Marek Grechuta – Kantata

This is one of these almost-impossible-to-translate poems, when all the charm and even meaning of the text is being jeopardised by an attempt to find the proper expressions in a different language. And a translator (doomed to clumsiness and frustration) has to choose between being literally ‘loyal’ to the original (which will result in a terrible mess-in-writing) or trying a daunting task of ‘playing’ a poet him/herself – just in order to catch the essence of ‘what I think the author tried to say”… And if I am about to suicidally apply the second option I am doing it out of my deep regret that there is much too much forgotten or unaccessible art – that the artists’ names and their vision of the world, which should stir souls of international crowds remain, at best, national curiosities merely…

Marek Grechuta (‘grehuta’) – a poet, composer and a signer (died in 2006) was originally trained as an architect, but quite quickly and fortunately he allowed himself to become what he seemed to be born for. His artistic style was unique – an elegant, playful yet full of mystery; his sensitive yet intense, charismatic presence on a stage (one may say the he looked like ‘the poetry personified’) was bringing in mind artistic performances. Then his distinctive voice, perfectly controlled and full of expression, and the sublime lyrics (his own or adopted from Polish poets) arranged with always clever music into a one piece, which one can call ‘the synthesis of arts’.

Here, he sings “Kantata” (the ‘almost-impossible-to translate’) – a poem by Jan Zych (barely known, what a shame!), music by excellent Jan Kanty Pawluskiewicz (borowka7 has originally uploaded it to the Youtube service, thank you). I admire this piece for its ability to portray the extremes – dark and light, icy cold and golden warm, drama and perfect harmony…


I’ve dreamed about birds without the sky…
I’ve dreamed about horses without the land…

There is no other season here, only winter,
Here is the place heavy like a stone and confusing like a labyrinth,
Here a wall meets a wall, both are alien to each other,
And a fair flower of the sky dies on a stalk of a yard.

But somewhere there, they are sowing their land with seeds,
And drowsy hay is being carried into wide open barns,
Summer is ruling there with its golden sceptre.

And the last apple on the apple tree
Shines at the distance in that Kingdom.

Here is the place heavy like a stone and confusing like a labyrinth,
Here nobody will care if I fall among all this mechanical jungle,
And they will sweep me up, the alien man, like old snow before spring,
Four sides of the world and four seasons will unite in that one moment.

And everything I’ve experienced will rush to my heart,
And my memories will fight which one of them I belong to,
And let it be a sort of a confession, but without the absolution,
I don’t want to be robbed of anything I went through in my life.


About kasia

Born in Poland. Lives in Ireland, Cork. Visual artist. View all posts by kasia

One response to “Marek Grechuta – Kantata

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