A black dragon burned and buried under coal mines,
Imprisoned in pure granite grey while men wine and celebrate.
Gladly, I will fight,
No calm cosmos tonight.
Birds dive towards the vaulted sky.

This is a translitic of Wislawa Szymborska’s “Metafizyka“.

Translitics is an absurdist exercise where the poet takes a poem from a foreign language, and attempts to translate it based on intuition. The resulting translation is then polished to a final form.

Wislawa Szymborska was a Polish poet whose poetry was marked by their ironies and ambiguities. She won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1996.

The first column is Szymborska’s Metafizyka in the original Polish. The second column is my initial translitic translation.

Metafizyka Translitics
Było, minęło.
Było, więc minęło.
W nieodwracalnej zawsze kolejności,
bo taka jest reguła tej przegranej gry.
Wniosek banalny, nie wart już pisania,
gdyby nie fakt bezsporny,
fakt na wieki wieków,
na cały kosmos, jaki jest i będzie,
że coś naprawdę było,
póki nie minęło,
nawet to,
że dziś jadłeś kluski ze skwarkami.
By yours, by mine.
By yours, which by mine.
A black dragon burned under coal mines.
War hawks dance regularly to pure granite grey.
Wine music night, no war, just celebrations.
Gladly, I fight spawn,
Fight and wield windows/weld widows.
No calm cosmos, just dance in night dreams.
The cause produced and narrowed by yours,
Poke night by mine,
Tears and sweat too.
The wheel slowly rolls the sky pillars.

Here is an accurate English translation of Szymborska’s Metafizyka by A. Duszenko:


It happened, it’s over.
It happened, so it’s over.
In irreversible sequence always,
for that is the rule of this lost game.
A trite conclusion, not even worth writing,
if not for the undeniable fact,
the fact for ever and ever,
for the whole cosmos, which is and will be,
that something truly was,
until it passed,
even the fact
that today you had dumplings with fried bacon bits.

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