Brief reflection on killing the Christmas carp

By Miroslav Holub 1923–1998 Miroslav Holub
You take a kitchen-mallet
and a knife
and hit
the right spot, so it doesn’t jerk, for
jerking means only complications and reduces profit.

And the watchers already narrow their eyes, already admire the   
            dexterity,
already reach for their purses. And paper is ready
for wrapping it up. And smoke rises from chimneys.
And Christmas peers from windows, creeps along the ground
and splashes in barrels.

Such is the law of happiness.

I am just wondering if the carp is the right creature.

A far better creature surely would be one
which—stretched out—held flat—pinned down—
would turn its blue eye
on the mallet, the knife, the purse, the paper,
the watchers and the chimneys
and Christmas,

And quickly

say something. For instance

These are my happiest days; these are my golden days.
Or
The starry sky above me and the moral law within me,
Or   
And yet it moves.

Or at least
Hallelujah!

Miroslav Holub, “Brief reflection on killing the Christmas carp” from Poems Before & After.  Reprinted with the permission of Bloodaxe Books Ltd., www.bloodaxebooks.com.

Source: Poems Before and After (Bloodaxe Books, 2006)

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Poet Miroslav Holub 1923–1998

POET’S REGION Eastern Europe

Subjects Activities, Jobs & Working, Eating & Drinking

Holidays Christmas

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Miroslav  Holub

Biography

Miroslav Holub is a scientist by vocation and considers his poetry a pastime. Holub told Stephen Stepanchev in a New Leader interview that the Czech Writers Union had offered him a stipend equivalent to his salary as a research scientist to enable him to devote two years to his poetry. "But I like science," he said. "Anyway, I'm afraid that, if I had all the time in the world to write my poems, I would write nothing at all."

. . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Activities, Jobs & Working, Eating & Drinking

POET’S REGION Eastern Europe

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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