from Memorials

Mieczysław Jastrun


Sunset glows in the wheat, oats and rye,
crops multiplying in the fields.
We traveled
the world, believing in the earth.

Of the corn, we asked
who? who?

In the silence of impassibility
the ears bend toward the ground
like questions rising up.

Do you go where the wheat is?
God breathes in the grain, gives us our bread,
but nothing can alleviate our poverty.
Nothing can give us back our home.

We live in a time of false piety
in which money rules
like King Midas petrified
in a paradise of gold.


Under the sky where the butchers' knives
stripped the bloody skin,
I saw those murdered
between the knees of God.

For years, in our animal furs,
we survived the huge blinding winters
and dust storms of wheat
in August.

No one remembers anything.

We shifted from foot to foot
waiting in long lines
for our deaths.

Only one of us asked,
Why does God kill us?
Why did he give up on his children
after the Resurrection?

Only one of us waiting
for him to fall
again from the cross cried,
"Why has the world forsaken us?"

translated from the Polish by Dzvinia Orlowsky and Jeff Friedman