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This poem is taken from PN Review 26, Volume 8 Number 6, July - August 1982.

Six Poems Zbigniew Herbert

ALTAR

First came the elements: water carrying silt
earth with moist eyes greedy and quick fire
then came the gentle dragons of the air shaking their manes
in this way they opened the procession for flowers and small
  plants
the chisel of the artist of Greenness praises grass
inhuman flame like fire thrown from ships
grass that comes when history is fulfilled
and is the chapter of silence

the tramp of sacrificial animals says goodbye
they go carnal and bright carrying warmth on their necks
and ignorance of the fates marked on the forehead with horns
they fall on their foreknees very surprised at their own blood
The elements the animals shout to you the road is open
the sky steps aside for you and God speaks with thunder
...


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