The Blade of Grass from Ponar

Translated by Maia Evrona
I kept a letter from my hometown in Lithuania, from one
who still holds a dominion somewhere with her youthful charm.
In it she placed her sorrow and her affection:
A blade of grass from Ponar.

This blade of grass with a flickering puff of dying cloud
ignited, letter by letter, the faces of the letters.
And over letter-faces in murmuring smolder:
The blade of grass from Ponar.

This blade of grass is now my world, my miniature home,
where children play the fiddle in a line on fire.
They play the fiddle and legendary is their conductor:
The blade of grass from Ponar.

I will not separate from my hometown’s blade of grass.
My good, longed-for earth will make room for both.
And then I will bring a gift to the Lord:
The blade of grass from Ponar.


 Translated from the Yiddish

More Poems by Abraham Sutzkever