All his life he tried to hide the dromedary
ridge within the splendor of distinctions and accolades.
He obtained all possible honors,
among them the love of a beautiful woman.
At last he climbed so high
he had the right, like a king,
to disguise himself after death in a perfect body
chiseled by a famous hand.
He could have gone on for ages,
straight pillar of strength.
But he asked to be carved this way.
(translated from the Polish by Mira Rosenthal)
Krystyna Dabrowska, who lives in Warsaw, is the author of three collections of poetry. Her translator, Mira Rosenthal, a former Stegner fellow in poetry at Stanford, is the author of the collection The Local World.