THE ENCHANTED CARRIAGE


(ZACZAROWANA DOROŻKA)


To Natalia —
who is a lamp of the Enchanted Carriage





I
Allegro







Arthur will surely confess
I swear, that I don’t lie,
But six words, no more, no less
Were contained in that wire:
ENCHANTED CARRIAGE
ENCHANTED COACHMAN
ENCHANTED HORSE.

According to Ben Ali,
The wizard of Krakow town,
“It is really nothing
To enchant a coach alone,

Using a special brooch
Shine into coachman face
And here comes the coach
Enchanted with a man.

But not a horse.” So I ask:
“Hello, master Ben Ali?
Is it possible with a nag?”
“No, they told you a lie.”

I trembled. The night forlorn,
The postman stood like a string
And my hair grew all along
To reach a firmament dim.
ENCHANTED CARRIAGE?
ENCHANTED COACHMAN?
ENCHANTED HORSE?

Dismay. Head. Heart’s in pain.
And beyond the curtains, far

Rooftops in silvery rain
Reflect stars, big and small
Below leaves on the wind
Rustle in my misty head.

What had happened to me?
Could I possibly forget?

Did I plan a trip out of town
To make my thoughts clear?
Coachman was waiting and drowned
In some illusive dream
And they all enchanted him:
Ben Ali, and the night and the wind.
ENCHANTED CARRIAGE
ENCHANTED COACHMAN
ENCHANTED HORSE.


II
Allegro sostenuto







In the labyrinth of Krakow streets,
I was led by Arthur and Ronard,
It wasn’t easy, ’cause there was so much bliss
And the night was mad and high-flown,
As we were wandering through the whole Krakow by night:


III
Allegretto







Nightly BIRDS STUFFED,
nightly TYPING CLASSES,
nightly SUNDAY MASSES,
nightly MACBETH TODAY,
nightly FRENCH UNDERWEAR,

nightly STREET CAR, nightly COFFIN,
nightly choir LET THE WORLD SING,

nightly BUTCHER, nightly BARBER,
nightly TASTY APPETIZERS,

nightly DANCE SCHOOL FOR ALL,
nightly BAKER, nightly GROCERY STORE,

nightly mark: BY THE CHURCH!
And the countless night-veiled signs

My devoted nightly friends,
Eternal wind, eternal night.


IV
Allegro ma non troppo







We reached “At the Negroes” place I so admire
(O, I could give my life for this house after all!)
And look: exactly how it was in the wire:
Exactly in the front of the Sukiennice hall:
ENCHANTED CARRIAGE
ENCHANTED COACHMAN
ENCHANTED HORSE.
From Mariacka Tower light poured through the mist.
And the horse, imagine, had protruding ears.


V
Allegro cantabile







His mane and his tail are of the pure white,
A girl in the carriage, a sailor by her side.

Wind blows in the mane and in her veil
The carriage floats to the wedding, like a sail.

The sailor betrayed this girl like a knave
And was looking for some port to escape,
But somewhere he was swallowed by a whale.

The girl finally died burned out by love
And her longing wanders in a stardust rove,

But love itself is a mighty drive,
It joined their hands after their life.

And now, the carriage slowly glides
In their last trip — the groom and the bride
To some old chapel in some forgotten place.

And there, like in a beautiful old song,
Some bishop unites their hands with a stole,
The holy father with a moon’s face.

Night sings a love song for the pair,
But morning wipes out the stars away,

And through the old, ancient gate,
Through the carvings in the stone
Everything ceases slowly, fades
Forever all the miracles are gone:
ENCHANTED CARRIAGE
ENCHANTED COACHMAN
ENCHANTED HORSE.


VI
Allegro furioso alla polacca







In old tavern, on a forgotten street
Where all the coachmen finally meet
The “Dancing Jumbo” waltz flows.
Pickles are waiting in the jars
Starry beer in the mugs shines
And the bubbling foam overflows.
And master Onoszko speaks sincere:
“As long as we are all gathered here
As long as coach is a coach,
Shaft is a shaft and horse is a horse,
As long as waters of Wisla are flown,
In every village, in every town
There will be always, always viable
Maybe the last one, less comfortable:

ENCHANTED CARRIAGE
ENCHANTED COACHMAN
ENCHANTED HORSE.”

1946

[© for English translation, M. Gałczyński]