Investigation of an Angel
Of an Angel

When he stands before them
in the shadow of suspicion
he is still all
composed of light

the aeons of his hair
are pinned up in a bun
of innocence

after the first question
his cheeks flush with blood

the blood is helped on
with instruments and interrogations

with an iron ferrule
a slow fire
the limits of his body
are defined

a blow on his back
fixes his spine
between clouds and mudpuddle

after a few nights
the job is finished
the leather throat of the angel
is full of gluey agreement

how beautiful is the moment
when he falls on his knees
incarnate into guilt
saturated with contents

his tongue hesitates
between knocked-out teeth
and confession

they hang him head downwards

from the hair of the angel
drops of wax run down
and shape on the floor
a simple prophecy

--- Zbigniew Herbert
(Translated by Peter Dale Scott)

Go to top      Go home