GB No. 2(17)/95


by Jerzy Oszelda

translated by Nick Rottenburg

1. The Spring

enter the wood
and seek amongst the beams of sunlight the hidden
lean forward and bathe your forehead
do you hear how your pulse merges with the rhythm of the earth?
stand up and look at the circle of the sun
and on your return to the spring
the crystal water has taken the crimson hue of your blood

Cieszyn, March/April, 1981

2. Shadow

you are most beautiful when threatened by
a blaze of reddish rays
you shake in their mortal embrace
like an imprisoned ballet dancer
but the red beast, here and now,
you put to sleep in the deepest of black dreams

Cieszyn, March/April, 1981

4. Rock

you grew from the earth
a gift from the sky?
I sit opposite
held by the power of your gaze
wary not to drown
in the pupil of your stone tranquility

Cieszyn, March/April, 1981

5. Snail

gentle brother
with pleasant contentedness
you carry the weight of your own patience
have pity on us

Cieszyn, March/April, 1981

6. Sorrow I

implanted in the grey imperfectness
amidst the noise and colour of the day
like a scarecrow in a blooming orchard
stands sorrow

Cieszyn, March/April, 1981

7. Sorrow II

sorrow is a lily
which grew as an earth-born song
the insensitive violet bobs back and forth
and seeks the light
in vain
sorrow is like a flower
deprived of the pleasure of blooming

Cieszyn, 1981

8. Don't read into the stars

look at this person
waiting on his star
it fell with a strange glittering sparkle
extinguishing his eyes
like two suns

Cieszyn, January 1, 1982

9. I don't write poetry

for Joanna Kniat

what do you have to write for anyway
I answered her
just as the wind rushes
so I write
a word?
a leaf falls
the pulse which beats in your temples
when tired
creates the rhythm of fatigue
in a poem
life dies away

Cieszyn, February, 1982

10. Oblivion

how can we tell that a flower
holds encaptured in its bud a secret
there lingers yet the intoxicating perfume
of oblivion

Cieszyn, 1986

11. The eastern red cedar

the bright canopy emits red flashes of light
a crimson glow highlights the shadowed faces of the people
with its branches the eastern red cedar blesses the world

Warsaw, August 30, 1988

12. The white desert cedar

for Marysia Olejniczak

joy, pure and white blossomed on the desert plain
the white desert cedar bows silently in the wind
the white desert cedar throws no shadow

Warsaw, August 30, 1988

13. The wild red grass

do not approach the wild red grass angry people
your bodies will eat its pure flames
suspect with trust good, gentle people
the wild red grass will be your shelter

Warsaw, August 30, 1988

14. For mother

you are like the white birch
sensitive to every breath of wind
when mighty storms arrive from the north
you do not run to the shelter of the forest
but you stand, resisting
with green leaves on your head
which, noone knows why,
shimmer like pearly shells

Cieszyn, August 2, 1988

16. The tree and the wind

do you see
how our friendship
is like a tree
swayed by the wind
and bent to the ground
but don't ask the tree
or the wind why
because they don't know
what is the cause

Cieszyn, February 2, 1991

17. Leaf

the galaxies shook
man was immobilised

Cieszyn, July 29, 1991

19. The bat

I like to look at the world
as twilight falls
sitting in the grass today
I watched the awkward flight of a bat
and followed it closely with my eyes
when suddenly
its random path
was cut by a fluffy owl
disappearing with its victim
into the green tree canopy
I like to look at the world
as twilight falls
may all creatures
be spared suffering
and the causes of suffering

Kuchary, June 8, 1991

20. The gentle swaying of the grass

when darkness falls
you can hear the gentle swaying of the grass
night creatures pray
to the bright glow of the moonlight
and your ears hear only the rushing of
the divine wind
I reassemble the broken remains of events
like a shattered jug
through squinting eyes
your temples resound with the pulse of time
a solitary bird clatters through the bushes
you can hear the gentle swaying of the grass

Zamarski (memories of Kuchary), June 30,.1991

21. Stone

for the Indian girl Saptamou

I don't know which came first
her natural gesture
or the stone
she gave me a pale pink object
and said
now it lies on the shelf
and carefully observes

Cieszyn, July 24, 1991

GB No. 2(17)/95 | Contents