Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Anna Swir / There is a Light in Me

There is a Light in Me
by Anna Swir

English version by Czeslaw Milosz and Leonard Nathan

Whether in daytime or in nighttime
I always carry inside
a light.
In the middle of noise and turmoil
I carry silence.
I carry light and silence.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Anna Swir / The Sea And The Man

The Sea And The Man 

by Anna Swir

Translated from the Polish by Czeslaw Milosz and Leonard Nathan

You will not tame this sea
either by humility or rapture.
But you can laugh
in its face.

was invented by those
who live briefly
as a burst of laughter.

The eternal sea
will never learn to laugh.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Anna Swir / A Woman Writer Does Laundry

A Woman Writer Does Laundry
by Anna Swir
Translated by Czeslaw Milosz & Leonard Nathan

Enough typing.
Today I am doing laundry
in the old style.
I wash, I wash, rinse, wring
as did my grandmothers and great-grandmothers.

Doing laundry is healthful and useful
like a washed shirt. Writing
is suspect.
Like three interrogation marks
typed on a page.

Talking to My Body
Copper Canyon Press, 1996

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Anna Swir / He Was Lucky

He Was Lucky

By Anna Swir

The old man
leaves his house, carries books.
A German soldier snatches his books
flings them in the mud.

The old man picks them up,
the soldier hits him in the face.
The old man falls,
the soldier kicks him and walks away.

The old man
lies in mud and blood.
Under him he feels
the books.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Anna Swir / The Same Inside

The Same Inside
by Anna Swir

Walking to your place for a love fest I saw at a street corner an old beggar women. I took her hand, kissed her delicate cheek, we talked, she was the same inside as I am, from the same kind, I sensed this instantly as a dog knows by scent another dog. I gave her money, I could not part from her. After all, one needs someone who is close. And then I no longer knew why I was walking to your place.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Anna Swir / I Wash the Shirt

I Wash the Shirt

by Anna Swir

Translated by Czeslaw Milosz & Leonard Nathan

Anna Swir / Lavo la camisa
Anna Swir / Eu lavo a camisa

For the last time I wash the shirt
of my father who died.
The shirt smells of sweat. I remember
that sweat from my childhood,
so many years
I washed his shirts and underwear,
I dried them
at an iron stove in the workshop,
he would put them on unironed.

From among all bodies in the world,
animal, human,
only one exuded that sweat.
I breathe it in
for the last time. Washing this shirt
I destroy it
only paintings survive him
which smell of oils.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Anna Swir / The Greatest Love

The Greatest Love

by Anna Swir

Translated from the Polish by Czeslaw Milosz and Leonard Nathan

She is sixty. She lives
the greatest love of her life.

She walks arm-in-arm with her dear one,
her hair streams in the wind.
Her dear one says:
"You have hair like pearls."

Her children say:
"Old fool."