Church in Georgia
Five songsters we happened to meet on the road
take us along with them to a mediaeval church.
Not long since it was just a lovely ruin,
but they saw that it ought to be restored.
We’re driving straight into the roar of bulldozers.
Above them rise walls as if of styrofoam
and a cupola freshly coated in paint,
like a gigantic lemon squeezer.
We take a peek inside. Repairs in there too.
What’s left to us? To go right around
the building, as sad as an ageing woman
following plastic surgery, devoid of wrinkles.
Suddenly one of the songsters, whose face is like a hawk’s
and whose hair is like white wings, begins to sing.
The others soon join in. This is their form of prayer.
They walk around the church, the clatter of motors ceases,
five resounding voices reconstruct the silence
and all that was here before the renovation.
In the smooth, blank façade chinks of light are appearing.
They’re inside us, as we go back into the dust and noise.
© translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones