Kertész: Latrine

By George Szirtes b. 1948 George Szirtes
1

Four poilus in a wood austerely shitting.
Death watches them, laughing, its sides splitting.

Life is a cry followed by laughter.
The body before, the waste after.

                                  2

Could one hear in that wood the gentle click
of  the shutter like the breaking of a stick
or the safety catch on its climacteric

                                  3

Like the four winds. Like a low fart that rips
clean air in two, like urine that drips.
Four squatting footsoldiers of  the Apocalypse.

                                  4

Kiss them lightly, faint breeze in the small  leaves,
be the mop on the brow, the sigh that relieves.

Let them dump and move on into the dark plate
of  the unexposed future, too little and too late.

Source: Poetry (February 2008).

 George  Szirtes

Biography

George Szirtes was born in Hungary and emigrated to England with his parents—survivors of concentration and labor camps—after the 1956 Budapest uprising.

Szirtes studied painting at Harrow School of Art and Leeds College of Art and Design. At Leeds he studied with Martin Bell, who encouraged Szirtes as he began to develop his poetic themes: an engaging mix of British individualism and European fluency in myth, fairy tale, and . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Death, Time & Brevity

POET’S REGION England

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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