Three Poems by Adam Wiedemann (b. 1967)

Mineral Water[1]
for Tadeusz Różewicz





variegated clay






with quartz


the source


Warsaw, August 17, 1998
Translated by Marit MacArthur




Carp 1 


At the sight of a carp the girls say ah 
at the sight of carp that didn’t get far.

At the sight of a cat of a cow because now it’s not the girls

saying can’t you hear it, when the milk spills?


Sight spills upon sight, we look with sight,

sight presents the moon, ah, if only the moon

were the sight, not a lost penny. I’m not

yet a penny that you lose, not


the sight you’ll ask for.

I’m the moon that fell asleep in the pond,

I’m the carp that in absolute silence

the moon swallows, that’s your absolute sight.



I’m a sight swallowed by a carp.

At the sight of a carp I don’t know what you ask.

I’m an instrument lurking in a pond,

I would prefer you not to live, I’d prefer that


you ask for five special gold pennies,

which I won’t have saved since I’m a fisherman

who eats catches as long as the carp live,

and when he catches nothing he tells the cow,


which has no why to lend him, since it

doesn’t give itself the milk the tomcat lives on

because even in a pond there isn’t enough moon

to feed a carp with a tomcat on its head.


Translated by Marit MacArthur and Barbara Kopec-Umiastkowska




Carp 2 


I want to protect you, keep the absolute sight,

so I have something to gild you with when you apologize.

Sight works in mysterious ways, there is no silence

that your Unknown will disturb. Darkness


stirs the tree branches, a hand bears

weight it can’t swallow. Together with a hair

your comb tore out, you drown in principle

all August long, darkness has


many names so that if you ask for it

all September would sleep, so let us operate

with names of other names, let us laugh at the looks

of other people, which we’re going to wear from now on.



Keep to yourself, don’t be too much

of a treat, be a sample until

I’ve received Communion, putting my body

at the disposal of one or another

change. I lost your somehow, your

what for. With you I am constantly, I’m

I don’t know, with you I’ve lost the whole of

my after all if only. However, zero damage

is out of the question here, so forgive me,

when I could still experience you I was too much

in tears over mine, and then I only bore

my fate like a dog its collar, let someone put it on.


Translated by Marit MacArthur and Barbara Kopec-Umiastkowska



1. The Polish title is Mazowszanka, a popular brand of mineral water.