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Four Poems by Ryszard Kapuscinski
Tatars' Wasteland

They left behind just sawdust and stalks

yellowed grass dried-up bush

cracked earth empty wells

rock piles cold wind

just bone and junk

and mould and dust and the tetter of rust

and silence

interrupted from time to time

by the iron clamour and a barked command

Sculptor from Ashanti

In the trunk of a teak tree

he seeks a pair of eyes

he hews he chisels away the first layer

he uncovers nothing

he bores

ever more impatient

he looks but

he sees nothing beneath the barked eyelid

he peels back he finds no pupil

close to the pith

he comes upon a pair of eyes

he looks overcome by dread:

Yogi Ramamurti

Yogi Ramamurti

bids that he be buried in a grave

he'll stay there for one week

the doctors will testify it's not a scam

whoever wishes can descend the tunnel

watch through the window:

Ramamurti lays in a grave


not breathing

everyone is asked for a donation

the buried one wanted to earn some money

that's why he went to the grave:

to survive

after a week they dig up the yogi

Ramamurti emerges


he touched the absolute

that is always exhausting

he bows to the gathering

counts the donations

102 rupees

less than ten dollars

everyone disperses

an empty grave remains

Ramamurti was reborn

but he's still a beggar

weeks pass

he has nothing to eat

he's dying of hunger

I'm going back to the grave

he says

only in death



The elderly gent

holds up

his spittled finger


which way the wind is blowing


positions himself accordingly

and flies off

not high

not far


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