The Curious Noise of History (2011)


The Curious Noise of History

The world is young with very light, paper flakes

made of torn poems and torn flags

Yannis Ritsos


The curious noise of history

blows in from the outside

ruffles the pregnant collar

of Yannis Ritsos’ patchy suit

coat stuffed with poems spilt

from the camp’s granite mouth.

The “I” of the lyric smuggled

out of memory, impregnated

with the poet’s rock-dust;

the tips of his fingers worn down

with human ink. An extension

of the pick’s blunt causality.

Poets, writers, intellectuals

garbed in words for the first time.

These inmates of language,

origamied with rhythms mechanical

as lice. The syllabic irritation

scratched breath by breath under

a woollen ignorance. The fibrous,

organic response to the curious

noise of history. To the Dead

Sea Scrolls extravaganza, hidden

inside standard prison issue

Aegean blue.