Posthumous Correspondence

Man:
Well, in some ways I’ve been unfaithful.
There’s the world. Which distracts. I woke
and lived, touched, ate and talked,
drank wine, played human games, travelled
by train and posed for photographs. I got distracted,
forgive me.

Death:
Well, in some ways I’ve been unfaithful.
I was busy in other places, in other
people, besides you I had seasons,
animals, trees, wars, children, vast spaces
to embrace. Only now can I stay with you,
forgive me.

Man:
And now will that be all?

Death:
There’ll be nothing now.
Hats and roofs, crowns of trees, towers,
roads and rail tracks, rivers – seen from here
they’ll dissolve right away. I’ve allowed myself
a postscript to your postcard,
forgive me.

~ Marcin Świetlicki, trans. from Polish by Elżbieta Wójcik-Leese

 

Marcin Świetlicki (b.1961) is the author of eleven poetry books, most recently ‘Dietl’s Delta’, and three novels. He writes texts for the band Świetliki, where he is also a lead vocalist. He lives in Kraków.

Elżbieta Wójcik-Leese writes between English, Polish and Danish. Her books include: ‘Nothing More’, a selection from Krystyna Miłobędzka (2013); ‘Salt Monody’, versions of Marzanna Kielar (2006); ‘Cognitive Poetic Readings in Elizabeth Bishop: Portrait of a Mind Thinking’ (2010). She co-edited ‘Carnivorous Boy Carnivorous Bird: Poetry from Poland’ (2004) and co-wrote ‘Metropoetica. Poetry and Urban Space: Women Writing Cities’ (2013).

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