—Adam Zagajewski (b. 1945)
We’ll take refuge in bells, in the swinging bells,
in the peal, the air, the heart of ringing.
We’ll take refuge in bells and we’ll float
over the earth in their heavy casings.
Over the earth, over meadows
and a single white daisy, over the bench on which love
carved its imperfect symbol, over a willow
obedient to the will of cool wind,
over the Tatras’ green lake, over crying
and mourning, over binoculars shining
Over the border, over your attentive gaze,
over the pupil of somebody’s eye, over a rusty cannon,
over the garden gate which no longer exists,
over clouds, over rain drinking dew,
over the town park where a Swiss Army knife,
lost lifetimes ago, lies hidden still.
When the night comes, we’ll take refuge
in bells, those airy carriages,
those bronze balloons.
(trans. by Renata Gorczynski, Benjamin Ivry and C. K. Williams)
For more about Adam Zagajewski, see www.poets.org/poetsorg/poet/adam-zagajewski/. For more about his Bell poem, go to therumpus.net/2012/08/the-last-poem-i-loved-the-bells-by-adam-zagajewski/.