Sick of the gods and their fires
I lived without the law
in the deepest part of the valley of Hinnom.
Gone were my old companions,
the balance of heaven and earth;
only the ram was true,
his festering lameness dragged across the stars.
Under his horns of stone,
their smokeless glimmering, I slept at night,
fired urns each day
that I’d smash to pieces on the rocks
in the evening sun.
I never saw the twilight, a cat in the cedars,
or the birds take wing,
the water’s splendour
as it ran across my arms,
while I mixed the vats of clay.
The smell of death made me blind.
Peter Huchel, trans. Joseph Brodsky.