June 1, 2012
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by Dan Pagis

At the edge of the paper the pen
quivers, a seismograph, and tries
to draw in thin lines and sharp angles
the quake of the floor.

The quaking intensifies, the angles turn sharper.
But this instrument is old,
it doesn’t draw even the tip of the truth,
that the table is smashed to smithereens,
the house has collapsed,
the earth has opened underneath.

In the stillness that ensues, among the ruins,
the pen is absolved of all its duties.
It scribbles on the page as it pleases,
joins all the threads in the center,
a master plan
for a spider’s den.

Reprinted with permission from Poets on the Edge: An Anthology of Contemporary Hebrew Poetry, published by SUNY Press, 2008.

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