The gates of the city burst open,
and in came the wind—like someone
just freed from 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 bread crusts.
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 the 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 stump roots,
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.
For building there was never time.
Mothers were torn from their children;
both milk and cry 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 sties
and to provoke the usual stench.
The wind unraveled 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.
* Gjuzel studied literature at the University of Edinburgh in 1964 and 1965, and his earliest poetry, while reflecting his own experiences in his homeland in the years after the war, also shows the influence of T. S. Eliot and of the Scots poet, Edwin Muir (1887-1959). ED.
translated by M.Holton