Michal Habaj: Report from the Besieged City

The war we know from TV screens and newspapers is not the only war: it is only the image of war, of the real war, which has blazed up in our minds and in our hearts. This war is an imagination of our own inhumanity. Its flames consume the world while we feast on it. Its flames fall on houses, squares, streets and country, in search of human bodies. Its flames keep quiet under ashes which carry the weight of human souls. Nowhere can escape men when they sign this ancient bill with blood today: this war. One world – one future. When they beat a drum for war they are calling the vultures down on the bodies of their own mothers. Their daughters are drowning in blood, their wives lay there torn in the grass. He who hasn’t been burned will slowly sink into the earth on which still march the new atrocities, this inhuman son of man. From where to do they come and to where are they heading, these steps? Who calls for war? Whose guilt and sin will we throw the dice for today? The thirst for evil fights its way in, the bones gnawed by centuries grow in us as internalized monsters of hatred: only one step more and the blood of long forgotten destruction will spill out of us. The centuries have passed and yet still remain, we are standing above the ruins of empires, bloody hands, claws submerged into meat. To tear apart and murder: in this we recognize our ancient resemblance, images swallowed by the maw of our minds, dug into the bones of yesterday’s anger, newly ground up evil that we so carefully let to rot away in the labyrinth of history, far from our unblemished foreheads, brilliant smiles, virtuous memory. The sky breaths heavily, rests like an injured animal. Carcases of souls incubated from hell wallow over the city, bombers merge with the roar of demons, this is nothing else but an attack on humanity.

Not much remains in man mired in lies and propaganda, in the wild dogs of destruction let out to the light of the world. Who unleashed these dogs? Who untied these tongues? Who drums for blood? Which unnamed thirst falls on our soul, in whose name will we kill today… When you change words into drums and when you hang those clouds of fear and horror over strange cities, know, that the dogs of destruction have found you long ago in your own heart. The sky carries death and your eyes know nothing.

Against inhumanity we array compassion, love, friendship, support, and the ordinary word. The word of poets will not stop the tanks, planes and warships, will not protect against chemical and biological weapons, will not tilt the scale of propaganda of world powers and their henchmen, but will always stand on the side of those whose hearts are humane. Actually, it asks the question of us all: is your heart still humane?


Michal Habaj

Michal Habaj (1974) is a Slovak poet and literary scientist. He studied the Slovak Language and Literature and completed his doctoral studies at the Institute of Slovak Literature, Slovak Academy of Science, where he currently works. He is the author of 4 collections of poetry; he has also published the collection Pas de deux under the gynonym Anna Snegina.

His literary research deals with Slovak poetry and prose from the interwar period. He is a multiple laureate of the literary competition “Poviedka” (Short story).

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Report from the Besieged City/Informe sobre la ciudad sitiada/گزارش شهر محصور/ Správa z obliehaného mesta © 2017 All Rights Reserved