I’ve been reading through the luminous translations Mira Rosenthal has done of the work of Tomasz Różycki, a contemporary Polish poet. It’s a delight to read them here in Krakow, where they take on an additional resonance, although Różycki is from Opole, northeast of Krakow. This poem, dedicated to one of the most famous Polish poets, Czesław Miłosz, gives a sense of a land and a poetic spirit that has survived a tortured history.
The Rainy Season
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxFor Cz. M.
We drove through Wrocław, black sea of ruins,
which exiles later wanted to rebuild
to look at least a little like Lwów
so that it did not become a dream, a dream.
Most likely why there are these pits and potholes.
Grey clouds, huge drops of rain, slick road. I started
to brake too late, the car turned slowly round,
and in accord with nature’s law, it plowed
into the curb, where finally it stopped.
And I was useless. As if disenchanted,
the world became inert, a lifeless ball.
At five, I got the call that he had died.
That something had forever left the city,
and gravity, rain, literature remained.
translated by Mira Rosenthal
from the book Colonies