It’s Late, Europe
Violins bloom in the sky,
a straw hat, excuse me, what year is it?
Thirty nine and a half almost, it’s early, early.
Turn off the radio.
Let me introduce: the sea breeze, the lively boardwalk-wind,
its magical and mischievous
mind twirling in a bell-shaped dress, clinging
on the face of worried newspapers: tango! tango!
And the city park harmonizes.
I kiss your hand, Madame,
your soft hand like
a white leather glove.
Everything will return to its right order,
do not worry so much, Madame,
here, it will never happen,
you will see,
A Lesson in Observation
Pay attention, the world that is now
on zero-point-zero-one degree
as far as it is known, the only one
Floating in a blue bubble, quite large:
sometimes there were clouds, ocean breezes,
sometimes a home, maybe a kite, and children,
here and there an angel,
or a large garden, or a city.
Underneath all were the dead, underneath them
rock, underneath it a jail of fire.
Clear? I will say it again: outside were
clouds, screams, air-to-air missiles,
fire in the fields, memory.
Underneath those, deep, were houses, children. What else?
The dot at the side? That seems to be
the only moon of that world,
which turned away long before anything began.
Dan Pagis was born October 16, 1930. He was imprisoned in a concentration camp in Ukraine, which he escaped from in 1944. In 1970 he published Somersault, a book of poems that dealt directly with his experiences during the Holocaust. He died in July of 1986.
Carl Adamshick received the 2010 Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets. His book, Curses and Wishes, is published by Louisiana State University Press. His poems and essays have appeared in Narrative, American Poetry Review, Tin House, The Harvard Review, and elsewhere.