(after a film by A.Tarkovskiĭ)
by Jacek Kaczmarski
transl. by Jadwiga Smulko and Ryszard P. Kostecki
Who of us has never travelled by a drowning wreck?
Who amongst us dares to contradict he is flawed?
Who of us has never been by a blinded bird misled?
Who has never been led into wasteland by a stray dog?
And yet, we are enthralled by the fenced area
Which is excluded for a purpose – we want to believe
It’s not us within it – it’s taken from us – the Zone
It is for us to pace it, with our own gait, be it unfirm
Until all hope, defeated by bitterness, is out – gone
Thus, in spite of wires, guards’ posts and watchtowers
We long to go where going is forbidden
To possess useless, ridiculous mysteries’ koan
If only we could burn with longing fever once again
Before a sudden blast flicks off the occipital bone
The way might be misleading and roundabout
Our guide might be a swindler, craving to make a dime
But better this, than death on calcifying ramparts’ dawns
At the trenches and invisible borders’ lines
Where – so resembling a convict – soldier yawns
The path leads through the inundated glens of ages gone
Under the shallow waters – illegible kites of times past
A trail over the icons, the manuscripts, and guns
Above which the paddle draws Apocalypse’s splash
The wail is not for us, nor the ancestors – but for sons
Is then the truth for us to find – an empty room
With switched-off phones, that suddenly start to ring?
The dearest blood, that slowly flows in lifeless brook
A forceless wrath against indifferent Firmament
And the spell of words to save from bad bewitchments’ hook?
Is then the truth for us to find – a table of stone
From which the object of the prayers fell, untouched by hand?
In transport’s wheels clatter – Beethoven’s aria blazes?
Bottomless abyss, and – above it, suspended –
One’s own face, watching itself in spaces
Of the drowning – whom fortune did not send a raft?
Of the flawed – whom it had ever failed to heal?
When the blinded bird has finally found the right track
And the stray dog has at last sat at the doorsill
translated: 27.12.2013 – 20.5.2014