That night the dark was sultry, steamy with lust.
Cornflowers, lit up by dry lightning, flashed
Directly into a deer’s eye; into forest,
By foreign-pupils startled, deer then dashed.
The blooms azured her head, fled cervinely
And, greedy, watched the world cornfloweredly.
Having, amid a boundless meadow, found
Itself, a poppy with a shrill cry bled
Into a purple-plumaged cock, yet made no sound;
It shook, in his red comb, the very blood—
In darkness crowed, beak rent, poisoned with fear,
Till crows of other roosters crowded near.
The barley, ears with a thick longing golden,
With sudden spite bristled in rankled quills;
Crushed itself into a golden hedgehog; ran,
In transit pricking the herbs’ flimsy walls;
Whined, sulked at flowers in urchin-array . . .
But what it felt and lived through none can say.
And in what nettles did I burn my soul
That I flit stealthily, cross-country, at the edge?
Why do the flowers watch me, skeptical?
Have I some night-self, that’s beyond my knowledge?
To clasp my temples thus, what have I done?
What was I that night, which today is gone?
—translated from the Polish by Jakob Ziguras