Against the old oak I cling my cheek
to hear a lost voice inside;
The voice of a lost friend,
the voice of my lost father and mother,
the voice of lost love.
And in this lonely night the voices
inside the old oak are quiet and inaudible,
as if dying along with my spirit.
The night has turned its beautiful lonely face to the sky,
I call out my own name in this lonely night.
which became perfectly strange to me –
with some desperate hope
that I shall hear the echo of my own spirit.
Wise people say that each spirit is made of memories,
and my memories are dead;
dead like those lost voices inside the old oak,
which, like vampire claws,
raises its old, barren branches towards a black crow,
to steel its voice and to call out into this silent, lonely night,
like the voice of many friends of men,
that someone’s tear sometime dies before it’s born.
Inside me, there is still hope
that someone shall hear my name,
and that it won’t sound as strange
as it does to me.
Slowly and ghastly I tread the shadows
like a sinner treads the skulls in hell,
and I call out with a solitary cry
into this lonely night,
to chase away death, if I can’t chase away solitude.
But what is life worth without voices,
not the ones you can buy,
but voices of conscience,
which are born and eternally live along with human souls.
Against the old oak I cling my cheek,
and I listen in to a thousand souls,
Now I know,
yes, Lord, now I know that someone will call my name as well,
because when you hear the voices of souls
of dear people you’ve lost,
you have the power
to bear memories of yourself in someone else.
THE OLD MAN AND THE BUTTERFLY
How many wishes and hopes pass through a man’s mind?
This is what I am thinking about while looking
into the sad face of an old man
who is motionlessly starring into the distance,
as if down there,
in the blue eye of the dreamy sea
he shall find all the answers.
And while the turquoise hands of the moon drive the shadows
into the old man’s embrace,
a turquoise butterfly merrily flaps its wings
and radiates rays of light
along the dark ridges of this warm summer night
above his trembling tired head.
Perhaps this is the reason why
the old man’s sad face looks up
instead of down,
why the sparkle of life still glows
in his tired eyes.
This butterfly is very young,
but his noble parentage is very old,
and that noble parentage used to spread its turquoise light
in the times of the old man’s parents
back in the time when hope was born
(and people say that hopes are younger than solitude).
It seems that the old man feels it,
and he raises his tired eyes whenever he hears
the harmonious sound of the butterfly’s turquoise wings,
like a dark lady,
respectfully waits for its turn,
as if it took pity on the old man’s boyish gaze;
How many wishes and hopes pass through a man’s mind
while he helplessly sits
and waits for death?
I wonder where his thoughts are traveling now
and which soul in heaven do they touch?
His mother’s soul?
His father’s soul?
His brother’s and sister’s souls?
Because souls are like butterflies,
crawling the earth with people,
only to eventually fly up to the sky,
perfectly free and magically bright.
All of this must be passing through the old man’s thoughts
while he looks at the turquoise butterfly
in such a childish and lively manner.
Everything on him is dead,
apart from that childish gaze,
which makes his old man’s thoughts so young
and so full of hope
that his soul might soon enough fly up
like his dear butterfly;
How many wishes and hopes pass through a man’s mind;
yes, Lord, how many wishes and hopes are passing
my old father’s mind now.
Where did your voice disappear, man?
In the demonic fires of passion?
In golden castles of terrible greed?
In the dark gorge of vanity?
You voices wander the golden mirages,
Your tired spirit wanders the golden dusts,
Like a warning for the new age;
When the golden bell rings on Wall Street,
Your voice will be even quieter,
Caught in the silky spider web you look up
To see the reflection of your lost spirit in the heavenly dome;
When the golden bell rings on Wall Street,
You find your limbo in the blue ink!
You are seeking your resurrection in verses!
In which verse do I find your voice?
In Walt Whitman’s verse of freedom?
In Ezra Pound’s tragic verse?
In Robert Frost’s accusing verse?
Your voice is hiding in the column of abandoned shadows,
Escaping the lunatic gazes of golden masks,
In which many inebriated eyes found their home.
Whose eyes are they?
The eyes of maddened street lights?
The eyes of hungry death?
The eyes of a lost man?
The shadows march the streets of funeral processions,
The terrible voice of the golden bell chases the poor into the graves,
Golden masks steal human faces,
The eyes of conscience become blind,
Your voice is ever quieter.
Walter William Safar is the author of a number of a significant number of prose works and novels, including “Leaden Fog”, “Chastity On Sale”, “In The Flames Of Passion”, “The Price Of Life”, “Above The Clouds”, “The Infernal Circle”, “The Scream”, “The Devil’s Architect”, “Queen Elizabeth II”, as well as a book of poems.