Poem By Adam Mickiewicz
The trembling Muslims kiss your foot and pray out loud,
O mast of the Crimean tall ship Chatyr Dah,
Minaret amid the hills and Padishah!
You, having fled above the cliffs into a cloud,
Stand at the gates of heaven, humbling the crowd,
And, like great Gabriel, guard lost Eden’s house, your shaw
Of trees a cloak where janissaries keep the law,
Your turban thunderbolts and lightning for the proud.
And yet sun scolds our brows and fog obscures our ways,
Locusts poach our crops and Gavur burn our homes,
Always, Chatyr Dah, as motionless as domes
In Mecca, you remain indifferent to our days,
Creation’s dragoman to what below you roams
Who only hears whatever God to nature says.
— translated from the Polish by Leo Yankevich
first appeared in the Sarmatian Review