Krzysztof Kamil Baczyński
Polish poet and Home Army soldier, one of the most renowned authors of the Generation of Columbuses, the young generation of Polish poets whose adolescence has been marked by the tragic times of World War II (many of them perished in the Warsaw Uprising).
”We learned our lesson. There is no conscience.
buried by fear, we live in pits;
in terror we carve out our dark loves,
statues of ourselves-evil troglodytes.
We learned our lesson. There is no love.
How could we then escape into darkness
from the sail of the nostrils sniffing us out,
from the staves and hands in their spreading net,
when the mothers and children would never come back
to the hollowed out pod of an empty heart.
We learned our lesson. One must forget,
so as not to die imagining it all.
We rise in the dark and slippery night.
We look for the heart, take hold of it, strain
our ears: the pain will be extinguished,
But stone-yes, a rock-will still remain.
And so we stand on tanks and on trucks,
on aeroplanes and in the rubble,
where the serpent of silence will crawl over us,
where the ice-cold torrent will cleanse us, not knowing
if time is standing still or flowing.
Like foreign cities dug from the depths,
human strata turning to ashes
lying on their backs or standing straight,
not knowing whether we are the pages
of a fire sculpted Iliad in shimmering gold,
whether, if only from pity, they build
a cross over our grave.”