Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Miroslav Holub

Hedgie, over at The Jackdaw’s Nest, has been writing about the Czech poet Miroslav Holub, who has long been one of my favourite poets.

I first read Holub in a Bloodaxe anthology and knew I had to read more, so I picked up a collection that covered much of his long writing career, "Poems: Before and After".

Andrew Motion wrote a good article on Holub for The Guardian.

Miroslav Holub is well worth checking out. You can read three of his poems at Hedgie's article I mentioned above. There are also other poems scattered around the Web.

I quote from a Holub piece in my poem Beyond the Blue, which is included in my The Clown of Natural Sorrow chapbook:

Beyond the Blue

Emptiness is greatest where man was rather than where he was not… Observing the stars, we experience an emptiness which is not theirs.
- Miroslav Holub

The sun pins the nylon sky, a backdrop
pressed blue behind the raised earth.
A pink church melts on the hill like a stick
of rock. The flag on its turret hangs still
and starched. Copperplate roofs scorch
the valley. Human shadows drain the piazza of light.

On a day like this, you crept within snatching distance
of the sun, unpinned it, and watched the sky
drift away like a sheet swept from a balcony line.
You floated out among the stars and night
for fourteen billion light years,

then returned to the church
and the roofs and the shadows, still searching
for the emptiness within, but found nothing
other than the rush of wind that now
drags at your sleeve.

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