Dariusz Tomasz Lebioda









your skull is a bowl where consciousness burns

where the red fire of sleep smolders

you look into dark and see

centaurs disappearing in the stellar wind


you’re the promise of heaven, the threat of hell

you bear within you a child

and a blood-sucking ancient

in a zoroastrian



your destiny is eternity

though you’ll never experience it


your destiny is death

though you’ll never touch it


your destiny is being

but you don’t exist—


your tenderness irks the blind dwarf

seated on a throne in a silken



your sensibility allays the anger

of the crystal unicorn


you peer into the dark and see

the golden face of the pharaoh

the terracotta army of the first emperor


aldrin’s white space suits and totems of ebony

golden trays and hadrian’s denarii


you see mary stuart’s head tumble

watch sand covering caravan routes and dead cities


you look at the stars, become a student of the universe

hang your head, turn to a tear on the cheek

of a faun


before you are many roads to mislead you

many lost moments too


behind you the first day, the first night

before you the last



          Trans. by Stanley H. Barkan & Adam Szyper



*  *  *


if you were holding a crying infant

in your arms


if you knew his name was adolf



if you knew who he would turn out to be

for the world


would you throw him into

the fire


would you throw him defenseless

into the fire?


          Trans. by Stanley H. Barkan & Adam Szyper





dressed in a few-rupee sari

lay still


the body of mother



people come

the lapers

the hungry

the unwashed


they bow and say

hare krishna  hare



and say: ave maria

gratia plena


her crippled sons

suffering daughters


– it’s rumored

that in a dream she stood

at heaven’s gate


and saint peter said:

go back –  there are no slams



so she returned to her cripples

and unwanted children


she returned to her sisters —

guardians of bitter mercy


good god find for her

some celestial leprosy


find for her a few

lame angels and forgotten



permit her through all



to tend your





          Trans. by Stanley H. Barkan & Adam Szyper



*  *  *


god looks at the world sees steamboats floating over

the atlantic  prussian regiments marching in the streets of królewiec

the first shining automobiles fashionable hats

dancers in miniskirts


sees waves of blood  soldiers loading cannons on trains

battlefield’s mud corporal hitler thinking about the power

of powder  black birds over bavaria and provençe

delirious samurai mothers birthing

killers and priests


looks at naked crowds pushed into gas chambers

where deportees are led on russian roads

where flags flutter  where freud lectures

on the human ego  marlene dietrich

smooths her stockings


god squints his eyes—people the world will soon forget

stand against the wall thousand of fingers squeeze the triggers

josif vissarionovich is loading his pine

the mask of untankhamen glistens in the african sun

through the tumult of announcements breaks

beethoven’s third piano concerto


scenes and faces flicker—glass iron and marble crack

steaming mercury  engines labor at their


maximum rev  the shadow of the eiffel tower

moves over the seine


the shadow of zappelins and messerschmitts

flow over the alps

pius xii stoops over the microphone

mother teresa from calcutta wipes a child’s tear

the bloody thrones fall


yesenin laughs—what a century  what a century

charlie raises his bowler hat into the chill of the cosmos

pavane flies in upon the death of infanta


mark goes up  dollars goes down  ruble burns

like bullets shot from a nagan


god looks

at the world


          Trans. by Stanley H. Barkan & Adam Szyper





at the end of the second millennium

i look into the darkness of a new century

starting tomorrow the innocents will be born

and cain will kill abel


nothing will stop

the flow of tears and blood

the messiah will not come

time will not end


armies will march

toward the sky

missiles will embroider

the heraldy of death


some will disappear forever

others will record

words and faces

in the digital net of infinity


only jesus and buddha

will not stop looking into the emptiness

only the torch of pain

will not stop smoldering


auschwitz and the silent death

in the tundra will fade away

the words of gandhi and stalin

will sink into the pitch of time


mini-swindlers and mega-conmen

pathetic rulers and comic emperors

will fall asleep


youths will wreck the cemeteries

an old man will place the noose on his neck


and you my friend standing over my grave

aware that this poem is an echo of history


look into the abyss of the next century

and tell me


where the roads



where is the destination

of man?


          Trans. by Stanley H. Barkan & Adam Szyper





i stand by the side of the road

not larger than a lady bug or moth


not larger than the tear of a crow

or the pit of an apricot


not larger than a grain of flax

or eyelash of a doe


—fearfully i lift

up my head and


listen to the radiance

of the black silk


of eternity


          Trans. by Stanley H. Barkan & Adam Szyper















Dariusz Tomasz Lebioda, a poet, prose writer and literary critic.


Short Biography
DARIUSZ TOMASZ LEBIODA was born on the 23–rd of April, 1958 in Bydgoszcz. He works in university as a research worker of the Polish literature of XIX and XX–th  century, but before he had worked as a lifeguard, farm–hand, tradesman and gas pressure deliverer. He trained martial arts and was a short time political prisoner. In 1994 he received Ph. D. in Polish literature at Gdansk (Danzing) University. He was travelled widely and was impressed most by Leman Lake and the Alps landscape, mountains of China and America. He felt relieved and free by the Niemen River, and he was looking at its depth in Lithuania, in Belorussia, and was thinking about verses on it by the greatest Polish poet – Adam Mickiewicz. Lebioda received a lot of Polish literary prizes: that of Andrzej Bursa’s Award, Stanisław Wyspiański’s Award, Klemens Janicki’s Award and Bruno’s Award, Hulewicz Award. His poems has been many times published and discussed in important magazines. He is the most famous poet of the New Generation – authors born between 1950 and 1960. He was published almost 50 books – from poetry, biographies, historical studies to essays and scientific monograph. His poetry has always been the topic of heated discussions. He was the intercessor of the times and spirits of his generation and he has gained fame all over the country. Very quickly he has published 25 poetic volumes and his poems can be found in all the most important Polish anthologies – including the grand anthology presenting the most beautiful and the most important Polish poems of the millennium. His works has been translated into many languages – English, German, French, Spanish, Japanese, Ukrainian, Russian, Arabic, Hebrew, Chinese and many more. He published his poems and articles on poetry in USA, Greece, Arabic countries, Croatia, Switzerland, Lithuania and Japan. He is mostly concerned with Polish writers but he also devoted some essays and articles to Anglo and American writers – among them Faulkner, Singer, Caldwell, Malamud, Murdoch, Golding. He loves Greek poetry and wrote much about poets from this sunny country – about Kawafis, Elitis, Seferis, Theofilu and many more. He has lived in Bydgoszcz (north of Poland) which was once called little Berlin by the Prussians. His writing is the act of neverending quest of beauty, purity and fullness, and most of all it is an attempt to define a man to try to say what he is for and where he is going. Touching upon philosophy, Lebioda tries to present a man reduced to a role of a tragic witness of events – very often tragic victim of immaturity, victim of time and a naive conviction that the world is good and people are noble. He was guest in great literary event in USA, China, Kurdistan, Iraq an won Crystal of Kurdistan (2011). Lebioda is also President of new European Prize – Homer Medal of Poetry and Art.

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