Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Ghetto: Two Living Children by Anna Swir

Ghetto: Two Living Children
Anna Swir
Screaming ceased long ago on that street. Only the wind sometimes plays with a torn-out window in which the remnants of a windowpane still glitter, and carries over cobblestones feathers from ripped-open eiderdowns.
At times the same wind brings a sudden shout of many people from far away. Then it happens that from a cross street two living children walk out unexpectedly. Holding each other's hands they escape silently through the middle of a deserted street.
Up to the spot where, hidden behind a street corner wrapped in mist, a German soldier at a machine gun watches day and night on the border of the ghetto.

--tr. Czeslaw Milosz, Talking to My Body (Copper Canyon)


John Guzlowski said...

I love Anna Swir's poems. Here is one from a new translation by Piotr Florczyk.


I worked as an orderly at the hospital
without medicine and water.
I carried bedpans
filled with pus, blood and feces.

I loved pus, blood and feces—
they were alive like life,
and there was less and less
life around.

When the world was dying,
I was only two hands, handing
the wounded a bedpan.

I've posted some more of the poems from his translation at Writing the Polish Diaspora--

John Guzlowski said...

I forgot to mention. Anna Swir's poem was written to the Warsaw uprising against the Nazis in 1944.