Quiet for a Second

Translated by Dom Moraes

Quiet for a second, please. I beg of you.
There’s something I want to say.
He passed before me: he passed so close to me
I could have touched his robe. I didn’t, though.
Who could have known what then I did not know?
Sand clung to his clothes. There were twigs
Entangled in his beard.
It seems he had bedded in hay, the night before.
Who could have known that by next night he would become
As empty as a bird, hard as a stone?
I could not have known.
I do not blame him. Sometimes I feel him rise
In his sleep, to flit past, moon-struck like the sea,
Saying to me, My own son. Son,
I did not know you were so close to me.