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THE OLD MAN So many flocks have passed so many poor and rich riders, some from distant villages had spent the night in road-side ditches lighting fires against the wolves: do you see the ashes? Blackish circles cicatrized. He's full of marks like the road. In the dry well above they'd thrown the rabid dogs. He's got no eyes, he's full of marks, he's light; the wind blows; he distinguishes nothing, knows everything, empty sheath of a cicada on a hollow tree. He's got no eyes, not even in his hands, he knows dawn and dusk, knows the stars, their blood doesn't nourish him, nor is he dead, he has no race, he won't die, they'll simply forget him, he has no ancestors. His tired fingernails inscribe crosses on decayed memories while the wind blows darkly. It snows. I saw the hoarfrost around the faces I saw the lips wet, tears frozen in the corner of the eye, I saw the line 61 of pain by the nostrils and the effort at the roots of the hand, I saw the body come to an end. He isn't alone, this shadow bound to a dry inflexible stick he doesn't bend to lie down, he can't: sleep will have scattered his joints as playthings into the hands of children. He commands like dead branches that break when night comes and the wind wakes in the ravines he commands the shades of men not the man in the shadow who hears nothing but the low voices of earth and sea there where they mix with the voice of destiny. He stands upright on the bank, among piles of bones among heaps of yellow leaves: empty cage that waits for the hour of fire. Drenovo, February 1937 62 ...


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