There it is, in so many places

Clays deserted.
Closed desks, books.
Synagogue, dust, traces.
Covers, hinges – and time stopped.
Absence. Books placed there to wait.
Books rescued from the fire.
Books closed so that the words do not escape.
Books of lead.
Traces written in the dust. A message deprive of a sense. Like the bat which falls when stops to hear.
And you, where are you?

Not enough men for a prayer where formerly there were hundreds.
Not a child between these walls, where the world was full of words.
Not a whisper.
Not a page that rustles when it is turned, not a foot that hits the wooden desks.
Books of lead, too heavy for those who would lift them. Who can yet read here?
In the sunshine, in the buzzing of the flies. An invalid’s chair, a sick man’s bed, hungry to be fed. Dead to be buried.
Everything is waiting, and everything – there’s a chair at the table – is waiting for you.
But you, where are you?

Vaults veiled by ash, a short circuit in the 70s before they closed the places by iron bars.
Turned into factories, furniture storages, cinemas.
Naked earth where the pavements were torn. Naked brick where the plaster crumbled. Naked sky where the roofs were burned.
You, bird perched on a summer-bean high above us, have you seen it all?

Later, two gypsies of ashen face, sitting on their cart. Contemplating their horse as it goes ahead, grazing along the road. Horses everywhere, and men, watching us. Horses and walkers, patient and silent, along the road – and time stopped. A man holding a cow at the end of a long rope, they both move in the ditch along the road. Women leaning on the black earth, planting tubers.
In the great green of the spring, where are you hiding?

Cemeteries on the slope, eroded by the fields stretching behind the houses, by an approaching building site, by the eroding land, by the winds. And all these little souls under these stones, patiently waiting for the end of time. Lions, birds, laces of letters, helping hands, sometimes faces. Stones on the crest of a hill as the skeleton of a big animal caught in the waters of the Flood. The small souls probably fled long ago: there remain only these clamps to hold them here.
Where are you, eh?

Who remains here?
Who comes still here, when everyone gradually withdraws? They suffer, they leave, and there remains only the dust. The candles die out, the songs fall silent.
You, you… where are you?

The night falls on the dead walls. Silence and oblivion everywhere.

Two boys on their bikes soar behind – no hands! shouts the younger one –, full of grace, they recede towards the light.

Lass dein Aug in der Kammer sein eine Kerze,
den Blick einen Docht,
lass mich blind genug sein,
ihn zu entzünden.

Let your eyes become a candle in the chamber,
your glance a canon,
let me become blind enough
to light it.

Paul Celan

Synagogues of Khust, Shargorod, Bolekhiv.
Palace of Tsadik Friedman of Ruzhyn in Sadhora (Czernowitz),
Cemeteries of Bila Cerkva, Czernowitz, Medzhibozh, Bolekhiv

5 comentarios:

Effe dijo...

Great post, Catherine, very intense, both pics and words.
And that returning question - I think one could write it as "where are You?"

Catherine dijo...

One could, but i think that "You" has been estranged from those places — it is just "you" who has been left behind.

Effe dijo...

interesting answer

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Edgar Hauster dijo...

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