Friday, May 02, 2008

The Verbs

mirror, mirror, originally uploaded by emdot.

In the silence the verbs surround me
like faces of strangers,
            the verbs,
famished verbs, naked verbs,
essential verbs, deaf verbs,
verbs with no names, mere verbs,
verbs that live in caves,
speak in caves,
are born in caves,
under the shifting levels
of the universal optimism.

They go to work every morning,
mix cement, haul stones,
build the city. . . No, they erect
a monument to their own solitude.
They recede as we disappear in the memory
of someone else, they keep in step beside words,
and with their three tenses in line,
the verbs climb the hill Golgotha.

The sky is above them
like a bird above a cemetery.
The stand upright
as though in front of a closed door
and a man lifts his arm and drives nails
into the past
into the present
into the future.

— Iosip Brodsky

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