Translated by Martin Mayhew
Behold, I see living bodies and dead are their souls;
the elation has died away and the thought of judgement;
the spirit prostitutes itself and sterile is the love of harlots;
subversion has been disfigured and perverse are its acts –
the grave is my home – a grand graveyard of souls.
Of the stillborn and premature dead – oh unlucky love!
I see great tombs and golden are their crosses;
marble are the monuments and inscriptions glint on them;
beautiful are the wreaths and paper flowers;
rich are your robes, oh the great dead.
Behold, I hear the words of a poet and lies of the sadder notes;
infected is the muse of the people and he composes anthems for the dead.
Oh graveyard of souls, my sombre homeland;
my lips sing and the song is my curse;
it is despair and rage and in its pain is anger;
it is short and wild like the scream of one awakened in a grave.
Living souls will come and dig up our graveyard;
will they find my body and my scratchings?
will they find my frayed lips and my torn body?
will they realise the greatness and dread of the deceased in the grave?
will they kiss the clotted blood as the ashes of Bruno and the heart of Prometheus?
will not the abyss of time devour our graveyard
and will no one ever know: that souls also lived there?
Oh shivering is my pain and great are its ideas;
I will crack the icy coffin and rummage through the earth;
battered bones will crawl out and my large eyes will shine –
The sun is there and the resurrection and dithyrambs flit in the air!
Zagreb, 30th October – 4th November 1905
Translation – all rights reserved © Martin Mayhew
‘Finale’ was first published in ‘Psvoka’ in 1907.
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