" The Calm of the Sea " written by Adam Mickiewicz

 


Upon the height of Tarkankut
The pennant at the crow's nest rises with the breeze,
Shafts of sunlight play upon the water's breast
As on a bride-to-be who wakes to sigh and rest,
And wakes again and sighs for dreams that better please.
On naked spars the banner-shaped sails hang at ease.
The vessel is in chains now, leeside facing west,
Lulled by slow rocking. Passengers lampoon in jest,
Swabbies sigh to one another, slapping knees.
Blithe Sea! Among your jolly living creatures is
The polyp, sleeping in your depths when dark clouds swarm,
Wielding longish arms amid each starfish grave.
Sweet dreams! Below, a hydra of remembrances
Sleeps in the middle of mishaps and raging storm,
And when the heart is calm, its pincers flash and wave.

 


— translated from the Polish by Leo Yankevich
first appeared in the Sarmatian Review
Adam Mickiewicz lived in the XIXth century, from 24 December 1798 to 26 November 1855, was a Polish[1][2] national poet, dramatist, essayist, publicist, translator, professor of Slavic literature, and political activist. A principal figure in Polish Romanticism, he is counted one of Poland's "Three Bards" of the XIXthe century ...

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