English poetry

Poems in English

Letter to an Archaeologist

Letter to an Archaeologist

Citizen, enemy, mama’s boy, sucker, utter
Garbage, panhandler, swine, refujew, verrucht;
A scalp so often scalded with boiling water
That the puny brain feels completely cooked.
Yes, we have dwelt here: in this concrete, brick, wooden
Rubble which you now arrive to sift.
All our wires were crossed, barbed, tangled, or interwoven.
Also: we didn’t love our women, but they conceived.
Sharp is the sound of pickax that hurts dead iron;
Still, it’s gentler that what we’ve been told or have said ourselves.
Stranger! move carefully through our carrion:
What seems carrion to you is freedom to our cells.
Leave our names alone. Don’t reconstruct those vowels,
Consonants, and so forth: they won’t resemble larks
But a demented bloodhound whose maw devours
Its own traces, feces, and barks, and barks.



Poem Letter to an Archaeologist - Joseph Brodsky