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Poetry

Fragment

By Jacek Gutorow
Translated from Polish by David Kennedy & Jacek Gutorow

Peat bog, fossilized air, loops of an evening sky.
Words close themselves against other words,
and there is only a burnt-out path,

a pipe in ether with after-voices and after-crackles
whitened and beaten by water, wind and rain
down the drain, into the muddy heart of November.

Slates of bark, grains of earth, and the never-ending
granulation; the fields give off the smell of smoke
and the shreds of afternoons flash in ponds.

More words are more shut doors and dusty rooms.
The more you understand the more difficult it is
to wade through the dense space where there is

constant redecorating and renovation.
Something has to give in, crack under pressure;
in this odd time even the most accurate balls to the centre

are centrifugal. After the lonely landscape is over,
there is only a crater and an urge to be quicker
than one’s words and dreams, stronger than the gravity

of a swelling biography.

English

Peat bog, fossilized air, loops of an evening sky.
Words close themselves against other words,
and there is only a burnt-out path,

a pipe in ether with after-voices and after-crackles
whitened and beaten by water, wind and rain
down the drain, into the muddy heart of November.

Slates of bark, grains of earth, and the never-ending
granulation; the fields give off the smell of smoke
and the shreds of afternoons flash in ponds.

More words are more shut doors and dusty rooms.
The more you understand the more difficult it is
to wade through the dense space where there is

constant redecorating and renovation.
Something has to give in, crack under pressure;
in this odd time even the most accurate balls to the centre

are centrifugal. After the lonely landscape is over,
there is only a crater and an urge to be quicker
than one’s words and dreams, stronger than the gravity

of a swelling biography.

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