• A Ballad That We Do Not Perish

    Those who sailed at dawn
    but will never return
    left their trace on a wave--... more »

  • A Description Of The King

    The king's beard on which sauces and ovations
    fell until it became heavy as an axe
    appears suddenly in a dream to a man condemned to die
    and on a candlestick of flesh shines alone in the dark.... more »

  • A Halt

    We halted in a town the host
    ordered the table to be moved to the garden the first star
    shone out and faded we were breaking bread
    crickets were heard in the twilight loosestrife... more »

  • A Knocker

    There are those who grow
    gardens in their heads
    paths lead from their hair
    to sunny and white cities... more »

  • A Knocker

    TRANSLATED BY CZESLAW MILOSZ
    There are those who grow
    gardens in their heads
    paths lead from their hair
    to sunny and white cities

    it's easy for them to write
    they close their eyes
    immediately schools of images
    stream down from their foreheads

    my imagination
    is a piece of board
    my sole instrument
    is a wooden stick

    I strike the board
    it answers me
    yes—yes
    no—no

    for others the green bell of a tree
    the blue bell of water
    I have a knocker
    from unprotected gardens

    I thump on the board
    and it prompts me
    with the moralist's dry poem
    yes—yes
    no—no... more »

  • A Russian Tale

    The tsar our little father had grown old, very old. Now he could not even strangle a dove with his own hands. Sitting on his throne he was golden and frigid. Only his beard grew, down to the floor and farther.

    Then someone else ruled, it was not known who. Curious folk peeped into the palace windows but Krivonosov screened the windows with gibbets. Thus only the hanged saw anything.... more »

  • About Troy

    1

    Troy O Troy
    an archeologist... more »

  • An Answer

    This will be a night in deep snow
    which has the power to muffle steps
    in deep shadow transforming
    bodies to two puddles of darkness... more »

  • Architecture

    Over a delicate arch--
    an eyebrow of stone--

    on the unruffled forehead... more »

  • CO MYŚLI PAN COGITO O PIEKLE

    NAJNIŻSZY krąg piekła. Wbrew powszechnej opinii nie zamieszkują go ani despoci, ani matkobójcy, ani także ci, którzy chodzá za ciałem innych. Jest to azyl artystów pełen luster, instrumentów i obrazów. Na pierwszy rzut oka najbardziej komfortowy oddział infernalny, bez smoły, ognia i tortur fizycznych.

    Cały rok odbywają się tu konkursy, festiwale i koncerty. Nie ma pełni sezonu. Pełnia jest permanentna i niemal absolutna. Co kwartał powstają nowe kierunki i nic, jak się zdaje, nie jest w stanie zahamować tryumfalnego pochodu awangardy.

    Belzebub kocha sztukę. Chełpi się, że jego chóry, jego poeci i jego malarze prżewyzszają już prawie niebieskich. Kto ma lepszą sztukę, ma lepszy rząd - to jasne. Niedługo będą się mogli zmierzyć na Festiwalu Dwu Światów. I wtedy zobaczymy, co zostanie z Dantego, Fra Angelico i Bacha.

    Belzebub popiera sztukę. Zapewnia swym artystom spokój, dobre wyżywienie i absolutną izolację od piekielnego życia.... more »

  • Daedalus And Icarus

    Daedalus says:

    Go on sonny but remember that you are walking and not flying... more »

  • Elegy Of Fortinbras

    Now that we’re alone we can talk prince man to man
    though you lie on the stairs and see more than a dead ant
    nothing but black sun with broken rays
    I could never think of your hands without smiling... more »

  • Episode

    We walk by the sea-shore
    holding firmly in our hands
    the two ends of an antique dialogue
    —do you love me?... more »

  • Episode

    TRANSLATED BY CZESLAW MILOSZ
    We walk by the sea-shore
    holding firmly in our hands
    the two ends of an antique dialogue
    —do you love me?
    —I love you

    with furrowed eyebrows
    I summarize all wisdom
    of the two testaments
    astrologers prophets
    philosophers of the gardens
    and cloistered philosophers

    and it sounds about like this:
    —don't cry
    —be brave
    —look how everybody

    you pout your lips and say
    —you should be a clergyman
    and fed up you walk off
    nobody loves moralists

    what should I say on the shore of
    a small dead sea

    slowly the water fills
    the shapes of feet which have vanished... more »

  • First The Dog

    So first the faithful dog will go
    and after it a pig or ass
    through the black grass will beat a track... more »

  • From The Top Of The Stairs

    Of course
    those who are standing at the top of the stairs
    know
    they know everything... more »

  • Home

    A home above the year's seasons
    home of children animals and apples
    a square of empty space
    under an absent star... more »

  • How We Were Introduced

    I was playing in the street
    no one paid attention to me
    as I made forms out of sand... more »

  • How We Were Introduced

    TRANSLATED BY JOHN CARPENTER
    —for perfidious protectors

    I was playing in the street
    no one paid attention to me
    as I made forms out of sand
    mumbling Rimbaud under my breath

    once an elderly gentleman overheard it
    —little boy you are a poet
    just now we are organizing
    a grass-roots literary movement

    he stroked my dirty head
    gave me a large lollypop
    and even bought clothes
    in the protective coloring of youth

    I didn't have such a splendid suit
    since first communion
    short trousers and a wide
    sailor's collar

    black patent leather shoes with a buckle
    white knee-high socks
    the elderly gentleman took me by the hand
    and led the way to the ball

    other boys were there
    also in short trousers
    carefully shaven
    shuffling their feet

    —well boys now it's time to play
    why are you standing in the corners
    asked the elderly gentleman
    —make a circle holding hands

    but we didn't want tag
    or blindman's buff
    we had enough of the elderly gentleman
    we were very hungry

    so we were seated promptly
    around a large table
    given lemonade
    and pieces of cake

    now disguised as adults
    with deep voices
    the boys got up they praised us
    or slapped us on our hands

    we didn't hear anything
    didn't feel anything
    staring with great eyes
    at the piece of cake
    that kept melting
    in our hot hands
    and this sweet taste the first in our lives
    disappeared inside our dark sleeves... more »

  • I Would Like to Describe

    TRANSLATED BY CZESLAW MILOSZ
    I would like to describe the simplest emotion
    joy or sadness
    but not as others do
    reaching for shafts of rain or sun

    I would like to describe a light
    which is being born in me
    but I know it does not resemble
    any star
    for it is not so bright
    not so pure
    and is uncertain

    I would like to describe courage
    without dragging behind me a dusty lion
    and also anxiety
    without shaking a glass full of water

    to put it another way
    I would give all metaphors
    in return for one word
    drawn out of my breast like a rib
    for one word
    contained within the boundaries
    of my skin

    but apparently this is not possible

    and just to say—I love
    I run around like mad
    picking up handfuls of birds
    and my tenderness
    which after all is not made of water
    asks the water for a face

    and anger
    different from fire
    borrows from it
    a loquacious tongue

    so is blurred
    so is blurred
    in me
    what white-haired gentlemen
    separated once and for all
    and said
    this is the subject
    and this is the object

    we fall asleep
    with one hand under our head
    and with the other in a mound of planets

    our feet abandon us
    and taste the earth
    with their tiny roots
    which next morning
    we tear out painfully... more »

  • I Would Like To Describe

    I would like to describe the simplest emotion
    joy or sadness
    but not as others do
    reaching for shafts of rain or sun... more »

  • In A City

    In an eastern city where I won’t return
    there is a winged stone light and huge
    lightning strikes this winged stone
    I close my eyes to remember... more »

  • Lament

    And now she has over her head brown clouds of roots
    a slim lily of salt on the temples beads of sand
    while she sails on the bottom of a boat through foaming nebulas
    a mile beyond us where the river turns... more »

  • Mr. Cogito And The Imagination

    Mr. Cogito never trusted
    tricks of the imagination

    the piano at the top of the Alps... more »

  • Nothing Special

    nothing special
    boards paint
    nails paste
    paper string... more »