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   a r i o n

--- Z B I G N I E W   H E R B E R T

		It is he -- Arion
		the Hellenic Caruso
		concertmaster of the world of antiquity
		priceless like a necklace
		     or better like a constellation
		     he sings to
		     the sea whitecaps and the crooked merchants
		     the tyrants and the jackass tenders
		     crowns are blackening on the tyrants's heads
		     and the sellers of flatbread with onion
		for the first time make mistakes to their own discredit

		     of what does Arion sing
		     nobody really knows this
		     of most importance is that he returns harmony to the world
		     the sea gently cradles the earth
		     the fire talks with the water without hatred
		     in the shadow of a solitary hexameter lie
		     wolf and doe hawk and dove
		     and a child falls asleep in a lion's mane
		     as if in a crib
		     look how animals are smiling
		     people sustain themselves on white flowers
		     and everything is good
		     as it was in the begining

		     it is he -- Arion
		     precious and multiplied
		     the cause of dizzy spells
		     stands in a thicket of images
		has eight fingers like the octave
		     and sings

		     Until from the blue of the West
		     there spread out the luminous little strands of saffron
		     which signifies the nearing night
		     Arion with a polite head motion
		     bids goodbye
		     to the jackass tenders and the tyrants
		     the merchants and the philosophers
		     and at the port mounts the back
		     of a tamed dolphin

		     -- goodbye --

		     how gorgeous Arion is
		     -- the girls are saying --
		     when he is floating out to the open sea
		     with a garland of horizons upon his brow

					translated from the Polish	
					   by Marek Lugowski

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