The New Polish Poetry feature
link Return to the Contents list

Maciej Melecki

Two poems

Cases and Variants

I froze; without raising too many hopes
Or dispensing guidance or behaving like
The yellow pages, I back up fast and put paid

To that gleam in your eye, called forth
By nothing particular. No chronic allure
Burnished to look more and more magnetic

Brims in the eye of day. But was it
A hoax or a wake-up call? Two or more
Faces leave a bad taste in the mind;

Which arouses suspicion, but opens the field
To a hinterland of meadow with timbres of brown
Haunting us, rising and falling

We are lost to the sight of the other revellers.
I am feeling my way down the alley
That runs between buildings, fingers outstretched

When a curtain comes down inside me
Releasing a golden hare. The others let it go
To their heads, as they keep out of reach

Of the dragnet of time, which the ground just
Slips through. They go wild. But I’m here
In a daze, or there, feeling walled-up

Or somewhere where nothing can come of nothing,
But that’s all I ever want when slightly befuddled,
And dimly aware that this case is closed.


Three Colours

Beneath notice and inspection and
always on the look-out, you gather in
a harvest, or at least a proper armful
of igniting statements; share them with another
who will put on the dampeners.

When they give you notice
on a night in December
to phone-in your vote using
three coloured balls, you resist
inwardly more than you show
being taken for a juggler

who escaped from the circus. In the barrage
of snow flakes, propelled by high winds,
float shy faces of the dead, no
winsome girls with their trays of sweets,
husky breathing and frozen masks.

The much greater mystery of previous snooping
hides forever in its own amusement,
and I can hardly believe my own ears
so remote from the pristine moment.
Should I surprise everyone in this ardent village
and just shut up; simply pick a ball
and emancipate those colours!

Translated by Rod Mengham.

Maciej Melecki was bom in 1969 and lives in Mikołów, where he works at the Mikołów Institute, a cultural foundation established in the former home of Rafał Wojaczek, a Rimbaudian martyr who took his life in 1971. He is co-editor of Arcadia, a journal published by the Institute.

His publications include:

Zachodzenie za siebie [Behind the Self] 1993
Te sprawy [Such Things] (Kraków: Oficyna Cracovia, 1995)
Niebezpiecznie blisko [Dangerously Close] (Warszawa: Przedświt, 1996)
Dalsze zajscia [Further Goings Behind] 1998
Zimni ogrodnicy [Mid-May Cold Spell] (Mikołów: Instytut Mikołówski, 1999)
Przypadki i odmiany [Cases and Declensions](Mikołów: Instytut Mikołówski, 2001)

April 2006  |  Jacket 29  Contents  |  Homepage  |  Catalog  |  Search  |
about Jacket | style guide | bookstores | literary links | 400 book reviews |