To read Jastruns poetry in the Polish originals.
by Mieczysław Jastrun
Translated by Dzvinia Orlowsky and Jeff Friedman
Will He throw Christians to the lions,
the Jews, or the Greeks?
From now on there will be a circle orbiting in the Universe
caught in the quotidian.
Here the dove—Earth as Easter egg.
Here Columbuss Children serve it on the table
in the scarred attic.
what do you feel
with your novice skin?
When you open them,
fire fringes the sky,
red icons flaring.
locked in our own vision.
Knife with Red Shaft
Put it back in the bottom drawer!
Do you need an angel?
The fingertips burn
as the aroma spills
into the veins of the sun,
the cup slowly approaching the edge
And this time silence
neglected under the window, and space
in an empty glass—the world
four folded pages.
large as death.
into the airless question.
time with my blood.
My brow lifts,
my eyes not beasts
I am the first
name in the dream,
the same slot as
but that might not signal the coming of day.
The beating wings express more than fear
of greed and predators.
I run from window to window
as if sewing the wings to dawn,
but lightning rips the sky with its needle.
All Ive seen, predicted—
what could still surprise me?
I jump at the light breaking through the shade,
pinched frame where blue
Or has the word become flesh?
which survives bullets and fire.
In the garden dry sticks
fed the fire and a crowbar
stoked it. Late evening
in the garden.
Overhead, the universe
Unafraid, my heart leapt for joy
as the skipping of a jump rope
lead me back to childhood.
feast your eyes.
Ive recovered the night sun.
Tattered man in rags, Heraclitus—
equal of the gods—
dry brush, old papers
stuffed in a pit—
toss in a cheerful match.
This man says yes,
fear in the air
of those who enclose him.
face to ground—
a bullet through his head.
For centuries, it is the same—
the man with a hole in his head,
but with a different face.
giving the executioner
all the evidence he needs.
the family leaves the palm
of the valley and assumes its place
on the hill with three birches.
Iron clangs through the gray twilight.
The country mobilizes behind squadron fire.
Troops swell as welders work on the rail,
a light shining in the explosion.
Miraculously loaves of delicious bread
multiply. Plates, shattered glass,
metal, newspapers, chunks of pavement, records,
crowds with a single face—only one
female artist exhibits her work,
displays what she sees.
Each time is distinct
like a staircase.
Each moment gives while another
receives in the play of civilization.
a white streak after a jet,
A wave carries dead fish,
rivers navigating toward death,
toward the bodies of their mothers.