Emily Dickinson's poems in translation/Polish/Hope is the Thing with Feathers/Kazimiera Iłłakowiczówna's translation

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The translation[edit]

Translation by Kazimiera Iłłakowiczówna (website in Polish)[1] A back translation The original poem

Nadzieja to pierzasty stwór,

Dusza – to grzęda dla niej:

Stamtąd bezsłowną melodią brzmi,

co nigdy nie ustanie.


Najsłodsza, gdy szaleje sztorm…

Jakaż by to musiała być ulewa,

której by się wystraszył ptak,

co tysiącom pogodę wyśpiewał.


Słychać go było w najsurowszej z zim,

na najbardziej obcych głębinach,

i nawet mrąc z głodu nie poprosił nikogo

o jedną okruszynę.

Hope is the feathered creature,

The soul – is the roost for it:

From there it makes wordless melody

That will never stop.


The sweetest, while the storm rages…

What a downpour would have to be

To scare the bird

That sang the weather to thousands.


It was heard during the harshest of winters,

On the strangest depths

And even dying out of hunger it didn’t ask anybody

For a single crumb.

“Hope” is the thing with feathers -

That perches in the soul -

And sings the tune without the words -

And never stops - at all -


And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -

And sore must be the storm -

That could abash the little Bird

That kept so many warm -


I’ve heard it in the chillest land -

And on the strangest Sea -

Yet - never - in Extremity,

It asked a crumb - of me.[2]

Source[edit]

  1. http://anna.krasucka.eu.interiowo.pl/201-300.html
  2. http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/171619