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Bogomil Gjuzel, from Six Macedonian Poets


The gates of the city burst open,
and in rushed the wind — like someone
just freed from a siege,
like the empty soul of a conqueror,
who afterwards expects nothing —
a senseless, idle gust,
sauntering along the streets,
wearied by their corners,
a beggar's breath,
looking for warmth and crusts of bread.
It was the cobblestones that moaned,
the palaces that shivered.
And the wind brought people
who had let their ploughs rust;
solitary people tilling the sky,
reaping the harvests of summer nights,
the fat grain of early stars,
leaving it all unwinnowed.
Instead they used swords;
their ploughing was of bodies, their furrow cut to the heart;
they plucked out hearts like tree stumps,
they burst gall bladders,
with livers they fed the vultures on their shoulders.
At the last they rolled away the skulls
like stones for building,
but for building there was never time.

Mothers were torn from their children;
both milk and crying dried up.
Streets were watered by broken pipes,
pulsing like ruptured arteries.
Sacrifices were hurried;
the hope was for nothing
but to turn the temples into pig-sties
and to provoke the usual stench.
The wind unravelled the bell ropes and the flags,
and, with its whirling tail,
it passed like a broom through the city
and struck the gong of the sun.