She Came to Say Farewell


On the day after her death
mother came
to say farewell to me.

At night I heard
her steps nearing my bed
step
by step. She stopped
by my head.

I said: Mommy,
do not appear, Mommy,
my heart will burst
from fear.

No more than that
I said to her
by way of farewell.


  Polish; trans. Czeslaw Milosz
       & Leonard Nathan


Anna Swir, Polish, trans. Czeslaw Milosz & Leonard Nathan, Talking to My Body, Copper Canyon Press, 1996.