Music Well – Dosia McKay, Composer, Painter, Writer

Reflections on Art and Life

“May Night” by Tadeusz Miciński


Crowned donkeys sat on the grass –
crickets kiss a wild rose –
and death shimmers on the pond
and plays a frolicking song.
          Follow the dance –
oh, lake flowers, water nymphs!
Pan plays the flute in the oak grove.
          follow the dance,
          follow the dance –
          love’s embrace
          eternally young
          and holy –
          with a lethal arrowhead
          pierced –

In glimmering greyish wave
golden crucian carps and minnows,
and patient kingfishers
look on with their steel eye –
and in the woods, the hammering of blacksmiths,
and among rowan trees, moss
and kestrels with wild-mushroom eyes –
in joyous whistles and singing
once over the water – once in the trees I fly.
Wooded glades created
for nocturnal carousals.
All birds pay me homage,
for today I wed the goddess.
And behold at the lake,
we stand in scarlet blossoms,
shedding tears of happiness with enchantment and fear,
burning in love’s conflagration –
fire embraces the primordial trees
crying with tarry tears,
and the familiar – from polar seas seagull
inscribes a halo above us.
Oh, crimson ivy of fakirs,
oh, starry princesses of cacti,
oh, two glass graves among palls
and the breathy blaze of our hearts.
King Gryf swooshed his wings
with his lover Łabeda –
among fiery mustangs and manes
we rush with the host of cloudy Noms –
and the mountains below us –
and frothy snow –
as if from earth gushing waves –
and around sapphire vastness –
and fire – and deep forest – and these owls,
staring with the apple of the eye’s dread,
that comprehended the divine madness of events.
How fervent are my flowing tears,
sylvan fauns look at me mockingly,
for I cannot join our lips,
or as a river trickle myself into the sea –
we stand in a mute terror,
in awe, in bloody conflagration,
and on the arms woven with flowers
fester rusty stigmata.
Dying pairs of mayflies
fall at my feet rustling,
and the black gravediggers of ants
drag them – through corridors beneath knotweed.
— — — — — — — — — — — — —
Once upon a time I rambled through these colonnades,
which Abderrahman created for his beloved,
during the amethyst night of Scheherazade,
when talismans burn in the heavenlies –
– – – I heard the howl of a donkey –
oh, how desperate –
like an overblown flute, savage and hoarse.
Yet never in a human larynx
such soul has grown,
such moan of a reprobate from the abyss.
I shall not compete with him,
but advise all! –
          follow the dance –
          lake flowers, water nymphs –
          Pan plays the flute in the oak grove.

translated from Polish by Dosia McKay
Copyright of the translation ©2015 Dosia McKay
1) Gryf and Łabeda are mithological characters from the Kashubian region. Gryf is shaped like a gryphon, Łabeda like a swan.
2) Noms – from Germanic mythology, three virgins, the fairy godmothers of fate
3) Abderrahman I, founder (755 CE) of the independent caliphate in Cordoba, creator of the famous Alcazar palace in Seville, and the mosque in Cordoba.

Link to the original poem:


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This entry was posted on November 13, 2015 by in Poetry and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .
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