You Who Wronged

BY CZESLAW MILOSZ
TRANSLATED BY RICHARD LOURIE
.
You who wronged a simple man
Bursting into laughter at the crime,
And kept a pack of fools around you
To mix good and evil, to blur the line,
.
Though everyone bowed down before you,
Saying virtue and wisdom lit your way,
Striking gold medals in your honor,
Glad to have survived another day,
.
Do not feel safe. The poet remembers.
You can kill one, but another is born.
The words are written down, the deed, the date.
.
And you’d have done better with a winter dawn,
A rope, and a branch bowed beneath your weight.
.
Washington, D.C., 1950