ZOTY WIEK GOLDEN AGE
Adam Czerniawski trans. Iain Higgins (from Polish)
H.K.

Skd wiedzie mogem, e w modoci
przeyj wiek zoty: przecie jak zwykle
byy wojny, najazdy, drakoskie reformy,
przecie chodzili wród nas biedni,
cierpieli chorzy; wilcze mrozy kiedy ojciec
prac straci, potem powodzie, gód;
gazety duo pisaly o "toncej barce
naszego przemyslu", wspominay
dawno miniony wick zoty karnych
robotników.

Wuj Hipolit podwaal
pretensje Nowej Sztuki, kpi
z gniewnej modziey

Nawet
zasuchana w muzyk ogrodu
matka wzdychaa do lat zaprzeszych,
ranków jak jedwab, wieczorów jak
przysta

Teraz w lustrze
widz pierwsze siwe wosy
zniosem zawody i klski
dowiadczyem szczcia i mioci
nigdy nie byem w Isfahanie
ju chyba nie zd i w ogóle
nie wiem, czy mi na tym zaley

Norwidowa rosa
poyskuje w trawie na kopcu kryjcym
szkielety herosów: zastanawiam si,
czy ci wyzna, e to nasz wiek zoty,
lecz nie mam odwagi, co we mnie ka
i dry:

"zy, zy bezsensowne
czy oznaczaj rozpacz bezgraniczn:
w sercu si rodz, zaciemniaj oczy
zwrócone ku sadom radosnej jesieni
w zadumie nad por, która nie powróci"

III 1979
for A.C.

How could I have known that in my youth
I would experience the golden age: since as usual
there were wars, invasions, draconian reforms,
since the poor walked among us, the sick
suffered; and there were wolfish frosts when father
lost his job, and then floods and hunger;
newspapers wrote a lot about "the sinking ship
of our industry", recalling
the long-gone golden age of disciplined
workers.

Uncle Theodore shook
the pretensions of the New Art, mocked
the angry young men

Even
mother, engrossed in the music of the garden,
sighed for the past perfect years,
mornings like silk, evenings like
safe haven


Now in the mirror
I see the first grey hairs
I've suffered setbacks and defeats
experienced happiness and love
was never in Isfahan
I'll probably never make it now
and I'm not sure I'm keen enough

Norwid's dew
glistens in the grass on a hill covering
the bones of heroes: I wonder
if I should confess that this is our golden age,
but I lack the courage, something in me sobs
and trembles:

"Tears, idle tears
tears from the depth of some divine despair:
rise in the heart, and gather to the eyes,
in looking on the happy autumn-fields,
and thinking of the days that are no more"

III 1979

Copyright © Adam Czerniawski 2000; Trans. Copyright © Iain Higgins 2000 - publ. Harwood Academic Publishers


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