Saturday, December 30, 2006

300. The Ascensions - William Pillin

You, Marc Chagall, should be able to tell us
what was cremated in Thor's ovens,
you who were always painting ascensions.

The ascensions of priestly violinists,
the ascension of white-gowned brides,
the ascension of purple donkeys,
of lovers, of bouquets, of golden cockerels,
ascensions into the clair-de-lune.

O this soaring
out of shanties and cellars!
the folk spirit ascending
through enchanted alphabets,
through magical numbers,
to a wandering in bluest realms.

The ascension
(from sewers, dives, back-alleys)
of folk-songs to the new moon,
to the feast of lights,
to the silences of Friday evening . . .

. . . and suddenly
in the quietude of steppes
a thin column of smoke ascending
and after that
no more ascensions

* * *

No more ascensions!
Only stone chimneys
heavily clinging
to the earth of Poland.
Not even a marker saying:
Here the Zhids
en-masse ascended

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