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Poems by Andrzej Bursa (1932-1957)

On a Streetcar (W tramwaju) (1957)

they boarded by the wrong door

bearing anguish over the loss of daddy

the conductor never even breathed a word

they blocked half the bus

nobody even batted an eye

anguish over the loss of a daddy

big deal

over the loss of a daddy - anguish

and yet they warned people

our anguish is fresh

it will soil your trench coat sir

a white trench coat

what a pity

if it got a little dirty

from our anguish over the loss of daddy

Kicked (Kopniaki)

In a sober frame of mind he came to have some business taken care of

but at the first door he got kicked

he smiled

getting kicked to him seemed quite witty

he tried again

got kicked

he decided to go up to the next floor

again he was knocked down the stairs by a kick

like a well-behaved dog he waited politely in the hallway

got kicked

got kicked at the main gate

in the street got kicked again

so at any rate he desired a more poetical death

he flung himself under an automobile

and caught a solid kick from the chauffeur.


Translated by Kevin Christianson and Halina Ablamowicz

The originals can be found in Andrzej Bursa, Utwory wierszem i proza (Kraków: Wydawnictwo Literackie, 1969); and Andrzej Bursa, Wiersze (Toruń: Crime & Thriller, 1993).


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The Sarmatian Review
Last updated 8/30/04