After Cemal Süreyâ
The clock strikes China…
Night, the white night of June, Stockholm
unhinged. Latvians walk out of a pub.
The clocks mark the hour in Riga.
The clocks strike Almaty, the world
doesn’t hear. No one has time tonight, what
use in dying?
Hey you, wake up! Never mind the dark.
The clocks strike Tbilisi, mud, banners, blood.
Is it everyone? All?
All night long the glow of blood, all day
the red. A soldier’s spade killed your friend in
Almaty, a student you didn’t know, didn’t get the
name, go ahead, guess. Hey, look! they are bussed
out to the snow covered steppe and struck and
struck. They do not get up, not a sound.
The clock strikes so hard, I do not heal.
Music playing in Stockholm pubs. It’s three a.m.
The clock strikes China, I plead: “Don’t!” It’s
ten. The clock strikes China, till midnight overcomes.
Moans, quieter now.
The clock strikes China. You die today, I’ll die
tomorrow. No wish to die. Moments strain but pass:
The clock strikes the prison bell, no, just a
The first sunrays wake the mountains and
deserts, wake the street covered in blood. It’s
six in Beijing. I was shot dead even earlier
Beijing time. Awaken the lakes in Manchuria, awakens
Forgive me you who are not. November night,
darkness of hell. I listen: the clocks are searching
1989, Stockholm, Riga
Translated from the Latvian by Ieva Lesinska