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Jaroslav Seifert Praying

                                            Prague, August 21, 1968

O Lord,
I left you in my boyhood.
But this morning
the horizon cracked open
and tanks poured
into my city.

Russians filled
the streets below my window
and I drank
belts of slivovice
straight from the bottle.
The telephone rang.
On the other end I heard
my friend laughing.
They’d smashed his Leica
with their rifle butts.

I have worshipped
poetry and my homeland
and I am not ashamed.
Czechoslovakia is lost.
If they kill me
I will wear my blue suit
with buttons bright
as Mother Slava’s eyes.

But I am a little drunk.
Lord, though you can’t hear,
deliver us from our enemies.
Let us open like the sea
and swallow them up.



Posted 06/17/11
"Jaroslav Seifert Praying" was first published in Two Weeks: A Digital Anthology of Contemporary Poetry (2011)
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