Hunger Camp At Jaslo
Write it. Write. In ordinary ink
on ordinary paper: they were given no food,
they all died of hunger. "All. How many?
It's a big meadow. How much grass
for each one?" Write: I don't know.
History counts its skeletons in round numbers.
A thousand and one remains a thousand,
as though the one had never existed:
an imaginary embryo, an empty cradle,
an ABC never read,
air that laughs, cries, grows,
emptiness running down steps toward the garden,
nobody's place in the line.
We stand in the meadow where it became flesh,
and the meadow is silent as a false witness.
Sunny. Green. Nearby, a forest
with wood for chewing and water under the bark-
every day a full ration of the view
until you go blind. Overhead, a bird-
the shadow of its life-giving wings
brushed their lips. Their jaws opened.
Teeth clacked against teeth.
At night, the sickle moon shone in the sky
and reaped wheat for their bread.
Hands came floating from blackened icons,
empty cups in their fingers.
On a spit of barbed wire,
a man was turning.
They sang with their mouths full of earth.
"A lovely song of how war strikes straight
at the heart." Write: how silent.
Translated by Grazyna Drabik and Austin Flint
Wislawa Szymborska's Other Poems
Read this poem in other languages
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.
Comments about this poem (Hunger Camp At Jaslo by Wislawa Szymborska )
- DALYA IN RAVENSBURG 74, Terry Collett
- Tomar Hansi Tomar Kanna, ramesh rai
- But peace, hasmukh amathalal
- Rah! rRah! Siss-boom-bah!, Frank Avon
- Same enthusiasm, hasmukh amathalal
- NOT / Heart-related, Alan Hickman
- Boy last, hasmukh amathalal
- Goodbyes Are Hard, Sayli Satam
- I LOVE PARIS, Terry Collett
- Unrhymed, Naveed Khalid
Poem of the Day
- A Thought, Robert Louis Stevenson
- Daffodils, William Wordsworth
- Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
- If, Rudyard Kipling
- Annabel Lee, Edgar Allan Poe
- The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
- Dreams, Langston Hughes
- On the Ning Nang Nong, Spike Milligan
- Alone, Edgar Allan Poe
- Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Robert Frost
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(31 May 1819 - 26 March 1892)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
Robert Louis Stevenson
- Heather Burns