Edvard Kocbek--Death of Words

Read more about Edvard Kocbek and another of his poem's, "In a Torched Village"


Death of Words

I am unable to sleep,
a big disaster
surrounds me,
words that I have spoken
and sent out into the world
are suddenly returning weary,
ill, dreadfully anxious,
they seek a refuge from destruction,
flutter, squeal,
chirp haltingly, swarm around me
they are fleeing from triteness and oblivion,
from the glass eye of a corpse,
from a laser beam that ignores
its reflection,
the infected words
cram up in greedy haste, they
stammer, writhe in pain,
they've lost their way home,
their resting place,
they flutter above me
as I lie empty and mute in the dark.
I recognize them, tamed, wild,
gay and sad, dreamy,
frightened, big, treacherous,
miserable, playful, erotic,
heroic, pious, all motherly,
all mine, my father's, all my essence,
my recollections, my presentiments.
my prophecy, my dying.
The room is crammed with the in,
they settle on objects, are unable to leave,
burden me, beseech me as they lie dying,
sobbing repeatedly:
all tree trunks desecrated
all nests destroyed
all mouths mute.
The disaster inhabits me,
there is no place I can return them to,
am unable to console them,
stretch my arm
or open my mouth,
am unable to caress the word despair or
say anything to the words solace, deliverance,
the words toy and grace are choking me,
on my eyes land those shot as they fled
man, mother, love, loyalty,
the unhappy ones I neglected or never uttered
settle on my chest
but one of them has nestled
right between my trembling lips,
never have I seen it in the lexicon.