Friday 27 November 2015


I suspect most of my readers who played the Thanksgiving Survival Game of yore have gotten married or moved onto other blogs, which leaves me free to indulge once again in a Polski Piątek!

Polish night school is becoming more exciting because the teacher is now introducing Real Polish Literature. Yesterday we read a poem by Juliusz Słowacki, for whom the Słowacki Theatre (i.e. Teatr Słowackiego) in Kraków was named. Poor old Słowacki was not much appreciated in life, but now he is considered one of the most important Polish poets. 

We have been studying "diminutives" (zdrobienia) in class, and there are a fair number in the poem:

W pamiętniku Zofii Bobrówny
In the diary* of Sofia Bobrówna

Niechaj na Zośka o wiersze nie prosi
Let not Sophie ask me for a poem
Bo kiedy Zośka do ojczyzny** wróci
for when Sophie returns to Poland
Każda jej gwiazdka piosenkę zanuci.
every star will hum her a song.
Nim kwiat przekwitnie, nim gwiazdeczka zleci
For her a blossom will drop, a little star will fall
Sluchaj--bo to są najlepsi poeci.
Listen, for they are the best poets. 

Gwiazdy błękitne, kwiateczki czerwone
The sea-blue stars, the little red flowers
Będą ci całe poemata składać.
will assemble for you whole poems.
Ja bym to samo powiedział, co one,
I would say the same thing as they
Bo ja się od nich nauczyłem gadać
for I learned to talk from them.
Bo tam, gdzie Ikwy srebrne fale płyną,
For there, where flows the silver waves of the Ikwa,
Byłem ja niegdyś, jak Zośka, dzieciną
I once was, like Sophie, a little child.

Dzisiaj daleko pojechałem w gości
Today I have gone far away, an emigré
I dalej mię los nieszczęśliwy goni.
and further an unhappy fate me chases.
Przywież mi, Zośko, od tych gwiadz światłości,
Bring me, wee Soph, from those stars light,
Pryzwież mi, Zośko, z tamtych kwiatów woni.
bring me, wee Soph, from those flowers scent,
Bo mi zaprawdę odmłodnieć potrzeba
for I needs must become young again.
Wróć mi więc z kraju taką jakby z nieba.
And so return to me from that land--as if from heaven.

*Engagement calendar

**Do ojcyzny  literally means "to the fatherland",  but that is too many syllables for my taste.  

English doesn't really have diminutives, although you could argue it does, for we add --ie or --y to things like "the kitty" and "the little mousey".  Archaic English has --kins, as in "Odds bodkins", which means "God's little bodies", i.e. the Blessed Sacrament. (So don't use it.) The Scots put wee in front of everything, e.g. "Let's have a wee dram", which can mean either small or sweet, as in "What a nice wee elephant."

No comments:

Post a Comment

This is Edinburgh Housewife, a blog for Catholic women and other women of good will. It assumes that the average reader is an unmarried, childless Catholic woman over 18. Commenters are asked to take that into consideration before commenting. Anonymous comments may be erased.

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.