George Szirtes
When Sisyphus enters the hotel
he drops his bags. He rings the bell.
This is, he checks, Pensione Hell?

Charon emerges through a door.
It is all that and something more,
What can we do for the signor?

Sisyphus glances at the stairs.
You could relieve me of my cares
by taking my baggage. Your affairs

are strictly your own. I assume
you'll want the very topmost room.
Here are the keys.
It's like a tomb

up there and Sisyphus sleeps alone,
or would if he could. He's stretched out prone
and wide awake. He hears the stone

muttering in its metal box
sealed in the biggest case. He blocks
his ears. The bed he lies on gently rocks.

Hotel life. Baggage. Minibar.
TV. Remote control. They are
migrating souls who've travelled far

to get to places such as these
as if they cured some vague disease
but were themselves diseased. The keys

are weighing down his pockets. Night
comes on suddenly like a flashlight
or mysterious loss of appetite.

The bedside phone. The trouser press
in the cupboard. Emptiness
in drawers and bins. Last known address.

The stone rolls out along the bed
and comes to rest beside his head.
He thinks, therefore he must be, dead.

The bill arrives some six months later.
The room yawns open as a crater.
The stone comes down the elevator.
George Szirtes
fot. archiwum autora

Selected Poems, OUP, 1996
The Budapest File, Bloodaxe 2000
English Apocalypse, Bloodaxe 2001
Metro, OUP, 1998
Reel, Bloodaxe, 2004

Strona autorska po angielsku

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