Août 15

Elegies From Warsaw

Elegies From Warsaw

Translated from French


Nounours Lelion


I, who once used to build high walls of praise,
Admired the female creatures walk by heaven, with pride in their hands,
And whistling smooth Gregorian chants for the angels,
Here I am horribly cursed by vicious titans!

Neither a lady’s smock nor a Lila can cure my sorrow,
Which decomposes my flesh already dead,
My heavy burden stands wider than my field,
And urges me to beg Apollo his compassion and mercy.

Not a single rose smiles me back, not a single tree dazes me,
Neither a glow of mine affection, nor the pureness of my soul,
Know how to bring back to mine eyes,
A beauty’s fairy that stands on mine hands.

Neither a single flower brightens me up, nor a single fruit forbids me,
To be poor in love and eager in glee,
Thus am I devoid of warmth and kindness.

I cover the rudeness of my hands,
With a blanket of silk, lace and delicateness,
Thus remain my lips,
Doomed to touch words with no breath.

I, who once never stopped to praise mine happiness,
Wore proudly the banner of optimism,
And contemplated beauty from the earliest hour,
I can see myself now struck by nostalgia,
Drowned in bitterness and eaten by pessimism.

Her sweaty tenderness,
It flows along my leg,
Under the burning light of her soul,
Then brings she her hand to rest on mine heart.

Through the window pane reveals under my feet,
A gloomy ocean filled with blood and fire,
Reveals before mine eyes,
My painful and atrocious fate.


O dear Love! So lauded are you!
The one from which the stitches cannot close upon a wound deeper than any [Abyss,
The one which takes away the desire in kindness,
The one from which all pleases and nothing suffices,
O Love, truest Love,
The one who removes Man from his life,
Dives him into a sea of sweet endless pains,
And waits for him to find reason and dare quitting,
Like a man finds courage to kill himself.
O Love, honourable Love,
From which men fail to differentiate suffering from pleasure,
And ask a pleasing death instead of an eternal suffering life.

I kneel myself for thee, pray thy forgiveness and thine honours,
Remove this asthenia from my frozen look,
Give back mine heart’s strength and hope,
Then finds he again the exciting passion,
Then lives he again through the pulses that led me at night.
I cannot love again,
I cannot forget so early,
The country so dearly,
And her daughter with her charming face,
Her mother land and her landscape.


Speak to me about Poland,
This poor country stricken by a grey sky,
This land where no woman forgives,
The male hearts to love without a scream.

I can see in the dark, Zuzanna under her flower dress,
Her blue eyes soaked with enthusiasm and fury,
I miss my Polish girl and her city misses me.

Warszawa, wherein women remain gracious under the bombs,
Warszawa, the town of a communism stealing away the mazurkas,
O dear city-state of unusual desires,
Wherefore art thou so desirable!
I pray thee to come back to me,
As my legs ask on and on to see thy walls and rocks once again.

Zuzanna, show me again Krakow’s country,
Entwined by miles of salt mines,
Kissed by Christian altars on forest borders,
Burn me alive in Wawel’s flames,
And bring me hither, safe on our lovely Nowy Swìat,
Blessed is this place for her fresh creams,
And her ladies singing “ nie chcę grać! ”

My dear Zuzia,
In thine eyes I can see thy people crucified,
In thy voice echoes this Christ reborn from his ashes,
As Warsaw did from a petrifying chaos.

Zuzanna leaves me and mine ambition is renewed,
I lost a Polonaise and found twenty others through mine ears,
The mazurkas are danced again on the cold country hills,
Danced by folkloric Polkas,
Wearing red, green, and yellow flowers,
Against all expectancies.


At dawn of my horrible return,
Suddenly appears to me on the horizon,
A mermaid, whose melodious voice freezes the ocean,
Under the dawn of my sentimental abandonment,
Did I raise mine eyes on another goddess.

Her nymph smile towards me,
With her jubilant eyes,
Is like an angel giving me her blessing,
And a Saint showing me my faith.

Her golden hair tied,
Makes my layman eyes tremble,
As I do not know how to admire,
The lady who darkens women.

I cannot avoid mine unluckiness,
In front of these heavenly creatures,
And yet she leaves her sisters,
For a simple man early freed from his cross.

I found back the flowers which once were my fame,
And wish to slip them in her hair,
Hoping she would stay,
To out run Love and his walls.


There comes forward to the crowd,
The unlucky without miracles,
Shaking under his thin skin,
Covered of muddy sweat and forgotten tenderness.

“May the stars gather around my fate,
I have nothing for this lie that penetrates them!
May the gods look upon my ruins,
Tis too late for them to make me young,
From deep in Tartarus, Cronus smiles upon your anarchy,

I crossed many lands and seas,
Fought your tenacious ideas,
And here I am! Saved from your hollow morals,
Escaped from your empty vows!

I am nothing else but a new Admirer,
The one from which nothing stops his passion,
And whose sentimental virtue is divine,
I can’t but live in people’s eyes,
Theirs, which see hatred to be overcome between each heartbeat. ”

Love is a sudden life, and his death an endless worship.

The original text, “Élégies de Varsovie”, received the second prize in poetry from the literary contest Marianopolis – Brébeuf in March 2015.

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