Adam Czerniawski



Stepping lightly along cresting waves he was now a speck on the far horizon clouded round with sky-blue leaves - and behind him a pack of hounds and huntsmen blundering about baying and blowing horns sinking in bogs and overgrown gulleys His watery eyes reflected the sea wind's veins There were 37 huntsmen and 31 hounds, the best of their breed the above facts were set down in a district office in the presence of numerous witnesses but we still lack the data needed to say what equals x Listening in the distance to the barking of horns and the crack of thickets and branches he pauses milk-white and solitary veiled in a landscape of ferns lit by a sun of edgy leaves And so on a warm day he set off for the west on a wave of blue wind but we still lack the relevant facts translated by Iain Higgins


On this three-dimensional planet sprung from cosmic dust the cherry blooms and the oriole sings water finds its own level Newton's laws tolerate no exceptions, at dusk the lindens saturate the air, a man, laying his hand on a woman's breast, will say he loves her. translated by Iain Higgins


on the first day of our era on the island of sumiram the first snow fell patterns of stars covered the indolent green of the tropical forests on the island of sumiram while on the first day of our era snow was falling on the island of sumiram the inhabitants slept while the inhabitants slept on the island of sumiram snow was falling when they woke from the cold the snow had already vanished into the underbrush some maintain simply that on the first day of our era a plague and an earthquake depopulated the island of sumiram no wonder then that both contemporary sources and later traditions tell us nothing about the snow which evidently spared the island of sumiram translated by Iain Higgins


People brush against life brush against the foreshadowings of trees and rocks brush against themselves lately they've begun to brush against distant continents against the stars even Thanks to this osmosis a view from the grey universe has opened onto pines lakes glaciers and lions they glisten display their hues and laugh in the sun silhouetted in the moon's glow now flint is sparking poetry flashes love is aflame the eye focussed Now death rubs against people they crumble crack disintegrate their dust their rubble their fine cinders settle on trees rocks on the stars even a film of grey covers objects both real and conventional it's no longer possible to distinguish thrones from kings memory from divination women from roses or priests from damnation translated by Iain Higgins


We carved boats from rust-coloured bark; we shall make masts out of twigs and sails from torn newspapers; here on the wrinkled puddle we'll give them to the wind. And there they are now drifting to the very centre tossing and trembling beyond our reach. Above us the murmur of bare trees and a pale spectral sun. Sometimes we also walk to the edge of the great clear waters and even to the foaming sea, where we play ducks and drakes, which skip skip on the water fly briefly then sink. This is our dialogue. Let the winter branches speak for us or the sailboats of oak bark, now somewhere well out on the boundless ocean. translated by Iain Higgins


Three or maybe two came from fields now sated with milky darkness; they merged with the contours of pines and melodies and turned the pale afterglow of a somnolent sky into gusty wind. I no longer see them but now read with difficulty: You are here on the 27th July 1991 conscious though fearful; record this moment, note it down. Time flows in you falls into waters of unbeing in which you will vanish; leave a trace perhaps someone lost in the evening will find shelter here; leave a light in the window.