16 January 2015

Water Music

Feverishly wasting into Death's haze
lay Isolde beneath Tristan arching,
painfully supporting himself cool-handed,
suckling her with the Life from which
she would soon be weaned.

Suspension-bridgish Tristan oilly encabled
his beloved's spinal column
in parallel arch, with steel tendrils
desperately sweating to bind her afresh
to the banks of the world.

Her labored breaths, birds circling
on collarbone wings, cried to be borne
irrevocably downriver to the treacherous sands
where Life's waters collapse traceless,
mourned only by the wind.

Her avian heart pattered like the wings
of her breath, her gasps moulting, spiraling
unsuspended to icarian waters
wending charonward, her beak madly grappling
her beloved's jointed worms.

The structural Tristan dumbly stretched,
concrete and inert to the fragile wisps
of febrile birdsong until Isolde, unbound,
bounced featherless off the sloping steel cord,
both coolly soft, and weak.

[after Halina Poswiatowska, as translated by Marek Lugowski]

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