After a toilsome day, resting on a bench,


With her back against the wall, sighs the poor wench,


Her son is lying behind the fireplace,


Instead of a bed, serves him the narrow space.




The whole day she had waited, to escape the stress,


But once the relief came, she felt her loneliness,


Her only child’s asleep and her husband as well,


Under the cold, heavy blanket, where the dead dwell.




Three years have passed, since her son was born,


Three years have passed, since she became alone,


On the deathbed, awaiting his departure from life,


To hold his son was all for which he did strive.




His wish was granted, and in the very last moment,


The man whose constitution was broken by torment,


Torment of labour and burns from the fiery sun,


Before his death beheld his first-born and only son.




Mind shaded by grief as she stared on the floor,


The woman hasn’t noticed the two knocks on the door,


Without further ceremony, the door is opened,


The woman peaks to see who could on the doorstep stand.




In walks a weary man clad in a dark cloak and heavy boots,


‘Good woman,’ says he, ‘I’ve lost my way in the unknown woods,’


‘I would repay you well if you offered me hospitality,’


Seeing his sweaty face and tired eyes, the woman takes pity.




‘You can, if you wish, spend the night here,’


‘And though I can’t offer wine, my water is clear,’


The woman says coyly in a state of deep nonplus,


The man is high-born - belt adorned with silver and brass.




‘I do not ask for wine, I see this is no inn,’


‘To demand wine from you would surely be a sin,’


After this, the woman bows with sad humiliation,


And serves the precious guest double the usual ration.




The hungry man with appetite of nobles asks for more,


And the woman serves him the little she has in store,


The woman realizes she has one bed and can’t spare any,


But the man stays up and asks her to keep him company.




Morning approaches and the man mounts his horse,


After a sleepless night he vanishes, following an unknown course,


A pair of weary eyes is set on the road which took him away,


That mysterious man who had gone astray.




Two days later, the son becomes ill,


He does not get up, he lies still,


From underneath the blanked peek his feet bare,


He became sick from lack of food and lack of mother’s care.




When he needs mother to feed him and hold his hand,


He sees her through the window on the edge of the road stand,


In her hands she’s clasping her apron smeared,


Awaiting the man who recently disappeared.




The mother remains staring with a wistful look,


Confused by the leave he so suddenly took,


She waits for the man who at a ruthless whim,


Visited their house and took the boy’s mother from him.




When the rooster announces the following morrow,


The abandoned child dies of sorrow,


The neighbours mourn as much as they are able,


For one lost child they can’t leave behind their stables.




The most pity they feel for the poor widow,


After loss of husband she has another cause for woe,


She walks as if without spirit and barely goes to bed,


Oh, the poor thing, she must have gone mad.




But a local gossip woman, despite what is said,


Knows that the widow has another reason to be sad,


‘I know why you began neglecting your child,’


‘It was soon after his visit that your son died.’




The widow, hearing those dreadful words of blame,


Feels that they will spread and cursed will be her name,


Horrified of more painful blows,


She runs away. Where? Nobody knows.


by Martin Krč

Year 2, Issue 3