Page:A Book of Czech Verse.pdf/103

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F. Halas (1901–1949)




Laugh at the shadow, when still behind your back it crouches, with terror senseless;
Quickly death blows out the face’s light,
A new star kindling.

Hark to the gentle crack, its steps pure sounding;
That crack we heard at combing of women’s flowing hair,
At each love’s dying.

In gravel, dirt, our life is set,
Then shed no tears for loss of serpent’s crown,
That earth feels us no more.

A thousand times we drank of happiness, and swallowed only death:
Betrothed to graves, a voice is calling
Above the vigil of the cocks at crowing.

Amid the hollowness of night the horn of plenty lies unseen:
Death empties it, and the corpse, that holds in mouth a star,
Calls out for the boon of sleep.

Through the graveyard poisons seep, by heaven rejected,
Christ, to green corroded, lies in death,
By crouching shadows’ images anew betrayed.