SONG OF THE SOLDIER HUSBAND
I have sown your womb with love and seed,
prolonged the echo of blood I answered
and I wait in the furrow as the plough waits:
I have reached into the depths.
Dar-haired girl of high towers, lights and eyes,
wife of my skin, deep gulp of my life,
your mad breasts swell towards me, with the leap
of a pregnant doe.
You seem to me like a delicate crystal,
I fear with my lightest touch I’ll break you,
and I come with my soldier’s skin to reinforce
your veins like a cherry-tree.
Mirror of flesh, support for my wings,
I give life to you in the death they give me but do not take.
Woman, woman, I love you encircled by bullets,
troubled by lead.
Over the fierce coffins in ambush,
over the dead themselves without grave or remedy,
I love you, and long to kiss you with all my heart
until we turn to dust, my wife.
When I reach the battlefield I think of you
my brow not cooling or calming your image,
you approach me like a vast horizon
of hungry teeth.
Write for the battle: feel for me in the trenches:
here with my gun I invoke and fix your name,
and defend your poor womb that awaits me,
and defend your child.
Our child will be born with a clenched fist,
clothed in the clamour of triumph and guitars,
and I will leave my soldiering at the door
toothless and clawless.
One must murder to go on living.
One day I’ll enter the far-off shadows of your hair,
and sleep in sheets starched and crackling
sewn by your hand.
Your implacable legs advance towards childbirth,
and your implacable mouth with indomitable lips,
and prior to my solitude of explosions and breaches
you travel a road of implacable kisses.
The peace I am forging shall exist for the child.
And at last in an ocean of irremediable bones
your heart and mine will shipwreck, leaving
a woman and a man, exhausted by kisses.
Translation by A. S. Kline