sand is mixed with twists of ivy

and trilling wire. There’s a pole on which

a branch of acacia is firmly fixed,

and into this there thrusts the grey-white line

of an unseen aeroplane. The rain went quiet, suddenly,

without cause – like an exact lethargic machine.

And from everywhere now the small glossy machines.

Translated from the Czech by Justin Quinn

HRIŠTE ÚL

Myš, list, had a pták –

to z kruhu jejich promen, co se ozývá

šramocením a sykotem,

je tady kolem všechno udeláno. Rez

pletiva každou chvíli polkne nemé slunce,

a vzápetí ji mrak a zvuky znovu propletou.

Vysáté, rozvalené pámely a bezy

vítr už dávno nechal supum svetla,

a zdá se, že i ti už odtáhli –

zbloudilý záblesk ohne celý ker.

Nebe je bílé, kluzké, vysypané drtí,

vpravo se zdvíhá spolu se svahem,

vlevo se opatrne spouští nad ctvrt v údolí

do rovnomerné modri hukotu a hrmení.

A zvíre zraku sebou škube v síti

z jisker a stínu mezi hrušnemi,

tam vzadu, nad hrbitovem mícu.

Strom delí liják v prostoru a case

tak jako metrum nezretelné mumlání

nad šerpou škváry, která pretíná

antukový kurt, ztvrdlý na kachle.

Neudržíš to v sobe ani vterinu;

už zasycení, šramot slova, proste to,

co jenom pozoruješ – možná mín:

precházíš ocima – tak jako vec,

která se treba sune k ruce, sebere

studený cizí takt a strcí do pece.

Na stožár v písku, promíchaném

s šlahouny brectanu a zasvištením lanka,

je napíchnutá vetev akátu,

do které vráží šedobílou lajnu

neviditelné letadlo. Déšt ztichl, naráz,

bez príciny – jak presný letargický stroj.

A odevšad ted malé lesklé stroje.