Poems by Miroslav Válek


It is eight in the morning,

the appletrees are in blossom, the dogs

                                                  are guarding the doors

and the winds are sleeping.

I didn’t feel like thinking about rhymes,

I examine my conscience

like an old album with your photographs

which you no longer resemble

and which you have long forgotten.


Don’t worry, I shan’t trouble you for long.

All is correct,

order arms!




Incomprehensible things amidst us.

“What’s this for and what is it like?”

A little wheel set turning between our fingers

                                           performs its perfect motion.


But the watch isn’t going.

An appletree in full blossom at the end of January.

But winter goes on.                                

A palpable feeling that someone’s calling you.

But the street is empty.


And other dings, too,

heard a hundred times:

“... so he left her because he loved her ...”

“... they made life miserable for each other

because they couldn’t bear being apart ...”


Where do these words come from, words

without logical justification,

without connection between one another,


and odd?


Incomprehensible things,

let me be part of you,

pervade me with all senses,

let us touch each other 

as a bow touches a violon.


Incomprehensible things,

you are within us.

Softly I utter words

and wait till you flare into life.




January, February, March, April, May

and other moons.

Come, love me for a while as if you meant it!

Listen as from the gullet of the night

blood squirts and drains.

Let time pass imperceptibly

and let the seasons change

in the duration of a single kiss,

let the bright fire in the stove rejoice.

Detach me from your lips

and blood-red like a cherry pip

plant me beside you.


If only grass and soil could give me root.

I am the boy who collided with a star,

I’m bringing you the blue of the sky,

the blue bruise under your eye.

You’re good for me. You make me feel my depth.

Oh yes, I was in heaven.

                                      I drank the rainbow’s colours!

And now to rest, like clay under the waters!

They’ve turned the lights off.

                                          They’ve unleashed the dogs.


Before you fall asleep put me under your pillow,

I’ll gently grow into your hair.


The night is hanging like a bat head-down.


Put me in store as if I were a pear.

And keep me until Christmas, at the least!


 Translated by Ewald Osers