Friday, April 17, 2020


Whale Songs

At two o'clock in the morning

I hear my mitral valve

from the depth of the dim, blood-filled tunnel

which is me. Cellular receptors

fit with a metallic click

into the locks

and the cells are me and the locks are me.

From some symphonic distance

there sounds the song of the whales,

and it contains me.

In some black castle

Sleeping Beauty has pricked herself on a thorn,

which is me. The clock has stopped

— in our house clocks stop at any moment

because she will prick herself at any moment,

on a tiny crock shard,

on a word,

on a milk tooth,

on a toy that has fallen into the gutter —

and so there's a still life, nature morte,

with me in the genetic background.

A paper kite stiffens in the air,

and yet, Einstein says, Time is always going, but never gone,

and yet, my mother says, ten years after her death,

Oh yes, oh yes,

and a clock starts again,

the Invisible passes through the room like a ball of lightning,

Sleeping Beauty lays eggs full of little spiders,

the whales re-enter the tunnel

and I start again

being the machine

for the production

of myself.


Miroslav Holub
The Rampage
translated from the Czech by David Young, 
Dana Habova, Rebekah Bloyd and the author
Faber 1997