The Sarmatian Review

Krzysztof Kamil Baczynski

Where to?

Translated by Alex Kurczaba1

Where to yet? This shadow stands in me
like an eternal icon of my ruin
the shield rusts and bitter grows the earth
under my double-edged musing.
Ah, for I am the sword of all injustice,
through my hands stretched out in sleep
sins wander like silent snakes
and spout through my fingers as songs.
And that which I touch is covered by a tear,
as by dew, only so salty,
so that not with my fist, but earth entire,
I beat my breast whose trespasses are never forgiven.
Oh, how to forgive indeed, as man has forgotten
his voice speaking in godly idiom.

And where I step, under my foot cracks
the last stone, and beyond darkness only,
and I'm like the first man after the flood.
who did wrong. So then above me
there is also no flash and my palm is void
as if the cross were removed and cleaver inserted,
and I'm the soul of sadness traversing bodies,
and I'm alone and earth's dull resistance.

Oh, that for a moment, a jug be offered
with crystal water, if only the curse be lifted,
and that my heart be heart, not wound,
and that the way even in agony be sacred,
and that heaven not cover me like earth's lid,
and even the snow is gone, which will cover me,
it but gropes to carve voices with tears
like a shadow, the tired shadow which lost man.

1 K.K. Baczynski, "Dokad to jeszcze?" [1942] Utwory zebrane. Edited by Aniela Kmita-Piorunowa and Kazimierz Wyka. Kraków. Wydawnictwo Literackie. 1994.

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Last updated 09/24/98