THIS WORLD IS A FAIRY TALE
Translated from the POLISH by Piotr Florczyk
Before they invented
the elevator, I climbed to you, like in the Russian
fairy tale about love, on a braid. And because you didn’t
have a braid, I ran to you across the surface of the sea,
like in a fairy tale about love, but an older one and in another
language. And because there was no sea, you were
my sea on which I ran and ran, silencing
the wind. I was about to tell you that God came next
and parted the sea from you, like in the even older fairy tale
about even older love, but it was announced in Texas that
the Playboy had died. Freedom for the bunnies! We drop our clothes and
mutually naked swim in a silver lake.
Read Jerzy Jarniewicz’s “This World is a Fairy Tale” translated by Piotr Florczyk in the print edition of The Arkansas International 7.
Jerzy Jarniewicz is a Polish poet, translator and literary critic, who lectures in English at the University of Łódz. He has published twelve volumes of poetry, thirteen critical books on contemporary Irish, British and American literature, and has written extensively for various journals, including Poetry Review, Irish Review, Cambridge Review. He is editor of the literary monthly Literatura na Świecie (Warsaw) and has translated the work of many novelists and poets, including James Joyce, John Banville, Seamus Heaney, Raymond Carver, Philip Roth, Edmund White, and Derek Walcott.
Piotr Florczyk’s most recent books are East & West, a volume of poems, and several volumes of translations, including I’m Half of Your Heart: Selected Poems by Julian Kornhauser and Building the Barricade by Anna Świrszczyńska, which won the 2017 Found in Translation Award and the 2017 Harold Morton Landon Translation Award. A doctoral candidate at the University of Southern California, he is completing a volume of poems based on Holocaust testimonies entitled From the Annals of Kraków. His work can be found at www.piotrflorczyk.com.