THE MOON


(KSIĘŻYC)


On the outlined circle, on a perfect rim
My clockwork shines and slowly rolls its wheel

And my hand touches them and makes them shine —
Every surface, every shape and every line,

My silver shadow rises there and leaves a trace,
When wanders over the world as if over a face.

And whatever stays within my precision’s reach,
Whatever stands still, it comes out of the sleep,

Colors, contours, values, names — all along
Giant night melts them into a song,

And wind stills, an owl becalms aside
When the hour of the moon becomes high.

Bridges melt in haze, violin bows grow long
Many streets suddenly become sloped

Walls are overgrown by ivy in flames,
Entangled leaves form a cobweb maze.

On every balcony, every gallery
Every silver ray leaves a mystery,

But when they pale in a gloomy night,
This mystery returns to the darkness’ side,

To its origin, as if mother’s face,
High above, where shapeless rhyme boldly race.

And again, these shapeless forms arise
From the deepest deep and eternal haze,

Entangled in a web of moonlight beam,
By rays as scissors that cut everything;

Entangled in a web of moonlight beam,
By rays as scissors that cut everything;

When turned into a low sound, stones bewail,
And suddenly the sound becomes a ray,

Next, the light grows into a moon’s face,
And melts into some other moonlight case,

Into a candlestick, spectacles on a nose
And returns as a dark wind in a dark road.

From house to house, through the empty streets
Moonlight wanders on its brighten crooked glints

Posesses the squares that you can’t go by,
Steals the stairways, moves the windows aside,

People can’t find their keys, horses — shafts
And the bells toll in alarming outcry —

This is the full moon in the sky, flying high,
Full of eternal harmony, full of light.

And this is the time for me to come
My light enters every brain, every hole,

Every mallow, every tone like fragile glass,
Every river and hill, every color and times,

Eyes of birds, dogs’ and women eyes dark,
Every silver candlestick, every candle spark,

Every leaf in the ivy climbing high,
Everything tempting, everything passing by,

Everything whirling in a constant change,
To all of you I say: Good night, my friends.

But who am I? A frail image on the wall,
This is my solemn farewell, after all.

All you, joyful things, all gloomy and bright,
I fade away, decline. I say — good night.

All you, joyful things, all gloomy and bright,
I fade away, decline. I say — good night.

My light dissolves like music that flows away,
I’m out of the sight, but let my light stay,

I’ll melt into your memory before I go
And I’ll play my last concert in this hall,

Straight from the heaven, through the window glass
I’ll silver in and stay by the music-stand.

Four waltzes will flow as magical stream,
Four waltzes from my immortal strings
And I’ll dissolve under this dark dome —

This will be a pirouette of a quitter
And the world will blossom and wither
And through the seasons, time will come.

Fruit and passion, snow and empty place,
Names of the stars and shadows with no names
Desert hollows and oases green,

Heart’s tumult, star above the spruces high —
Everything on a giant wheel, it rolls by
And I am the one who makes it gleam.

These are my moony matters that I cope,
Tough and complex, and old as I am old.

See? Silver head in the window high?
That’s me, your moon, your concert full of light.

And from this upper window, from upper skies
I shine into your life during the clear nights,

I shuffle words in your letters, from above
On your hair I sprinkle tiny silver drops

And in some September night you would dream
That you touched a leaf, rainy and green.

And your eyes, like two tiny candlesticks —
Two little sparks of joy, two flashing streaks.

Myself, generous, I deliver light
And I come directly into your night;

Shining like a lantern, like a night’s crown
I decorate your dreams with all my tones,

With planets, stars, with all Milky Ways,
With clouds, medieval towers, with birds.

And you dream deeply with your silver face
During the night time, in the dreamy place.

When I’m gone, my dear, don’t cry after me,
I will return as the moon into your window rim.

When you’ll see a silver spark in the sky —
You’ll know: that’s me. Your Moon. Heart of the night.

1952

[© for English translation, M. Gałczyński]