28 December 2012

Poetry Thursday - Chestnut Tree by Tadeusz Rozewicz

chestnut in spring, so glorious
Oops, with it being holiday time, I've lost track of the days, so here's "Poetry Thursday" on a Friday!

This poem is translated from Polish, and has an interesting use of "forebodes" - which in 1664 meant "to announce beforehand"; in 1603, "have a presentiment of" ... "Foreboding: The action of Forebode; hence, a prediction, a presage. Now only of evil." 

Chestnut Tree

It's the saddest thing to leave
home on an autumn morning
where nothing forebodes a timely return

The chestnut tree Father planted
in front of the house grows before our eyes

Mother is tiny
you can carry her in your arms

jars stand on the shelf
and the fruit preserves inside them
are like goddesses whose sweet lips
retain the taste
of eternal youth

the army of soldiers in the corner of the drawer
will remain tin till the end of the world

and God almighty who mixed
bitterness into the sweetness
hangs on the wall helpless
and badly painted

Childhood is like the worn-out face
on a gold coin that rings

Tadeusz Różewicz

translated from the Polish by Joanna Trzeciak
Sobbing Superpower: Selected Poems [this won the 2012 Griffin Poetry Prizer]
Volume 95, Number 4
Copyright © 2011 by Joanna Trzeciak

Other poems (in English) by Różewicz are here.

1 comment:

kasia | szkieuka said...

Interesting - I've just learned a new word: forebode.

I found the Polish original (couldn't resist, Polish is my first language) and I'm not quite sure if this foreboding part is exactly the equivalent of Rozewicz's thought, which is more like "nothing portends a quick return".