Death in the Evening

Holub, Miroslav

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Annotated by:
Coulehan, Jack
  • Date of entry: Jun-24-1994
  • Last revised: Aug-16-2006


An old woman dies at home. After "the young ones had gone to bed," she arises and moves around the house, doing the usual things that defined her life--putting out the candles, mending a stocking, finding a lost glove--before she falls back into her coffin and is cremated in the morning.


Holub is one of the fine Czech poets of the 20th century and also a practicing scientist and clinical pathologist. His poems are generally spare, free-form, and anti-literary. He considered  William Carlos Williams a major influence on this work, but while Williams strove for simplicity in his shorter poems, Holub often probes several layers of meaning. Like Williams, though, Holub’s poems frequently deal with the grim realities of life and are written with scientific exactitude. This is a tender poem about the death of an old woman.


Translated by George Theiner & Ian Milner.

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