[Poem Fragment about Periods of War and What Causes Them] by Boris Slutsky

Sooner or later, every post-war period

becomes a pre-war period.

The outcome of the Sixth World War

will depend on how we have treated

the prisoners-of-war from the Fifth.

 

by Борис Абрамович Слуцкий (Boris Abramovich Slutsky)

(early 1960s?)

translated by Robert Chandler

‘What did they do’ by Boris Slutsky

What did they do

with the relatives of Christ?

What did they do with them?

No written source

will tell you a damned thing –

nothing but crossings out, emptiness.

What the hell did they do with them?

 

What did they do

with those simple people,

simple craftsmen, men who worked on the land?

Were all marched off to some nearby wilderness,

lined up and machine-gunned?

 

Whatever happened then, two centuries later

there were no demands for compensation or calls for revenge?

Total posthumous rehabilitation of Jesus

led to no rehabilitation of kin.

 

And now flowers are growing from the relatives of Christ.

Below them lie depths, above them rise heights,

yet world history had found no place

for those relatives of Christ.

 

by Борис Абрамович Слуцкий (Boris Abramovich Slutsky)

(1977)

translated by Robert Chandler

 

Heading Toward Trouble by Margaret Lloyd

Lately I’ve been thinking about Efnisien.

The trouble-maker, the rash prince, the complicated man.

 

I see him in the north of Wales.

It’s the dead of night in the eleventh century,

everyone exhausted from feasting.

He slashes the lips, tails, and eyelids of horse

after horse until all the King of Ireland’s

steeds are maimed for his revenge.

In the dawn, he leans back to rest

against the toadflax growing in the castle walls.

I find myself heading toward that kind

of trouble. Wanting to disrupt the feast,

overturn the order, throw a child

into the fire to avenge some insult.

And later be perfectly willing to break

my heart for any neccesary reason.

 

by Margaret Lloyd