Today's poem is by Lyubomir Levchev, translated by Jack Harte

The One Who Stayed

Death is a mystery. A terror... But not the end.
The earth in her deep lap cradles me like a doll.
I hear the heavens — the music crystal-clear —
I, who did not flee Pompeii.

Before the excavations brought me forth
curled as an embryo, silent, petrified —
all that I had done was to defy the elements.
What was perishable in me was fixed.

I watched you fleeing to the harbour,
towards ships and subterfuge, in safety.
You, who have plundered temples, and prayed
that horror infect the memory of others.

Men... Beasts... Everything vanished.
How beautiful Pompeii was, deserted!
A few blades of grass — all that remained with me.
Till glory, like a vandal, slinked in.

The God was changed. They studied the Volcano.
The city in its corruption became a museum.
But still I held close to myself —
I, who did not flee Pompeii.

Copyright © 2003 Lyubomir Levchev, Jack Harte All rights reserved
from And Here I Am
Dedalus/Dufour Editions
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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