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Poetry

Rue de Poitiers

By Ryszard Krynicki
Translated from Polish by Alissa Valles

A late afternoon, snow is falling.
Near the striking Musee d’Orsay you see
a gray bundle on the edge of the sidewalk:
a bum rolled up into a ball (or a refugee
from some country plunged in civil war)
still lying on a plaid, wrapped in a blanket,
a salvaged sleeping bag and a right to live.
Yesterday he also had a radio switched on.
Today freezing coins are laid out on the newspaper
in constellations of nonexistent planets and moons.

English

A late afternoon, snow is falling.
Near the striking Musee d’Orsay you see
a gray bundle on the edge of the sidewalk:
a bum rolled up into a ball (or a refugee
from some country plunged in civil war)
still lying on a plaid, wrapped in a blanket,
a salvaged sleeping bag and a right to live.
Yesterday he also had a radio switched on.
Today freezing coins are laid out on the newspaper
in constellations of nonexistent planets and moons.

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