Sunday, 17 July 2011

primo levi


You who live secure
In your warm houses,
Who return at evening to find
Hot food and friendly faces:

Consider whether this is a man,
Who labours in mud
Who knows no peace
Who fights for a crust of bread
Who dies at a yes or no.
Consider whether this is a woman,
Without hair or name
With no more strength to remember
Eyes empty and womb cold
As a frog in winter.

Consider that this has been:
I commend these words to you.
Engrave them on your hearts
When you are in your house, when you walk on your way,
When you go to bed, when you rise.
Repeat them to your children.
Or may your house crumble,
Disease render you powerless,
Your offspring avert their faces from you.

trans by ruth Feldman and brian swann


Roxana said...

funny, i had just listened to a song which made me think such thoughts, about how we often, always? forget about the other's pain...

(though how could we go on living, if we don't forget about it, how could we even go to bed or rise?)

swiss said...

wow, the swans! i haven't listened to them in years!