człowiek mogłem zabrać się za!
From: Poetryetc: poetry and poetics [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On
Behalf Of Lawrence Upton
Sent: 30 May 2012 09:30
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Snap: Call and response
Stary! honks the young man, addressing an older,
after which I do not understand that much at all,
never did know real Polish - shit, cigarettes,
whore (that seems the rhetoric of it), beer and vodka...
Jeden, dwa, trzy, cztery, pięć, sześć, siedem...
it's getting difficult... osiem, dziewięć, dziesięć --
looks impatient as he is ignored; says again:
Stary! - old one, I believe. The elder answers
affably, standing in front of a glass wall on to night,
candles reflecting round his shape, the right hand half
of the moon visible; grey hairs and skull glinting.
He's at dispute, with some tolerance; notes me listening;
and comments in English, putting on the accent
more than a little: "I am explaining, pointlessly,
to my recalcitrant child standing before us
that I have abandoned ambition in recent years.
Why should I give up lovely time to accumulate
things of the earth when, in a few prompt years from now,
I shall have the warm fires of the universe
glowing to light my way into understanding?
Why should I seize the world when I shall have those stars?
They do not value cupidity, avarice or wealth."
[stary means old in Polish and is pronounced with a short a, like or close
to, our starry
The words jeden, dwa, trzy, cztery, pięć, sześć,
siedem, osiem, dziewięć, dziesięć are the numbers
from one to ten. I looked them up to get the orthography correct -
orthography sounds so much better than spelling - but ignored it when the
web page told me "one" is "jed"; I wrote it as I know it; which may be
wrong; but by then I had the lines written in my head; so I am afraid the
Polish people will just have to change their language. I wondered if I
should use the words at all; and concluded that it's ok.]
Visiting Fellow, Music Dept,
Goldsmiths, University of London
New Cross, London SE14 6NW