translated by Muna Lee

Now, O Christ, seal my eyelids,
Let ice on my lips be spread!
All the hours are superfluous,
All the words are said!

He looked on me,
We looked each on each
In silence, for a long space—
Our look as rigid as death’s
The stupor that whitens the face,
In the last agony, blanched us.
After that instant life hold nothing more!

I head him speak
Convulsively. I spoke.
My words—a confusion
Of plentitude, tribulations, and fears—
Hesitated, broke.
I spoke of his destiny, of mine—
A mortar of blood and tears.
After this I know there can be nothing more.
Nothing! No perfume but would roll
Diluted down my cheek.

My ears are shut, my mouth is sealed!
What meaning for me now
By pallid earth could be revealed?
What to me are bleeding roses,
Or quiet snows congealed?

Therefore, O Christ, I plead to You now;
Though when anguished with hunger I stilled my cries.
But now, stop my pulses!
Shut the lids over my eyes!

Protect against the tempest
This flesh that was thronged with his words.
Let not the brutal daylight
Shatter this image to shards.
Receive me! I go without stain.
And I go fulfilled, like a flooded plain.

From Poetry, Vol. XXVI (June 1920). This poem is in the public domain.