No. 6


Anna Swirsczynska  

Translated from the Polish by Ryszard Reisner   



I am as yet unborn
five minutes before birth,
I can still turn back
into my unbirth.
Here now itís ten minutes before,
here now itís an hour before birth.
I turn back,
in my minus-sign life.

I walk my unbirth, a tunnel
with unbelievable visions.
Ten years before,
a hundred and fifty years before,
I walk, rumble my steps,
a fantasy, journey through epochs,
in which I was not.

How very long my minus-sign life lasts,
non-existence so much reminds non-mortality.

Here Romanticism, where I could have been a spinster,
here Renaissance, where I could have been
an ugly and unloved wife of an uncaring husband,
the Middle Ages, where I would have carried water in the inn.

I walk, continue further, 
what an echo ó
rumble my steps
through my minus-sign life,
through the other of life.
I reach Adam and Eve,
now nothing is seen, darkness.
Here and now dies my non-existence
a trifling death of mathematical fiction.
Trifling, as the death of my existence,
had I been born in fact.


It is only thanks to your charm
that I can take part
in the rituals of love.

Mystical ecstasies,
betrayals, ravishing
as a crimson lipstick,
perverse rococo
of psychology, its spiderwebs,
delicious carnal longing
pouring despair,
sinking to very rockbed of the world ó
this, I owe to you.

How very tenderly I should lash myself
every day with lashings of cold water,
since you in fact allow me to master
beauty and wisdom,
which nothing will replace.

It is they who open before me
in the moment of loving,
the souls of lovers that I have enslaved.
I look as does sculptor
on to his work,
on to their faces ó eyelids snapped shut,
tormented by ecstasy,
made thick
from happiness.
I read as does angel
the thoughts in skulls,
feel in my palm
a beating human heart,
listen to the words
that human whispers to human
in the most naked moment of life.
I enter their souls,
the road of delight or horror
to lands unparalleled
like the beds of oceans.
Later, laden with treasures,
I take the long road back
to myself.
Oh, many riches
many exquisite truths,
growing immense in metaphysical echo,
many initiations
delicate and shattering,
I owe to you, my thigh.

The most priceless charm of my soul
would not give me any of these treasures,
if not for your radiant, velvet grace,
in your amoral little beast. 



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