Railway Station

There are such towns, which, and even if willing,
one can’t find words for, enough information:
the streets, the market, the presbytery building –
and there’s only one event: that’s the station.

Daily, unfailing, the punctual train comes
(o, the sad tedium of city expresses),
tremble before it the one-legged lamps
saluting, armless, the passengers passing.

The ladies, yearning upon platform empty,
whence blows provincial and sad ennui,
by the strange world of train windows are tempted;
a fairy-land journey. It lasts minutes three.

And then each slowly returns to her home,
chewing a longing that’s dull and unguessed.
And each says nothing to any in town,
but it stays hid in the words ‘all is lost’.

And when the train’s gone, and powdery gusts
of smoke hang drifting above the dull waste,
like some mysterious and farewelling ghosts
lone barriers salute with arm stiffly upraised.

Kazimierz Wierzynski (1894-1969), Dworzec (1921).

The word: two hundred years of Polish poetry / [translator: Marcel Weyland.] Blackheath (NSW): Brandl & Schlesinger, 2010; p417.


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